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Pickle Me This

March 29, 2017

Talking Canada Reads on the Radio

Today I got to talk about my favourite Canada Reads contenders from days of yore on CBC Ontario Morning. If you missed me on the radio, you can listen again on the podcast. I come in at 41.00.

February 22, 2017

More Books on the Radio

I’m not kidding when I tell you that all I ever really wanted from this life was a books column on the radio, and so my spots on CBC Ontario Morning are indeed the culmination of a dream as well as a great deal of pleasure. What a thing: to get to talk about books you love. Today I talked about this excellent stack of reads, and if you didn’t hear it, you can listen again on the podcast. I come in at 40.40.

January 4, 2017

Three Cool Things

1. I was on CBC Ontario Morning today talking about books you really should get around to reading—and what a pleasure was that! You can listen again here at 45 minutes (although I regret we ran out of time before I was able to mention Marnie Woodrow’s Heyday, but you should definitely pick up that one too). Anyway, this was fun. What a privilege to go on the radio and get to talk about some of your favourite things.

2. I got to curate a shelf at Hunter Street Books in Peterborough, and I selected a theme of “Strong, Powerful (and funny!) Women’s Voices”. My picks are The Mothers, by Brit Bennett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple, and Rose’s Run, by Dawn Dumont. If you’re near Peterborough, head to the shop and pick one of my recommendations up. And if you’re not local, go somewhere else to get them.

3. And finally, Quill & Quire’s Spring Preview is now on newsstands, and I’m thrilled to see Mitzi Bytes in the mix. It’s a very nice thing to imagine that you might not be the only one waiting for your new book to come into the world. Also pleased to see the book in such good company with so many other titles forthcoming in the first half of this year.

November 30, 2016

Books of the Year (and on the radio too!)


49thShelf’s Books of the Year list came out on Monday, and I’m thrilled with it. It turns out that 2016 has not been a total disaster—maybe the books will save us after all? And I was on CBC Ontario Morning today talking about some of the picks that would also make great holiday gifts. You can listen to the podcast here; I come on at 37.30. 

September 7, 2016

Listen Again


I was so happy to talk books again today on CBC Ontario Morning. If you didn’t catch the broadcast, you can listen again on the podcast. I come on just after 33 minutes, and oh my, did I ever have some great books to tell you about, including Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People, which was just long listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

August 3, 2016

Summer Reads on the Radio


I was so pleased to be on CBC Ontario Morning today talking about great summer reads, and sharing the books that so delightful occupied my July. If you missed the show, you can listen again online at 33.15 minutes—I hope you do and take me up on some of these suggestions. This is a fine, fine stack of books.

May 31, 2016

Books on Ontario Morning

cbc_radio_logoTomorrow morning I’ll be talking about books on CBC Ontario Morning at 8:20. I am ridiculously happy about the stack of books I’m recommending, because the easiest thing in the world to do is convey enthusiasm for things you’re actually enthusiastic about.

Hope you’ll listen in.

April 27, 2010

Dear Barbara Budd

‘Dear Barbara Budd. Send me a picture of you because I would like to dress up like you for Halloween. I hope you are not too tall, because I am only 10. My mother says if your picture doesn’t arrive in time, I have to go as a turtle, which is what I did last year.’

March 8, 2010

Canada Reads (The Original!) Begins!

I’m listening to Canada Reads on my beloved CBC Radio One right now and immediately finding the panelists much more compelling than last year. And though I’ve not been reading along these last few months, once more I want to throw in my support for the wonderful Nikolski (which is NOT “a dude book!” Or rather, it is far more than one). It seems to have a wonderful champion in Michel  Vézina too (who dares to accuse those who’ve found it “thin” of “reading it thinly”. Roland Pemberton is also winning me over. Samantha Nutt put me off by suggesting that fiction has to have something to teach us about ourselves. Perdita Felicien and Simi Sara are also putting in a good show. Unless Nikolski is out tomorrow (heaven forbid) I’ll be listening all week.

January 16, 2010

Clearest, starkest brilliance #1: When Randy Bachman held my heart

Harriet is pictured here in her very early days, back when a moment of daytime peace was worth a photo for posterity. But lately, actually, I’ve been thinking of a certain moment of nighttime peace, when Harriet was about five days old.

For the first few weeks of her life (how long exactly doesn’t matter, suffice it to say, it was an eternity), we had to wake her every three hours for feeding, as she’d not yet returned to her birthweight. (This was when I was reading Tom’s Midnight Garden and “Only the clock was left, but the clock was always there, time in, time out.”) And once the alarm went off, we’d leave the radio playing while we fed her, and so we discovered that CBC at night subscribes to programs by other public broadcasters. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation at 1:00am, and 4:00am would be Swedish, and something uptight and BBC close to the morning.

This one night in particular was not so late, however, and I remember waking up to Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap. So there we were, up with our baby daughter in this weird, wide world that was the size of our bedroom’s four walls and we hadn’t thought outside of it in five whole days, which might have been a lifetime (and they were). So that, in effect, Randy Bachman was coming at us from the farthest reaches of outer space.

Fittingly, his show that night had a stars and planets theme, and Canada felt very small as Randy’s wife Denise introduced the next track, by Randy’s son Tal. Surprisingly, it was not “She’s So High”, and Denise reported that she’d always felt so envious of Tal’s talent. And then after that they played music that wasn’t by anyone related to Randy Bachman, which I think was “Blue Moon”(and according to the program log, I’m remembering this in the wrong order, but that doesn’t change the way it was). They played “Good Morning Starshine”, and we marvelled at the lyric “Gliddy glub gloopy, Nibby nabby noopy, La la la lo lo.” It was midnight, but it might as well have been the middle of the night, and the baby was sucking sustenance out of a tube stuck to my husband’s finger, but anyway, we were happy.

But no more so than when they played “Little Star” by the Elegants. Our own peculiar lullaby, to which we found ourselves relaxing for the first time in days. Twinkle, twinkle to a doo-wop beat, and the moment was so beautiful, it shone. We were a family. And I wouldn’t take back any of the awfulness of those early days, if I had to give that song back with it, and what it was like to be listening, and finally not anxious, and to be connected, in touch with a calm, blissful world.

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