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In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb?
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In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb?

By 49thShelf
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tagged: lions, lambs, spring, march
It's March. Let's get the lion over with.
In the Skin of a Lion

In the Skin of a Lion

edition:Paperback
also available: Audiobook (cassette)
tagged : historical

In the Skin of a Lion is a love story and an irresistible mystery set in the turbulent, muscular new world of Toronto in the 20s and 30s. Michael Ondaatje entwines adventure, romance and history, real and invented, enmeshing us in the lives of the immigrants who built the city and those who dreamed it into being: the politically powerful, the anarchists, bridge builders and tunnellers, a vanished millionaire and his mistress, a rescued nun and a thief who leads a charmed life. This is a haunting …

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Excerpt

An April night in 1917. Harris and Pomphrey were on the bridge, in the dark wind. Pomphrey had turned west and was suddenly stilled. His hand reached out to touch Harris on the shoulder, a gesture he had never made before.

-- Look!

Walking on the bridge were five nuns.

Past the Dominion Steel castings wind attacked the body directly. The nuns were walking past the first group of workers at the fire. The bus, Harris thought, must have dropped them off near Castle Frank and the nuns had, with some confusion at that hour, walked the wrong way in the darkness.

They had passed the black car under the trees and talking cheerfully stepped past the barrier into a landscape they did not know existed -- onto a tentative carpet over the piers, among the night labourers. They saw the fire and the men. A few tried to wave them back. There was a mule attached to a wagon. The hiss and jump of machines made the ground under them lurch. A smell of creosote. One man was washing his face in a barrel of water.

The nuns were moving towards a thirty-yard point on the bridge when the wind began to scatter them. They were thrown against the cement mixers and steam shovels, careering from side to side, in danger of going over the edge.

Some of the men grabbed and enclosed them, pulling leather straps over their shoulders, but two were still loose. Harris and Pomphrey at the far end looked on helplessly as one nun was lifted up and flung against the compressors. She stood up shakily and then the wind jerked her sideways, scraping her along the concrete and right off the edge of the bridge. She disappeared into the night by the third abutment, into the long depth of air which held nothing, only sometimes a rivet or a dropped hammer during the day.

Then there was no longer any fear on the bridge. The worst, the incredible had happened. A nun had fallen off the Prince Edward Viaduct before it was even finished. The men covered in wood shavings or granite dust held the women against them. And Commissioner Harris at the far end stared along the mad pathway. This was his first child and it had already become a murderer.

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The Horn of a Lamb

The Horn of a Lamb

edition:Paperback
tagged :

From the author of the internationally acclaimed The African Safari Papers comes a story of a man caught between civic responsibility and sweet revenge.

Meet Fred Pickle. He has a severe brain injury. For the past seven years Fred has lived under the loving guardianship of his uncle Jack on his sheep farm. Fred’s annual creation of a perfect neighbourhood rink is a joyous quasi-religious ritual for him. And his local NHL team means more to him than it would to the average fan; it renews hope a …

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Excerpt

Breeding

one
Two creatures laid claim to a pasture. One, a large white dog, sat in the swaying grass not too far from a plundering brood of hungry geese. The dog, oblivious to the bobbing black necks, kept his steady, attentive eyes on a corral nearby, from which strange but soothing sounds trickled out.

The other creature stood on two legs and remained so still that a few of the geese, unimpressed by what could have been a scarecrow, came much closer than they should have. He had glanced over when the geese arrived but his attention, like the white dog’s, was on something else. His head tilted back, he stared up at the sky, looking to the north, sniffing the air.

It was not cold enough yet for him to need a headband but he wore one anyway. On his right hand was a brilliantly coloured ski glove, on his left a dull-grey woollen mitten.

Suddenly his right arm swung freely until his left hand caught it and pulled it across his chest. His right foot dragged as he limped a few steps and stopped.

His erratic movement created a stir in the brood. The dominant female scampered forward and took flight, her long neck, sturdy as a steel pipe, motionless as her giant wings propelled her forward. The rest quickly followed. The sound of her honking brought many replies and for a moment the sky was filled with their sounds. These became but a distant, haunting echo as the geese slowly dissolved into a single dot on the horizon.

Except for a strong breeze blowing through the blades of grass, everything fell silent. The pasture was left to the large white dog who kept his eyes on the corral and the limping man who kept his on the sky, where a cold front, rolling aggressively south, pushed forward like a thick wall of mud. The battered autumn air escaped skyward, and crowned its retreat with a line of cotton-candy heads.

two
The farm wasn’t much to look at from the gate. There were scattered piles of weather-ravaged equipment, an old tractor, two trucks that started when they wanted, and several raggedy buildings that tilted one way or the other.

A sheep farm was the only type of farm Jack Pickle had considered. Chickens were too noisy (although he kept a few for roasting) and cows were too big. Actually, cows scared the hell out of him. So he had Corriedale sheep. Exactly forty-nine head. He had started with twenty and was working toward a hundred.

Jack’s land stretched across one hundred and sixty acres, sixty-five of which were cultivated. Another forty were claimed by what other farmers called a wildlife section but Jack referred to as the Enchanted Forest. It was here that a large creek gurgled in summer, and trees, shrubs and flowers grew where they wanted.

Jack had two dogs. One herded. One protected.

The herder was black and white and Jack called her Pearl. Jack only needed her when he had to get the sheep out of the pastures and into the corral. But the two were joined at the hip. Wherever Jack went, Pearl followed.

Jack spent three years believing that Pearl was also good at protecting the sheep. Even after losing several chickens he refused to accept it was the result of Pearl’s negligence. Only after he witnessed a coyote nipping at the hamstrings of one of his rams and saw Pearl spinning in a circle and yelping did he figure he’d better get some muscle.

Another farmer returning from a sheep conference told Jack that llamas were the next big thing in livestock protection. They could spot a coyote and chase it off before a lamb had a chance to shake its tail. Jack bought two.

But being a retired cop, Jack knew he couldn’t have too much protection, so he also bought a white, heavy-coated livestock dog. Taillon was solitary. He didn’t come in the house. And he wouldn’t let Jack get closer than five metres before he’d lumber away. Which was quite a compliment because Taillon wouldn’t let strangers get closer than ten.

Taillon ate with the sheep, slept with the sheep, and made his own substantial contributions to the piles of manure. Jack never knew of any confrontations between Taillon and a coyote. But then again, he figured he wouldn’t find enough left of the coyote to be able to tell what it was anyway.

* * * * *
The front door on Jack’s two-bedroom house remained locked to prevent injury. A porch would have nullified the one-metre drop to the ground, but given a choice between tending to his sheep or his house Jack always chose the sheep. As a result, visitors had no choice but to wipe their boots on the welcome mat at the back door.

The sturdy house looked worse than it was on the outside because it hadn’t been moisturised with a paintbruch since Jack had bought it ten years ago. The original white paint looked a paler shade of grey and peeling strips fluttered in the wind.

The kitchen was small, the sink usually piled with dishes and the floor near the stove spotted with dime-sized splatters of grease. Jack cooked all his own meals and, no surprise, his specialty was lamb. Shoulder of lamb. Rack of lamb. Lamb ribs.

A wedge of soft butter always slumped in a bowl on the kitchen table, enticing visitors who liked a stroke of it across their muffins. Rural folks helped themselves to a thick cut but most of the city guests were on a diet or watching their cholesterol.

A simple living room wrapped around the kitchen, providing a long sofa, a reclining chair where Jack took his afternoon naps and a fireplace that waited impatiently at the end of the room. It had not been used since Jack had bought the farm and, instead of chopped wood, was home to everything light enough to be blown by a breeze.

In place of a roaring fire Jack kept the television on with the sound off. He preferred to have it tuned to a sports network because then there was always something moving across the screen.

Jack conducted his financial chores at a desk beside the kitchen. He accomplished these with an assortment of tools: a rust-stained steel desk rescued from a junkyard, a typewriter with a missing “y,” envelopes, a tape dispenser, a dusty stapler and two dented filing cabinets. He called this room his torture chamber.

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The Lion Seeker

The Lion Seeker

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback Hardcover
tagged : literary

A brawny, brilliant debut novel about the epic struggles of an immigrant son in a darkening world.
Johannesburg, South Africa. The Great Depression. In this harsh new country, young Isaac Helger burns with fiery determination— to break out of the inner city, to buy his scarred mother the home she longs for, to find a way to realize her dream of reuniting a family torn apart. But there are terrible, unspoken secrets of the past that will haunt him as he makes his way through a society brutaliz …

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Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged :

Michael Kenyon's Rack of Lamb is a compelling study in voice. Organized loosely around various foods, the book brings together the voices of several women and a young girl, all from the same community but representing various social and cultural groups, subtly but powerfully joined by major social and political events. The power in Kenyon's book, however, lies not only in his uncanny ability to articulate strongly developed characters in one or two brief passages, but also in his ability to evok …

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Lion In The Streets

Lion In The Streets

by Judith Thompson
introduction by Ric Knowles
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Paperback
tagged : canadian

The ghost of a murdered young girl flits through every scene of this dark drama. Lion in the Streets deals with those suffering from inner emotional turmoil. In this ensemble piece, the character of the ghost acts as a poignant reflection of the suffering of the other characters.

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Canadian Living: 150 Essential Beef, Pork and Lamb Recipes

Canadian Living: 150 Essential Beef, Pork and Lamb Recipes

edition:Paperback
tagged : meat

Steaks, burgers, chops, roasts -- these kings of the dinner table are forever in vogue. And with the increased interest in local, heritage and ethically raised animals across North America, this ingredient category continues to be a central feature of menus across the continent.

     Canadian Living is ready to meet the demand for more delicious meat-based recipes with fresh inspiration for your recipe box. In its new book 150 Essential Beef, Pork and Lamb Recipes, Canada's most-trusted cooking …

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Lions Gate

Lions Gate

edition:Hardcover
tagged :

Arching over the entrance to Vancouver’s harbour is a beautiful web of intricately suspended steel. It is at once a gateway, landmark, symbol and emblem of a Western city, poised at the edge of a continent gazing westward over the wide Pacific Ocean, to the East. Day and night, its taut steel strings sing the original hymn to progress, hope and riches first composed in the hearts and minds of its builders. Celebrated in Douglas Coupland’s paean as a “bridge to heaven,” the Lions Gate Bri …

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Humble Men in Company

Humble Men in Company

The Unlikely Friendship of Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
edition:Paperback

The Romantic period, an intellectual revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was an era of literary greats – heroic individualists and artists whose pioneering examples would elevate society and legitimize the individual imagination as a critical authority, freeing us from classical notions of form. It was also an era of great literary friendships: Byron and Shelley, Pope and Swift, Mill and Carlyle – Coleridge and Lamb, to name a few.

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