Write Reads #58 French Exit


As we enter the final countdown to the Giller Awards, here is our discussion about one of the nominees. We hope you enjoy it in spite of some very minor technical problems in the podcast. We have a good laugh, you can be sure.

Other books mentioned in this podcast:


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Write Reads #57 The Substitute


Hey there, friends. Look at us! Right on time with our 57th podcast. This is a good one too. We have finally sorted out our technical issues so you won’t be tortured by bad sounding podcasts anymore. It’s also an excellent book and a pretty good discussion about all of the reasons that it’s excellent. In short, Lundrigan has wowed us again.

We always warn you that spoilers abound in our podcasts but for this particular book we strongly believe that your enjoyment of The Substitute will be lessened greatly if you know the major spoiler that we do discuss. YOU ARE WARNED THRICE TIMES! You will thank us if you run out and get this book and then read it and THEN listen to our podcast.

Just a reminder that our next podcast will be on Oct 27th and we will be discussing French Exit by Patrick deWitt.

Other books discussed in this podcast:

TV shows discussed in this podcast:

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Stalking Nicole Lundrigan

Next week on the podcast Kirt and I will be discussing the deliciously creepy book, The Substitute, so I wanted to do a wee post about Nicole Lundrigan.

We have stalked Lundrigan in the past, when we read her phenomenal historical fiction, The Widow Tree, as my birthday pick back in 2014.

So what has my stalking revealed? Lundrigan has written her fair share of books already, and her newest book, Hideaway, will hopefully hit the shelves Summer 2019.





She is a Newfoundlander currently living in Toronto, with a past steeped in skeletons and old castles (ie: she has lived in a chateau in France, has her MSc in physical anthropology).

Her first published work was a story about the birth of her daughter.

She has won and been nominated for many awards.

She loves to knit.

She has said that we don’t have a tonne of crime writing going on in Canada, which Kirt and I did find to be true when we were trying to pick mysteries for our Mystery month.

She has been part of humanitarian efforts in Canada and abroad.

Timothy Findley is one of her favourite authors.

The Substitute was inspired, in part, by this horrific crime.

Someone has already gotten her to reveal fun facts about herself over at Open Book
(most endearingly that she has a French bulldog named Miro).

For some reason, when she talks about her writing life, she reminds me of Morag from The Diviners.

All of her books demonstrate her capacity to create disquieting moods and disturbing characters, she talks about how she “finds creepy” here.

Yoda-willing, Kirt will be posting our podcast on The Substitute on August 27th, but if you want a quick (no spoiler) review, complete with adorable kitty, to entice you to read this summer thriller,  you can watch this.

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Write Reads #56 Recap and Reconnect



Hey! Look at us still hobbling along. We’ve been delayed again but here is the “Year In Review” that we promised a while ago. We’re also pleased to have some info for you about our ambitions for the coming year. AND, we announce the next two books for you to get and read. August 27th (or thereabouts) will be Nicole Lundrigan’s The Substitute and October 27th will be Patrick deWitt’s French Exit.

For those of you who can’t bear to listen to the podcast* but are just dying to know what our top three books of 2017 were. Here they are:

Tania’s Top Three:

  1. Every Blade of Grass by Thomas Wharton (Write Reads #54)
  2. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay (Write Reads #52)
  3. The Nest by Kenneth Oppel (Write Reads #47)

Kirt’s Top Three:

  1. Every Blade of Grass by Thomas Wharton
  2. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
  3. The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis (Write Reads #49)

*The sound quality is still a work in progress. We’ve been experimenting with doing video podcasts. A video of this podcast may appear on our Youtube channel. We’ll see.

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I am what I post

Well look at me and this dead horse of a blog, reunited again.

I doubt this will be a grand, triumphant return to book blogging for me, but I had a yen to post about this book so I figured, “why not?”

The book is Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky. Told through the journey of 40-something Lilian Quick, it’s a novel about the commodification and branding of spirituality, creativity, and ultimately, life itself.

As we watch Lilian form friendships and beliefs based on people who want to sell her a lifestyle, this book is by turns hilarious and uncomfortable. The surfing meditation gurus and calming candle makers who send her constant personal-touch emails are amusing, though her reaction to them is saddening. As someone who already has a hate/hate relationship with social media, it affirmed many of my long held thoughts on the falseness of these new types of lifestyles-for-sale. And, as someone who uses social media completely as a tool to market myself and organize my own creative endeavours, it also made me think about the ways in which I do that (which have sometimes made me feel squicky) and how the way I market myself can affect the people I market to.

While this book makes you think about the interwebs and its affect on you (and you can read plenty of reviews that talk about that), it wasn’t really saying anything new to me, so I think its real triumph is in the writing. It has one of the most unique satirical tones I think I’ve ever read. It feels uncomfortably personal and Lilian’s thoughts feel very stream of consciousness, though the writing is entirely grammatical. I find that often satire has a kind of…hyper real quality to it. This is satire completely based in reality, but Selecky is not a brash, biting Dorothy Parker, I think she falls into the Jane Austen camp. The type of book that feels light, but is able to comment on day-to-day realities in ways that are surprising, delightful, and depressing.

Despite the fact that I think the writing is new, fresh, and excellent, I would say I probably liked this book less than the majority of readers. The ending was not particularly satisfying to me. Lilian is still trying to find a way to make creativity, spirituality, business and the internet all work together in a way that isn’t icky, and I’m one of those curmudgeons that is not convinced that this is at all possible. But, if want you to be a successful creative type, finding some happy medium has got to be part of the plan, because that’s the way the world works. I get that. And clearly, so does Selecky.  I invite you to peruse her website and appearances on podcasts such as The Numinous Podcast (a podcast about “Intuition, Spirituality and the Mystery of Life” that is part of a paid program you can join to develop your intuition).

Question everything, do your research, form your own opinions and if you like, let me know what you think in the comments field.

– Curmudgeonly Tania

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Write Reads #55 Rodent by Lisa J. Lawrence


Oh, hi there.  How’ve you been? Us? Oh, you know, just on an extended hiatus, no big whoop. Did you miss us? Hopefully, there are still ears out there listening for our podcasts. We’re really sorry for the long delay, but, as they say, stuff happens. We won’t bore you with excuses. We’re just happy to finally have Old 55 up and ready for the listeners out there. We hope it will be worth the wait. This novel is certainly worth it.

Sorry that this podcast sounds like Tania is speaking in Massey Hall and Kirt is her guest on a call-in radio show. Much of the delay has involved trying to fix all of that. This is the final result, such as it is. Maybe it’ll be a new style that you dig. Who knows?

Much of the discussion at the end of the podcast is obviously lies. We did no such recap podcast in January and we did not announce our next book. We also didn’t get to do After Canada Reads 2018. Frankly, we’re not sure what’s happening with Write Reads at this point. We will be skyping with each other soon to discuss what’s next, though. We will let you know as soon as these things are decided. Whatever happens, we are always grateful for your support and encouragement.

Other books discussed in this podcast:

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And The Winner Is . . .


With all of the excitement around the imminent Giller Prize announcement we’re just going to cash in on the hype and announce our own winner for the poll we posted back in September. The clear choice for our ardent fans was Rodent by Edmonton author Lisa J. Lawrence.* So, go out and buy the book, read it, and then join us in early December for our long awaited 55th podcast. This podcast will mark our FIFTH ANNIVERSARY as book club podcasters changing the world of literature forever. It will also be Kirt’s first podcast from Halifax, and only the second time that he and Tania have not been in the same room for a recording. How will it turn out? Will the chemistry be the same? The only way you’ll know is if you listen to the friggin’ podcast.

*Marty Chan is also an Edmonton author who deserves your support so go out and buy his Demon Gate anyway. A great gift idea for your steampunk, atlternate history, demon hunting loving young adult.

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