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The Canada Reads 2021 Longlist
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The Canada Reads 2021 Longlist

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A grand selection of books are spotlighted before CBC confirms the 2021 Canada Reads finalists. Make sure you put some of these titles on your reading list. Also on the list are The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk and Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
All Together Now

All Together Now

A Newfoundlander's Light Tales for Heavy Times
edition:Hardcover

National Bestseller
One of Newfoundland's funniest and most beloved storytellers offers his cure for the Covid blues.

Is there a more sociable province than Newfoundland and Labrador? Or anywhere in Canada with a greater reputation for coming to the rescue of those in need?

At this time of Covid, singer, songwriter and bestselling author Alan Doyle is feeling everyone's pain. Off the road and spending more days at home than he has since he was a child hawking cod tongues on the wharfs of Petty Ha …

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Yiddish for Pirates

Yiddish for Pirates

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and nominated for the Governor-General's Award for Literature, a hilarious, swashbuckling yet powerful tale of pirates, buried treasure and a search for the Fountain of Youth, told in the ribald, philosophical voice of a 500-year-old Jewish parrot.

Set in the years around 1492, Yiddish for Pirates recounts the compelling story of Moishe, a Bar Mitzvah boy who leaves home to join a ship's crew, where he meets Aaron, the polyglot parrot who becomes his n …

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Excerpt

Chapter One

Moishe as a child. He told me stories. Some were true. 
   At fourteen, he left the shtetl near Vilnius for the sea. How? First one leg out the window then the other. Like anyone else. Before first light. Before the wailing of his mother. 
   A boychik with big ideas, his kop—his head—bigger than his body. He would travel beyond the scrawny map of himself, and beyond the shtetl. He’d travel the ocean. There were Jews—he’d heard stories—that were something. Not rag-and-bones shmatte-men like his father, Chaim, always following the dreck of their nag around the same small world. Doctors. Court astronomers. Spanish lords. Tax farmers. Learned men of the world. The mapmakers of Majorca. They were Jews. Rich and powerful, they were respected by everyone. They could read the sky. They knew what was on the horizon and what was over the horizon. Jews had trickled through the cracks of the world and had rained upon the lands. 
   He’d travel the globe. He’d travel to the unknown edges of the maps, to where the lost tribes had built their golden cities, where they knew the secrets of the waters and of the sky. 
   And nu, perhaps along the way there might be a zaftik maideleh or two, or his true love, who knew secrets also. 
   So this Moishe put the cartographer before the horse and left. 
   Luftmensch, they say. Someone who lives on air, someone whose head floats in the clouds of a sky whose only use is to make the sea blue.
The world is wide because the ocean is wide. So, nu, he’d had his Bar Mitzvah, why shouldn’t the boychik sail west on a merchant ship, some kind of cabin boy, learning not to be sick with the waves? A one-way Odyssey away from home, his mother weaving only tears. 
   And where had he heard the stories? On the shmatte cart, making the rounds with his father. The sun rising, they travelled from home. They didn’t fall off the edge of their world, they circled around it, until by nightfall they were home again. Moishe’s old father, the bent and childless man who had taken in the drownedling, spoke to him of the great world that they shared. Moishe’s father, grey beard, wide black hat, stooped back. The world, he said, was a book. A great scroll. Like the Torah, when it ended, it began again. 
   Everything began again. Each week with its Shabbos of silver candlesticks and braided challah. Each year with its seasons, festivals, Torah readings. Child, father, child. It was a Moebius strip. At the end of the story, the story begins again and so we live forever, his father said. His father was a mensch. His mother also. Good people. But though they spoke of it, they never tried to find out "and then what happened?" They knew. Second verse same as the first, a little bit more oysgemutshet worn out, a little bit worse. 
   Before he climbed out the window, Moishe left a letter for his parents. 
   If the world is a book, I must read it all. 
   He had packed only his few clothes, some food, a knife, a book he had often examined when alone, and two silver coins that he took from where his mother had hidden them behind a stone of the hearth. He sewed these into the waist of his pants. 
   He had come across the book by accident, this book that had a beginning and an end. Playing at a game of catch-and-wrestle with his friend Pinchas, Moishe had slid under his parents’ bed and pushed himself against the wall where he hoped he would be invisible behind the curtain of the embroidered bedspread. Breathing hard, attempting to remain quiet and undetected, Moishe felt its shape beneath his hip. When he was eventually discovered—after he’d deliberately released a prodigious and satisfying greps, a gaseous shofar-call alerting his friend to his location—he left whatever-it-was beneath the bed to be disinterred and examined later. He knew it was somehow important and secret, so better to wait until he was alone and his mother out at the mikveh.
   When he unwrapped the old tallis—a prayer shawl—that surrounded it, Moishe was surprised to discover a book. An ancient book. Grainy brown leather with faded gold lettering and pages the colour of an old man’s hands. The script looked like Hebrew but it was the language of some parallel world, gibberish or the writing of a sorcerer. 
   Most intriguing were the strange drawings. Charts that seemed to diagram the architecture of heavenly palaces or the dance steps of ten-footed angels. Mysterious arrays of letters, the unspeakable and obsidian incantations of demons. And, most captivating of all, what appeared to be maps of the parallel world itself, filled with ring upon ring of concentric circles, rippling out from the beginning of creation and the centre of everything, as if one fine morning God had cannonballed down from everywhere and nowhere and into the exact middle of the primordial sea.
   But perhaps, Moishe wondered, these maps represented the actual earth, the alef-beys of cryptic markings, boats floating upon the waves of a vast ocean, searching for the edges of hidden knowledge. 
   It was as if Adam and his wife, Eve, had found a map instead of an apple, there in the centre of the garden. Instead of good and evil, they had discovered a map of Eden, the geography, the secrets, the true limits of Paradise and the Paradise that lies beyond.
Maybe that is why his father kept this book hidden where no one—not the rabbis or the shammes or the other men—could find it. 
   So Moishe took the book and left.

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Butter Honey Pig Bread

Butter Honey Pig Bread

edition:Paperback

2021 CANADA READS FINALIST

Longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize

An intergenerational saga about three Nigerian women: a novel about food, family, and forgiveness.

Butter Honey Pig Bread is a story of choices and their consequences, of motherhood, of the malleable line between the spirit and the mind, of finding new homes and mending old ones, of voracious appetites, of queer love, of friendship, faith, and above all, family.

Francesca Ekwuyasi's debut novel tells the interwoven stories of …

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Autopsy of a Boring Wife

Autopsy of a Boring Wife

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Like a Québécois Bridget Jones’s Diary, Autopsy of a Boring Wife tells the hysterically funny and ultimately touching tale of forty-eight-year-old Diane, a woman whose husband is having an affair because, he says, she bores him.

Diane takes the change to heart and undertakes an often ribald, highly entertaining journey to restore trust in herself--and others--that offers an astute commentary on women and girls, gender differences, and the curious institution of twenty-first century marriage …

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Two Trees Make a Forest

Two Trees Make a Forest

In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts
edition:Paperback

WINNER of the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize
Longlisted for Canada Reads 2021
One of The Globe and Mail’s “100 favourite books of 2020”
On CBC’s list of “the best Canadian nonfiction of 2020”
An exhilarating, anti-colonial reclamation of nature writing and memoir, rooted in the forests and flatlands of Taiwan from the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize for Emerging Writers
"Two Trees Make a Forest is a finely faceted meditation on memory, love, landscape--and findin …

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Dirty Birds

Dirty Birds

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

***THE GLOBE AND MAIL SUMMER'S HOTTEST READS*** ***LONGLISTED FOR CANADA READS 2021***
In late 2008, as the world’s economy crumbles and Barack Obama ascends to the White House, the remarkably unremarkable Milton Ontario – not to be confused with Milton, Ontario – leaves his parents’ basement in Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatchewan, and sets forth to find fame, fortune, and love in the Euro-lite electric sexuality of Montreal; to bask in the endless twenty-something Millennial adolescence of …

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

A Novel
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook Audiobook
tagged :

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

A Globe and Mail Most Anticipated Book

A NOW Magazine Book You Have to Read

A Toronto Star Book We Can’t Wait to Read

“Heather O’Neill is just getting better and better.” —The Globe and Mail

“It would be hard to overstate here just how the good the writing is in The Lonely Hearts Hotel. For it is stunningly, stunningly good.” —Toronto Star

“By the end I was a gasping, tearful mess.” —Miranda July, a …

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Thunder Through My Veins

Thunder Through My Veins

A Memoir
edition:Paperback

Gregory Scofield's Thunder Through My Veins is the heartbreakingly beautiful memoir of one man's journey toward self-discovery, acceptance, and the healing power of art.

Few people can justify a memoir at the age of thirty-three. Gregory Scofield is the exception, a young man who has inhabited several lives in the time most of us can manage only one. Born into a Métis family of Cree, Scottish, English and French descent but never told of his heritage, Gregory knew he was different. His father d …

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