Book Club



Home from “The Frith”

My brain is tired.  I’ve spent a week discussing such abstract concepts as narrative mode and shifting perspective with some of the most talented writers I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting.  I’m a creature who seeks balance though, so now I’m craving a dose of the concrete routine of my real world.  I was, for example, thrilled to make my daughter’s lunch this morning. But I’m less enthused about scrubbing the kitchen floor this afternoon.

The participants at the Frith provided a true mix of genres and personalities – some poets, some fiction writers, others non-fiction.  Yet one was no less interesting than the next.  By day we met with our writing groups (mine led by Lisa Moore), during the afternoon we had time to write (ok, maybe I napped too) and in the evening we were treated to readings from the participants and faculty.

I got my reading over with on the first night.  While I’ve given countless presentations to senior management, published articles and acted on stage, nothing – not even giving my Grandmother’s eulogy – made me so nervous.  I don’t remember much about it to be honest.  It was kind of an out-of-body experience.  But I know the crowd laughed at the right places, and I remember Lisa Moore smiling up at me with the encouragement and pride of a big sister.  Bless her.

I’m putting “public readings” into the same category as filing my tax return.  Not something I relish, but something that has be done and truth be told, is not really so bad once I get into it.

Everyone is asking me what Lisa, Michael and Don are like (yes, I get to call them by their first names now … tee hee hee).  Let me just say (and this is truly said as a compliment of highest order), they are genuine.  We all know them to be brilliant writers – talent and creativity flows from them (forced out by blood, sweat and tears no doubt).  But they are also kind souls, generous with their time and advice, and encouraging of aspiring/emerging writers.  As an added bonus, they’re also funny!

How lucky we are, as Newfoundland artists, to have them as our Ambassadors.

Now off I go, still “high” from my time at the Frith, to finish my novel.


Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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