Stacey Madden


The Fifty Shades Phenomenon is Nothing New


Over two and a half centuries before British TV executive and mother of two, E.L. James, shocked the literary world with the massive success her Fifty Shades trilogy, a fifty-one year old English widower named Samuel Richardson wrote an epistolary novel called Pamela: Or, Virtue Rewarded. Not only did Richardson’s novel become the biggest literary phenomenon of its day, it is also often credited...

On Reading Fast and Slow


Some people count the number of books they read in a year. I only kept track once, in 2006, my final year as an undergraduate in English at the University of Toronto, and did so only out of curiosity. I wanted to know how many works of literature my professors had tried to stuff into my skull, and how many novels I’d managed to sneak in for pleasure. I forget the final count, but it was an...

A Boozy Reader’s Guide to Decadent Duos


It’s that time of year again: you step outside at 5pm and it might as well be midnight. The sky is black and starless, the air is bone-cold, and before you know it, seasonal affective disorder has you held fast in its goblin’s grip. What better way to fend off the dreary winter blahs than to curl up with a book in your lap and a bottle of your favourite beer, wine, or spirit on your night table...

A Book is a Book


The other day at work I had an impassioned conversation with a customer over what characterizes a book – that is to say, a solid, tangible, paperbound object – versus an e-book, that increasingly popular digital commodity that is poised to take over the world of literature, if it has not already done so. One of the things I pointed out about e-books is that they’re not actually ‘books’ at all...

The Sudden Departure of Normal Life: A Review of Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers

The Leftovers

Reviewed in this essay: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. Random House of Canada, 2011. Four years after The Abstinence Teacher, and seven years after the massive success of Little Children, Tom Perrotta is back with The Leftovers, a novel that manages to strike just the right balance between complete absurdity and dozy normality in his depiction of North American suburban life. The Leftovers...

Charms of the Indie Bookstore


  1. Knowledgeable staff People who work at independent book stores tend to be actively involved in book culture. They attend launches and readings, keep up-to-date on book news and reviews, and many also work in publishing. Some of them may even be friends with local authors. They are your fellow readers, and may remember your face, your name, and your purchase history. Best of all, they...