Tag Archives: Miriam Toews

My year in books

I made it to 76 books in 2018, a mere 74 less than my fourteen-year-old daughter. A few of my favourites…

In the nonfiction category, I loved Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist, by Martina Scholtens. She’s a North Vancouver doctor who worked for ten years in a clinic serving newcomers to Canada. The book was empathetic, poignant, and a window into lives completely different from my own – everything I want from a work of creative nonfiction.

In the world of children’s literature, my two favourites were polar opposites. I loved The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, by Heather T. Smith, which basically rips your heart out, shreds it up a little, and hands it back to you changed forever. And I loved Clara Voyant, by Rachelle Delaney, which is goofy and sweet and leaves you bubbling over with hope for the world.

There were two young adult titles with characters who stuck with me long after I finished the books: The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, by NoNieqa Ramos, and The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo.

I did actually read some grown-up books, too. My ahead-by-a-mile favourite was Miriam Toews’ Women Talking. If you haven’t read it yet, it would make a great book to start 2019.

If you have suggestions for my to-be-read pile, leave me a comment!

Kind words

I went with a few of the Dirty Girls last night to see a Steven Galloway and Miriam Toews reading. Both writers were humble and insightful and quite wickedly funny. I was already looking forward to reading their new books, and now I’m twice as impatient.


My favourite moment of the evening, though, was a comment from the audience. A woman near the front of the room stood and talked about how much she loved Gabriel García Márquez, and how she’d always wanted to visit the Columbian towns where he’d “sprinkled his magic.”

I have to admit that at this point I thought perhaps she was a crazy person who was going to monopolize the question period with unrelated topics, but she continued…

She said that as someone from southern Manitoba, it was touching and inspiring to see Miriam Toews sprinkle familiar towns with that same kind of magic, and she was so grateful to the writer for doing so.


It was such a heartfelt and poignant tribute, especially so because Miriam Toews shows both the light and the dark sides of communities, which can’t always be comfortable for the people who live there.

I think the writer had tears in her eyes.

It was an altogether wonderful evening. Tanya Trafford, thank you for the tickets. I’m sorry you couldn’t get time off work. But there’s a little something on it’s way to you in the mail…

Happy writing and reading, everyone!