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#2011BestBooks

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Our readers choose their favourite books of 2011
The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Paperback Hardcover
tagged : literary

Winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Prix des libraires du Quebec and the Stephen Leacock Medal. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Walter Scott Prize.

Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die: Eli and Charlie Sisters can be counted on for that. Though Eli has never shared his brother’s penchant for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. On the road to Warm’s gold-mining claim outsid …

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Glass Boys

Glass Boys

A novel
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary

With vivid and unflinching prose, Nicole Lundrigan has created a suspenseful and deeply human saga of the persistence of evil and the astonishing power of love.

 

When Roy Trench is killed in a drunken prank gone wrong, his brother Lewis sees blood on the hands of the man responsible: the abusive alcoholic, Eli Fagan. Though the courts rule the death an accident, the event opens a seam of hate between the two families of Knife's Point, Newfoundland.

 

Desperate to smother the painful past with love, …

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Hark! A Vagrant

Hark! A Vagrant

edition:Hardcover
tagged : literary

FEATURED ON MORE THAN TWENTY BEST-OF LISTS, INCLUDING TIME, AMAZON, E! AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

Hark! A Vagrantis an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens ofNew Yorker cartoonist and comics sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscathed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world's revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction.
She …

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The Many Revenges of Kip Flynn

The Many Revenges of Kip Flynn

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary

It all started with a black rose and a rich young man. And a house with a creek running through it. And then there she was, Kip Flynn, standing beside her dead boyfriend and agreeing to take a large sum of money from the young man's father to keep quiet. As if she could have done anything else, she was so scared and grief-stricken and maybe pregnant.

But that's not the end of it. You see, there's some kind of connection between Kip and this richdeveloper's son that keeps them tight in one another …

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Autobiography of Childhood

Autobiography of Childhood

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : family life

A finalist for the 36th annual Amazon.ca First Novel Award!

The Combals are not unacquainted with death: they have never quite recovered from the loss of one of them in childhood. And now, on Valentine's Day, they are losing another.GÇ¿

 

Guddy races to see her sister, Jerry and Bjarne avoid the phone and its news, Jean finds himself on a beach, and Annie fends off her mother's persistent questions about what's happening. And Therese tries to forgive them all before it's too late.GÇ¿

 

As each …

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Don't Be Afraid

Don't Be Afraid

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged :

Hayward's darkly comic novel of adolescent anxiety reveals an unforgettable family caught in a state of mourning.

Meet Jim Morrison--not the lead singer of the Doors who died a rock 'n' roll death in 1971, but a chubby seventeen-year-old living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who was born days after the singer's death. Jim, or Jimmy, as most people call him, has been living a largely invisible life, overshadowed by his older brother, Mike, popular and charismatic, and his father, Fort, a stern and un …

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Excerpt

JAMES FORTITUDE MORRISON
 
 
My full name is James Fortitude Morrison, but nobody calls me that. Instead, I’m Jimmy or Jim. And so this is what I tell people: ”I’m Jim Morrison of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.“ It’s a sort of joke, like saying I’m no one at all.
 
I tell people that because the other Jim Morrison—the one everyone’s heard of, the legendary lead singer of the Doors—was found dead in a hotel bathtub three days before I was born, on July 3rd, 1971. If news of his death wasn’t on the front page of every newspaper, it was close. It was on the radio everywhere, for sure. There was even one radio station in Tampa, Florida, that played ”Light My Fire“ over and over again for seventy-two hours. It wasn’t a planned thing. The disc jockey who happened to be there in the middle of the night when the news came in from Paris put on the song. When it was over, he put it on again. Then a third time, and a fourth. Soon other radio stations were doing the same thing. Three days later—when there was no choice but to accept that Jim Morrison had died and wasn’t coming back—they took it off. Changed the record.
 
Some stations played ”The End,“ which is another Doors song, but most played nothing at all. Just let the silence hang in the dead air. People started crying because it meant he was really gone. One of the nurses at the hospital when I was born told my mother James Morrison was the most beautiful name she had ever heard. ”You can call him Jim,“ she told my mother, and burst into tears. She was a Doors fan, probably.
 
I throw in the Ohio part because that’s what you do when you’re from Ohio. Watch the next time you see a kid from Ohio on TV. He’ll come out with it. Like there’d be some confusion. Like anyone cares. He’ll also maybe say USA, but that’s understandable. It’s one thing to come from a country that’s basically conquered the world; it’s another to come from some nowhere place in the middle of that country. If you’re from Ohio, you know the last thing you expect to see on TV is someone from Ohio. Except Paul Newman or Bob Hope. Or Steven Spielberg. Most of the time though, ordinary Ohio people have no business being on television and everyone from Ohio knows it.
 
Three days after the library exploded I was on television myself. Asking people if they’d seen my dead brother, Mike, if they knew where he was—that’s what I was supposed to say, anyway. There was a big cue card in front of me that had the whole thing written out in thick black letters. I found out later that it was already too late. But that was later. Right then I was supposed to be talking to Mike, too, telling him that if he was out there watching, he should just come home, to not be afraid, that if he wanted to come back it would be okay.
 
Maybe you saw me that night on television.
 
Maybe you even remember what I look like: seventeen, ordinary eyes and ordinary hair, a little on the heavy side. Not obese exactly, not the kind of kid who has to be airlifted out of his parents’ basement every time he goes to the dentist, but if some guy were to show you a picture of me and my dead brother Mike and say, ”That’s him, the fat brother,“ you’d know exactly which one of us he was talking about.
 
I call Mike my dead brother because he is, and so there won’t be any weirdness later. Otherwise there’d be this awkward moment when you’d have to nod and say how sorry you are, just like you’d have done if you’d been at the funeral home and had to stand there with me in front of Mike’s casket. I’d thank you for being sorry, and maybe you’d say it again, say how really sorry you were, but eventually you’d walk away, leaving me there while you took off somewhere else, anywhere else, relieved it’s not you in the middle of this, that it’s my dead brother in that coffin, not yours.
 
The library blew up all at once: a flaming geyser shooting up into a dark night. First there was a flash, followed by a blossom of flame, and then everything from inside the library—the tables and the chairs, the microfilm rolls of defunct newspapers, the old 16 mm films, the computers, the green carpet in the children’s section, the cassette tapes and the video cassettes, the Devhan Starway books, the old and the new record albums, the framed pictures of Pete Seeger and John F. Kennedy, the typewriters, the card catalogue, the telephones and paper clips, the due date stamps, the unused blank library cards, the staplers, the staples, the overdue notices in their stamped envelopes—all of it shot up into the night air.
 
Three days later the guy at the television station told me: ”First say who you are, then get into the whole missing person thing.“
 
I told him fine, and then he counted down.
 
The cops had given me a picture of my brother to hold up in front of the camera, a blown-up version of his yearbook photo. The weird thing about the photo was that the photographer had altered it, the way they do to take out zits and moles and anything strange. Except that instead of taking out a zit, the guy who touched up the picture took out the dimple in Mike’s chin, airbrushed it smooth, as if it were some kind of defect and not part of his bone structure. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen that picture, but I hadn’t noticed the airbrushing until I stood beside the magnified version of it in the super-bright light of the television studio. It made it seem like I was there to talk about a Mike who had changed in some mysterious way, a version of my brother who’d already crossed over to the other side, or a replicant, like in Blade Runner, some robot who looked a lot like him but who wasn’t him, and who I’d eventually have to kill. And the fact is at the time I sort of did want to kill him. I didn’t know what he was doing or why he was doing it—or why I was in the dark about it. But I said none of that. Instead, I held that photo up and started to talk.
 
”Ohio“ was as far as I got. It aired that night anyway. You can’t hear what I’m saying but you can see my lips moving. ”I’m Jim Morrison,“ I’m telling people, ”from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.“ Then I passed out, fell face first onto the floor of the television studio.

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The Antagonist

The Antagonist

edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback

From bestselling novelist Lynn Coady comes an unforgettable, unflinching story of a life gone wrong.

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I’m a Registered Nurse Not a Whore

I’m a Registered Nurse Not a Whore

and Other Stories
edition:Paperback

The darkly humorous stories in I’m A Registered Nurse Not A Whore take dead aim at how easily our desire to be good is perverted or undermined by a desperate need for love and recognition. Despite a world of fading optimism and advancing catastrophe, plans are formulated, deals drawn, bargains struck, and hope prevails. Beautifully flawed, well-meaning yet easily sidelined, the characters in these eight stories catapult off the rails of ordinary life before raising themselves up — if only fo …

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