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New: The Great Gatsby!

So yes, the Gladstone Press edition of The Great Gatsby is now available, and it is gorgeous! I must admit that it was a daunting task to redesign this classic: the original cover by Francis Cugat is so iconic that Fitzgerald altered his text to include a reference to the image of Daisy floating in the air. That’s hard to beat.

Some of you have asked for me to talk a bit about my design choices, so here goes!

For the cover design of my edition, I chose to portray Gatsby’s yellow 1922 Rolls Royce. The original car was very long and boxy – a status symbol, yes, but not really evocative enough for the book. So I created a Deco-tinged version with headlights on, racing through the darkness of the Valley of Ashes.

On the title page you’ll find a great party scene (Dancing Couples no. 2) created by Anne Harriet Fish and first seen on the cover of Vanity Fair in March 1921. I love how flat it is – that two-dimensionality works well to describe the party scenes in the book (and remember parties? Yeah).

And yes, there is a map! (If I can find a way to add a map, I’ll add a map.) When I first read Gatsby, I had a hard time picturing where the book was set, and the proximity of the two Eggs to New York City was very abstract in my head. Hence the map. After all, Fitzgerald may have changed place names, but they were based on real locations.

If you read Gatsby when you were young, you may be like myself: my early impressions were of an achingly tragic romantic novel, full of wealth and sparkle. There was a magic to it all.

Now that I’m older, I can see so many other layers to the book: each character’s likability is now the opposite of how I felt on first read (except Tom – there’s no way I can defend him); the striving and failing to secure the American Dream seems more pronounced, as does the social strata that keeps some from rising above their station; and of course, there is the stark contrast between people who want to remember the past vs. those who would rather forget. Gatsby was published in 1925, and in those readers’ rear-view mirrors were both the First World War and the Spanish Flu. Everyone wanted to forget the last decade and live in the moment (for good reason). Perhaps that’s why Gatsby was initially a flop: it was poking holes in everyone’s fun.

(By the way, The New York Times Book Review ran an essay about four significant modernist novels that all happened to be published in 1925. Two of them are available through my press: Mrs Dalloway and The Great Gatsby.)

Anyway. I can draw parallels between now and then because [waves hands], and it’s fun to say that we’re in the Roaring Twenties again, so perhaps fix yourself a martini (or Manhattan?) and cozy up with the social whirl of West and East Egg.

How to buy: Find it instore

You can buy The Great Gatsby online at and have it shipped to your nearby Chapters or Indigo, or order in through your local indie. Here are a few independent bookstores currently stocking Gatsby:

British Columbia
Black Bond Books/Book Warehouse, Surrey and Vancouver
Bolen Books, Victoria

Pages on Kensington, Calgary

Forster’s Book Garden, Bolton
The Bookshelf, Guelph
Novel Idea, Kingston
Books on Beechwood, Ottawa
Book City (all locations!), Toronto
Biblioasis, Windsor

Brome Lake Books, Knowlton

New Brunswick
Westminster Books, Fredericton

Bookmark, Charlottetown

Or you can order direct

If you can’t find a store near you, you can always order directly here. (Bonus: you will also receive the matching bookmark. Yep, every book I publish comes with its own custom-designed bookmark!)

I offer $5 shipping across Canada and the U.S. (free for any order over $40), and if you are in downtown Toronto (St. Clair to Lakeshore, High Park to the Don River), I will gladly do a next business day contactless delivery for free!

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The Gladstone Name

This past weekend, a Toronto culture and news site posted about William Ewart Gladstone, revealing that in his early years he supported slavery. As a young politician he spoke against emancipation of enslaved people, mainly because his father was one of the largest slaveowners in the British Empire. When emancipation was finally enacted, he helped his father receive £106,769 (about £10.2m in today’s terms) as compensation for the loss of his enslaved labour. And Gladstone inherited that money when his father passed.

I am ashamed to admit I did not know this when I chose the name for my press. Gladstone Press – my publishing venture, that is – does not and never has supported racist ideology or any defence of systemic racism. So the name I chose is, at the very least, problematic.

Why did I pick Gladstone, of all people? Well, simply put: I didn’t. In keeping with the tradition of many publishing firms, I named my venture after the street where I live and work (Gladstone Avenue, and by extension, the surrounding neighbourhoods of Parkdale, Little Portugal, and West Queen West), which in turn was named to honour William Gladstone. So, it’s not a direct relationship, but there is a tie.

I knew my street was named after the Victorian British prime minister, and so before I settled on the name, I read up on his accomplishments – but did not look deeply into his earlier philosophies and biases (which were known to historians but until recently haven’t played a huge role in general discourse). What I’d learned of him back then did not mention his father’s plantations, nor his pro-slavery stance when he was first elected as a member of parliament. (These facts have now been highlighted in many biographies.) About twenty years after he fought to delay emancipation, he had a change of heart, declaring slavery as the ‘foulest crime’ in the history of the UK, and the abolition of slavery as one of the great political issues in which ‘the masses had been right and the classes had been wrong.’ For most of his later political career (he was prime minister on four separate occasions), he championed humanitarian causes and policies, and focused on democratization, social reformation, universal education, and (to a certain extent) decolonization.

There is no redemption for his father (the Demerara Slave Rebellion is one example). But for the son, did his later accomplishments make up for his earlier stance? That is the question. The University of Liverpool is renaming a library, and his descendent is stating that even Gladstone himself would approve of his own statue being removed from near his ancestral home (because he believed in respecting the will of the people).

What does this mean for the press? Had I known, I would have looked for a better business name, no questions asked. Now? I myself have to make a decision regarding the name of my press.

The most that I can say at this point is: I am now aware of his legacy, and am trying to figure out my own next steps.

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#DallowayDay 2020

Today is the third Wednesday in June, also known as Dalloway Day! This is a great opportunity to plunge out your door and explore your own community, and let your mind wander. Perhaps even pick up the flowers yourself?

I’m out and about in Toronto, live posting as I try to recreate 1923 London (or, at very least, follow the path described in the book, hour by hour). You can catch my stroll on Twitter, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories.

And due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Royal Society of Literature in London, UK, is live streaming some of their Dalloway Day programming starting at 6:30pm. You can check in out here.

What a lark!

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When I was finishing up production on my two latest titles (Pride and Prejudice and The Good Soldier), I decided to include a separate colophon (a page describing the production of the book in your hand). And that’s when I saw an error that has been reproduced in every book up to now.

You see, when I published my first title, Wuthering Heights, I was concerned about the page count (it’s a hefty book!), so instead of including a full page colophon, I had added some typeface information on the copyright page. I must have been in full panic (or sleep deprived) trying to pull everything together, because I named the wrong font: every Gladstone Press titles uses Aldus Nova typeface, not Aldus Next (which doesn’t exist) for the reading text. This would have been easily fixable if I HADN’T CONTINUED TO CUT AND PASTE THAT INFO INTO EACH SUBSEQUENT BOOK’S COPYRIGHT PAGE.

So, my apologies. It doesn’t seem like a huge error compared to, say, leaving out a full page of text or forgetting to print the book’s title on the spine (both errors I’ve encountered working with much larger presses), but for me, it’s a big deal.

Gladstone Press is run almost entirely by myself, with some help from friends in the industry who can double-check my spelling and syntax on cover copy, or, in the case of a book which has been entirely mangled over the years, help me with proofreading and comparing editions. I try to keep errors to a bare minimum through their expertise, but I never had anyone fact check my little statement on typefaces. Argh.

On that note: if you own any of my books and would like me to send you a bookplate containing the correct (and full) colophon (including printer and paper quality info), please reach out to me via email at Let me know what title(s) you own, and perhaps also when or where you purchased. With that info I can put together a colophon that matches your book. It’s the least I can do.

As a friend of mine blithely put it, the errors make the book more—not less—collectible. But I’m still going to cringe about this error, at least for a few months . . .

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Finally shipping this week!

Unless there are any new pandemics developments, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford will be shipping this week! Any preorders placed through my website will be out the door the minute they arrive at the office (complete with your complimentary tote bag, because thank you!), and my distributor should be sending out copies to bookstores starting next week.


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Free tote with any preorder

These are strange times indeed, and booksellers as well as publishers are feeling the pinch of (the absolutely necessary) lockdowns to prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming our society. Please, please, please: support your indie bookstore by placing an order with them. Many indies in Canada now have easy online ordering, and many more will fulfill your order over the phone and provide free or cheap delivery, or contactless pickup.

It’s also a strange time to publish any new books. I myself have bumped both my spring titles – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier – to June 2020. In the meantime, during this business slowdown, would you be interested in preordering one or both of these titles? While that means paying now and receiving delivery later, it does help keep the machine running here.

TBR tote bag from Gladstone Press
TBR tote bag from Gladstone Press

To thank you for preordering, I will add a free TBR tote bag to any preorder placed between now and Sunday, May 17 (or while tote quantities last)! One bag per order. I’m also offering $5 flat rate shipping anywhere in Canada and the US.

You can order via these links here: Pride and Prejudice, and The Good Solider.

If you are currently out of work or trying to make ends meet due to closures or reduced income, and feel that you cannot take advantage of this offer, simply reach out to me and we can work something out. We are all in this together.

And, thank you so much. Stay safe!

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The joy of reading Mrs Dalloway during lockdown

Reading during self-isolation and quarantine seems like a no-brainer: there’s plenty of time on your hands, and what better use of your time? In reality, it’s not always easy to find the right book for the, um, mood. Many readers have been turning to books that either reflect some part of their current situation or feed into their fears of the future. Others find solace in reading about the little things: errands, walking around without having to keep 2 metres from each other. Savouring written passages that detail these luxuries is a great way to escape.

In that vein, The New Yorker ran an article this week on the appeal of Mrs Dalloway in these strange times:

At a time when our most ordinary acts—shopping, taking a walk—have come to seem momentous, a matter of life or death, Clarissa’s vision of everyday shopping as a high-stakes adventure resonates in a peculiar way. We are all Mrs. Dalloway now.

You can read the full article here.

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Giving back during social distancing

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances, where my city has all but shut down to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Like you, I’m self-isolating. I also wanted to reach out somehow.

One of the few outdoor activities sanctioned by Toronto Health is to walk (but keep your distance from others!). And there are small community book boxes dotted around a few neighbourhoods I border. So yesterday and today I wandered about placing random copies of my first five titles (Wuthering Heights, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Age of Innocence, Mrs Dalloway, and The Scarlet Letter) into those little libraries. I hope that they find good homes! (One kind neighbour took the time to find my email address to thank me for putting a copy of Hound near their home, which made my day!)

Gladstone Press books inside a community little library in Beaconsfield Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

So if you are walking in the Beaconsfield Village, Dufferin Grove Park, Parkdale, or Roncesvalles neighbourhoods of Toronto, perhaps check out the boxes and see if there’s something there for you. Oh, and be kind: leave a book of your own if you can. It may make someone’s self-isolation period that much more enjoyable.

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On representation

Over the past few weeks there have been some important conversations about representation in the Western canon of literature. To be honest, there is always a reason to question what we consider a ‘classic,’ especially as each work ages into (or out of) our society. And let’s face it, the canon is traditionally very white and very male (whereas the world as a whole is very not), so revisiting earlier choices to see what has been omitted or what should be set free makes sense. (I’m glaring at you, oh ghost of Harold Bloom.)

So, here are two conversations that are definitely worth a look (or listen):

First up: Candy Palmater had never read Gone With the Wind until now.

“I was expecting it to be dated. What I was not expecting was, seven pages in, that the whole notion of slavery was right up in my face. I was in some kind of a dream world. I didn’t realize the depiction of slavery would be so blatant and casual in the book.

Next: this article in The Daily Beast about fans using a pineapple emoji on Twitter to show how much they stan Sanditon is hugely insightful, especially as it relates to colonialism and historical representation. (Full disclosure: I tried watching Sanditon, but it veers too far away from the bright, sharp wit of Austen in favour of dramatic soapy sexy times. I cannot finish it. So no, I’m not peeved about the ending: I’m peeved that I can point to the exact moment in episode 1 where Jane Austen stops and show creator Andrew Davies begins to muck with things. But I digress.)

There are so many great points and perspectives in this article, but this was something I (a white settler with a very northern European background) had not really thought about. Until now, that is.

Austen’s spare physical descriptions of her characters leaves room for interpretation, too. Yasutake’s favorite character is Sense and Sensibility’s Marianne Dashwood, whose skin is described as “very brown” and is often depicted with curly hair. “So in my imagination, I imagine a Marianne who looks more like my sister or my daughter,” Yasutake said.

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New year, new stores

Happy New Year! (This will be the last time I start any message that way. Until next year. I promise.) Over the past few months, the number of stores now stocking Gladstone Press titles has exploded, so I haven’t been able to keep up with it in the News section here. So if you have been checking this section for a store near you, may I suggest trying this Where To Buy page instead?

Some highlights:

The latest stores to stock my titles are in BC. In Sechelt, you can find all of the books at Talewind Books, and Mosaic Books in Kelowna now stocks Gladstone Press. (I loved browsing this store when I visited Kelowna.)

In Toronto, three Book City locations now stock my books. (Shout out to the Beaches location, which is near where my mom grew up.) And the gorgeous U of T Bookstore on their St. George campus has added Gladstone Press titles to their extensive selection of classics. (If you can, go in and gaze at that ceiling. It’s astonishing.)

In Ottawa, Octopus Books and Books on Beechwood stock all titles. Bonus: Books on Beechwood ALSO stocks all three Gladstone Press mugs (including the elusive Wuthering Heights edition).

There are a LOT more stores – just check out the Where to Buy page. If your local bookstore isn’t listed, you can always phone or visit in person, then ask them to order in one of my titles. They will happily ship in the book for you without charging you shipping costs.

Over the next few months I aim to post here about upcoming titles, bits of trivia, and events that may interest you. But for now, I’m in the midst of proofreading my spring titles (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen! The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford!). So, patience, and stay tuned!