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On Our Radar

New books with buzz worth sharing: titles by Jon Chan Simpson, Austin Clarke, Jamie Sharpe, and Monica Kulling and Marie Lafrance.

"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 Chinkstar

Chinkstar, by Jon Chan Simpson

Reviewed by Carleigh Baker in Globe Books:

"Chinkstar is a fresh and totally badass exploration of history, language and cultural truthiness—straight outta Red Deer. Jon Chan Simpson battles the tropes of Chinese-Canadian culture, tongue firmly in cheek. And what better place for an epic battle than Simpson’s central Alberta hometown? Our home defines us, as does our history. But what if the stories our parents and grandparents pass on are coloured by shame? In Chinkstar, Simpson addresses what he sees as an element of victimization in Chinese-Canadian immigrant history. With wit and wisdom, he creates a braided narrative of past and present, with characters who are blazing a trail toward the future."

Read the whole thing here. 


Book Cover Membering

'Membering, by Austin Clarke

Reviewed by Steven W. Beattie in Quill & Quire

"Reading Clarke’s capacious and generous new memoir, one thing that becomes remarkably clear remarkably quickly is how little has changed since the 1960s, when the author moved through downtown Toronto 'in the atmosphere of great physical fear, of the expectation that a policeman might shoot me—bang-bang, you’re dead, dead—of being refused the renting of a basement room, or an apartment in a public building.' When, in 1963, the author went to New York on spec for the CBC, ostensibly to interview James Baldwin, and returned with a 63-minute-long interview with Malcolm X, the broadcast was sufficient to awaken Canadians – and specifically black Canadians—'to the justification of posing the question, "Is Canada as racist as the United States of America?" even if they did not have the guts and the honesty to answer the question, publicly.'"

Read the whole thing here. 


Book Cover Up Up Apologetic

Cut-Up Apologetic, by Jamie Sharpe

Reviewed by rob mclennan, in Arc Poetry Magazine:

"This streak of pessimism does not make Cut-Up Apologetic, overall, a pessimistic collection, but darkness is a means Sharpe uses to explore what possibilities might exist for comprehension, and what that comprehension implies. There are graphs, sketches and photographs included as both illustration and visual poem, all of which works to push a dark view of a possible future (or alternate present) that might allow the entire collection a shade of optimism, including the tiny gem, 'You Prefer Al Purdy.' In the final poem of the collection, 'We, That Respect the Foreigner,' a two-page piece that makes up the entirety of the fifth section, he informs us that 'In another existence we are far away / and have arrived.'" 

Read the whole thing here. 


Book Cover The Twiddles Go Online

The Tweedles Go Online, by Monica Kulling and Marie Lafrance.

Reviewed by Jen Bailey at the National Reading Campaign:

"Kulling’s celebrated nonfiction titles include several inventor biographies. In this picture book series she and Lafrance use the fictional Tweedle family to examine the social impact of inventions. Mama wonders if they will get a disease from the telephone, and Papa is nervous about eavesdropping. The intrusive Drriiing! interruptsfamily Crokinole games and conversations. It even seems that time slips away when they 'go online': Franny unknowingly stays awake well past her bedtime, and Mama talks so long she misses saying goodnight. But there are good things about being connected, too, and readers will quickly note that the balance the Tweedles seek continues to be sought today in our world of smartphones and the Internet."

Read the whole thing here. 

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