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

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book cover footlights

2020 Poetry Delights

By Pearl Pirie

A list by the author of new collection footlights. These books turn and explore, question and listen.

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

By Trevor Corkum

Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Write …

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Book Cover Loss Lake

Launchpad: LOSS LAKE, by Amber Cowie

By Kerry Clare

"Sentence by gorgeous sentence, Cowie reveals an intricately woven, powerful plot, unveiling the depths of the character …

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Hope Matters

25 Reasons to be Hopeful

By Kerry Clare

The following books are infused with hope—that what we do and who we are really matters, that second chances are possi …

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Book Cover Spend It

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Money Money Money

By Julie Booker

Financial literacy is part of the new math curriculum for grades 4-6. But why not start even sooner, as young as kinderg …

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Book Cover You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked.

Launchpad: YOU ARE EATING AN ORANGE. YOU ARE NAKED. by Sheung-King

By Kerry Clare

"This novel ...gives the cold shoulder to the dominant gaze and its demands to control the Asian body, carving out a thr …

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Book Cover The Way Home

Books for University Press Week

By Clare Hitchens

“Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across a m …

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Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

By Robert J. Wiersema

To mark the passing of the year, we’ve gathered the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers fellowship – the st …

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Book Cover Four Umbrellas

Launchpad: FOUR UMBRELLAS, by June Hutton and Tony Wanless

By Kerry Clare

"Our goal from the outset was to write a book in which the person with Alzheimer’s has a place on the page, too."

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Book Cover The Crooked Thing

Stories that Excavate the Underworld

By Mary MacDonald

A recommended reading list by the author of new story collection The Crooked Thing.

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a new monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

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Book Cover The Best Thing About Kindergarten

The Best Thing About Kindergarten by Jennifer Lloyd, Illustrated by Qin Leng

From the blog Perogies & Gyoza:

"I'm sure there are some kindy kids who are apprehensive about their new journey, and for them I would recommend this book about the joys of kindergarten... It might seem odd to recommend a book about finishing kindergarten to kids who are just starting—but all kids of this age can identify with the excitement of the classroom and the love of a good teacher." 

Read the whole review here

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Accusation by Catherine Bush

From the Now Toronto review by Susan G. Cole: 

"You can record, videotape, photograph and do a ton of other things to document a situation. But you can never be sure whether you’ve discovered any actual truths. That’s the theme of Catherine Bush’s deftly rendered tale about a seasoned journalist trying to get to …

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On Our Radar: Rideout, Petrou, Marston, Heiti, and Hughes

"On Our Radar" is a new monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books in all genres with buzz worth sharing. The buzz hails from around the Internet, and beyond ...

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Book Cover Arguments With the Lake

Arguments With the Lake by Tanis Rideout 

From Mark Sampson at Free Range Reading:

"The listless, monolithic hulk of Lake Ontario looms large in this stellar collection of interconnected poems by Tanis Rideout. Arguments with the Lake takes as its basis the lives of two teenage swimmers from the 1950s, Marilyn Bell and Shirley Campbell, the former of which was the first person ever to swim across Lake Ontario. By plunging into the aquatic depths of these two characters’ fictionalized emotional lives, Rideout pulls off a poetic rendering of two historical figures that is as consuming as it is invigorating."

Read the whole review here

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Is This Your First War? by Michael Petrou

Winner of the 2013 Ottawa Book Award for English Non-Fiction. From the jury statement:

"Is This Your First War? is a harrowing journey into the heart of darkness of post-9/11 Afghanistan. In this journalistic coming …

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The Recommend: February 2014 #2

Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we're starting our new series, The Recommend. Every two weeks, we'll reach out to people—readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others—whose taste we respect and ask them to tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This week we're pleased to present the picks of Ali Bryan, author of Roost; Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo; Eliza Robertson, author of the Journey-Prize nominated short story, "My Sister Sang"; Jowita Bydlowska, author of Drunk Mom; and Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls.

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Ali Bryan picks Nicole Dixon’s High-Water Mark: "This short story collection is a quick, sensuous read that will simultaneously stroke your hair and slap you in the face. Dixon’s female characters, much like her writing style, are stripped down, raw, and real. She writes with a refreshing feminist bent and has a knack for capturing the raunchy and intimate with an honesty and grit reminiscent of Lena Dunham’s Girls. I was left with a hot face on more than one occasion, yet her stories are also infused with moments of tenderness, grief, and conflict that are palpa …

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