Book Club



Mordecai Richler: “I am a compulsive rewriter.”

I first saw this video clip many years ago – I believe I was in junior high at the time.  I knew about Jacob Two-Two of course, but I hadn’t read any of Mordecai Richler’s other works.  I remember being fascinated by the writing room, by his description of the writing life and by the man himself.

I was writing short stories by then, but never dreamed that it could be a career.  Being an author was something someone else did – someone eccentric and brilliant, living in a far-away, exotic land.  (Yes, for the 12-year-old me, Montreal was both far-away and exotic.  Hell, anything beyond the overpass was far-away and exotic.)

Fast-forward thirty years and here I am … writing my first book.  My office is much like Mr. Richler’s – a little smaller and with less paper (doubtless that will change if my daughter ever stops using old chapter drafts for her papier-mâché or latest pastel drawing).  My hair is (sometimes) neater, and I compulsively rewrite every paragraph until it shines.

I used to fret that I was doing this “author thing” wrong … going too slowly, not writing the chapters in sequence, endlessly rewriting … and who knows, maybe I am.  But hey, it worked for Mordecai Richler.


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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