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2021 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Shortlists

By 49thShelf
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The 2021 shortlist comprises six books from each category, selected by Kobo’s team of expert booksellers, and now three bestselling Canadian author judges have the difficult task of choosing the winners: Kamal Al-Solaylee for Nonfiction, Jennifer Robson for Literary Fiction, and Amy Stuart for Mystery.
The Skin We're In

The Skin We're In

A Year of Black Resistance and Power
edition:Hardcover

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2020 TORONTO BOOK AWARD
A bracing, provocative, and perspective-shifting book from one of Canada's most celebrated and uncompromising writers, Desmond Cole. The Skin We're In will spark a national conversation, influence policy, and inspire activists.

In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial pra …

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Missing from the Village

Missing from the Village

The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto's Queer Community
edition:Hardcover

The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men--the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur--from Toronto's queer community.

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men--Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan--from Toronto's gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as "open but suspended." By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retr …

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Excerpt

 
Ottawa is quiet in the summer. Though it is normally a vibrat­ing hive of journalists, politicians, and staffers, the city settles in the doldrums of summer. Legislators empty the nation’s capital around June, migrating back to their home ridings, to see and be seen with constituents at barbecues and block parties. Staffers take long-awaited vacations or hole up in air-conditioned offices to prepare war plans. Reporters, who usually scramble about to chase down government ministers through the ornate stone hall­ways of Parliament, relish the tranquillity and spend the summer trying to catch up on forgotten work and passion projects.

But this year—2015—there’s an election underway, which many expect would set Ottawa alight. Not so. Unlike American races, Canadian elections don’t generally last for more than a month and a half. Election day, now, is still five months away, meaning the pacing is absolutely glacial. There’s also some conventional wisdom: the best place in the country to be if you want to avoid poli­tics during an election is Ottawa. My title says I’m Parliamentary Reporter for VICE News, but there’s not much politics to be reporting on.

So on a languid, humid Thursday in July, I swivel in my chair. I stare out at the grey cubicles that line my office space, on the third floor of the capital’s Parliament buildings. My desk is the one closest to the window, on the aisle second from the left. The sur­rounding desks look more or less as mine does—piled high with papers, books, newspapers. The room is tucked off a long marble hallway. A few doors down, to the left, is the well-adorned Senate chamber. To the right, farther down the hall, is the House of Commons. The well-placed office space is set aside for reporters in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. It’s commonly referred to as the Hot Room, a name inherited from a time when the building was so replete with journalists that you’d have to loosen your tie and dab the sweat off your brow. It was so packed that tables had to be set up in the hallway to accommodate the reporters.

On this summer day, it is anything but packed. Hot, though, it is. I’m practically hugging the air conditioner next to my desk. I zone out, my gaze focusing somewhere beyond the yellowing framed photos of political journalists who worked here decades before, out through the tall windows, overlooking the waterfall that feeds into the Ottawa River.

With the political world hibernating, I’m racking my brain for a new project.

And then, a thought jumps into my head. It’s a sudden shock, like being jolted awake at night with the sudden realization you’ve left the oven on. I can picture the headline, one I saw years prior. A story about men who had been disappeared from the Gay Village in Toronto.

On this quiet afternoon, I grope around in the dark, trying to recall details. All three were brown-skinned, right? They were in the closet—or, maybe not all of them. Were they last seen at the Black Eagle?

I can see the outlines of three portraits of the men. Brown-skinned. Bearded. Middle-aged. But the portraits are a little too far away, and it’s a little too dark, to really make out their faces. But I can tell just how similar all three looked. I remember a gut feeling, from when I read that story: serial killer.

I snap back to reality and open up the best memory aid for our collective psyche: Google. I try some vague search terms—missing men Toronto. Too broad. Missing gay men. Still too broad. Missing men Toronto Gay Village.

The second hit is the story I’m thinking of. “Piecing together the story of three missing men from Toronto’s gay village,” the head­line reads. June 8, 2013. It’s on Xtra, Canada’s main gay news outlet. Underneath the main photo is the smiling face of Andrea Houston. Her bright pink hair matches the brilliant rose hue of the website’s banner. I wrote for Xtra for years and got to know Andrea very well.

More details are emerging about three missing men who vanished from the Church-Wellesley Village.

Toronto Police Service investigators say the three missing-persons cases are connected through “similar ethnicities.” Detective Deb Harris, who is leading the investigation, says the three men were not all openly gay. “They frequented the Church and Wellesley area and lived similar lifestyles.”

That word, lifestyle, always makes me cringe when it’s applied to queer folk. As though it were describing a love for crochet or Caribbean cruises. It strikes me that collapsing such a core part of some­one’s identity into a signifier as fleeting as a lifestyle also robs police and the public of a vital piece of the picture. A detail that could help tie cases together and expose trends.

But here were the personal details of all three men. Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam: Last seen, September 6, 2010. Abdulbasir  “Basir” Faizi: Last seen, December 29, 2010. Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan: Last seen, October 14, 2012.

Skanda “left a new puppy,” a police spokesperson said. Basir had called his wife to say “I’m coming home late tonight,” his sister reported. Hamid “just disappeared off the face of the Earth,” recalled a drinking buddy.

I hit Back and scroll through the search results again, reading through a dozen other news stories.

Navaratnam was last seen leaving a bar on Church Street. . . .

Faizi’s car was found in the Leaside neighbourhood. . . .

Kayhan was last seen at a family wedding. . . .

Those stories are all from 2013.

I start poring over the stories: had police made an arrest?

In the two years since, there has been almost nothing. No tri­umphant police press conference, announcing they had caught a serial killer. Alternatively, no quiet announcement that any of the three men had been found.

A local newspaper in Mississauga, near where Basir lived, fol­lowed up on his story in 2015 reiterating his family’s plea to see Basir come home. The South Bayview Bulldog, a community paper serving the Leaside neighbourhood, published a story some months later, wondering why Basir’s car had wound up where it did. No other media—not one of Canada’s major newspapers or television stations—had revisited the incredibly troubling story of the missing men. Nor would they, until years later.

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Field Notes from a Pandemic

Field Notes from a Pandemic

A Journey Through a World Suspended
edition:Paperback

A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of 2020
 
In a book equal parts travelogue and pandemic guide, the journalist Ethan Lou examines the societal effects of COVID-19 and takes us on a mesmerizing journey around a world that will never be the same.

Visiting Beijing in January 2020 to see his dying grandfather, the Canadian journalist Ethan Lou unknowingly walks into a state under siege. In his journey out of China and—unwittingly—into other hot zones in Asia and Europe, he finds himself witnes …

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They Said This Would Be Fun

They Said This Would Be Fun

Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
A powerful, moving memoir about what it's like to be a student of colour on a predominantly white campus.

A booksmart kid from Toronto, Eternity Martis was excited to move away to Western University for her undergraduate degree. But as one of the few Black students there, she soon discovered that the campus experiences she'd seen in movies were far more complex in reality. Over the next four years, Eternity learned more about what someone like her brought out in other people t …

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Excerpt

Introduction

As I launched out the window of an inflatable bouncy castle, into the warm autumn air and then the mud below, the only thought undiluted by copious amounts of alcohol was: This is what freedom feels like.

It was Saturday, the last night of Orientation Week, and hundreds of first-years were coming together to celebrate on University College Hill, a giant grassy quad on campus. Western University was known for having the most epic frosh week in Canada, especially on the last night, when a B-list Canadian band always played. This year, it was Down With Webster. Sex with Sue, the infamous old lady who we watched after-hours on tv while our parents slept, would show us how to put on condoms, and loud music would play all night alongside carnival games, corporate sponsors and their free grub, and bouncy castles.

A week ago, I had been sobbing in the basement of the house where I grew up, clutching my high school boyfriend’s tear- and snot-stained shirt and cursing myself for thinking I could handle moving away from home. I cried the whole way to London, past the small cities I had never heard of and the luscious Green Belt. I cried as I walked up to my new room in Medway-Sydenham Hall and looked at the small space, crammed with two twin beds and two desks, that my best friend Taz and I would be sharing. I cried as I unpacked boxes, as I put my mattress protector on, as I wiped down empty drawers, as I unloaded my underwear from the vacuum-sealed bag and folded them neatly. I cried as I closed the drawer. I cried when I realized there were no other brown-skinned girls on our floor besides us. I cried so much that my floormates and their parents were calling me “the crying girl.”

The welcome package had given us tips on how to pack, but it didn’t specify how much we needed to bring. My family didn’t know either—I was the first and only one to go to a Canadian university—so I brought every bra I owned, every spare sock, pair of shoes, and picture frame from my bedroom. It took twice as many sophs, the volunteer students who help first-years adjust to student life, to haul my stuff up to the third floor and make it fit into the shared fifteen-by-twelve-foot space. At one point, they lost the bag full of my pants and I was inconsolable, thinking that I’d have to walk around pantless because nobody would sell fashionable bottoms in a place nicknamed “Forest City.”

When I had told people back home that I was going to Western in the fall, they had similar comments: It’s the best school. It’s a party school. It’s a white school—why would you go there? Their eyes widened and they’d lean in, whispering as if they were afraid of someone hearing, and say that London was notoriously white, Christian, and conservative. They told me cautionary tales of family and friends transferring out of the school after years of microaggressions and racial harassment on and off campus. “Don’t worry though,” they’d say with a smile. “You’ll have fun.”

It had never occurred to me that other cities in Ontario wouldn’t be as welcoming as the one where I’d grown up. In Toronto, there was always a mix of various ethnicities—Chinese, German, Filipino, Trinidadian, Somali, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Jamaican, Guyanese. You can find numerous types of cuisine, schools, and places of worship on any given block. All around, people look like you and look unlike you and it’s nothing to fuss about.

But listening to people’s concerns, it was like I had chosen the Alabama of Canada to spend the next few years of my life in. It wasn’t that my hometown was exempt from racism—I knew which department stores would send their white employees following after me like a criminal, and I understood the intentions of the police when my peers would get stopped on their way home from playing basketball. But I was sheltered; I hadn’t gotten a complete picture of what it meant to be a Black girl at home before I left to become a Black woman in London. I wondered if I could form my own identity surrounded by white kids wearing Hunter boots and Canada Goose jackets. I worried I could be alienated for being “too Black.” I was even more worried about losing myself and being called “too white” when I got back home.

But people in London were friendly. They smiled as you passed by. Strangers said good morning. Everyone talked to me—the women in line at the grocery store; the people sitting next to me at a restaurant; the students also waiting an unacceptably long time for the bus. But many of our conversations ended up diverting into race. We don’t get a lot of Black people here. London has become very progressive in the last few years. My God, Black people are just so funny. Where are you from? No, no no, like where did you originally come from? Ethiopia? Kenya? Zimbabwe? Africa? As the months and years went on, these seemingly innocuous comments became more ignorant, and at times, malicious.

From the ages of eighteen to twenty-two, I learned more about what someone like me brought out in other people than about who I was. I didn’t even get a chance to know myself before I had to fight for myself.

In the four years I spent in London, Ontario, for my undergraduate degree, I was called Ebony, Dark Chocolate, Shaniqua, Ma, and Boo. I encountered Blackface on Halloween and was told to go back to my country on several occasions. I was humiliated by guys shouting, “Look at that black ass!” as I walked down a busy street. I was an ethnic conquest for curious white men, and the token Black friend for white women. I was called a Black bitch and a nigger. I was asked by white friends desperately trying to rap every song off Yeezus if it was okay to use nigga around me. I was verbally assaulted and came close to being physically attacked by angry men. I came face-to-face with a white supremacist. I was asked if I spoke English and whether I was adjusting to Canadian winters. When I told people I was born in Canada, they’d impatiently badger me with, “But where are you really from?”

These encounters were about how I was perceived, not who I actually was—someone always in between worlds: a Canadian-born girl with two immigrant parents; a multiracial woman with Black features in a family of brown people; a daughter raised by a working-class mother and middle-class grandparents; the only baby born out of wedlock in a family all conceived after marriage; an only child with at least seven half-siblings; an astrology-lover born right on the cusp of Taurus and Gemini.

I have lived in the squishy middle all my life, at the margins of binaries—an experience that has made me as independent as I am lonely.

I felt trapped by these categories, whose walls felt so high that I might never get out. I wondered what kind of person I was outside those confines, and university seemed like a good place to start solidifying the pieces of myself that I felt I couldn’t explore back home.

A few things did solidify about my identity while I was there: I was Black, I was a woman, and I was out of place. I didn’t identify as Black until I got to London. This is common among people who come to Canada from countries with diverse ethnic communities, or who grew up in a mixed family where identity wasn’t discussed. I wasn’t ignorant to my own appearance; I definitely didn’t pass as white, and there was no way I looked brown. At home, being a racial minority meant you belonged somewhere. In London, it was a marker of exclusion and difference, and you were squeezed into a category—Black, White, Asian, Brown—that became a way to navigate and survive the environment.

My maternal grandparents, who raised me for the first half of my life, faced racism themselves when they arrived in Toronto from Karachi, Pakistan, in the early 1970s. But they didn’t know what to make of my claims of anti-Black racism. We never spoke about my father, a Jamaican man, who was absent, or what his ethnicity meant for my own identity. My family was shocked to hear me call myself Black, and even more shocked at the stories I told, despite police-reported hate crimes across the country soaring the year before I went to Western, and London having one of the highest rates of all Ontario metropolises. It was 2010, and we were only starting to get to a place where advocacy journalism and personal essays extensively covered these problems. Modern Black writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Kiese Laymon, Morgan Jerkins, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Ijeoma Oluohad yet to get the recognition they deserved—or even to write their stories. I had few examples to prove racism was a common occurrence and not an isolated experience.

My family thought that perhaps I was exaggerating. That I had developed a new, somewhat militant eye for race issues. Plus, I was so angry these days—maybe my irritability, they gently offered, was causing me to misunderstand people’s intentions.

Of course I was angry. Instead of focusing on classes and adjusting to my new life as a student, everything had become about the skin I was in. I became a survivor of both inter-partner violence and sexual assault, and had to fight stereotypes about not being the perfect victim. Anger and fear were so etched in my body that I often felt I had no control over myself. Why could people take their anger out on me, but mine was irrational?

I internalized people’s doubts about my experiences. I grew stressed, anxious, and depressed, coping with food, alcohol, and partying. In public, I devised exit plans in case I was harassed. Everywhere I went, even in my own home, I felt a constant, electrifying pressure in the air, as if violence could erupt at any moment.

I kept a record of all the instances where I had been the target of discrimination, harassment, and microaggressions, scribbling them down on pieces of paper—notes to myself, away to make sense of what was happening. At school, I naturally gravitated towards students of colour who were having similar experiences. Some couldn’t make it, even with our support system, and they dropped out or transferred schools. I decided to stay, weighing up the discomforts of starting over someplace new and the discomfort I was already familiar with. I accepted the emotional cost of this decision.

The year after I graduated from Western, I wrote a reported personal essay for Vice Canada, titled “London, Ontario, Was a Racist Asshole to Me.” I interviewed current students, city councillors and locals. The essay sparked heated discussions in homes, in city council, and in universities, and is still a point of reference for media when discussing race-related issues such as carding, the illegal police procedure of randomly stopping people of colour and collecting information.

I received hundreds of messages from people who read the article. Londoners promised to be better allies. People who had witnessed the racial harassment of friends asked for advice on how to intervene. Older folks recalled their experiences from decades ago, saying things hadn’t changed. People of colour of all ages and backgrounds shared their own stories.

Londoners confessed secrets about the tricks their bosses used to keep Black people out of their establishments. Women and LGBTQ2S+ people told me about their own horrible experiences, from verbal slurs to physical assault, especially in nightclubs. Former residents of London told me they’d left because the racism was so bad. Current inhabitants told me that they were afraid for their lives.

Most of all, students attending other post-secondary schools in Canada shared their experiences and concerns, many of which mirrored my own. And high school students messaged me, worried about which colleges and universities were racially tolerant. In the years following the article’s publication, I’ve met students of colour around the world who’ve told me stories of the racism and isolation they experienced while attending university in the U.K., Australia, and the U.S.

To be clear, this isn’t just a Western University problem. Here in Canada, we have nearly one hundred universities and even more colleges, and yet there’s no evidence that we collect race-based data on students, so it’s impossible to know how many are visible minorities and what their needs and challenges are. There is also no unified, formal policy across schools on dealing with racism. Many students don’t report incidents because they fear they won’t be believed.

When our experiences are treated like they don’t matter, we learn to deal with them ourselves, especially when the institutions where we spend the first years of adulthood aren’t equipped to support us. But young people in post-secondary institutions today are up against a host of serious, life-changing issues. 

In Canada, university-age young women face the highest rates of sexual assault and inter-partner violence in the country, and are stalked, cyberstalked, and harassed more than any other age group. Carding disproportionately affects young Black and Indigenous men. Young people living with a shaky socio-economic status are pressured to get a degree, and both have been linked to an increase in mental health issues. Racism and discrimination have devastating physical and mental health effects on students, which is linked to poor academic performance and dropout rates. And we are experiencing all of this while navigating the school system. Before our brains have even finished developing. Before we even get to know who we are.

So yes, our experiences matter. This shit is actually happening right now to our young people.

On top of all that, students of colour are living and studying during a time when the far right is using universities to its own advantage. Endless stories have made the news: white pride groups putting out pro-white flyers on campuses; white nationalists using university spaces to spew anti-immigration, anti-LGBTQ2S+, anti-woman hate under the guise of free speech; hate groups trying to convert young, angry men into joining their cause. All this coverage highlights white supremacy, not the students living under it.

We promise students that university will be the time of their lives, that they will come to know themselves, that it will be fun. But for many of us, the whole university experience—the independence, parties, exploration, sex, wild nights—may not be possible. Not when we may deal with racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and assault—physical and sexual—from our peers and people around us. This perceived utopia can also be unbearable and unsafe. 

I wrote this book to bring attention to what is happening inside our schools. For years, I’ve collected these moments, trying to find the right format—a play, a blog, a novel—but nothing seemed more fitting than a memoir. I’ve used my own experiences, as well as examples from across Canadian universities, to illustrate that this is a nationwide issue that demands attention.

Thanks to the generosity and selflessness of my grandfather, I’ve had the privilege of going to university, an opportunity and luxury I know many do not have. I hope to put this privilege to good use here, by illuminating the not-so-secretlives of university students: the messy, complicated, exciting but harrowing experience of what it’s like to be a student and woman of colour today.

Nothing in this book is sugar-coated for you. It’s raw. It’s glaring. It’s imperfect, as is real life. I did not make all the right decisions, or all the smart ones, and I’ve made peace with that. I have done my absolute best to recall everything as accurately as I can. At times, this book is distressing, and at other times you will laugh. Some events may bring back painful memories of your own.

I have chosen not to hold back because, for so long, young people have been infantilized and shamed for talking about the things that affect us. We’re told we haven’t worked long enough, lived long enough, been through enough to have our own pain validated. I hope this book will be an urgent reminder that dismissing the experiences of young people today will have serious, permanent implications for our entire society.

Finally, this book is for anyone, past or present, who has struggled to make sense of their post-secondary experiences. For those of you who feel alone and unheard. For those of you who want to learn more, and for those of you who courageously speak up and tell your stories, even in the face of denial and harassment. And this book is especially for those of you who came out at the other end, broken but not beat, resilient but still soft. 

I see you.

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Dead Mom Walking

Dead Mom Walking

A Memoir of Miracle Cures and Other Disasters
edition:Paperback

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
SHORTLISTED for the 2021 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
"A comedy for catastrophic times." --CBC
"A hilarious memoir of effervescent misadventures." --Toronto Star
"How am I laughing at someone's mother's cancer? How? We think we can't laugh about death, about cancer, about our mothers and their suffering . . . and we can't, but we can. And there's so much relief in that." --Carolyn Taylor, BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW
A traumedy about life and death (and every cosmic joke in between …

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Excerpt

I was lying on a buffalo skin rug, high on ayahuasca. My thoughts were going deep: Why can’t she just get the damn surgery? How long will she keep this up for? What exactly did she mean by the “quantum plane”? I waited expectantly for access to a higher realm — and maybe some insight into my mom’s magical thinking. Suddenly my face felt wet. I opened my eyes. The shaman was standing over me, flicking Peruvian flower water on my head, chanting “Sha-na-na-na-na-na-na.”

Doing drugs was not my idea. I prefer to keep my visions 20/20. But what do you say when your sixty-seven-year-old mother asks you to go to the woods with her to take hallucinogens? To be clear, Mom was never the acid-droppin’ hippie type. She was more of a New Age junkie, always on the lookout for a new fix. And now the stakes had never been higher: she’d been diagnosed with cancer and was trying every potion under the sun — except for chemo.

As part of her alternative healing journey, Mom had decided to attend an overnight ayahuasca ceremony in the countryside an hour north of Toronto. The psychoactive plant remedy, used by Indigenous peoples in the Amazon for centuries, had become all the rage among Western spiritual seekers. Made from the vine and leaves of two separate plants and consumed as a molasses-like tea, ayahuasca’s effects are said to be cleansing and transformative. It’s been used to help overcome depression, anxiety, addiction, and many other conditions. “People say it’s like thirty years of psychotherapy in one night,” Mom boasted. That’s supposed to sound appealing?

Unsure of what to expect, Mom had asked me to come along. “It would be nice to have you there for support,” she’d said. “And maybe you’ll have your own spiritual awakening.” Spiritual awakening? My spirit likes to hit the snooze button and hates leaving downtown. But I loved my mom, and if she was going to experiment with drugs I’d rather be there to keep an eye on her. At the very least it would be a mother-daughter trip to remember (if only in flashbacks).

We arrived at a log house, where the shaman greeted us with the kind of deep, meaningful hugs that last way too long. He was a very friendly white guy in his mid-fifties who introduced himself by his Peruvian medicine-man name (I imagine his real name was something like Jerry Goldstein). Mom and I said hello to the few other participants, who were already huddled around in the living room. We found some floor space on the rug and rolled out our sleeping bags so that our feet faced the fireplace-turned-altar, adorned with feathers, crystals, and antlers.

Then, to my horror, the shaman proceeded to hand out large empty yogurt containers because, as he explained, it’s common to “purge” when you take the “medicine.” Apparently I was the only one not aware of this fun fact. But it was too late — the psychedelic slumber party had begun. The shaman blessed the ayahuasca and, one by one, we were invited to sit at the altar and do a shot. When it was my turn I gulped back the bitter brew and headed back to my cocoon, where I chased it down with some orange Vitaminwater. With notes of rancid coffee, rusted metal, and jungle rot, it wasn’t a mystery why they called ayahuasca “the vine of death.”

Now, going into this, I’d thought the shaman would just be on hand, like if I had any questions or wasn’t feeling well. But no, this ceremony was intimate and interactive. As we started our trips he began making his rounds, each time with a different act. First, he waved a fan made of feathers in my face. Next, he shook dried leaves around my body. Then he blew tobacco smoke into my sleeping bag. Um, thanks?

By the time I was being baptized with flower water, I figured things couldn’t get any worse. Then my stomach began to rumble. I absolutely hate throwing up, so I was determined to keep the poison down, even as my tummy churned like a washing machine. However, I discovered that if there’s one thing I hate more than throwing up, it’s hearing a room full of people — including my own mother — violently puking their guts out into yogurt containers. It was a sober vision of pure hell.

By about 4:00 a.m., the hope of sleep putting me out of my misery was all but lost. “It’s music time!” someone announced. I braced myself as a long-haired hippie dude picked up a guitar and began to serenade us. “Free, free, like a dolphin in the sea,” he sang repeatedly. He obviously hadn’t seen The Cove.

If ayahuasca was bringing any clarity to my life, it was that saving Mom would have to wait for another day (and that I should never leave home without earplugs). I glanced over at her. She was adorable, all strung out, swaddled in her sleeping bag. Is this how she used to look at me when I was a baby?

I was feeling restless. I wondered if it would be rude if I excused myself to go watch TV in the bedroom. Maybe I could play Scrabble on my phone? There was really no way out. So I went back to the altar and downed another shot.

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Finding Murph

Finding Murph

How Joe Murphy Went From Winning a Championship to Living Homeless in the Bush
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback

JOE MURPHY HAD IT ALL. In 1986, he became the first college-educated hockey player selected first overall in the NHL entry draft. He won a Stanley Cup in Edmonton four years later. But since then, his life has taken a tragic turn, largely due to the untreated brain injuries he suffered as a player.

Murphy’s life didn’t begin on a track that would lead to homelessness. He was smart, dedicated to hockey and was a key player for the Oilers, Red Wings and Blackhawks, among other teams. But one vi …

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Five Little Indians

Five Little Indians

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Paperback

WINNER: Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

WINNER: Amazon First Novel Awards

Finalist: Scotiabank Giller Prize

Finalist: Atwood Gibson Writers Trust Prize

Finalist: BC & Yukon Book Prize

Shortlist: Indigenous Voices Awards

Finalist: Kobo Emerging Author Prize

National Bestseller; A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year; A CBC Best Book of the Year; An Apple Best Book of the Year; A Kobo Best Book of the Year; An Indigo Best Book of the Year

Taken from their families when they are very sma …

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When We Were Vikings

When We Were Vikings

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook Audiobook

Indie Next Pick for February 2020
Book of the Month January 2020
LibraryReads January 2020 Pick
Bookreporter New Release Spotlight
New York Post “Best Books of the Week”
Goodreads “January’s Most Anticipated New Books”
The Saturday Evening Post “10 Books for the New Year”
PopSugar “Best Books in January”
Book Riot Best Winter New Releases
“Zelda is a marvel, a living, breathing three-dimensional character with a voice so distinctive she leaps off the page.” —The New York …

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