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The Books Behind WORRY

Worry is Jessica Westhead's new novel, a compelling and unsettling story about threats real and imagined—and where one draws the line. Kim Fu calls it "an irresistible novel from its first pages to its devastating end." 

In this recommended reading list, Westhead names titles that informed her work as she conceived and developed her novel. 

*****

In Lands and Forests, a superbly stark and brooding short-story collection by Andrew Forbes, the wilderness is a constant presence. It offers hope to the disillusioned, broken men and women who populate Forbes’ bleak and beautiful stories, and fills them with reverence, peace and awe. But it can just as easily fill them with unease and dread. In Worry, the lake and forest (ha, see what I did there?) is a constant presence as well, offering my characters the promise of a fun, carefree vacation and a welcome break from rules and responsibilities, but also awakening long-dormant grief and fear in Ruth, my main character. Lands and Forests is also adorned with some of the most ravishing cover art (designed by M …

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Laurie Lewis on Memory as Helpful Librarian and Conjuror

Love, and All that Jazz cover

At the end of Laurie Lewis's previous memoir, Little Comrades, it’s 1952 and young Laurie is newly married in New York City. Love, & All That Jazz—both books are published by Porcupine's Quill—picks up shortly thereafter when Laurie meets the brilliant, Manhattan-cool, and dangerously charming musician Gary Lewis. It's the time of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Zoot Sims, and Gary’s life sinks into a sleepless, drug-and-alcohol-fuelled oblivion. Laurie chooses to leave, reporting Gary to the authorities and escaping back to Canada with her child. Love, and All That Jazz continues into the next stage of Laurie's life as a declaration of independence and an exhilarating antidote to defeat.

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Julie Wilson: Hearkening back to your 30 years in book production and design, what makes a book well designed to your hand and eye?

Laurie Lewis: I guess I am still a bit of a book nut, in love (or at least potential love) with the book as a three-dimensional physical object, not simply with the flat surface of each page. I care very much about the typeface—its size, spacing, placement on the page—but I care just as much about the quality of the paper, the kind of binding, the general heft and feel of the book.

JW: Is it the same architecture that makes for a wel …

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