Audio Books

Audio Books
Women's Bookstore Yard Sale, Saturday 27.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Yard Sale for Women's Bookstore.

Desk lamps?  Huh?

Look closely and you will see three - all for sale at the Women's Bookstore yard sale, 65 S. Court, on Saturday September 27 outside and in, (rain date Sunday 28) from 11 am to 2 pm.

We have piles of CD's, audio books, scarves, dishes, binoculars, canoe yoke, maps, jewellery, etc and etc.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giller Prize Long List 2014

For all the local avid readers who read the entire Giller list, here it is. Lots of good stuff this year.

Miriam Toews at the Sleeping Giant Literary Fetival

The 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlisted books are: 

Heather O'Neill

Monday, September 15, 2014

Writers Coming to Thunder Bay November

Michael Winter

Alison Pick. Michael Winter, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, arriving in Thunder Bay for a blow-out night of readings.

Date and Time: November 6, 7 pm
Place: Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin Street
Box Office - Waverley Library for tickets at 10$ each.

Dear Joan
The 35th edition of the International Festival of Authors hits the road for its annual touring programme,IFOA Ontario, bringing literary events to 12 locations across the province from October 22 to November 7, 2014.

 This year, Canadian and international authors will visit BrantfordBurlington, Creemore, Hamilton, Kitchener, Markham (Young Readers event), Midland, Parry Sound, Port Hope, Thunder BayWindsor and Woodstock.

Now in its eighth year, IFOA Ontario partners with libraries, bookstores, universities and community organizations across Ontario to present the world’s best writers of contemporary literature in readings, interviews, round table discussions and public book signings. IFOA Ontario also brings authors into the classroom for students of all ages with its Young Readers programme.

Visit for a full list of participants, events and biographies.

Barbara Philp, Head, Adult Services, Thunder Bay Library.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Retreats for You, a writer's place.

The Lounge and the huge fire place. Wine not shown.

Not long ago, I am sitting at my lap top and looking out the window at the inhabitants of Sheepwash in Devon, England, as they walk by my window. Not to give the wrong idea, Sheepwash is so tiny a village that a Sheepwashian appears in about intervals of an hour, usually walking a dog. A couple of times during the morning, a car goes by.

I am trying to fix up a manuscript using a list of suggested changes and I am finding this less simple than I first thought. Make one change and that triggers others down the line, in house-of-cards fashion. This is not writing, it is slugging. The calming view from the window helps a lot.

Writing spot with handy water bottle and kettle, a selection of teas. 

I love writers’ retreats. I have stayed at Dairy Hollow Writers’ Colony in Arkansas, a cottage at Holly Beach in North Carolina and a bed and breakfast in the Rockies at Ouray, Colorado. This is a first for the U.K. and one of the best.

Deborah Dooley and husband Bob Cooper have taken a 500-year-old house and turned it into the most welcoming and pleasant place imaginable.  It is a quiet, quaint and writable space.  Add delicious meals, wine, a lovely fire every evening, a mix of interesting people, great conversation all set in a pretty village surrounded by luscious rural English countryside.

The Retreat. Note the thatched roof. 

As at most retreats, I write in the morning and walk in the afternoon and drink wine and talk to the other guests in the evening.  The late August weather was dampish, English, coolish both inside and out. I had my Stanfields, which I always take to England no matter what the season, and Deborah slips a hot water bottle into one’s bed every evening.  How spoiled can you get.

Deborah writes on her web site: “Every writer needs space. A place away from work, chores, family and other distractions.
Deep in the heart of the beautiful North Devon countryside, that space is waiting for you.”

My clothes closet was set in an old (disused) fire place.

You can check out Retreats for You at  Note: Deborah is selling her cookbook, Eats for You, on LuLu. I ordered one post haste.  I ate her great food and now I want to cook it.

Take the footpath.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Neat News

Marion Agnew's essay "Words" (about her mother and Alzheimer's, originally published in Room) has been selected for Best Canadian Essays 2014, published by Tightrope Books (due out in November or so).
Congratulations Marion!!

The Journey Prize
We’re introducing the 13 contributors to The Journey Prize Stories 26 one at a time and in alphabetical order. Say hello to our fifth contributor, Amy Jones, whose story “Wolves, Cigarettes, Gum,” was published by ROOM.
AMY JONES is the author of the short fiction collection What Boys Like, which won the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award and was shortlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award. Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay, where she is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories.
Congratulations to Amy and to everyone at ROOM!

Time capsules are pretty awesome, but a new initiative called the Future Library project is taking them to a whole other level. For the next century, one author per year will contribute a piece that will then be sealed away until 2114. Margaret Atwood is up first. If you’re a fan, you have 100 years to get pumped up.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Straight to the Top of the Bestsellers

Take a quick guess. Which book hit the stores and almost immediately, hit the number one spot on the New York Times best seller list?

Louise Penny's latest of course.  A former resident of  Thunder Bay, and one of the world's top mystery writers, has produced another hit. Congratulations Louise!

Her new book, Long Way Home, brings us many well-loved characters, such as Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Surete du Quebec, and now retired; but, of course, not for long. The inhabitants of the lovely Quebec village of Three Pines, familiar to constant readers, appear as well in all their quirkiness.

Like many mystery novels, a disappearance kick-starts the action. But the crime is only a background to what really interests the readers - the lives of the main characters.  Penny is a master psychologist who always keeps us intrigued. Or as the New York times says in a sparkling review: Ms. Penny's books mix some classic elements of the police procedural with a deep-delving psychology, as well as a sorrowful sense of the precarious nature of human goodness, and the persistence of its opposite, even in rural Edens like Three Pines.'

For more reviews, a list of Louise's previous hits and lots of other info check out Louise's web site at

Friday, September 5, 2014

Calling Contributors and Sellers for our Yard Bazaar!

Wow, what an opportunity  for me to down size  and sell off the piles of DVD's and audio books and knickity knacks . I have been wondering what  to do with the three desk lamps I have somehow acquired.  Students want a printer??? And so on. Want to join in? Read the letter below.

Dear Joan, 
Northern Woman’s Bookstore will hold a Yard Bazaar on Saturday, September 27th (rain date Sunday, Sept. 28).
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Where? In the parking lot of the Northern Woman’s Bookstore, with a few tables inside the store available. 

Bring your own table, suitcase, blanket, clothes rack, etc. to display your wares. Spaces are $10, with a few inside tables available for $20. The cost goes to helping the NWB. We are planning to replace the flooring in the store. After paying for your spot, the proceeds of what you sell are yours.

What to Sell? Second-hand goods, crafts, art, vintage, baking, plants, books, and so on.
If you would like to donate quality used goods for the Yard Bazaar with the proceeds going to NWB, please drop them off the morning of the sale before 10:30 a.m. Items not sold will be donated to the Salvation Army.

To reserve your spot, send an email to the Bookstore at or to Taina Chahal at or drop down in person during our store hours. Pay for your spot the morning of the Yard Bazaar. All sellers should have their spot set up by 10:30 a.m. If you have any questions, please contact Taina.

Northern Woman's Bookstore
65 South Court Street
Thunder Bay, Ontario  P7B 2X2
Phone (807) 344-7979
Store hours: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 11 am - 4 pm

Visit us online!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Marina Writers Read at the Spirit Garden

Meet local writers Jane Crossman, Donna Faye, Marianne Jones and Jean E. Pendziwol, whose works of poetry and prose are featured at the waterfront on steel signs and granite benches. 

Find out why those selections are meaningful to them, and learn what new projects they have on the go! Hear their stories as you enjoy refreshments, take part in Q & A, and don't forget to buy a signed copy of their books. 

Also for sale that day: The City and the Spirit Garden, a full colour coffee table book about the waterfront redevelopment at Prince Arthur's Landing.

At Marina Park's Spirit Garden, September 28 from 1 - 2 pm. 

Jane Crossman, reading at the Spirit Garden

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Visiting Dickens in Bloomsbury

Dickens and his wife Catherine lived in this house on 42 Doughty Street in the Bloomsbury area of London. Inside, the place has been fitted up to 1837 standards and includes a tea room and gift shop.

I did a lot of thinking about Charles as I toured the four  floors. His big writing desk with its slanted top (alas no photos were allowed), reminded me that even though D. had 10 children, it was the wife and servants' job to make sure nothing interfered with his writing routine which took place between breakfast and lunch, every working day. No distractions of any kind were allowed. After lunch he spent time at his club or went for a long walk.  He also had many charitable and theatrical projects on hand as well as people to meet etc.  He often invited his pals home for dinner. Patriarchy creates the writer.

I learned that Dickens was instrumental is getting the concept of international copywriter drilled into the fuzzy brains of the legislators. He describes their views in his novel, Nickolas Nickelby. A member of parliament tells Nickolas: "if any preposterous bills were brought forward giving grubby devils of authors a right to their own property,  I should like to say, that I for one could never consent....the creations of the pocket, being man's, belong to one man, or one family, but that the creation of the brain, being God's, ought, as a matter of course, belong to the people at large...

How wonderful if  Dickens could time travel to the present and take on both Amazon and Google. Or all those who think intellectual property should be free. A Dickensonian curse upon you!

Dickens was a great humanitarian and his books roused the social conscience of the nation. No argument. But at home, Dickens, a loving father, was a not so great husband. For one thing, he blamed Catherine for having too many children!  Eventually they separated, against her wishes. She wasn't up to his exacting household standards perhaps due to her post-natal depression.  Since the law stated that all children belonged to the father, he decided to take all the children except the eldest boy who lived with Catherine.  To make matters worse, her own sister stood by Charles and took her place running the household.  To make matters worser, Catherine loved him to her death, showing that patriarchy also creates the female.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wealth Secrets Hits London

A letter from Producer and writer Ahti Tolvanen

Dear Joan

After almost a year of reverses and anxious planning, we finally did it....took a Thunder Bay originated show to London's West End! "Wealth Secrets" just completed a run of over a week at Soho's Phoenix Artist Club, the famous second stage of the Phoenix Theatre where stage legends like Coward and Olivier once premiered.

It was all part of The Camden Fringe Theatre Festival- London's answer to the Edinburgh Fringe. Many will remember this play which opened in Thunder Bay in 2012 before going on to the Hamilton Fringe and then the Winnipeg Fringe in 2013.

The Music was arranged and performed by our own Erik Johannes Riekko and the script developed by the undersigned in consultation with many local talents including Heather Stowell and Josephine Hamilton. Mike Sobota's and Isaac Kakegamic's staging input was also invaluable.

The play tells the story, of an African immigrant who flees murdering diamond bandits and lands a job in the investment industry in the West. After he reports his discovery of conflict diamonds in his company's holdings to his boss, both become targets of increasingly cruel organizational harrassment.

In words, music and dance the play also addresses the larger "Faustian" theme: can any person be true to their ethical principles in an environment focused on limitless material acquisition?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Literary Letter from Little Moma a.k.a Debbie Metzler

Little Moma 

Hello Joan,
As you already know Book Girl’s Big Read left the LU Radio building this spring.

 I am still sincerely committed to offering radio space to our local writers and I have a new opportunity for authors to chat on air. Little Moma’s Kitchen Party has been airing on Wednesday mornings (9:00 to noon) on LU Radio for over 3 years now and recently the station has asked me to increase my broadcasting by featuring a Monday afternoon edition of Little Moma’s Kitchen Party

Starting on August 11, 2014 I began hosting the afternoon edition of Little Moma’s After Party as well as continuing my Wednesday morning show. Each sow is a separate live broadcast. I no longer broadcast on Tuesday mornings.
I will be interviewing authors, musicians, artists of all genres, art reps, administrators & funders each Monday at approx. 4:30 pm. My Monday afternoon edition of Little Moma’s After Party begins at 2:30 pm and runs until 6:00 pm. I feature an eclectic line-up of folk, blues, light jazz, country, roots, Celtic and swing music. The last hour (5:00 to 6:00) Little Moma’s Got the Blues will feature exclusively blues music. The interviews will be shorter than the Book Girl interviews, running from 15 to 30 minutes in total.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Karl Wendt

books are pleasant things
you can read them if you want to

come grey dawn
so perfect and predictable
so give my tired wanderings
the peacefulness of rest


we fold our hands
and close our faces
but underneath....
just think of summer sands


the sound of your
burns like incense
in my mind

i sat among the pines
in the park
and listened to someone
play music in the dark

a simple time
with apple wine
and daisies
spread upon a lap


A round lake pink in evening's blush
sauna wood smoke hanging in trees:
hazy blue gauze weaving through the boreal forest
Loons calling across the lake.
Waves licking up the sandy shore
Five fuzzy ducks swimming in a row
behind mama.

You and I on the deck
and two mugs of hot tea.

More than enough.


Dancing Roadsides

waltzing daisies, jiving buttercups
tangoing yellow hawkweed
as their orange cousins
beat the drums of summer

Aspen leaves
Lessons from granddaughterJane

I've seen them flutter
I've seen them tremble
But now I hear them
gently clapping


Suddenly, there you were
in the middle of our well-trodden
muddy yard, blossoming
like a miniature queen;
four yellow petals
atop unobtrusive leaves
on a slender stalk.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer is a-going on

Annie Proulx

Patio or camp, Kobo or print, summer reading goes on. I remember a canoe trip where Robert Service was read aloud and the old chestnuts came alive in the firelight. “Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew…” and we listened as if we were kids again, hearing it for the first time.

Long drives require audio books. I am off on the 500k to Winnipeg and have two choices, The Brothers Karamazov or Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien.  Without hesitation, I pick Edna, first because Dostoevsky should be saved for a Canadian winter trip through endless snow and second because short stories are great for travel. They give you a dose of fiction between stops for food, scenery, chat or that mid-afternoon silence when you hunch over the wheel, thinking you might never get there.

Edna writes about the human heart, about love and loss and longing and all those emotions that crowd our days. Her language is simple and direct as an arrow. “You have to be lonely to be a writer,” she says and “My interior life is where I live… That’s because I am a writer.”  She often writes in the first person which gives her stories incredible power. You can drive forever across the prairies with Edna O’Brien.

This summer I decided to reread some old favourites. I unearthed an old copy of Huckleberry Finn but alas, unlike Robert Service, Huckleberry did not come alive for me. As most everyone knows, it is written from the point of view of Huck, the garrulous ragamuffin whose down-home, ah-shucks dialect twanged off the page.  I hate to admit it but I was tired of Huck’s voice by page 2. 

So instead I gathered up some of the books of short stories that I will never throw out and read a few from each at random. I started with Alice Munro’s deceptively simple story “Amundson,” from Dear Life. I reread “Cheating at Canasta” by William Trevor and “In the Ravine” by Chekov. But the story that stayed with me, even after all the above-mentioned masterpieces, was Annie Proulx’s, “Family Man,” from her second collection of Wyoming stories titled Fine Just the Way It Is.

In this story, Roy Forkenbrock, an aging former cowboy, now a resident in a seniors’ home, decides to tell his daughter the darkest, most shameful, family secret before he dies. She brings her tape recorder in order to collect his memoirs and with some trepidation he tells her about the life of his beloved father.  But the difference in values between the generations collide and she misses the point completely. The great shame of the past turns to platitudes in the present. The final pages of this story almost stand still, so fraught are they with meaning and missed connections.

The summer will end in novels: The Age of Hope by David Bergan, A Large Harmonium by Sue Sorenson and My New American Life by Francine Prose. The latest Evonovich and…..?