"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.
Crow, by Amy Spurway
Profiled by Erin Pottie at the Cape Breton Post
“I freaked out because all of a sudden my own mortality just kind of clubbed me over the head and I thought I might not live forever,” [Spurway] said.
“I have to figure out a way to make peace with that and deal with that. And I knew I had to do it in writing. And I knew fiction was how I had to do it.”
Through, Not Around: Stories of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss, edited by Allison McDonald Ace; Ariel Ng Bourbonnais & Caroline Starr
Essay "Why I Don't Call My Child a Miracle," by Teri Vlassopoulos, excerpted at Catapult
It’s difficult deciding where to begin and then draw the line with fertility treatments. At the beginning, you tell yourself, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. You imagine your life without a baby and all the traveling you and your husband will do together, how many books you’ll write. But as roadblocks litter your path, you hedge your initial position: If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, sure, but why not try this first before giving up? And . . . this. And this, too.
You get accustomed to treatments, acclimatize yourself step by step. You grapple with questions of how comfortable you are with what you’re getting yourself into. While you wouldn’t balk at medical interventions to save a life, it’s another thing to rely on them to create a new one.
Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy, by Paul Vermeersch
Reviewed by Brent Raycroft at ARC Poetry
The self defence tips in Self Defence for the Brave and Happy range from the obviously absurd to the useful―from “if you drown, report it” to “Tell yourself that you are beautiful.” But for the most part they are fiercely double-edged, like the book as a whole: “Keep your hands in the air or go for the eyes, depending.”
The Centre of the Universe, by Ria Voros (Young Adult)
Reviewed by Lola at Hit or Miss Books
Nothing is as it seems. So the main focus of this book is the disappearance and the investigation that follows, but Grace does not neglect her best friend Iris, who is dealing with something on her own, and new friend Mylo, whose father vanished a while ago.
I loved the ways in which the other incorporated scientific facts into the storyline, Grace being an aspiring astrophysicist. I’ve never liked sciences, because I find it hard to connect to hard facts—it either exists or it doesn’t, it’s either like this or it isn’t—that leave little to personal interpretation, but I quite enjoyed Grace’s facts. I had no idea some planets could have two or more suns, that’s crazy!
Operatic, by Kyo Maclear and Byron Eggenschwiler (Middle Grade)
Reviewed by Tony Hong at BookDragon:
Eggenschwiler’s art, not unlike the story, is wonderfully unpredictable: sometimes the action remains well-ordered in tightly organized panels, other times, the illustrations cascade off the page, especially when emotions can’t—and shouldn’t—be contained. He shows Charlie being literally swept up by Callas’s voice, as the swirling, flowery flow of her music lifts Charlie above and away from her classroom desk and chair. As Charlie attempts nonchalantly to downplay the overwhelming throes of her first crush, Eggenschwiler adds a riotous explosion of magical textures and shapes bursting from behind Charlie’s sneaker in the wake of the would-be lovers’ stroll à deux. Combining enchanting art, mellifluous music, and just the right words, Maclear and Eggenschwiler provide a marvelous composition guaranteed to resonate.
Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature, by Margriet Ruurs, Illustrated by Robert Bateman
Reviewed by Linda Ludke at Quill and Quire:
Bateman’s conservationist philosophy comes across clearly: “Robert brought animals to life for those who would never get to see them.” His advice to his own grandchildren is offered as a rallying cry for us all: “Pay attention to details of nature.”
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