On Our Radar

"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 Wild Rose

Wild Rose, by Sharon Butala 

Reviewed by Catherine Ford in the The Calgary Herald: "There is only one word appropriate for Sharon Butala’s latest book: Beautiful. Wild Rose is simply beautiful.

No words of mine can do it justice because reading Wild Rose is a lock on your heart, a catch in your throat and best of all, a glimpse into the lives of our great-grandparents and every other immigrant to a wild and unforgiving land. The CPR may have “opened” the West, but it was those people who came to the end of the line, or close to it, who took the promise of a new life and land and left everything and everybody they knew to be pioneers."

**

Do You Think This is Strange?, by Aaron Drake Cully

Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly: "In Cully Drake's outstanding debut, it takes punching the quarterback, getting expelled and being reunited with a long lost friend for 17-year-old Freddy to realize there's a strange lapse in his memory. Communicating and relating to people is an everyday struggle for Freddy who is autistic. A decade after their last autism group therapy session together, Saskia Stiles remains high on Freddy's numbered list of favorite things. Reunited at his new high school, Saskia mutedly forces Freddy to confront the past...The relationship between Saskia and Freddy is everything teen romance readers yearn for, but complex enough for adult readers."

**

All the Gold Hurts My Mouth, by Katherine Leyton

Profiled by rob mclennan at Open Book Ontario[On her experience as the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at the Al & Eurithe Purdy A-Frame and how it helped her complete her manuscript.] "My experience in the A-frame was life-altering. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but I'll explain: I’d never had the opportunity to work on my poetry “full-time” for more than a few weeks at a time. I was in Al’s place for two months. I thought about poetry all day. I was in this gorgeous, historical house and setting. I had access to all of Al’s books. And, most importantly, I was there alone. I’d never had the chance to treat my writing as if it were my number one priority, which it is, but everything else so easily gets in the way at home— especially making a living. Al’s and the funding to go with it allowed me to get deeply into my work without interruption for a significant period of time. If I was making dinner and I had an idea or thought about a poem I’d drop the knife and the onion and go into my writing room and follow that. If I got stuck, I’d go running down the nearby dirt roads that cut through the farm fields or I’d make myself a fire in the backyard or I’d go swimming. I’d come back to my work with a fresh perspective but without having lost the feeling of it too much. 

Being at Al’s allowed me to explore writing about the rural, and more specifically, writing about the issues that have always compelled my work in a rural setting, or through a rural lens."

**

The White Cat and the Monk, by Jo-Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith

Reviewed by Cara Smusiak in Quill & Quire: "If ever there was a book that could calm a child and draw her into meditative contemplation (perhaps right before bed?), The White Cat and the Monk is it.

Guelph, Ontario–based author Jo Ellen Bogart puts her spin on the 9th-century Old Irish poem “Pangur Bán,” which is attributed to an unknown monk. As in the famous poem that inspired it, Bogart’s story explores the similarities between a monk seeking knowledge in a manuscript and his companion, a white cat he calls Pangur, seeking its prey—specifically, a mouse in the wall.

The simple, sparse text and gentle rhythm of the prose exude a sense of peacefulness that mimics the monk’s quiet, diligent work. Even Pangur sits silently, studying a hole in the baseboard, waiting with patient intensity for the mouse to emerge."

**

Faerie, by Eisha Marjara

"How I Wrote Faerie", at CBC BooksI" draw from my own experience in this novel. I was hospitalized for anorexia myself at 17, and I followed up with a psychiatrist at the hospital, like Lila does. So that part of the story is familiar to me. That world is something that I remember. Anorexia has been considered a white girl disease, and I often wondered how I fit into that as a South Asian woman. 

Anorexia and body image is a theme that I've addressed in my film work. I just seem to mine it and come at it from different ways. My film The Incredible Shrinking Woman looks at anorexia from a cultural perspective. I also made an NFB film called Desperately Seeking Helen that talks about race and how that contributes to anorexia. Faerie is a lot more direct, in that you are really witnessing a girl going through the worst part of the illness."

February 25, 2016
Books mentioned in this post
Wild Rose

Wild Rose

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
More Info
Do You Think This Is Strange?

Do You Think This Is Strange?

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary
More Info
The White Cat and the Monk

The White Cat and the Monk

A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán”
by Jo Ellen Bogart
illustrated by Sydney Smith
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
More Info
Faerie

Faerie

edition:Paperback
More Info
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