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On Our Radar

Books by Sara Heinonen, Lynn Davies, Monica Kulling, Donald J. Savoie and André Vanasse.

"On Our Radar" is a 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.


Book Cover Dear Leaves I Miss You All

Dear Leaves, I Miss You All by Sara Heinonen 

From Mark Sampson's review at "Free Range Reading": "So it’s nice to read a collection like Sara Heinonen’s Dear Leaves, I Miss You All, which shatters that simple schism and shows us a third way (and a fourth, and a fifth) to hold a book of stories together. That’s not to say there aren’t reoccurring characters in Dear Leaves. There are: they take the form of the delightfully dysfunctional but no less loving couple Barb and Benny, who gently (and humorously) battle one another for dominance in their marriage across several of these tales. But there is a larger emotional arc at work in Dear Leaves, a journey that Heinonen is taking us on to explore one of the chief preoccupations of our post-modern age… That preoccupation, of course, is anxiety.

If this all sounds heady, rest assured that Dear Leaves is also quite light on its feet, and deeply, deeply funny in places. In fact, I don’t recall the last time a short story collection won the Stephen Leacock Medal, but here’s hoping Heinonen’s publisher puts this book into contention for it. Readers will find much to love, and much to root for, in this hilariously unsettling debut." 


How the Gods Pour Tea

How the Gods Pour Tea by Lynn Davies

From Vicki Ziegler's review at "Bookgaga": "You know how with a really great, involving, engaging work of fiction, you can feel like you don’t want the book to end because you’ll miss the stories, the characters, that narrator’s voice in your head? I’m not sure that is often said of poetry collections … but I know I didn’t want this poetry collection to end. Davies’ voice throughout is warm, accessible, wise, observant and whimsical in a charmingly earnest way. Whether a poem’s subject matter is grounded in the real world or takes off in otherworldly flights (or just hops) of fancy, you trust completely where Davies is going to take you."


Tweedles Go Electric

The Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling

From a starred Kirkus Review: "Unimpressed by the dust, noise and smoke of gas-and steam-driven automobiles, Papa Tweedle opts for a newfangled electric surrey, in green, as his family’s first car. Tootling around town, the Tweedles respond to the sneers of passing motorists with happy shouts: 'We’re electric!' 'We’re green!' 'We’re smart!'… [M]odern readers will have no trouble at all making the connection with this century’s version of the issue… A fine joke, well-delivered, and as clever as it is timely." 



Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher: How the Government Decides and Why by Donald J. Savoie (which was just shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing)

From Alex Good's review at Quill & Quire: "For the last 30 years, politicians throughout the Anglo-American world have inveighed against big government in the name of greater efficiency, while governments have simultaneously become bloated and less efficient. In an attempt to shed light on a subject often kept deliberately obscure, Donald J. Savoie, Canada Research Chair in public administration and governance at the Université de Moncton, gives us a timely and informative primer on how our political bureaucracy works, and offers explanations for how government makes decisions and allocates funds."


Book Cover Millions for a Song

Millions for a Song by André Vanasse, translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou: 

From the review at CM Magazine by Jenice Batiforra: "Millions for a Song is Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou's translation of André Vanasse's Des Millions pour une chanson, which was originally shortlisted for the Governor-General's Literary Award in Children's Literature in 1988. Millions for a Song tells the tale of Nexxtep, a young francophone band that finds early success only to be duped by a shady manager who steals their first album… 

[The novel is] a good introduction for teens to the concept of copyright and its practical use. Given that music today no longer has a physical manifestation and is easily transmitted and replicated, teens should be aware of the issues with piracy, the value of content and authorship, copyright reform and violations. Moreover, although Vanasse only touches on the topic of language politics briefly in the initial pages of the novel, it provides teens with a glimpse of francophone culture and the complexity inherent in residing on a French island within an anglophone sea.

The brevity of the novel and its easy-to-read format would be recommended for reluctant readers. Its content may appeal to musically inclined teens."

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