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On Our Radar

Books with buzz worth sharing. 

"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 and elsewhere. 


Book Cover How to Pick Up a Maid in Statue Square

How to Pick Up a Maid in Statue Square, by Rea Tarvydas

Reviewed by Anne Logan at I've Read This:

I’ve never been, but I picture Hong Kong at night, with lots of flashing lights, billboards, and traffic, similar to the cover of How to Pick Up a Maid in Statue Square. Tarvydas does a wonderful job of evoking these dark images, as many stories take place in bars under strange neon signs. Her characters are mostly expats struggling to find their place in Hong Kong, although she does stray into the life of a Filipino nanny in “Merrilou”, albeit briefly, only a few pages. It’s obvious Tarvydas is mostly comfortable depicting the lives of the transplanted, (especially because she was an expat herself for awhile), so her stories seem believable, even if the characters are extremely wealthy in some cases. But this wealth and glamour is what makes these stories so interesting, I found some of them read like screenplays, in fact “Blank” could be shopped around for movie rights it was so engrossing.

(Read the entire review here.)


Book Cover The Return of History

The Return of History, by Jennifer Welsh

Reviewed by Steven W. Beattie at That Shakespearean Rag:

Welsh is neither an idealist nor a fatalist, preferring instead to contextualize current geopolitical realities in an historical framework and then assess the ways that framework can inform our modern situation. The Return of History, which forms this year’s CBC Massey Lectures, was published prior to the U.S. presidential election in November, but the results of that election and the realignment of political and ideological factions it has engendered in North America and in Europe make the book even more relevant. Welsh has provided a cogent reminder of the importance of paying attention to the lessons of the past, and a primer placing those lessons in a modern context.

(Read the entire review here.) 


Book Cover Talking to the Diaspora

Talking to the Diaspora, by Lee Maracle

Reviewed by Kim Trainor at ARC Poetry:

Maracle’s free verse col­lec­tion, Talk­ing to the Dias­po­ra, func­tions as a tran­scrip­tion and song of a life that has spanned decades of per­son­al expe­ri­ence and polit­i­cal activism. The poems mod­u­late from ele­gy to anger and back again: bones and songs, flutes and drums, are com­mon tropes that run through the poems. There is also dry polit­i­cal irony deliv­ered with cut­ting wit...

(Read the entire review here.)


Book Cover Cure for Wereduck

Cure for Wereduck, by Dave Atkinson

Reviewed by Roseanne Gauthier at the National Reading Campaign:

Cure for Wereduck, Dave Atkinson’s second novel about Kate and her unique family, is a hilarious, touching adventure story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The book’s plot is bursting with exciting hijinks, and the narrator’s shift between Kate’s experiences, tabloid journalist Dirk Bragg’s attempts to prove the existence of werewolves, and angry werewolf Marcus’s quest to find his son, helps to heighten suspense. With the continuing evolution of the relationship between Kate and John, Atkinson perfectly captures the intensity and awkward drama of early teenage life, but it’s duck/weregirl Wacka who completely steals the show with her antics on the train.

(Read the entire review here.)


Book Cover My Beautiful Birds

My Beautiful Birds, by Suzanne Del Rizzo

Reviewed by Gwyneth Evans at Quill & Quire:

Del Rizzo bases her story on an account from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan of a child finding solace in some wild birds there. She wisely focuses on what Sami sees and feels without trying to explain too much of the context, relying instead on her visuals to provide this information. The first images of the sky over his former home, glowing with flames and explosions, give way to the beauty of the desert skyscapes in which Sami sees the colourful plumage of his beloved birds. These skilful and imaginative illustrations—created with Plasticine, polymer clay, and other media—give a sense of dimension, which is enhanced by striking and unusual perspectives. My Beautiful Birds is a lovely, timely book.

(Read the entire review here.) 

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