Book collecting finds its best start in your passions. If you love something, you’re going to want to learn as much about it as you possibly can. Let’s say for example it’s beer. Everything about it fascinates you – its taste, color, texture, the process by which it’s made, the bottles it comes in, the […]

In 2010 Nigel Beale established Literary Tourist with the intention of helping fellow book-lovers who like to travel, to find interesting literary places and events around the world. The true joy and serendipity of literary tourism can only really be conveyed through illustration. This is the story of how a simple aesthetic appreciation developed into […]

There are two premises to this book of essays: first, crudely put, no-one gives a shit about Canadian novels, and second, they’re no good anyway. Now that I think about it, there’s a third, and it’s the most problematic: the reason Canadian fiction is no good is that a range of spent old volcanoes has […]

First appeared in ARC Poetry Magazine In great poems, chosen words combine in ways which confer unique meaning memorably with resonance and power. The scent they produce infiltrates the mind, like body chemistry. I have good chemistry with this poem. This poem starts with a blow which jolts the reader urgently from peace to panic. […]

A middle-aged executive goes to Prague with his 18 year old daughter to finalize a real estate transaction. Whilst there he takes a “Kafka” walking tour of the old city. He shows up at the allotted time and, to his surprise finds himself alone with a beautiful young guide. They start walking. It feels like […]

First appeared in Three Percent We meet a familiar angst-ridden Russian early in the pages of Jakov Lind’s novel Landscape in Concrete: Dostoevsky’s Underground man surfaces in the guise of Gauthier Bachmann to here tread the desolate earth of the Ardennes during WW ll. No longer confined by inertia to his wretched little room, this […]

The best books, Somerset Maugham once quite rightly insisted, are enjoyable to read. By this measure, Arrival: The Story of CanLit is a virtuoso performance. It’s fun, not at all academic. It’s informative – many of the most important works in the Canadian canon are evaluated (albeit cursorily) – it’s also funny, well written and […]

Oh Grand and Glorious Southern Guru, I am perplexed. What ails thee, my pea-brained little grasshopper? My sleep has been short, my walls have been climbed, my hair has been pulled. I must know the difference between advertising and high art. Oh Great Creator, please give me the answer. Stir no longer, little vacuous one. […]

• What are the non-electronic precursors of book blogging? Short answer: anything that enabled the A) storage and/or B) sharing of ideas. A) Given that I call my site “a commonplace book blog”: “A place to quote, abridge, and commonplace passages of rhetorical, dialectic and factual interest, mix them with comment and reflection, and index […]

First appeared in The Globe and Mail Little ducks and tadpoles render large life lessons in Richard Greene’s Governor-General’s Award-winning book of poetry Boxing the Compass. Ducks because of how, with Beckett, unbothered, “They paddle crazily among remnants Of winter, the mud and the rotted leaves, Casually insisting on what comes next” It’s the same […]

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