Book Reviews

I must admit it. I liked the Netflix adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House. I watched it twice, then borrowed Shirley Jackson’s novel from the library. I was, at first, sixth in line for the only copy they have, but all things come to those who wait. Especially library books. There were five other people waiting in line when I brought it back. Then I found a copy of the 1963 Robert Wise movie The Haunting in The Beat Goes On, one of Guelph’s used stuff shops. It was a much more faithful and straightforward adaptation of the novel than Netflix provided. I wasRead More →

A Chance to Fight Hitler: a Canadian volunteer in the Spanish Civil War by David Goutor. Between the Lines, Toronto, 2018. Eighty years ago, much of western Europe fell under the yoke of extreme right-wing governments. Hitler was in power in Germany, Salazar ruled Portugal, Mussolini held Italy and Generalissimo Francisco Franco led a military uprising against the newly elected government of Spain. There was democratic opposition in each of those countries, but it was ruthlessly suppressed. Fascism consolidated its grip on power in the face of this popular resistance. In many ways the world has changed since 1937. Still, the more things change, theRead More →

Everyone has a story to tell and people with few physical possessions often have several.  Stephanie Land has written her story into a memoir tracing her journey through the poverty that defines too many single mothers. Like all of them, she navigated the limited choices that can overwhelm them. Unlike many others, Land came through it in one piece. It’s been a tough journey, all about hard work, low pay, and Land’s will to survive with her daughter Mia, a strong little girl who learned to walk in a homeless shelter. On her way through these devastating years, Land took on the most menial work,Read More →