Heather Allen

Memories open doors in novel

I remember seeing a kitten drown in our swimming pool. But according to my family, it never happened. All of us carry memories of our childhood around with us, but how accurate are they? And does it really matter? Julian Barnes, author of popular Arthur & George, takes on the complex nature of memory in his latest book, The Sense of an Ending.

Three Cups of Tea sparks war of words

Many people have read Greg Mortenson’s hugely popular book Three Cups of Tea. In fact, some may have done so because of my praise for the book when it was published five years ago.

Penticton author makes long journey to Shelter

Three years ago, under the trees in Linden Gardens, Penticton author Frances Greenslade read from her unfinished manuscript. I was captivated. The writing was so clear and precise that months later I could recall exact details of a yellow poplar leaf caught in the truck’s windshield wiper, and a forest outside gently raining dying leaves.

Finding the perfect vacation book

More than any other season, people are particular about the books they read in summer. They may insist the perfect beach read is a new chick lit novel or murder mystery. Others decide their summer project will be to discover something new. I’ve known people who only read about rock climbing and zombies in warm weather.

Okanagan writer explores loss and war

When Melanie Murray found out that her nephew had been killed in Afghanistan, she was, of course, devastated. Why would bright, fortunate new father, Jeff Francis, voluntarily give up his PhD studies to enlist in the armed forces?

Making fun of politics

According to Elections Canada only 61 percent of Canadians cast a ballot in the recent federal election.

Toews returns to roots for new novel

Writing this column, I generally try not to review more than one book by a particular author. Of course, every rule needs an exception and in this case, it’s Manitoba writer Miriam Toews. It may be because seven years ago I launched this column with her book A Complicated Kindness, which had just won a Governor General’s Award. More likely, it’s because she’s an exceptional writer.

Handcrafted books remain desirable

With e-books becoming more popular, some say the end of the printed…

April Fool’s Day makes for a tough novel

Hopefully you haven’t been pranked yet today. Or at least the joke…

Novel opens up ethical questions

Reading Abraham Verghese’s novel Cutting for Stone feels at times like watching a PBS live surgery show. In an Ethiopian operating theatre, twin boys Marion and Shiva are being born. With no other surgeons to be found, the father, Dr. Thomas Stone, is forced to cut the children from their ailing mother.

Around the Okanagan with a book

In Grandma Wears Hiking Boots, Okanagan author Laurie Carter pens a collection of personal journeys around the valley, exploring everything from the best place to hike with kids to best lunch spots and places to brush up on Okanagan history.

Birth House a good read despite sideshow

This winter Canada Reads, the CBC contest that selects the must-read book of the year, took the country by storm. Fans followed it on the radio, live on the web and on Twitter. At any time during the debate as many as 3,000 people from around the world were logging in online comments.

Contest nominee looks at atheletes’ journey

This is a big year for Canada Reads, the national CBC Radio contest which selects the must-read book of the year.

Reading is a family affair

Next week is Family Literacy Day – a time to celebrate the fact that parents are a child’s first teachers.