Mark Milner


Pucks and pages: A reading list for the NHL playoffs


The NHL playoffs start this week, and will continue throughout the spring and into early summer. With hockey on TV every night between now and June, why not pair the nights’ games with some good hockey reads? We’ve matched each round of the postseason with one of the best books on the sport, creating an easy reading list to last you until the Cup is awarded in June. Quarterfinals: The...

A look inside the best basketball team ever: Jack McCallum’s Dream Team


Reviewed in this essay: Dream Team by Jack McCallum. Ballantine Books, 2012. The Dream Team is one of the most iconic teams in sports history. It was packed with household names like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley, not to mention Michael Jeffrey Jordan: the centerpiece of the team and just maybe the most famous athlete ever. It was one of the most talented teams ever put together:...

100 Years of Occupation: Leacock in Orillia


Robertson Davies’s Salterton was inspired by Kingston, and Mordecai Richler immortalized St. Urbain Street. It’s hard to imagine these books set elsewhere: Duddy Kravitz could never come from Vancouver. But no place takes as much pride in being a setting as Orillia does in its starring role in Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Leacock was only a part-time resident, but the...

A Window Into Baseball’s Golden Age


Reviewed in this essay: The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball from the Men Who Played It, by Lawrence S. Ritter. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2010. As winter turns to spring, the sports fan’s mind turns to baseball. Arguably, it’s the most literary of all the sports, even if only by volume: authors as diverse as Philip Roth, Chad Harbach, Jim Bouton, David...

Kate Beaton: Canada’s Cartoonist

Kate Beaton's Hark A Vagrant

Reviewed in this essay: Hark, a Vagrant, by Kate Beaton. Drawn and Quarterly, 2011. On the web at If you haven’t heard of Kate Beaton until lately you’re a little late to the party. Since Drawn and Quarterly released a collection of her work last fall, the cartoonist has exploded in popularity: a book tour across North America; interviews with CBC Radio, The AV Club and CTV...

Charles P. Pierce’s Sports Guy


Reviewed in this essay: Sports Guy by Charles P. Pierce. Da Capo Press, 2000. The stock image of a sportswriter is of a person wearing an ugly shirt, with strong opinions on football defences and who writes recaps of games that all seem to come from the same script: who won, who lost, who scored the big goal. Charles P. Pierce is not that kind of sportswriter. Over the last 20 years, he’s written...