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Editors' Picks: Week of October 23–30
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Editors' Picks: Week of October 23–30

By kileyturner
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tagged: lala
Something for everyone on this list of books with amazing reviews, from stories to spirituality to a girl on the edge.
Even That Wildest Hope

Even That Wildest Hope

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Even That Wildest Hope bursts with vibrant, otherworldly characters—wax girls and gods-among-men, artists on opposite sides of a war, aimless plutocrats and anarchist urchins—who are sometimes wondrous, often grotesque, and always driven by passions and yearnings common to us all. Each story is an untamed territory unto itself: where characters are both victims and predators, the settings are antique and futuristic, and where our intimacies—with friends, lovers, enemies, and even our food …

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Different Beasts

Different Beasts

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Speculative Fiction
Canada's answer to Chuck Palahniuk.

A bear runs amok in a luxury hotel. A daily swim at the local pool becomes a question of life or death. The champion of a border wall faces an unexpected adversary.

The twelve stories in Different Beasts ask what it means to be both human and monster. Shape-shifting waifs, haunted stuffies, scavenging drones, insectoid demon-gods, and mutant angels all come to life in this wildly imagined debut. As do br …

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My Year of Living Spiritually 

My Year of Living Spiritually 

From Woo-Woo to Wonderful--One Woman's Secular Quest for a More Soulful Life
edition:Paperback

In 2017, Anne Bokma embarked on a quest to become a more spiritual person. After leaving the fundamentalist religion of her youth, she became one of the eighty million North Americans who consider themselves spiritual-but-not-religious, the fastest growing “faith” category.

In mid-life she found herself addicted to busyness, drinking too much, hooked on social media, dreading the empty nest and still struggling with alienation from her ultra-religious family. In response, she set out on a yea …

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Translated from the Gibberish

Translated from the Gibberish

Seven Stories and One Half Truth
edition:Paperback

Here are seven superb, subtle, surprising stories that show, through a prism of unforgettable characters, what it means to live between two worlds: India and Canada.

Anosh Irani, the masterful, bestselling author of The Parcel and The Song of Kahunsha, knows of what he writes: Twenty years ago, to the mystification of family and friends, Irani left India for Vancouver, Canada, a city and a country completely foreign to him. His plan was both grand and impractical: he would reinvent himself as a w …

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Excerpt

L A N G U A G E

Immigrants speak in fragments. This is their language of choice—or rather, this is the language that has been chosen for them. Incoherence. The inability to understand, to be understood. Ask immigrants where they are from, ask the question, “So what is home for you?” and you will see the agony on their faces. Of course, as a writer, I get asked that question all the time, and it is a valid one, and I answer it without missing a beat: I have two homes, and I have neither. That is what I say in interviews. But catch me off guard, catch me at a train station in Bombay, or when I am staring into someone else’s home from a bridge, and you will see the lines appear on my face.

As my neighbour did this morning. I was emptying my trash into the garbageman’s cane basket, and she asked me, “Do you like it there?” —meaning my other home, Vancouver —and I said, “Sure, sure,” and she said, “It must be so clean,” and I said, “Yes, yes,” and just as I was about to re-enter my apartment, she asked, “So, are you happy there?” and the truth is a resounding no, but then I’m not happy here either, because there is no here, here was, it no longer is, and it’s questions like these that keep pharmaceutical companies in business. Am I happy anywhere? Was I ever happy? Is there such a thing as happy? I don’t think so, and if there is, I don’t want it. I want to combust in such a powerful way that the effects are felt deep in the oceans; I want craniates to read my work and get my meaning, and that’s about it. It won’t make me happy, but it will give my combustion the distance it deserves.

While I’m feeling all this, my neighbour tells me that she went over to Dr. Hansotia’s place and rang the doorbell but he didn’t answer. What if he’s dead? What if he’s had a stroke and is just lying there on the kitchen floor? But then, upon further investigation, she discovered that he has been opening the door for the garbageman, and has also hired a new maid to help cook, clean, and get groceries. So he has every intention to live. My neighbour seems a bit disappointed by this. Just as I’m disappointed by my constant need to make sense of a decision I made twenty years ago —to leave. I can feel my body turning dark; I can feel an eclipse occurring within me, the light being blocked.

Over the next few days, I keep one eye on Dr. Hansotia’s window as I do my regular Bombay things—I visit friends’ homes, try to partake of the natural rhythms of their daily lives: their morning jogs, afternoon naps, shopping trips (oh, how the malls have grown; they are the Great Barrier Reefs of our age), domestic arguments, laughter that I hear and remember from long ago, lovers who have aged and seem “happy,” money flowing in and out of wallets and cards, and me, reaching into my wallet to pay for dinners only to be scoffed at, but in the most affectionate way, because I am an artist, an adorable pye-dog. So many natural, daily rhythms that seem completely unnatural to me, such as sharing space with another human being; waking up next to one; having a miniature version of oneself and then holding it, scolding it, cuddling it, cleaning it. Once in a while, someone hands me their baby, hoping it will change me, hoping that some of its babyness will redeem my soul, make me less grouchy, or whatever it is they think I need. This obsession with happiness —to me it’s just a new-car smell that one day disappears without warning. I try to partake of daily life, but I find natural rhythms only when I am writing. But I cannot write all the time. So I think.

It’s 2 a.m. A peaceful time to be awake in Bombay. I still call the city Bombay when I speak, but I’ve started using Mumba when I write. Mumbai is creeping into my work. Those seven islands are speaking up, telling me it’s time to acknowledge the name change. If it’s only a name change, I tell those islands (when you’re up four days in a row, you can communicate with islands), why is it so difficult for me to say it? Is it because when I say Mumbai I don’t know where to go? Or is it because Mumbai has no use for me, doesn’t need me the way I need it? On my previous trip, a year ago, I went to Chowpatty beach at night and dipped my feet in the sea. And just as I started to feel the warmth of the water, the water tightened its grip around my ankles and I realized that water, that eternal truth-teller, was back at work. You did not leave Bombay, the water said. It spat you out. Remember this, each time you hold that new passport of yours. When I returned to Vancouver, I dipped my feet in the waters of English Bay, thinking I would spite the Arabian Sea. But the Pacific had a message for me as well. Not so much in words, but in its cold, steely silence.

In Bombay, once I’m done holding other people’s babies and shopping, once I’m done catching up with friends or watching a Hindi movie in Phoenix Mills, I do something strange —strange to others but not to me. I take late-night taxi rides alone. Even though people offer to drop me home after our nights out, I prefer cabs. There’s a bridge in the city, the JJ Bridge, which connects Byculla, the place where I live, to Colaba in South Bombay. At night, when there’s no traffic, it’s just a ten-minute ride between those areas, and I use that bridge to stare into homes, into people’s apartments, to catch a glimpse of the smallness of their movements, to see complete strangers perform mundane acts such as reaching for a newspaper, or to watch an old woman fanning herself. The bridge allows me to be so close to their windows that I can literally smell their lives. This is an essential part of my Bombay visit. As my taxi climbs up that bridge, I feel a kind of exhilaration —perhaps that’s too grand a word: a release, you might say. I become an eagle who swoops in and out of lives, of narratives, without the slightest regard for plot or character development. I collect snapshots, take photographs in the mind with eye blinks, in order to find the thing behind the thing, which I hope will enlarge my world; and when I do find that moment, I don’t know what to do with it. The second I begin to feel complete, to fill up with something, a sense of loss pervades me. Then I stop looking into apartments, I look below the bridge, at Mohammed Ali Road, at its mosques and minarets, its greenness, its lights sending out signals into the sky, and it feels like an ancient place, a place that contains the breath of centuries, warm and stale. I fill my nights with domes in the sky, and minarets, with roundness and erectness, and this says a lot about how I feel about Earth itself —that I am stuck in its roundness, when all I long for is upward movement, a minaret that will take me so high . . . And my thoughts stop as soon as I descend the bridge and pass by my old school —or, specifically, the petrol pump behind my school. When childhood memories take over, it’s time for me to leave.

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Break in Case of Emergency

Break in Case of Emergency

edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook Hardcover Paperback

Set in a small town in the 1990s, this is the story of a girl on the edge—of a breakdown, of family secrets, of learning who she really is.

Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents’ dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother’s path, she creates a plan to escape her pain.

But with the news that her father is c …

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