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A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

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Books About Amazing Pets

Books About Amazing Pets

[October 22, 2014] | By [Kiley Turner]

For some reason there are more books about dogs than cats. Conspiracy?

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Canadian Spacewalkers

Canadian Spacewalkers: Messing Up Your Mind

[October 21, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

In this excerpt from Canadian Spacewalkers, Bob McDonald shares his own experience with simulated spacewalking, and spea …

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Book Cover Bold Scientists

Bold Scientists: Science, and Wonder and Awe

[October 18, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Nature enslaved no longer elicits wonder. Yet Bacon calls wonder 'the seed of knowledge.' Without seed, what can we expe …

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The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Chats With Carrie Snyder

The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Chats With Carrie Snyder

[October 17, 2014] | By [Sean Cranbury]

Sean Cranbury chats with Carrie Snyder, whose novel, Girl Runner, has just been shortlisted for the 2014 Rogers Trust Fi …

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Book Cover Mr Frank

Great Companions

[October 16, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

We've made some great pairings of recent Canadian books of note, creating ideal cross-genre literary companions. 

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Quick Hits: Timeless Books With Amazing Raves

Quick Hits: Timeless Books With Amazing Raves

[October 15, 2014] | By [Kiley Turner]

In Quick Hits, a new 49th Shelf series, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, el …

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Waiting for the Man

Go Deeper with the Big Books of 2014

[October 13, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Want to know more about the books and authors making waves this season? Just dive in to this great selection from 49th S …

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Book Cover National Dreams

Daniel Francis: History or Myth?

[October 10, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

The struggle for control of the narrative keeps history a contemporary subject.

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Playing With Matches

Suri Rosen on YA and Making the Possible … Possible

[October 9, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

Sometimes we need a different kind of world-building in YA. 

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Adams Illustrated Panorama of History

Talking History Starts Now

[October 8, 2014] | By [Kerry Clare]

History is not just relevant, but essential to our understanding of Canada and the world in 2014. 

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Books About Amazing Pets

tagged : cats, animals, pets

There are two camps of people: pet-lovers and pet-haters. And among pet-lovers, we all know that cats are the superior species.

[Back again. Some tidying up to do after numerous dog-lover tackles. You know who you are.]

For the pet-lovers among us, even you dog people, this post is for you. It's filled with books about the incredible bonds we can have with animals, and about the myriad ways dogs, horses, and on admittedly rare occasions, cats, can heal us and make us better people.

*****

The Dog and I, by Roy MacGregor: From Canada’s beloved award-winning journalist and bestselling author comes a collection of essays, new and previously published, on man’s best friend. In the course of 20 years of column writing about everything from politics to hockey and everything in between, Roy MacGregor has learned firsthand that the columns with the greatest reader impact have been those about the family dog. Roy has collected these columns and written many more on everything from puppy love to the sorrow of losing a pet, as experienced by Roy and the dogs he’s known and loved.

 

ridinghome
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Canadian Spacewalkers: Messing Up Your Mind

Book Cover Canadian Spacewalkers

Throughout National Science and Technology Week (October 17–26), we're celebrating new Canadian books on science and technology. Today's pick is Canadian Spacewalkers, in which celebrated science journalist Bob McDonald compiles perspectives of the three Canadians who have walked in space (astronauts Chris Hadfield, Steve MacLean, and Dave Williams). The book includes an extensive interview transcription—a one-on-one with spacewalkers who tell tales of training underwater in the world's largest swimming pool; recount how they learned to use power tools in zero gravity while wearing bulky gloves; and describe the moment when they opened the hatch and stepped outside.

In this excerpt, McDonald shares his own experience with simulated spacewalking, and speaks with Steven MacLean about the feeling of being head over heels. 

*****

One of the great joys of being a science journalist is getting to play with big toys. Over the years I’ve managed to get myself into many different types of torture devices—I mean training equipment—used on pilots and astronauts. Often a simple phone call asking if I can do a story on the subject gives me a ride in an aerobatic airplane, a zero-g flight or a chance to experience a wide assortment of very clever machinery designed to sim …

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Bold Scientists: Science, and Wonder and Awe

Book Cover Bold Scientists

Throughout National Science and Technology Week (October 17–26), we're celebrating new Canadian books on science and technology. Today, we bring you a chapter from Bold Scientists: Dispatches From the Battle for Honest Science, by Michael Riordon. In his book, Riordon asks deep questions of bold scientists who defy the status quo including:

  • An Indigenous biologist who integrates traditional knowledge and a trickster’s wit;
  • An engineering professor who exposes the myths and dangers of fracking;
  • A forensic geneticist who traces children stolen by the military in El Salvador;
  • A sociologist who investigates the lure and threat of mass surveillance;
  • A radical psychologist who confronts psychiatry’s dangerous power;
  • A young marine biologist who risks her career to defend science and democracy.

In this short chapter, Riordon poses the paradox of science: "Nature enslaved no longer elicits wonder. Yet Bacon calls wonder 'the seed of knowledge.' Without seed, what can we expect to grow?" 

*****

Human responses to a spider’s web: 

  1. Awe.
  2. Eeew, call the exterminator!
  3. Make metaphors: “O, what a tangled web we weave, / When  first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, 1808)
  4. Make sense: “Given the presumed metabolic effort required by …
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The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Chats With Carrie Snyder

BOTR_MARCH_2014_SQUARE

Welcome to The Interruption, a 49th Shelf–Books on the Radio collaboration in which I interview Canadian writers about the surprising things that inform, inspire, and even interrupt their creative process.

The Interruption is generously sponsored by The UBC Creative Writing Program, celebrating 50 years of excellence in creative writing. Programs include undergraduate minor and major degrees, Masters of Fine Arts in Vancouver or by distance education from anywhere in the world! For more information visit creativewriting.ubc.ca.

Today, I chat with Carrie Snyder, whose novel, Girl Runner, has just been shortlisted for the 2014 Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Carrie discusses the true story fuelling her book: the 1929 Olympics in which elite Canadian women runners were allowed to compete in the 800-metre race—as well as the subsequent historical forces squeezing women athletes out of competition. Carrie also talks about the weirdness accompanying the wonderfulness of being nominated for a major lit award.

In the second podcast, Carrie reads from Girl Runner. …

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Great Companions

As fascinating as books themselves (and oh, are books ever fascinating) are the connections between books, the curious ways in which books inform and echo each other, creating strange synergies completely outside of their authors' purview. In celebration of these connections, we've made great pairings of recent Canadian books of note, creating ideal cross-genre literary companions. 

Running Girls

Girl Runner, by Carrie Snyder, and Older, Faster, Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer, by Margaret Webb

Book Cover Girl Runner

As one reads Carrie Snyder's new novel, Girl Runner, her protagonist's feet kicking up dust through the decades, the reader gets the sense that Aganetha would have made an excellent interview subject for Older, Faster, Stronger, Margaret Webb's new non-fiction book about women runners competing long into their later years.

About Girl RunnerGirl Runner is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but who now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.

When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her chil …

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