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The Blackout
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The Blackout

By 49thShelf
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It's been more than a decade since the blackout of 2003, which left the Northeast in the dark. And I'm intrigued by the way that the event is finding its way into literature. Here is a list of books that have captured the exhilarating darkness of that time.
Magnified World

Magnified World

edition:Paperback
tagged : literary

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A beautiful New Face of Fiction debut from a stunningly gifted young novelist about what it means to be a daughter, a patient, a lover and a human being who can carry on after a massive loss.
 
What's a girl supposed to do after her mother kills herself by walking into the Don River with her pockets full of unpolished zircon stones? Maggie removes the zircon stones from the inventory of the family's New Age shop and opens up for another day of business. Then her blackouts beg …

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Here We Are Among the Living

Here We Are Among the Living

edition:Paperback

Finding one’s way in the world is complex enough for the average urban 20-something in the 21st century, but Samantha Bernstein also happens to be the daughter of legendary Canadian poet Irving Layton. This extraordinary epistolary chronicle is an alternatively funny, heartbreaking, and confrontational debut memoir in which Bernstein tackles life, love, family, social engagement, and creativity head on.

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In the Tree House

by Andrew Larsen
illustrated by Du?an Petri?i?
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Hardcover
tagged : boys & men

An evocative story about two brothers who are growing up (one faster than the other), an unusual summer night and a special tree house that proves childhood is not just a time but also a place.

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There Are No Solid Gold Dancers Anymore

There Are No Solid Gold Dancers Anymore

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian

There Are No Solid Gold Dancers Anymore explores the manipulative pull of self-mythology and how it informs the telling of story--whether by a fan worshipping her idol, or an old vaudevillian star reminiscing about a glamorous past. Intimate glances into the lives of the famous bring back points of reflection on their relation to the everyday. Poems about the cast of The Wizard of Oz present the tragedy and ambition of Hollywood life. "Some make their living never headlining," but for the exhaus …

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Description of the Blazing World, A

Description of the Blazing World, A

edition:eBook
tagged : literary

After Morgan Wells’s wife leaves him, a postcard from France arrives. It is addressed to a Morgan Wells—but not the Morgan Wells who receives it. Desperate to be led out of his despair, Morgan decides to read the postcard as a sign and embark upon a surreal journey to find, observe, and meet the other Morgan Wellses in the city of Toronto.
On the day that a 2003 citywide power outage submerges Toronto in darkness, a teenage boy finds a missive of his own: a copy of Margaret Cavendish’s T …

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Excerpt

For lack of a better term, Dave is my brother. He’s also my mortal enemy, my arch-nemesis, the Borg to my Picard. Everything about him is the opposite of me. He does not listen to music. He hates movies, especially movies that are based on books. He always compares them to the books they were based on, and will talk over the movie whenever something happens that didn’t happen in the book. He says he hates TV too, though he watches more TV than anyone I know. Another thing he said, though I don’t have a record of it, is that reality programs are products of lazy writing. I told him that didn’t make any sense, and he said that’s because I’m an idiot, which doesn’t seem like a very good argument, especially coming from someone who dropped out of university after six years of wasted eff ort. He thinks that constantly reading detective stories and comic books, which he calls graphic novels, makes him an authority on everything. He has a whole bookcase in his office full of comics and he would definitely murder me in my sleep if he knew that I touched them. He sometimes falls asleep on the couch watching CNN, wearing idiotic tear-aways, or worn out jogging pants, his hand tucked under the elastic. It’s not uncommon to find his marbled tighty-whities on the bathroom floor, and only mildly shocking to see them elsewhere in the apartment. 
Dave works for this weird research firm most mornings and afternoons of the week. His job is to search for websites and companies that infringe the trademarks of other businesses. He says he must’ve inherited “journalistic genes,” because his research skills are “off the charts.” His words. He carries a green spiral notebook with him at all times, his proud account of his findings. It seems like such a ridiculous and pointless job for someone who went to school for as long as Dave went to school. But apparently there are thousands of thankless imitators out there floating around in cyberspace. He finds them, reports them to his boss, who then sells the information to the companies who own the original trademark. Dave acts like he’s some kind of new millennium private detective; I think he’s more like a glorified secret shopper. Does it really take a half-finished journalism degree to type key words into a search engine? 
Meanwhile, Dave claims he invented the term “splash guard.” That is (and only is) when you push the lip of your coffee cup lid into the cup, so when you’re driving the coffee doesn’t splash around and spill outside of the cup. I say this now only because it strengthens the argument that Dave is a ramrodded fuckerhead, and not my enemy simply for being my lookalike by a fifty-percent margin of error.
When he’s not watching TV, Dave’s usually in his home office, door locked, probably looking up pictures of sheep. I don’t know anything else about what he does. He’s gone most of the time, and when I see him he’s virtually unpleasant. He smells like Tex-Mex. The odour has nothing to do with Val’s cooking. There’s not much else to say about this unwholesome man. He might weigh five hundred pounds. He probably only weighs about two hundred pounds, but when he sits on me, I certainly feel five hundred pounds. He will sit on a person just to prove his point. He sometimes takes my hands and slaps them against my face, then he says, “Stop hitting yourself,” over and over in the most annoying voice known to earthlings. He will also sometimes pin me to the ground and breathe in my nostrils, and ask me if his breath stinks. If I say yes, he will burp in my face as punishment. If I say no, he will say, “Well then, I guess you won’t mind if I do this,” after which he will proceed to burp in my face. 
Dave is probably the worst person I’ve ever met. Not only do I hate his guts, I hate his face, arms, legs, skin, his curly blonde hair, his disgusting half-beard, his stupid glasses, and the fact that he lives and has guts to begin with.
If I could have plastic surgery on any part of my body, I think I’d give myself a new face, because my current face looks far too much like Dave’s. I don’t care if the doctors made me into a movie star or a Ferengi, just as long as they took Dave’s features out of mine. His hawkish nose. His miniscule eyes. Our similar faces might be why we hate each other so much. In my experience, physical similarities are enough of a reason to hate someone.

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