Recommended Reading List
2018 Toronto Book Award Longlist
Download list
Please login or register to use this feature.

2018 Toronto Book Award Longlist

By 49thShelf
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
For the first time ever, the Toronto Book Awards jury has elected to release its longlist ahead of the shortlist announcement that will be made August 9, 2018. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the awards honour books of literary merit that are evocative of Toronto. “I would like to congratulate all of the authors and editors being considered for this year’s Toronto Book Award,” said Mayor John Tory. “All of these works creatively contribute to the diversity and vitality of the city.”
The More

The More

edition:Paperback

"When my last book came out in 2012, I was just starting my job as Poet in Residence at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and was beginning to bring poetry to other unexpected places. I didn't know that this book would be about health, care, mortality, meditation, vulnerability, compassion, loss, subversion, and spontaneity until it began to coalesce. On an airplane, I wrote the essay "Walking the Hospital," the centre of the book, a space that contemplates the activity of walking within an insti …

More Info
Brother

Brother

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover

A CANADA READS 2019 FINALIST
A Penguin Book Club Pick
Winner of the 2017 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, David Chariandy's Brother is his intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, and tightly constructed second novel, exploring questions of masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.
          With shimmering prose and mesmerizing precision, David Chariandy takes us i …

More Info
Excerpt

The world around us was named Scarborough. It had once been called “Scarberia,” a wasteland on the out­skirts of a sprawling city. But now, as we were growing up in the early ’80s, in the heated language of a chang­ing nation, we heard it called other names: Scarlem, Scarbistan. We lived in Scar-bro, a suburb that had mush­roomed up and yellowed, browned, and blackened into life. Our neighbours were Mrs. Chandrasekar and Mr. Chow, Pilar Fernandez and Clive “Sonny” Barrington. They spoke different languages, they ate different foods, but they were all from one colony or the other, and so they had a shared vocabulary for describing feral children like us. We were “ragamuffins.” We were “hooligans” up to no good “gallivanting.” We were what one neighbour, more poet than security guard, described as “oiled crea­tures of mongoose cunning,” raiding dumpsters and garbage rooms or climbing up trees and fire-exit stairs to spy on adults. During winters we snowballed cars on Lawrence Avenue, dipping into the back alleys if the drivers tried to pursue us. A Pinto Wagon once shaving past my face, its wake tugging hard upon my body, Francis’s hand upon my shoulder pulling me safe. 

During the day, we had more formal educational opportunities. Our school was named after Sir Alexander Campbell, a Father of Confederation. But we the stu­dents of his school had our own confederations, our own schoolyard territories and alliances, our own trade agree­ments and anthems. We listened to Planet Rock and carried Adidas bags and wore stonewashed jeans and painter caps. You could hear us whenever there were general assemblies in the auditorium, our collective voices overwhelming whatever politely seated ceremony we were supposed to be attending. 
Hey Francis, homeboy, my man. 
Rudebwoy Francis! Gangstar! 

Francis and I each served out long sentences in class­rooms beneath the chemical hum of white fluorescent lights, in part out of fear of our mother, who warned us, upon pain of something worse than death, not to squan­der “our only chance.” But Francis actually liked to learn. He read books, and he was a good observer. 

And after class was out there were other institutions to learn from. A dozen blocks west of the towers and housing complexes of the Park, at the intersection of Markham and Lawrence, there lay a series of strip malls. There were grocery shops selling spices and herbs under signs in foreign languages and scripts, vegetables and fruits with vaguely familiar names like ackee and eddo. There were restaurants with an average expiry date of a year, their hand-painted signs promising ice cream with the “back home tastes” of mango and khoya and badam kulfi, a second sign written urgently in red marker promising that they’d also serve, whenever asked, the mystery of “Canadian food.”

close this panel
The Bone Mother

The Bone Mother

edition:Paperback
also available: Audiobook (CD)
tagged : horror

SHORT-LISTED FOR THE 2018 AMAZON CANADA FIRST NOVEL AWARD! LONG-LISTED FOR THE 2017 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE!FINALIST FOR THE 2017 SHIRLEY JACKSON AWARD!

Three neighbouring villages on the Ukrainian/Romanian border are the final refuge for the last of the mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Now, on the eve of the war that may eradicate their kind—and with the ruthless Night Police descending upon their sanctuary—they tell their stories and confront their destinies. The creatures include:

  • T …
More Info
Why Young Men

Why Young Men

Rage, Race and the Crisis of Identity
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
tagged : men's studies

Longlisted for the Toronto Book Award

The day after the 2015 Paris terror attacks, twenty-eight-year-old Canadian Jamil Jivani opened the newspaper to find that the men responsible were familiar to him. He didn’t know them, but the communities they grew up in and the challenges they faced mirrored the circumstances of his own life. Jivani travelled to Belgium in February 2016 to better understand the roots of jihadi radicalization. Less than two months later, Brussels fell victim to a terrorist …

More Info
That Time I Loved You

That Time I Loved You

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Paperback

Life is never as perfect as it seems.

Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up, in new fiction from the author of the Toronto Book Award—shortlisted The Wondrous Woo

The suburbs of the 1970s promised to be heaven on earth—new houses, new status, happiness guaranteed. But in a Scarborough subdivision populated by newcomers from all over the world, a series of sudden catastrophic events reveals that not everyone’s dreams come true. Moving from house to h …

More Info
My Conversations With Canadians

My Conversations With Canadians

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Audiobook

My Conversations With Canadians is the book that "Canada150" needs.

Harkening back to her first book tour at the age of 26 (for the autobiographical novel Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel), and touching down upon a multitude of experiences she's had as a Canadian, a First Nations leader, a woman and mother and grandmother over the course of her life, Lee Maracle's My Conversations with Canadians presents a tour de force exploration into the writer's own history and a re-imagining of the future of our nati …

More Info
The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern

A Complete History
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Audiobook

A complete history of Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, “the Birthplace of Canadian Rock,” to coincide with its seventieth anniversary.
Like the Queen Street strip that has been its home for seven decades, the Horseshoe Tavern continues to evolve. It remains as relevant today as it did when Jack Starr founded the country music club on the site of a former blacksmith shop. From country and rockabilly to rock ‘n’ roll, punk, alt/country, and back to roots music, the venerable live m …

More Info
Excerpt

Since 1947, except for a few blips and lean years best forgotten, the Horseshoe Tavern has stood guard just around the corner from Queen and Spadina. While other North American landmarks such as New York’s CBGB and the Bottom Line now exist only as commemorative plaques and music memories in people’s minds, the Horseshoe has somehow survived for more than seventy years. The more the landscape changes around 370 Queen Street West, the more the tavern remains the same. From the sidewalk, the facade is nondescript; it’s no architectural marvel. Inside, the dirty old lady is cramped, cozy and rough around the edges. For music lovers, though, the building, more affectionately known as the ’Shoe, is a shrine. It’s a place of firsts: One of the first places in Toronto where you could order liquor. One of the first places you could hear live music. And, one of the first bars to have a TV set. For the long-time staff members who have called the bar home — some for almost three decades — the timeless tavern means family. For many, bonds that became marriages — musical and otherwise — were first formed here. Their memories, along with the list of bands that have played the ’Shoe, are what make the venue so legendary. While some may call it a dive, it’s a beautiful dive.
Take a journey with me now. Dive into this icon’s past. Begin with a stroll through the ’Shoe’s front bar. Stop to peruse the posters, framed autographed photographs, newspaper clippings, and scrawled set lists that line the walls across from the pool table, where most nights you’ll find the regulars, who show little interest in the live music coming from the back bar as they shoot a game of stripes and solids. These artifacts tell only some of the stories from the past twenty-five years. Unfortunately, much of the memorabilia from the first half-century of the tavern’s existence were either lost or destroyed during the early 1980s. Only a few fragments from those early days remain, such as the huge movie poster advertising the 1963 musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie, plastered to the ceiling and peeling away but, like the venue itself, still hanging on near the stage in the back bar. Fortunately, thanks to newspaper reports and memories of those still around to recount their time spent there, there was much research to draw upon for this labour-of-love project.
The Horseshoe is a beacon for music lovers, a pilgrimage destination for those who understand its significance as part of Toronto’s rich musical history. One word sums up why it has survived: passion. Almost all the owners shared this passion — for the music and for the patrons. As original owner Jack Starr once told Toronto Star writer John Goddard, “It was family. I don’t mean we had kids there. I mean everyone seemed to know everyone.” More important, from the moment Starr booked music in his home away from home in the downtown core, he cared for — and showed congeniality toward — the musicians he booked. They, too, were like family. There are stories of Starr packing picnic lunches for Loretta Lynn and her band to take as they boarded their tour bus. Another famed story you can read about in more detail later in this book is about how Starr’s offer to give Stompin’ Tom Connors a raise made the late, great Canadian country outlaw cry.
Over the years, thanks to the ’Shoe and its owners, hundreds of Canadian bands have had their starts or have been helped to take that needed step to the next level in their careers. The list is endless: from Dick Nolan and other rising Canadian country stars in the 1960s to Stompin’ Tom Connors in the 1970s, to Blue Rodeo in the 1980s, to Nickelback, Rheostatics, Skydiggers, the Lowest of the Low, and the Watchmen in the 1990s. As most Canadian musicians attest, you’d “arrived” if you played the Horseshoe Tavern. Starr began this bequest to the Canadian music industry in the 1950s; today, current majority owner and music aficionado Jeff Cohen, along with his partner Craig Laskey, continue this tradition for the next generation of rising Canadian stars.
That same passion is what led me to write this book. For me, music is the elixir of life. A jolt of live music is always the best medicine when I’m feeling low. The thousands of ticket stubs I’ve saved over the years — and the lack of funds in my bank account — attest to my love of attending concerts. I came to the Horseshoe Tavern later than most. Like all the musicians I interviewed for this project, I felt its soul, its historical significance, and its pull from the first time I walked through those doors. A spirit lives there. The musicians feel it. So do the regulars. Even first-timers catch a whiff of these ghosts.
I watched my first show, the Old 97’s, in this cavernous, low-ceilinged room more than twenty years ago. Immediately I was hooked. Later, I recall seeing a young Serena Ryder summon the ghost of Etta James — who also once graced that storied stage — with an a cappella version of “At Last” that left the room stunned. I once drank Jack Daniel’s from the bottle with the Drive-By Truckers in their dressing room, and did tequila shots on the checkerboard dance floor with singer Jesse Malin following his set on a night the place was packed, fuelled by rumours The Boss was going to join the ex–D Generation singer. People often say about the ’Shoe, “If only these walls could talk.” Yes, the stories they would tell. Crazy shit happened inside the dimly lit, blue-collar tavern over the years. I share a few of those tales in these pages, but what this story is really about is a place, a Toronto institution seven decades young that has acquired a personality and mythology all its own. It’s part of the social fabric and the history of the city. While much of the Queen Street West strip surrounding the ’Shoe has changed and undergone gentrification, transformed from a desolate street surrounded by factories to a yuppie hangout with high-end fashion stores, the Horseshoe and its raison d’être has remained relatively intact.
Even though the Horseshoe Tavern has always been isolated musically and socially from its surroundings, this venue remains a cultural icon in the Canadian music landscape.
This project combines my love of music with my love of history. Through first-person interviews with musicians who have played the venue to extensive secondary source research, I’ve dug deep to unearth what has led to the bar’s longevity and to discover what makes the ’Shoe so legendary. I hope I’ve succeeded in bottling this passion and distilling it for your enjoyment.
Come with me now, dear reader, on this journey. Find out why this dame has survived when so many others, like the Beverley Tavern, the Ultrasound, the BamBoo, and the Silver Dollar Room, have come and gone.
Here’s to another seventy years of the Horseshoe Tavern. I hope one day my grandkids will walk through those fabled doors at 370 Queen Street West as I once did to hear the latest band on the rise, share a moment in time with fellow music lovers, and discover the ghosts and the soul of the place that are forever etched into the tavern’s walls.

close this panel
Bellevue Square

Bellevue Square

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback

*Winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize*
A darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity—and then her life—when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park.
Jean Mason has a doppelganger. She's never seen her, but others swear they have. Apparently, her identical twin hangs out in Kensington Market, where she sometimes buys churros and drags an empty shopping cart down the streets, like she's looking for something to put in it. Jean's a grown wom …

More Info
Excerpt

My doppelganger problems began one afternoon in early April.
     I was alone in the store, shelving books and humming along to Radio 2. Mr. Ronan, one of my regulars, came in. I watched him from my perspective in Fiction as he chose an aisle and went down it.
     I have a bookshop called Bookshop. I do subtlety in other areas of my life. I’ve been here for two years now, but it’s sped by. I have about twenty regulars, and I’m on a first-name basis with them, but Mr. Ronan insists on calling me Mrs. Mason. His credit card discloses only his first initial, G. I have a running joke: every time I see the initial I take a stab at what it stands for. I run his card and take one guess. We both think it’s funny, but he’s also shy and I think it embarrasses him, which is one of the reasons I do it. I’m trying to bring him out of himself.
     He’s promised to tell me if I get it right one day. So far he hasn’t been Gordon or any of its short forms, soubriquets, or cog­nomens. Not Gary, Gabriel, Glenn, or Gene and neither Gerald nor Graham, my first two guesses, based on my feeling that he looked pretty Geraldish at times but also very Grahamish, too. He’s a late-middle-aged ex-academic or ex-accountant or some­one who spent his life at a desk, who once might have been a real fireplug, like Mickey Rooney, but who, at sixty-plus years, looks like a hound in a sweater. There is no woman in his life, to judge by the fine blond and red hairs that creep up the sides of his ears.
     I know he likes first editions and broadsides, as well as books about architecture and miniatures. I keep my eye out for him. And he’s a gazpacho enthusiast. You get all kinds. I always discover something new when Mr. Ronan comes in. For instance, you can make soup from watermelons. I did not know that.
     He came around a corner and stopped when he saw me. He was out of breath. “There you are,” he said. “When did you get here?”
     “To the Fiction section?”
     “You’re dressed differently now,” he said. “And your hair was shorter.”
     “My hair? What are you talking about?”
     “You were in the market. Fifteen minutes ago. I saw you.”
     “No. That wasn’t me. I wasn’t in any market.”
     “Huh,” he said. He had a disagreeable expression on his face, a look halfway between fear and anger. He smiled with his teeth. “You were wearing grey slacks and a black top with little gold lines on it. I said hello. You said hello. Your hair was up to here!” He chopped at the base of his skull. “So you have a twin, then.”
     “I have a sister, but she’s older than me and we look noth­ing alike.” I don’t mention that Paula is certain that G. Ronan’s name is Gavin. “And I’ve been here all morning.”
     “Nuh-uh,” he said. “No, I’m sure we . . .” He left the aisle. My back tingled and I had the instinct to move to a more open area of the store, where I could watch him. I went behind my cash desk and started to pencil prices into a stack of green-covered Penguin crime. I flipped up their covers and wrote 5.99 in each one, keeping my eye on my strangely nervous customer. Finally, he came out of the racks with The Conquest of Gaul and put it down on my desk.
     “Oh . . . Mr. Ronan? I wanted to tell you I found a pretty first edition of Miniature Rooms by Mrs. Thorne. Original blue boards, flat, clean inside. Do you want to see it?”
     “Yes,” he said, like it hurt to speak. I brought it out from the rare and first editions case. “It’s just uncanny, it really is,” he said.
     “This woman.”
     “Yes! She said hello back like she knew me. I swear to god she called me by name!”
     “But I don’t know your name. Right? Mr. G. Ronan? I think you dreamt this.”
     “But it just happened,” he said, like that explained some­thing to him. “And you knew my name.”
     “Mr. Ronan,” I said, “I am one hundred per cent—”
     I didn’t like the look in his eye. He began edging around the side of the desk, coming closer, and I backed away, but he lunged at me with a cry and grabbed me by the shoulders. Despite his size, I couldn’t hold him off and he backed me up, hard, against the first editions case. I heard the books behind me thud and tumble. “Take it off!” he shouted in my face. With one hand, he tried to yank my hair from my head. “Take off the wig!”
     “Get back!” I shrieked. I pushed against his forehead with my palm. “Get off me!”
     “Goddamn you, Mrs. Mason!” When a fistful of my hair wouldn’t tear off, he leapt up and stumbled backwards, his eyes locked on mine, but washed of rage. The blood had drained from his face. “Christ, that’s real!”
     “Yes! It’s real! See? Real hair attached to my own, personal head.”
     “Oh god.”
     “What is wrong with you?”
     He grovelled to the other side of the desk. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I must be having another attack.”
     “Another attack! Of what? Do you want me to call an ambulance?”
     “I’ll be okay. I’m really sorry. I don’t know what came over me, Jean. Forgive me.”
     That was the first time he had ever used my name. “You scared me. And you hurt me, you know?” I began to feel the pain seep through the shock of being battered. “Are you sure I can’t call a friend or someone?”
     “No. I’ll go home and lie down. I’m just so sorry.” He took his wallet out and put his trembling credit card down on the cash desk.
     I tapped it for him. We stood together in a dreadful silence until I said, “Gilbert.”
     “No,” he replied.

close this panel
comments powered by Disqus

There are two ways to make a reading list

This way:

  1. Click the "Create a New List" button just above this panel.
  2. Add as many books as you wish using the built-in search on the list edit page.

Or that way:

  1. Go to any book page.
  2. In the right-hand column, click on "Add to List." A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. From the drop-down menu, either add your book to a list you have already created or create a new list.
  4. View and edit your lists anytime on your profile page.
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...