The Library: an Interactive Reading Extravaganza!

I had an idea the other day, as I sat in my living room surrounded by an ocean of books. I keep a list of the books I own for both neurotic purposes and in case there’s a fire, and as I was adding the most recent purchases to the list, I had a sudden thought:

What if I let people decide what I would read?

I have been thinking for a while that I would go through alphabetically and read all the ones that I haven’t read yet, but where’s the fun in that?

I’ve spent the past few hours reorganizing and reformatting my library into genres and whether or not I’ve already read them, and turning that into a .pdf file that’s easily accessible.

There are kids books. There are teen books I took from work and would never really want to read. There are epic classics that would probably make me want to weep. There are beloved tales dear to my heart.

The options are there.

With over 300 books to choose from, this could get real.

And maybe I’ll have friends at work pick books for me, to add to the fun.

It’s an opportunity to influence the life of another person, even a little – and to potentially humiliate them.

Each book I read I’ll do a review for, on the website here – and I’m considering doing a vlog review as well, if the book is a spectacular mess or particularly good.

So here’s your job, Internet:

Review the Library, pick a genre, and once we have a majority vote, we’ll cast another vote for books within the genre.

And I will read that book.

Without complaint.

This has the potential to be a big deal.

Think of it like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story – only you’re really effecting someone’s life.

The Library is here, waiting to be perused and admired.

And yes, Star Wars gets its own genre. Obviously.

So vote as much as you like, and get your friends to vote. Let’s get an overwhelming majority.

And pick something for me to read.


Vicious: a book review



For more than two years, he held Seattle in a terror grip. A cold-blooded killer who abducted young mothers right in front of their sons and murdered them execution style. Then, as suddenly as the killings began, they seemed to stop.


Susan Blanchette is looking forward to a relaxing weekend getaway with her fiance, Allen, and young son, Matthew. But something about the remote lake house doesn’t feel right. A woman vanished from the area a year ago, and now Susan thinks she’s spotted someone lurking around the property. And when Allen disappears, her fear grows…


A psychopath has returned, ready to strike again. Someone who can’t resist the urge to kill, who derives pleasure from others’ pain, and who is drawing nearer to Susan as each minute of the weekend ticks by. But she’s just one pawn at the heart of a killer’s deadly game. A killer who is unrelenting, unstoppable, and absolutely vicious…

Vicious was recommended to me by a close friend who has never really taken a keen interest in reading. When she told me about this amazing murder thriller she was reading, and how she was hooked, I had to read it. Anything that gets her reading is something to be commended. Being that I work in a bookstore, I was familiar with Kevin O’Brien’s name, but I had never read any of his books before.

The story follows that of Susan Blanchette, who is going to Cullen, outside Seattle, to a cabin her fiance Allen has rented for the weekend. On the trip there, she meets a strange man who is too friendly, and a group of shifty teenagers. One by one, their fates are entwined as they become caught up in the web of Seattle’s serial killer Mama’s Boy, who kills young mothers but leaves their sons unharmed.

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419: a book review


From international bestselling writer Will Ferguson, author of Happiness™ and Spanish Fly, comes a novel both epic in its sweep and intimate in its portrayal of human endurance.

A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims. Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help…” Will Ferguson takes readers deep into the labyrinth of lies that is “419”, the world’s most insidious internet scam.

When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold northern city, discovers that her father has died because of one such swindle, she sets out to track down – and corner – her father’s killer. It is a dangerous game she is playing, however, and the stakes are higher than she can ever imagine. Woven into Laura’s journey is a mysterious woman from the African Sahel with scars etched into her skin and a young man who finds himself caught up in a web of violence and deceit.

And running through it, a dying father’s final worlds: “You, I love.”

First of all, 419 was the winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, which is probably the most prestigious literary award in Canada. That alone piqued my interest in reading this, so as soon as it came out in paperback I was all over that like flies to honey – or corpses, because for some reason flies like both.

If you aren’t put off yet, keep reading!

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Fiction and nonfiction: What is acceptable and what isn’t?

WARNING: This may or may not end up as a rant. We’ll see when we get there.

As you all should know by now, I am a novelist. I write fiction stories that are completely made up. A friend of mine, Glynn, writes nonfiction, as she is a certified journalist. This is something that concerns us both.

People know that I write stories, and they tell me that I should become a journalist, because then I could make writing my living. This, while a practical, cookie-cutter thing to say, is really not at all helpful. I am lousy at writing nonfiction, which, you know, is exactly what journalism is. Fiction is my forte, and just because I write doesn’t mean I can write everything.

Glynn, on the other hand, writes nonfiction as a journalist, and people frequently tell her that she should write a book. It’s the same situation as mine, but reversed: she might not be able to do it, because of her writing history.

Glynn and I have a good thing going. I’m constantly seeking out editors to help me comb through my stories to make sure they’re as good as they’re going to be. Glynn, due to the fact that she is a journalist, is more than happy to help me edit for grammar and the like, and not necessarily for the story itself. But here’s the thing: editing for fiction and editing for nonfiction are completely different. Continue reading