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Archives | Sylvia McNicoll

Mortie, the Jackapoo, reads The Art of Racing in the Rain

You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but this novel is a Chapters’ staff pick fave. I could have paid way less had I bought it in eversion but then I couldn’t have shared it with Mortie. Honestly, the cover made me smile. The dog who narrates has an uncanny resemblance to Mortie, my Jackapoo, The story incorporates racing philosophy with life but (spoiler alert) a key person and

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the dog die in the end. It feels very Marly and Me. Maybe this is a trick to sell books. So often the cover doesn’t match the story but if we stick to favourite dog breeds, maybe the cover can sell the book because the readers, like me, likes pictures of their dogs.

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In a stream: The Writer’s Life, The Margaret Laurence Lectures

This series on where and what we’re reading was started as as kind of personal PR for books. I think in this fast paced world of technology where you press 1 for English and 2 for French and never get anyone who really wants to speak to you (although the conversation may be recorded for quality ensurance), we’re searching for more and more peaceful happy moments. Or is that just me. Yoga, hot and cold, is suddenly

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popular. Non fiction books that connect to spirituality in a mainstream way get gobbled up: The Book of Awesome for example.

When I speak to my fellow writers, I realize we’re all trying to create more to sustain our living when the answer might be to do less and read more. Think of it as both job sharing and job creating. When we go on holidays whether to the tropics or the local beach, we usually most enjoy a quiet read. And so for my own purposes I slowed down this summer and tried to document my reading. I still write, edit for Today’s Parent Toronto, and work as director on Access Copyright but I am making a point to READ and enjoy it and to document enjoying it in my favourite places. Planking, writer’s style?
Here I am at the Bronte Creek Dog Park Swimming hole reading an appropriate title: A Writer’s Life, the Margaret Laurence Lectures 25th Anniversary of the Lecture Series
I realize that when I invited others to share their reading holes and material how difficult it is to include a photo of themselves with a book. It requires a photographer, plus a lot of us don’t like pictures of ourselves. So…to make it easier, if you wish to share, send me a photo of your book where you’re reading it.

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On the Beach (Lake Erie) Winter of Secrets by Vicki Delany

We never stop talking unless it’s to read.  Sometimes we discuss our books.  Gisela Sherman’s reading one on world war II as research for the novel she’s working on. I’m reading a mystery set in the Kootenays, one of my favourite parts of the world, by Vicki Delany a writer who once took a course I taught (Creative Writing Its Realities–not my title). While I’m not a serious mystery buff,  I like to follow her cast of small town characters, including Constable Molly Smith, as they fumble through and solve crimes.

As we strolled the beach, we met a lady enjoying the latest Harry Potter before she gives it to her granddaughter.  Next door to us in a hammock lay a man who read his ebook for about four hours straight. One of the problems with those is the next door neighbors can’t tell what you’re reading!

Summer is one of the best times to relax with a great story, in whatever format.

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Under a tree: Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee

Often in between writing scenes, I will walk the dog but in the summer Mortie gets too hot and must pause for a treat and water break.  I now carry a book on the hike and here I am conveniently doing research for my latest project:  Death on Track.  The main character is a 14 year old adopted Chinese orphan and her best friend Jasmin is an Indian girl nervous her parents will discover her Canadian boyfriend.
Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee gave me lots of insight but I also went out for an Indian buffet lunch with a new friend Beena.  Of course I watched Bend It Like Beckham.

This tree is close to the library so I could get a new book once I’m finished if only they allowed dogs.

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