Blog Posts

What's the point of education?

Last week The Globe and Mail ran an opinion piece calling for coding to become a mandatory subject in Canadian schools. I’m sympathetic to the idea, for I agree that computer literacy and an awareness of how the algorithms and programs that increasingly influence our lives is crucial to…

Entrelac is my new favourite thing

I knit entrelac now. Entrelac is cool. You can read the linked Wikipedia article for all the details, but entrelac is basically a knitting technique that involves working a series of rectangles (and triangles) to create a patchwork effect. Instead of knitting across all the stitches on a row, you…

When they speak

I had an excellent class this morning. Previously I blogged about how, in this combined ENG3C/NBE3C Grade 11 English course, we looked at various texts to help students article their identity. We’ve now moved on to looking at the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. We have watched three…

Exploring Self and Identity Through Short Stories

I have two book reviews I really should be writing instead, and some planning to finish, because I’m off tomorrow afternoon to Sudbury (of all places) for a two-day workshop. So of course I’m blogging instead! In the previous session (March to April) at the adult education centre, I taught…

Surprisingly good television these days

Should I be posting a knitting update? Probably. But I wanted to tweet some thoughts about The Magicians, and Orphan Black, and Supergirl, until I realized I should really just expand them into a summary of my thoughts about television shows! So this is a round up…

Algorithms are not the answer

Oh, look! It’s another article about discovery vs rote math! Here we go again…. I thought I had solved this back in 2011 (twice!), but apparently a couple of people in the world didn’t listen, so now here I am, back at it again. It seems like every five…

Currently Reading

Book Reviews

The Orphaned Worlds cover image

It has been almost two years since I read the first book in this series, and nearly a year since I bought books 2 and 3! I’m very glad Michael Cobley includes a brief synopsis of the first book; it helped with my terrible recall. The Orphaned Worlds is probably better than Seeds of Earth in terms of both story and organization. As with the first book, there were elements that made me want to dislike this book, but I just couldn’t. It’s unabashedly fun space opera with AI elements reminiscent…

Before We Visit the Goddess cover image

A moving, sometimes surprising story that examines the fallibility present in all of us as individuals, Before We Visit the Goddess is one of the briefest multi-generational tales I’ve ever tackled. Indeed, initially I was sceptical that Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni could tell three women’s stories in just over 200 pages. Fall On Your Knees , probably my gold standard for multi-generational storytelling, clocks in at twice that length. Yet I had faith in CBD’s writing—I cannot believe it has…

The Story of Cirrus Flux cover image

I had to dive into the children’s section of my library to get this one. I haven’t been in there for ages. There were short people around! And all the shelves are much shorter! Still, it was worth it. The Story of Cirrus Flux is an interesting attempt to set a children’s adventure novel in Georgian Britain. Matthew Skelton’s breadth of imagination makes for some entertaining characters and rambunctious action scenes. Nevertheless, the plotting is underwhelming and frayed at the edges, and I was…

Mogworld

Yahtzee Croshaw

Mogworld cover image

This is one of those rare instances where I feel a book’s cover copy gives away too much about the plot. Other than that, Mogworld is a lot of fun if you’re a fan of MMOs, or D&D-style fantasy adventure games, or spoofs of the fantasy genre in general. Yahtzee Croshaw brings his renowned wit to the world of novels, and while I miss the crudely-drawn stick-like figures against a yellow background, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had here. As with many stories like it, Mogworld’s humour is…

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club, #1) cover image

I love protagonists who screw up. Perfect protagonists are boring! In particular, I love protagonists who acknowledge their flaws and the fact they will make mistakes before they make them. I also love books that talk so explicitly about feminism and position their protagonists as feminists. Am I Normal Yet? is Holly Bourne’s sometimes sad, sometimes funny, always compassionate portrayal of a girl trying to live with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Evie is a flawed protagonist and self…

Men Explain Things To Me (Updated Edition) cover image

The same friend who lent me Decoded asked me if I wanted to borrow Men Explain Things to Me, which is great, because it has been on my list for a while now. When I went over to her house, she handed me the book. A mutual friend who was there and only in town until early the next week then said, “Can you read it really quickly so I can have it?” So I read it all the next day—I know I didn’t have to read it quite that fast, but we were meeting up again the day after that, so it seemed conven…