There's just about a week left until Christmas Eve! So it doesn't count as "last-minute shopping" yet but we're certainly coming down to the final dash. And here's hoping we can help you hook up some of your loved ones with the perfect present (and even the less-loved ones for whom a present is still required).
For the Conspiracy Theorist:
For the guy who thinks that 9/11 was an inside job, and still keeps scrapbooks of news clippings on Igor Gouzenko, may we suggest Mr. Jones, by Margaret Sweatman? If Graham Greene had written a Canadian Cold War novel, it might have been this one, the story of a disillusioned Canadian civil servant during the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, and his encounters with secret agents, spies and dreamers during a time of particularly heightened political tensions. And then there's his relationship with his wife, who has secrets of her own. The plot thickens, indeed, but have we also mentioned that, in addition to the plot, Sweatman's prose is gorgeous?
For the Hipster Hater:
For the pal who loves nothing more than railing against beards, trucker caps, skinny pants, and, yes, brunch line-ups, do them a favour and add The Trouble With Brunch, by Shawn Micallef, to their library. Micallef dissects the habits of the brunch-set to make some uncomfortable, yet profound, conclusions about class in 2014. Even better? The Trouble With Brunch is part of Coach House Books' "Exploded Views" series of small books on big things, which means it's going to fit perfectly into a Christmas stocking.
For the Aspiring Sex Fiend:
The road to great sex never did run smoothly, and in her book, Hot, Wet and Shaking: How I Learned to Talk About Sex, Kaleigh Trace shares her own journey toward becoming someone who is large and in charge of her own sexual pleasure. The book is funny, overwhelming in its generosity, and hugely empowering. It is possible that you don't know a single person who couldn't benefit from this book in her life.
For the New Mom With No Time To Read:
There is nothing else quite like the storm of new motherhood, which Erin Noteboom documents in her extraordinary and nuanced memoir, The Mongoose Diaries: Excerpts from a Mother's First Year. This book came out a while ago, and since its publication, its author has gone on to become an award-winning YA author under another name. It's a quick, engaging and beautiful read, plus babies like the funny face on the cover, and it's designed to conveniently slip inside a diaper bag! Smart.
For the Forward Thinker:
Poet and cultural essayist Wayde Compton turns his hand to fiction with the short story collection, The Outer Harbour, which verges on speculative fiction and whose stories examine the Vancouver of the future through a historian's lens. From a review in the Vancouver Sun: "[Compton] is a writer who can deftly deliver comedy, family tragedy, social dysfunction and social analysis, all without any of the lapses into over-earnest polemic that so often attend fictional attempts to grapple with social issues."
For the Kick-Ass Teen:
Just another story of an ordinary girl who happens to be a kung-fu rockstar heroine on the inside—who wouldn't want to identify? The Wondrous Woo by Carianne Leung was nominated for Toronto Book Award, and in our The Recommend feature in March, Farzana Doctor praised Leung for "deftly blend[ing] magical realism, Kung Fu, and heartbreak in this endearing coming-of-age tale about finding love, family, and one's own extraordinary gifts."
For the Wilderness Trekker:
For that person who's yearning to get the canoe back on the water again, Gillian Wigmore's novella, Grayling, might help tide things over until the ice melts. This story of a journey down BC's Dease River will inspire adventurers armchair and otherwise with its vivid depiction of landscape and a curious encounter with mysterious a stranger. As artful as its beautiful cover image.
For the Spring Yearner and/or Neurotic Environmentalist:
Here's a great book to read beneath a SAD lamp, because a little empathy goes a long way. The characters in Sara Heinonen's Dear Leaves, I Miss You All are also yearning for spring, and perhaps teetering on the edge of the end of the world. But there is some comfort there, and warmth too, even if it's only to be found inside a polar-fleece onesie. Funny and poignant, these stories are quietly profound.
For the Pop Culture Fan:
Part of ECW Press's Pop Classics series, Richard Rosenbaum's Raise Some Shell argues that the continuing success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t mere nostalgia, but rather the result of strong characters, and a franchise that mutated in a way that allowed for survival and thriving in a post-modern world. The perfect book for anybody who takes his 1980s cartoon characters very seriously.
For the Political Junkie:
Daniel Goodwin's first novel, Sons and Fathers, is set in Ottawa against the backdrop of national politics, journalism, and spin, and has been called "a wild, page-turning ride" by author Terry Fallis. In a Q&A with All Lit Up, Goodwin explains, "I wanted to describe what it was like to be a certain kind of man in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. These guys are all very articulate and thoughtful and self-aware up to a point but they’re also clumsy, occasionally self-deluded, and they sometimes do dumb things." They sound...nearly human!
For Those Who Like Their Demons With a Dose of Funny:
Nobody Cries at Bingo, the first novel by comedian and broadcaster Dawn Dumont, was nominated for the Robert Kroetch City of Edmonton Award, and Dumont has returned to the literary scene with her new book, Rose's Run, about a woman determined to prove her fitness (athletic and otherwise) to folks on the Rez by running a marathon. If that weren't challenge enough—Rose is a smoker who hasn't run anywhere in 20 years—her teenage daughter has unintentionally called forth a demon. Richard Van Camp has called the novel, "part Lee Maracle, part Stephen King, part Eden Robinson, and a whole lot of fun…"
Comments herecomments powered by Disqus