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The Recommend: RomComs, Mysteries, Shoe Sellers, and Icons of CanLit

Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This week we're pleased to present the picks of writers Ian Colford (A Dark House and Other Stories), Ariela Freedman (A Joy to Be Hidden), Farah Heron (The Chai Factor), Sky Curtis (Traps), Heidi L.M. Jacobs (Molly of the Mall), and Denis Coupal (Blindshot).

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Ian Colford recommends Alison Watt's Dazzle Patterns

Dazzle Patterns is a quietly seductive novel, set at the time of the Halifax Explosion, which took place on the morning of December 6, 1917. Clare Holmes, a young woman employed in the glassworks, is injured when a window is blown apart by the blast. Fred Baker, a co-worker, takes Clare to the hospital. Clare, alone in the city, longs for her fiancé, Leo, who is fighting in France. But as the war drags on, Clare and Fred frequently find themselves in each other’s company and are taken by surprise when a trusting intimacy springs up between them. Alison Watt, a professional artist, brings her interest in the visual experience to her debut novel. The writing …

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Ariela Freedman: Jewish Canadian Fiction

Ariela Freedman's first novel, Arabic for Beginners, was shortlisted for the QWF Concordia University First Book Prize and is the Winner of the 2018 J. I. Segal Prize for Fiction. Her second novel is A Joy to be Hidden, set in New York City during the 1990s. It's about a young woman who uncovers a family secret while sorting through her grandmother's belongings after the death of her father. 

Her recommended reading list features other great books by Jewish Canadian writers. 

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Book Cover Dangling Man

Dangling Man, by Saul Bellow

Do Canadians get to claim Saul Bellow? Bellow was born in Lachine, a Montreal suburb, in 1915 and lived in Montreal until 1924. His childhood home shows up in his first novel as “a slum between a market and a hospital…And the pungency and staleness of its stores and cellars, the dogs, the boys, the French and immigrant woman, the beggars with sores and deformities whose like I was not to meet again until I was old enough to read of Villon’s Paris, the very breezes in the narrow course of that street have remained so clear to me that I sometim …

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