This has been a year! While we all have our personal challenges to deal with and the hurdles (sometimes self-placed) to writing and finding time to read, this pandemic has piled on an emotional layer to our every-days that I am sure we can all agree was totally, um, unnecessary!

I have, like many, the usual problems with procrastination: the built-in ‘busyness’ of life; the avoidance causes (housework, sunshine, rain, ‘why are those two squirrels fighting?’); self-doubt, and your basic, yet regularly debilitating, bouts of depression and insomnia.

COVID made things better for some. I am in awe of the tweets and posts I’ve read about people just getting’ shit done! The problem for me is that I can’t say COVID made things worse or better. What it’s highlighted, more than anything, is I have no process. I didn’t have a writing or reading schedule to be interrupted. So, I’m just here. Unable to whine or wheeeee about the alternative life presented to me.

What I do know, and this is why I started Junction Reads in 2014 and why I made it a prose reading series, is that reading makes my writing better.

I was reading the STILL series by Amy Stuart this summer and her prose style and her character Clare’s voice inspired me to change perspectives of the narrative voice. While I’m not sure it will stay this way, I got a few thousand words down that day.

Jess Taylor’s JUST PERVS was a thrilling collection of stories that got me thinking about how inauthentic my writing can sound. Trying too hard is a big problem for me and it feels like Jess just so easily found a way to arouse the senses with each and every one of the stories in this collection.

Then GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER by Bernardine Evaristo punched me in the gut with its structure, personality and its powerful feminine voices.

There are more summer reads, but I don’t want to turn this into a review. I am also terrible at reviewing books. I’ve tried it so many times, and I can never evoke accurately all that a book makes me feel or think, or what you should feel or think when you read it. I also appreciate, even when a book doesn’t work for me, the heart and hard work that went into just finishing it, so honesty would also be a big challenge.

I am now reading all the Giller shortlist. Not because I think awards make books worthier, but because this year, the jury really killed it with the nominations.

But the book I think everyone needs to read right now is Farzana Doctor’s SEVEN. It is a powerful book and I am going to do my very best to review it in my next post. But hold the date for the relaunch of Junction Reads’ 2020 season. Farzana will join us on December 6 at 5:00pm!

We will be streaming on YouTube (hopefully) with a live chat. You can purchase SEVEN now at Another Story Bookshop, TYPE Books, Book City, your favourite indie bookseller, and also at Indigo and Amazon.

Follow us and share some must-reads for 2020-21.

Upcoming authors: Becky Blake, Sharon Kirsch, Brent van Staalduinen, Hannah Brown, Marissa Stapley, Faye Guenther, Aparna Kaji Shah and MORE!!