Here’s what I’ve been reading the last month, including a bunch of poetry that I picked up at Old Goat Books in uptown Waterloo (which you should totally check out, by the way).

  • Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For
  • Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita
  • Rienzi Crusz’s Elephant and Ice
  • Junie Desil’s eat salt | gaze at the ocean
  • rob mclennon’s bagne, or Criteria for Heaven
  • rob mclennon’s What’s Left
  • Ayelet Tsabari’s The Best Place on Earth
  • Wayne Clifford’s On Abducting the Cello

I’ve been on a bit of a fiction jag recently. Here’s what I’ve been reading –

  • Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits
  • Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America
  • Willa Cather’s My Antonia
  • Dave Eggers’ How We Are Hungry
  • Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast
  • Jac Jemec’s In the Grip of It
  • Thomas King’s Indians on Vacation
  • Milan Kundera’s Slowness
  • Saphire’s Push
  • George Saunders’ Pastoralia
  • Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne
  • Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions
Kim Davids Mandar is editing of “In | Appropriate”, a collection of essays with Canadian novelists on the subject of writing difference that will be published in the fall by the press that I run, Gordon Hill Press. She and I has a dialogue about the book appear in the most recent issue of The Puritan.
You can find it here –

I know I haven’t posted much by the way of recipes recently, but I experimented my way into this variant of a Monte Cristo sandwich the other day, and I love it, so here it is –

Take whichever bowl is closest to hand and squirt in a healthy amount of Japanese mayo (it probably has an official name, but that’s what we call it around our house, and that’s how we ask for it at the store downtown). Add about two thirds the amount of oil (I’ve used olive and grape, and both worked fine). Add lots of minced garlic (don’t skimp on garlic, ever). Add a bunch of minced fresh parsley. Add salt and pepper. Grate into this mixture a nice strong, hard Swiss cheese (I use Emmentaler), enough that the mixture gets nicely spreadable.

Spread this mixture thickly onto two slices of bread. This is not the time to get health conscious. Thickly. Put some fresh shaved ham between them.

Preheat a skillet. While you wait, crack a couple of eggs into a bowl, and whisk with some milk. Pour the egg mixture into a shallow pan until it’s about the height of your bread. Dip your sandwich into the egg mixture on both sides. It shouldn’t be much trouble, because the cheese mixture holds everything together. Fry it until it’s beautiful and golden on both sides.


I’ve been doing a fair bit of recreational reading recently, what with being socially isolated and all (although with three kids, my wife, my mother-in-law, my homestay student, and my tenants in the basement all cooped up wit me, I sometimes wish my isolation could be a little more complete). As I’ve been reading, I’ve come across a few things that I don’t otherwise have a place for, so here they are –

1. In Adam Mars-Jones’ The Waters of Thirst, he includes the identical paragraph twice, in places that wouldn’t make the repetition obviously or even usefully stylistic. In my edition (Faber and Faber, 1993), the repeated section appears on pages 5 and 63, and it reads so: “Kids these days, with their Gore-Tex grafts and their high-flux machines. Two hours for dialysis! That’s not kidney failure. That’s a holiday.” What a strange bit to repeat if done so intentionally. What an obvious repetition to miss if done so inadvertently. Make of it what you can.

2. In John Berger’s Pig Earth, he includes this paragraph, which is ended by my new favourite phrase in the English language: “In the soup, made with parts of the salted backbone, were carrots, parsnips, leeks, turnips. The loaves were passed round and held against each chest in turn, as a slice was cut off. Then, spoons in hand, we entered the meal.” What a beautiful formulation! – “We entered the meal.” It says something perfect and otherwise indescribable about the shared meal. Amazing.

The Gordon Hill Press Spring 2020 titles are now here!

You can also get all three books in our Spring 2020 Bundle and save yourself a few dollars.