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

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Undermajordomo Minor

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Fiction Preview

[July 6, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Some of these titles are going to be the best books you read all year. 

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Watermelon Gin and Thai Basil Granita

Summer Eats: Watermelon, Gin and Thai Basil Granita

[July 2, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Summer means watermelon and a cold drink of something amazing. This recipe from Chef Adam Hynam-Smith's Curbside: Modern …

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Shelf Talkers: June 2015

Shelf Talkers: June 2015

[June 30, 2015] | By [Rob Wiersema]

This month’s collection of recommendations from independent booksellers across the country is dedicated to the waning …

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Book Cover Barefoot at the Lake

Your Next Great Summer Read

[June 29, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Summer reads can mean a lot of things, which is a good thing because we're a lot of different kinds of readers.

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Film Poster The Editor

The Unkindest Cut: The Editor, Crime Wave, and Canadian Film

[June 26, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

New films have turned a crafty treatment of cultural anxiety into a distinguishing trait of Canadian filmmaking. 

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Book Cover Last Chance for Paris

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Summer Reads Most Feral

[June 25, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Ever wonder how a baboon thinks about his fellow baboons? Or how a cat views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Or how a …

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TYPE Books

Bookshop Spotlight: Toronto's TYPE Books

[June 23, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Being named Magazines Canada's Retailer of the Year is only the latest success for this amazing indie bookshop. 

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Books On Disability

Books On Disability

[June 23, 2015] | By [Kiley Turner]

A list of books to consider, whether you're disabled, someone who loves/lives with/teaches a disabled person, or simply …

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Cover I Can't Believe It's Not Better

A Perfect Summer Day with Monica Heisey

[June 16, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Part voyeuristic pleasure, part travel-guide, the Perfect Summer Day Questionnaire connects writers and their books to r …

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Wild Writers

Your 2015 Summer Literary Festival Guide

[June 15, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

The definitive guide to the Canadian litfest scene. 

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Fiction Preview

Book Cover The Heart Goes Last

Fall books are the only truly good thing about summer's end. This year, we can look forward to a fine selection of new fiction by award winners, anticipated titles by CanLit favourites, and some truly promising debuts. So it's time to make lists! Some of these titles are going to be the best books you read all year.

*****

Cathy Ace's sleuth Cait Morgan is back in The Corpse With the Diamond Hand (October), in which a Hawaiian honeymoon cruise turns murderous (of course!). Grand Menteur (October), by Jean Marc Ah-Sen, explores the secret world of Mauritian street-gangs in a style that will appeal to readers of diasporic fiction, adventure, and travelogue writing, and "lock, stock and barrel" British crime fiction. The Book of Sands (September), by Karim Alrawi, is the inaugural winner of the Harpercollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction and a love story set against the upheaval of the Arab spring. And Margaret Atwood's first stand-alone novel in years is The Heart Goes Last (September); it imagines a future world (but one not so far away) in which citizens take turns as prisoners and jailers. 

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Summer Eats: Watermelon, Gin and Thai Basil Granita

Watermelon, Gin and Thai Basil Granita

Photo Credit: Mike McColl

Summer means watermelon and a cold drink of something amazing. This recipe from Chef Adam Hynam-Smith's Curbside: Modern Streetfood from a Vagabond Chef combines both. Get blending. Delicious! 

*****

I recommend using Dillon’s Small Batch Distiller’s Unfiltered Gin 22 for this recipe (available online), as the botanicals in the gin complement the fresh Thai basil and sweet watermelon in the granita without overpowering it with a strong juniper flavour common to some other gins.

 

1 small seedless watermelon, roughly cubed

1 cup (250 mL) Thai basil leaves

1 cup (250 mL) gin

superfine sugar, to taste

In a blender, purée watermelon and basil until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and combine with gin. Add sugar to desired sweetness. Mix well. Place mixture into a large, shallow, glass casserole dish, and place in the freezer. Allow mixture to freeze completely.

To serve, scrape the surface of the frozen mixture with a fork. Serve in a glass on its own, or use as a garnish for cocktails or other desserts. Store the remaining granita mixture in the freezer, covered tightly with plastic wrap.

 

Makes 6 cups (1 .5 L) 

*****

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Shelf Talkers: June 2015

Like most kids, I always looked forward to this time of year with a keen anticipation. I loved going back to school in September, but June brought an incredible rush of joy and elation—for two months, I would be able to read whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted.

I spent the summer months in the hayloft, or in an upstairs bedroom at my grandmother’s house, curled up on the couch or perched in an apple tree, on the front step or in the backyard, but always, always, engrossed in a book. I would stage regular sallies into the library, raid the thrift shop and the second-hand store to feed my voracious literary appetite.

This month’s collection of recommendations from independent booksellers across the country is dedicated to the waning of the school year, and the chance for everyone—whether they have two months off or not—to spend a little time with a new favourite book. There are some great options for you here.

*****

The Bookseller: Carolyn Gillis, King’s Co-op Bookstore (Halifax, NS)

The Pick: Etta and Otto and Russell and James, by Emma Hooper

I read this beautiful novel in one sitting. Etta is 82 and has never seen the ocean. She wakes up one morning and starts walking from Saskatchewan to Halifax. She leaves her husband, Otto, a note on the kitchen table. O …

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Your Next Great Summer Read

Summer reads can mean a lot of things, which is a good thing because we're a lot of different kinds of readers. And we're willing to bet you'll find a book on this eclectic list that's perfect for you.

The only other things you'll need are a hammock and a bit of sunshine. 

*****

Summer on Lovers' Island, by Donna Alward

About the book: Lizzie Howard's life has always been adrenaline-charged. Top of her class at Harvard Med and now a gifted trauma doctor, Lizzie's medical career has always come before rest, relaxation, and especially romance. But when one careless mistake brings her future to a screeching halt, Lizzie's only chance at reviving it is to temporarily take over a friend's practice in Jewell Cove. The sleepy Maine coast, a world away from the bustling emergency room Lizzie knows and loves, leaves her feeling morelost than ever-until she meets widowed doctor Joshua Collins, and her heart starts beating a little bit faster...

Coming home to Jewell Cove was Josh's salvation after his wife died. Looking for peace among the familiar faces of friends and family, he's grateful to work in the town's small medical clinic by day and spend his nights trying to forget everything he's lost. Lizzie's big-city sensibilities are a brash reminder of the world he's pushed awa …

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The Unkindest Cut: The Editor, Crime Wave, and Canadian Film

The Editor Film Poster

Talking History focuses on a wide range of topics in Canadian history, and it consists of articles by Canada's foremost historians and history experts. Our contributors use the power of narrative to bring the past to life and to show how it is not just relevant, but essential to our understanding of Canada and the world today. "Talking History" is a series made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Paul Corupe is a Toronto-based writer and editor, and the creator of Canadian film website Canuxploitation!

*****

At the same time that Winnipeg filmmaking collective Astron-6 premiered their much-hyped horror parody, The Editor, at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, one of the most influential Manitoban filmmakers was also preparing to get his due. Director John Paizs may not be as recognized in Canadian film circles as Atom Egoyan or David Cronenberg, but his debut feature, 1984’s Crime Wave, is one of our nation’s most distinctive cinematic works. Restored for a special festival screening that year, Crime Wave is an endlessly amusing post-modern pastiche that laid the groundwork for not only The Editor, but many of the genre films being produced by emerging Canadian filmmakers 30 years later.

When it comes to …

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