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Reese's Book Club: CanLit Match-Ups

By kileyturner
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If you're in a book club, and you read Canadian, and you like Reese's picks (and that's a not uncommon intersection!), this list is for you. Original blog post is here:
A Killer in King's Cove

A Killer in King's Cove

A Lane Winslow Mystery
also available: eBook
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Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott.
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Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked The Last House Guest, by Megan Miranda.
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Come Away with Me
Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home, by Tembi Locke.
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Every Little Piece of Me

November 2014


Mags hadn’t expected the club to be so crowded. The band’s previous shows in New York had been sparsely attended. But Align Above’s new album had dropped a few weeks before, and tonight there was an electricity in the air, something that she couldn’t explain. In the green room she drank half a fifth of whiskey and smoked three joints before stumbling on stage in a haze, her body hot and cold at the same time, her skin sweaty and goose-pimpled.
     “I’m fine,” she told Emiko, her manager, who held Mags’s face in both her hands and stared into her eyes like she was trying to see into the future. “This is what I need. This is what I do.”
     She sang. She knows she must have, because people were cheering— so many people, the audience a big blur of colour in front of her, pulsing with vague outlines of human forms. Adrift, she locked eyes with a beautiful Asian boy while she was singing “Barometer”— a song she had written about Sam, so new she had only ever played it live once before— and she was surprised to see that he was singing along, gazing at her with such naked adoration that it made her shiver. “You will rise, I will rise, we will rise, like a barometer,” she sang, and his mouth moved with hers, almost as though he was claiming her voice somehow, making the words his own in a way that momentarily startled her, her hand dropping from the mic, her voice fading out before the end of the line.
     After the show, she found him in the hallway outside the green room, waiting for her. He was just a kid, a scruffy teenager with doe eyes and expensive sneakers, a forelock of hair sweeping down across his brow. But she could feel the relentless pull of the pit, that gaping maw of a comedown she ran from at the end of every show, so she pressed herself up against him, the contours of his body meeting hers in a way that was familiar and yet unfamiliar, like wearing someone else’s shoes. 
     “Do you have somewhere we could go?” she asked, lips inches from his ear, which fluttered almost imperceptibly as she breathed against it.
     “I have my own place,” he said, and she could feel the newness of those words in his mouth, how good it felt for him to say them.
     They were in the Uber by the time she started second-guessing herself, realizing too late he wasn’t even close to what she wanted. But it wasn’t until they got to his apartment and she saw all the video cameras that she knew she’d made a huge mistake.
     “I’m not a pervert or a weirdo, I swear,” he said, his doe eyes clouding over with worry as she inched toward the door. “It’s this stupid reality show I’m on. They leave the cameras set up all the time.”
     “Reality show?” Mags was sobering up, and all she could see were blinking lights, red and green and blue, cables tangling across the floor like tussling snakes. She suddenly felt as though the entire world was watching her, as if they could see through the eye of the lens right into the depths of her soul.
     “They’re not on right now, I promise,” the boy said. “See?” He picked up a cable attached to a camera and showed her the dangling end. Mags realized the blinking lights were all in her head. “There’s a schedule. They’re only on when the crew is here.”
     Mags stepped toward the camera tentatively, as if it were a wild animal she wanted to feed from her hand. She touched the top of the lens, which was coated with a fine layer of dust, and blew the dust away gently. “That doesn’t seem very real,” she said.
     The boy laughed nervously. “It’s not,” he said. “There’s nothing real about reality television, trust me.”
     She moved around the room, feeling the boy’s eyes on her. At least the reality show explained the apartment—sparsely but tastefully furnished, with high ceilings and exposed brick, a pool table at one end of the living room and an entire row of expensive guitars lining the opposite wall. She wandered over and picked one up, strumming it before realizing it was a vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst. And it was signed.
     “Eric Clapton,” the boy said, shrugging. “I got it at an auction last year.”
     Mags ran her fingers over the strings. It probably cost more than all of Align Above’s equipment combined. But the boy didn’t seem to care—he hadn’t rushed over to grab it from her, hadn’t kept it under lock and key. “Do you actually play this?” she asked.
     “What’s the point of a guitar if you don’t play it?” He took it from her and began strumming softly. Oh no, thought Mags, please don’t. But then he started singing, his voice soft and earnest, and she could do nothing but sit there, helplessly listening, not knowing whether she should laugh or cry. At least it wasn’t one of her songs— from what she could tell, it was something he had written himself, probably during a period when he was listening to a lot of melancholy stuff, Bon Iver or The National. When he stopped singing, she smiled at him, and before he could launch into his next number, she kissed him, the guitar pressed between them, the strings mashed up against her belly.
     Later, Mags got up from the boy’s bed in the dark and walked naked to the bathroom, keeping the water cool as she splashed it over her face, avoiding her own red eyes in the mirror. Walked back through the apartment, head jumbled, running her hands over the exposed brick, heading toward the balcony to see those lights of Tribeca, wondering what it must be like to live here, to live this life.
     Before Mags made it halfway across the living room she saw her, through the glass doors of the balcony— a woman wearing only a T-shirt and underwear, climbing up onto the parapet, her pale skin scraping across the concrete as she stood up on the ledge. Mags grabbed a blanket from the couch, scratchy and wool but big enough to cover herself, and rushed to the balcony, the wind hurtling itself at her as she hauled open the doors, all rust and smog.As soon as the doors opened she realized she had no idea what to do. She tried to remember how high up they were— four storeys, five? Surely high enough.
     “Hello,” Mags said quietly.
     The woman turned to face her, and Mags realized she was still a girl, really, barely out of her teens. There was something vaguely familiar about her. Her eyes were a startling blue, her hair white-blonde and cut close to her head in a haphazard way that made Mags think she had done it herself. Her T-shirt had a picture of a fairy on it, possibly a cartoon character from a television show Mags had never seen. Even as she balanced there on the parapet, she stood with her back straight, her hand on her hip, her head angled at a perfect, fashion-model 45 degrees as she regarded Mags through mildly inquisitive eyes.
     “It’s you,” the woman said. She dragged both her hands down her thighs as though she were drying off sweaty palms. For a moment, Mags thought she was going to reach out to shake her hand, but instead she crossed her arms over her chest, cutting off the head of the cartoon fairy. “What are you doing here?”
     Mags didn’t say anything for a minute, afraid the truth might push this woman over the edge. “Are you planning on jumping?” she asked instead.
     The woman dipped her toe off the ledge, her eyes drawn to the street below. Then she pulled her toe back and turned to face Mags again. “Are you naked under that blanket?”
     Mags glanced down at her round calves and bare feet sticking out of the bottom of the blanket, which hung just above her knees. “I guess when I saw you climb up on that ledge, finding clothes wasn’t exactly my first priority.”
     Narrowing her eyes, the woman crossed her arms tighter over her chest. “You slept with Val,” she said.
     Val. Mags knew the boy’s name, but it was so much easier to think of him as “the boy,” as if he were the only one. But now. Val. She nodded.
     “Good for you. My brother loves you, you know. The show tonight was the only thing he could talk about for weeks.”
     “He’s your brother?” Mags asked.
     “We’re both adopted,” the woman said. “Everyone knows this. You know this.” She paused. “Or maybe you thought I was his girlfriend.”
     “No,” said Mags, realizing she hadn’t. But she didn’t want to talk about Val anymore. And she was sick of talking about herself. Sick of herself in all kinds of ways. Maybe just sick. “Can we get back to talking about why you’re standing on that ledge?”
     “I’m pretty sure I’m going to jump,” the woman said, without drama, without pathos. I’m. Going. To. Jump.
    “Pretty sure?”
     “Very sure.” She spread her arms wide, an eagle about to take flight.
     Mags thought about all the things she could say. No. Don’t do it. You have so much to live for. But did she? How could she know? “What’s your name?” she asked instead, stalling.
     The woman stared at her, her body silhouetted against the New York skyline, backlit by the lights from a thousand different windows, a thousand different lives being lived. Then she started to laugh, a huge, aching belly laugh that Mags worried would propel her off the edge through the sheer force of its kickback. When she finally stopped laughing, she looked out over the city again. It was like a switch had flipped, and she was back to thinking about whatever it was that called to her.
     “It’s Ava,” she said. “You might be the only person in New York who doesn’t know that.”

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Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
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Incident Report, The
Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked The Library Book, by Susan Orlean.
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Dragon Springs Road
Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked The Night Tiger, by Yangsze Choo.
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Rose's Run

Dahlia Ingram was six-feet-two inches tall with legs that came up to Rose Okanese's bicep and every inch of those long legs were encased in some futuristic-looking silver stretch pants designed to show off every bump and curve - except that Dahlia didn't have any of those. She was a creature of bone and muscle, covered with a mop of blonde curls. Nature had designed Dahlia for one purpose: to run long distances at high speeds with effortless grace, and she, and no one else, was Rose's competition for the Annual Okanese Marathon and Fishing Derby.

In this particular year, Dahlia had already ran three marathons, three half marathons and four 10 Ks and it was only June. This was Rose's second race, in her lifetime. (Well, fifth if you included races she ran in elementary school). She'd done okay in those - never last, just an innocuous second or third last depending on whether or not one or both of the asthmatic Bower twins was in attendance.) She'd never had an athletic performance that resulted in someone taking her aside afterwards like the coach in Rocky and patting her on the shoulder: "Yuh got real talent, kid. But you're still a bum."

Rose had her bumps and curves poured into an orange tank top and a pair of black spandex shorts. The spandex shorts had been $19.99, a Walmart splurge, forced upon her by her sixteen-year-old daughter Sarah who had added, "There's no law saying you have to be dorkiest person in the race." Rose kept crossing her legs, subconsciously hoping that it distracted from the size of her thighs.

Probably the best thing she could do to appear smaller was to move away from the human licorice next to her. But the idea of standing alone was more frightening than appearing to be the number ten.
"I'm kind of nervous," she blurted out.
Dahlia continued to stretch her quad muscle, her long leg bent in half like a flamingo.
"I bet you don't get nervous, hey?" Rose continued when there was no reply. "This must be like taking a walk in a park or something? Like walking from your bedroom to your kitchen? I bet you'll go for another run this afternoon, right? How long is this run gonna take you anyway?"

Dahlia looked at Rose like she had just noticed her for the first time. Her eyes, permanently crinkled at the corners from wind, swept from Rose's full face, already flushed, down to her slightly protruding belly, over her knees pointing inwards to her purple and white Saucony sneakers.
"Nice shoes," Dahlia said. Rose beamed.
"They were a gift. From my kids."
"Mom!" Callie yelled. Rose looked over and saw her eight-year-old daughter waving a bag of cotton candy. "Did you eat?"
"I'm good, honey!" Rose called back. "That's my daughter Callie," she explained to Dahlia. "Do you have any?"
Dahlia shook her head. She moved into the runner's stretch and dropped her knee down to the ground. For a tall woman, she was very flexible.
Rose tried to replicate the stretch but found her lower back laughed at her so she settled for bending forward from the waist in a bouncy motion.
"You know ten weeks ago, I hadn't run in twenty years. I sure as hell never thought I'd be here right now, lined up at this race, next to a pro like you. Funny how life throws you into some strange situations, huh? I mean I know I'm the one who signed up for the race and I'm the one who drove myself here - so when I think about it that way, I'm the one who threw me into this. Still, it's funny. . ."

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Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman.
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The Conjoined
Why it's on the list ...
For those who liked Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng.
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