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The Right Now List

By kileyturner
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When we asked 49th Shelf fans on Twitter what Canadian books they're reading right now, the response was fast and furious. And eclectic. And inspiring. Yay for Canadian writers—and readers!
Until the Night

Until the Night

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
tagged :

It's not unusual for John Cardinal to be hauled out of a warm bed on a cold night in Algonquin Bay to investigate a murder. And at first this dead body, sprawled in the parking lot of Motel 17, looks pretty run of the mill: the corpse has a big bootprint on his neck, and the likely suspect is his lover's outraged husband. But the lover has gone missing. And then Delorme, following a hunch, locates another missing woman, a senator's wife from Ottawa, frozen in the ruins of an abandoned hotel way …

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Above All Things

Above All Things

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback Hardcover

The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air in this breathtaking novel of love and obsession, which tells the story of George Mallory’s legendary attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest – and of the remarkable woman he left behind to await news of his fate.
 
A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly between the epic story of Mallory’s final expedition and a moving account of a day in the life of his wife, Ruth. Through George’ …

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Penguin Book of Contemporary Canadian Women's Short Stories

Penguin Book of Contemporary Canadian Women's Short Stories

edited by Lisa Moore
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover

Master short story writer and novelist Lisa Moore brings her talents to The Penguin Book of Contemporary Canadian Women's Short Stories, spanning the last two decades of the twentieth century to the present. An enthralling and irresistible collection of twenty-two established writers and talented new voices who attest to the richness and continued popularity of the short story. The authors featured include Margaret Atwood, Bonnie Burnard, Mavis Gallant, Alice Munro, and Carol Shields, among othe …

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Excerpt

Reducing your risk of breast cancer

“There are only two types of women today: women who have breast cancer and women who are afraid they are going to get breast cancer.”

13

The thought of breast cancer probably scares women more than the spectre of any other type of cancer. With menopause the fear often becomes magnified. Most of us know that the risk of developing cancer increases with age, and we are also concerned about hormone replacement therapy and its possible effect on our breasts. As with any other disease, some things encourage cancer and other things discourage it, and our knowledge of factors influencing cancer in general, and breast cancer in particular, is growing steadily. I hope that after you read this chapter you will feel ready to take a proactive approach to reducing your cancer risk. As you will see, there is plenty of action you can take.

Breast cancer statistics

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among Canadian women. The Canadian Cancer Society estimated that 22,300 new cases of breast cancer would develop in 2007, representing 30 percent of all cancers. Breast cancer deaths in Canada in 2007 were estimated at 5300, accounting for 17 percent of all cancer deaths in the country (lung cancer tops the list, followed by breast, then colon, cancer). Sadly, 102 Canadian women die every week from breast cancer. But the good news is that the death rate from breast cancer has decreased in all age groups since the mid-1990s. This is largely because more and more women are having mammograms, allowing for earlier detection (more on mammograms later in this chapter).

Most women want to know what their risk of developing this disease is, and what they can do to prevent it. The following table shows you the risk of developing breast cancer by a certain age.

LIFETIME BREAST CANCER RISK

Age Risk

25 years      less than 1 in 1000

50 years      1 in 63

75 years      1 in 15

90 years      1 in 9

 

These numbers mean that by the age of 50, 1 in every 63 women (1.5 percent) will get breast cancer. By the age of 90, 1 in every 9 women will get the disease (11 percent). As you read these numbers, keep in mind that statistical risks can't be applied to you reducing your risk of breast cancer as an individual. They represent the average risk of the entire population of Canadian women. If you have certain risk factors for breast cancer, such as a family history of breast cancer or a poor diet, these numbers underestimate your risk. Conversely, if you have no risk factors at all for the disease, the numbers overestimate your chances of getting breast cancer.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what factors can increase your odds of getting breast cancer. But before we get to that, I want take you through a short pathology (the study of diseases) course. If you understand the cancer process, it might help ease your worry that cancer is an inevitable disease.

Cancer 101

Simply put, cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow out of control. When enough of these cells accumulate, a tumour forms. If the cancer cells are able to break away from the tumour, they can circulate throughout the body and take up residence in another organ, a process called metastasis. But let's go back to the earliest steps in cancer development.

Cancer begins at the cellular level. When we are healthy, our body cells divide every day in order to repair damaged tissues, replace old cells, and grow new tissue. Normal cell growth and division is regulated by internal controls. For instance, if you cut yourself, your body will release messenger chemicals to tell cells in the wounded area to quickly divide and make new cells. Certain receptors on your cells receive the messenger chemicals and then trigger specific enzymes to speed up cellular division. When your wound has healed, the delivery of these messenger chemicals is shut off and cellular life returns to normal. Besides the types of controls that take care of healing, healthy cells are also programmed to die at a certain age so that cellular death will be in balance with new cell growth. But sometimes the process can go awry. Cells don’t stop dividing even though your body tells them to. They take on a life of their own and grow in an unregulated fashion. These cells don’t die when they are programmed to. This is what happens in cancer.

WHAT MAKES A CELL CANCEROUS?

Every cell has a genetic blueprint, called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The DNA of cells contains genes that program cell reproduction, growth, and repair of all body tissues. Sometimes genes can become damaged, and this damage can result in cancer. In essence, there are three ways in which your genes can become faulty:

• A mutation can occur during normal cell division such that the newly formed cell contains an abnormal gene. This can happen randomly or if the cell is exposed to some other agent.

• Cells might be exposed to an environmental agent, called a carcinogen, that harms the DNA. For instance, cigarette smoking is a carcinogen that promotes the development of lung cancer.

• Flawed genes can be inherited from your parents. However, very few types of cancer are the result of inherited genes. Just because you have one damaged gene does not mean you are destined to get cancer. Many processes must take place before a reducing your risk of breast cancer cancer develops. Your body has what are called tumour suppressor genes, which keep an eye out for damaged DNA and halt it in its tracks. But if these tumour suppressor genes become mutated, cells with abnormal genes can multiply at an uncontrolled rate. It is estimated that in 20 to 40 percent of breast cancer cases, a particular tumour suppressor gene (called p53) is mutated. Several genetic mutations are probably needed for breast cancer to develop. Genes that go on to cause cancer are called oncogenes.

Cancer is not explained by genetics alone. Some people who have a family history of a certain cancer never get that cancer. Experts agree that cancer is the result of an interaction between genes and environmental factors, such as diet. For instance, you might have a mutated gene that predisposes you to breast cancer, but because you eat a low-fat diet high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, you may never get cancer. On the other hand, if you are regularly exposed to pollutants and eat a poor diet, the risk that any faulty genes you carry will catalyze a cancerous growth is increased.

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Everything Rustles

Everything Rustles

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged :

In this debut collection of personal essays, Silcott looks at the tangle of midlife, the long look back, the shorter look forward, and the moments right now that shimmer and rustle around her: marriage, menopause, fear, desire, loss, and that guy on the bus, the woman on the street, wandering bears, marauding llamas, light and laundry rooms.

This isn?t a “how to” guide to middle age and it's not a collection of memories either — for one thing, the author can?t remember that much — foranot …

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Juno

Juno

Canadians at D-Day June 6, 1944
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook

On June 6, 1944, nearly 15,000 Canadians – at sea, in the air, and on the ground – joined the long-anticipated D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on the Normandy beaches. The piece of ground on which the Canadians fought so hard against heavily armed and embedded German troops was codenamed Juno. On that day, the Canadian infantry fought their way farther inland than any other Allied troops. For Canada, and all Canadians, this was a coming of age, an extraordinary moment of courage and s …

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Live to Tell

Live to Tell

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

When Libby Thorne wakes up in the hospital, they tell her she was in a car accident. They tell her it was her fault, and that an innocent victim is clinging to life. And they tell her that criminal charges are going to be brought against her. The problem is, Libby can remember none of it. She can’t remember the accident, the party, the drinking … She can’t even remember the guy who keeps sending her flowers and acts like he’s her boyfriend.

 

With the help of her best friend, Kasey, Libby …

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No Great Mischief

No Great Mischief

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : literary

Alistair MacLeod musters all of the skill and grace that have won him an international following to give us No Great Mischief, the story of a fiercely loyal family and the tradition that drives it.

Generations after their forebears went into exile, the MacDonalds still face seemingly unmitigated hardships and cruelties of life. Alexander, orphaned as a child by a horrific tragedy, has nevertheless gained some success in the world. Even his older brother, Calum, a nearly destitute alcoholic living …

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The Shell of the Tortoise

The Shell of the Tortoise

Four Essays & an Assemblage
edition:Paperback
tagged : essays

Don McKay is back from another geopoetic field season and has typed up his notes. The resulting essays continue his investigation into the relationship between poetry and wilderness, particularly into the characteristics of metaphor as a tool. “Art occurs whenever a tool attempts to metamorphose into an animal” asserts McKay in an essay on the myth of Hermes and his tortoise-shell lyre. He also takes us to the fossil beds of Newfoundland’s Mistaken Point to consider the fault line between …

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