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Remembrance Books

By 49thShelf
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Fiction, poetry and drama whose messages resonate on Remembrance Day.
A Splendid Boy

A Splendid Boy

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

A Royal Newfoundland Regiment Love Story

In the summer of 1914, Daniel Beresford’s innocent love affair with the merchant’s daughter is discovered, forcing him to make an impossible decision to save his family from financial ruin. When news of the First World War reaches Middle Tickle, Daniel, who is torn between his love for Emma Tavenor and his responsibility to his family, enlists in the Newfoundland Regiment and departs for training.

When Emma learns her father is to blame for Daniel’s u …

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Operations

Operations

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

From poet-provocateur Moez Surani comes Operations--a book-length poetic inventory of contemporary rhetoric of violence and aggression, as depicted through the evolution of the language used to name the many military operations conducted by UN Member Nations since the organization's inception in 1945.

With Operations, Surani draws on contemporary poetic traditions, including conceptual and inventory poetics, to accomplish two important things: On the one hand, he shows that no word is free from c …

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And Then the Sky Exploded

And Then the Sky Exploded

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

2018 Red Maple Award — Shortlisted • High Plains Book Award — Shortlisted, Young Adult category
When Christian learns his great-grandfather helped build the A-bombs dropped on Japan, he wants to make amends … somehow.

While attending the funeral of his great-grandfather, ninth-grader Christian Larkin learns that the man he loved and respected was a member of the Manhattan Project, the team that designed and created the atomic bombs dropped on Japan during the Second World War.

On a school …

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Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

It was hot in the church. Hot and sticky. Uncomfortable. And I was wishing I were somewhere else.
I guess I shouldn’t call it a church. It was a funeral home. The building looked sort of like a church from the outside but inside there were no church services — just funerals.
I’d always figured funerals were all about sad — with mourners looking sad, and the minister looking sad, and the people who worked in the funeral home, all in dark suits and serious, sad faces.
And, of course, there’s the deceased. Which is why everyone is sad. Someone has died — the deceased. I had already learned to say “the deceased” than to use any phrase that has the word dead in it. People don’t like that, especially the mourners. At this funeral I was one of the mourners.
It was my first funeral. I’d managed to get all the way to fourteen years old, well, almost fourteen, without having to watch someone I knew be buried. But that all came to an end on October 16, 2015. My great-grandfather had died five days before — October 11 — same day as my sister Carly’s birthday. She was fifteen — one year and twenty-two days older than me.
But since my great-grandpa had died that morning we didn’t do much birthday celebrating, which Carly was totally bummed about. I was okay with the no-celebration part because it meant one less day of the year that I had to pretend to like my sister. The other ones were Christmas and Thanksgiving. Christmas makes sense I guess — you’re supposed to be nice to everybody on Christmas Day.
But I could never figure out Thanksgiving. Mom says it’s the day we’re supposed to be thankful for all of our blessings. And I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just that I don’t consider Carly a blessing. Actually, the best time of the year was the one when my sister’s birthday and Thanksgiving were the same day. Cut one exactly one third of the “be-nice-to-Sis” days.
That was back when we lived in Canada, where Thanksgiving is a lot earlier than here in America.
I was hoping that this year we’d just blow off Carly’s birthday altogether, but no luck. I mean even Carly could sort of understand that it wasn’t really appropriate to have a party with cake and candles and girls taking selfies on the day Great-Grandpa Will died. But Mom promised Carly that we’d celebrate her birthday a couple of weeks later.
We called him GG Will which is a lot simpler than Great-Grandpa Will, especially if you had to say it a whole bunch of times in a row.
William Deaver — that was his real name. He was my mom’s grandpa. He had been a scientist and a professor and was the smartest person I’d ever met. He was also the coolest ninety-six-year-old guy in the world. How many guys on their ninety-third birthday are out there playing street hockey with their great-grandkids? Of course, he mostly played goal and we all maybe took it a little easy when we were shooting at his net. But he was out there laughing and having fun and even yelling at everybody on his team. He made a couple of pretty good saves too.
I was remembering that day playing street hockey and some other stuff about GG Will while I was sitting there in the funeral place. Since I didn’t have any actual experience with funerals, I didn’t really know how to act. Lots of people around me were crying. I didn’t cry. Not because I wasn’t sad, I was. Like I said, I really liked GG Will and I knew I was going to miss his jokes and his grilled-cheese sandwiches, which were unbelievable. He cooked them in tinfoil with an iron. Seriously.
And he could explain stuff that was totally complicated, but when he was done explaining, you understood it. I guess that was connected to how smart he was. Although I’ve known some pretty smart people who explain something and they finish and look at you like you get it now, right? And the whole thing is still a mystery. So I’ll miss that about my GG Will. And his goaltending, I’d miss that, too.
Mostly I tried not to move around a lot. I figured fidgeting and turning around to look at the people behind me would have my sister tapping my mom on the arm and pointing at me: Look at Christian, Mom. Can you make him stop acting like a child? Or something like that. And then Mom would tell Dad and there’d be the lecture when we got home and I hated the lecture almost as much as I hated zucchini.
So I tried to look around without moving anything other than my head and eyes. I was sitting next to the window but when I tried to look out, the light was hitting the glass kind of funny and mostly what I saw was me … looking back at me.
Looking at myself is not one of my favourite pastimes. I know kids are supposed to be all about themselves and I guess I’m like that sometimes, but I just don’t like looking at myself. In the morning, I try to get the face-washing, the teeth-brushing, and the hair-combing done with as little time as possible spent looking into the mirror.
But there I was in the reflection in the window of the funeral home. All five-foot-seven (170 cm) one hundred and twenty-two pounds of me, the same brown hair and brown eyes that had been me for thirteen years and eleven-plus months. So how would I describe my looks? Well, the word handsome wouldn’t be part of the description but I don’t think ugly would either. Somewhere in between, I guess.
It wasn’t a friendly face looking back at me from that window glass. I looked like I did most of the time — sort of pissed off at the world. Which I wasn’t, not really, but some kids have happier looks on their faces, not that they’re grinning or even smiling all the time, they just look like they’re okay with the way life is going.
That’s not Christian Larkin. Even though my life is fine (if you don’t count Carly), my brain doesn’t seem to be able to convince my face of that. I try. Seriously, some mornings I tell myself okay, today I’m all about happy and I walk around smiling the whole time, but at the end of the day I feel like an idiot and my cheek muscles hurt. So I don’t do that every often. It’s easier to just be the guy the window glass said I was.
GG Will was inside a casket that was sitting right at the front of the centre aisle of the funeral home. We were in the right-hand rows, also at the front. Which meant we were right next to the casket. That’s where the family sits at most funerals, which is one of the things I learned that day.
There were a couple of songs — hymns I guess — and the minister talked about Jesus, the shepherd, and how every sheep in the flock mattered to the shepherd. There was more but I didn’t get all of it.
Up to then I hadn’t been paying much attention to what was going on. I’d been watching this banner flutter high up on the wall at the front of the building, right over where the minister was standing. The banner had symbols on it and I’d been trying to figure out what the symbols meant and also why the banner was fluttering. I mean it’s not like there was a wind inside the funeral home.
I’d also been thinking about the smell, which was sort of strange, too. Actually a few smells together. Kind of a smell mix. There was the smell of coffee, which made sense since we’d all been in this waiting room until it was time to go into the main part of the building where the funeral was and there had been coffee in that room. And there was the smell of soap and hair stuff and new clothes — like everybody had tried to be really clean and smelling okay — I figured that made sense, too. What didn’t make sense was the other smell. It was popcorn. Who brings popcorn to a funeral? The answer is nobody so where did the smell come from? It’s not like there was a theatre next door. Actually there was a paint store on one side and a parking lot on the other. Neither of those is famous for popcorn.
So that was it — coffee and soap and popcorn. And there were a couple of other smells I didn’t recognize right off.

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The Tin Triangle

The Tin Triangle

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

 

A Novel of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment
I never imagined I would die this way. Young, surrounded by thousands, yet alone and far away from home. I thought I would be afraid, but I’m not. The pain in my chest has dulled to a mild ache. Maybe if I close my eyes I’ll see my home, see Mom one last time. She’ll be upset if I don’t say goodbye. Dad will understand the sacrifice I made for king and country. And little Joanie. She’ll miss me the most, I think. I open my eyes and my breath …

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The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys

Letters from the Sons in Two Acts, 1914-1923
edition:Paperback

The man steps into the characters of these forgotten soldiers, as well as his own life as a child. The journey breathes life into the men of the battlefields, as well as gives voice to the women of that world; mother, cousin, stranger. Based on the author's own life, and that of his five great-uncles, The Lost Boys becomes a search for the immensity of story which surround us our entire lives.

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Remembrance

Remembrance

edition:Hardcover

From one of the most beloved storytellers of our time, Remembrance is the last published story by Alistair MacLeod, and a moving story of three generations of men from a single family whose lives are forever altered by the long shadow of war. Now available in book form for the first time in a beautiful gift edition.
     In the early morning hours of November 11, David MacDonald, a veteran of the Second World War, stands outside his Cape Breton home, preparing to attend what will likely be his …

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War Cantata / Child Object

War Cantata / Child Object

edition:Book
tagged : canadian

War Cantata looks at ways the impulse for violence is transmitted from one generation to the next; for example, when a father teaches his son hatred to transform him into a soldier impervious to pity. Without focusing on a particular battle or soldier, this harsh, intense, choral text builds the rhythmic power of words to expose war's spiral toward hatred.

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The Comic Book War

The Comic Book War

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : superheroes

Can three comic-book superheroes, and a rock that falls from the sky, really protect Robert Tourond's brothers as they fight the enemy in Europe during World War II? It's 1943 and World War II is raging. 13-year-old Robert Tourond is safe at home in Calgary, but his three brothers are all overseas, fighting the Nazis. A dreamer, Robert closely follows the exploits of his three favourite comic book heroes - Captain Ice, Sedna of the Sea and the Maple Leaf Kid - who also battle thebad guys in the …

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