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Caught in the Tractor Beam of Home

Greg Rhyno's debut novel, To Me You Seem Giant, moves between two decades: the 1990s in which Pete Curtis is dreaming rock and roll dreams and of finally escaping his hometown, and ten years later when he's still there teaching high school while his best friend is a bonafide rockstar. His protagonist, writes Rhyno, as well as characters in the books he's selected for this recommended reading list, are not so much outsiders as "caught in the tractor beam of home." 

***** 

The Milk Chicken Bomb, by Andrew Wedderburn

A former student of mine left this book on my desk one day. The same kid had introduced me to Mitch Hedburg a few years earlier, so I figured I could trust his instincts. I was glad I did. Wedderburn’s prose has a quiet inventiveness that belies the story’s heart and intrigue. He baits us with cool and then clocks us with sincerity. The novel’s narrator is a heartbreakingly lonely and resilient ten-year-old, and the rural Alberta world he inhabits is coloured by local weirdnesses and his own eccentric fabrications. Like its namesake,The …

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The Recommend: September 2017

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 writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This month we're pleased to present the picks of Greg Rhyno (To Me You Seem Giant), Pamela Mordecai (Red Jacket), Alix Hawley (All True Not a Lie In It), and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer (All the Broken Things).

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Greg Rhyno recommends Andrew Hood's The Cloaca

Andrew Hood has written a pile of great stuff including book reviews, essays, and a biography on Guelph lo-fi legend Jim Guthrie. But for my money, Hood’s primary talent lies within his ability to birth a killer short story.  His second collection of these slimy diamonds is The Cloaca, appropriately named after the orifice where everything bad comes out of a bird. The stories in this book are messy, cathartic, and hilarious.   

The narrator in “Manning” spars with a deformed man-child over a rookie baseball card. In “Beginners,” a woman’s martial arts dreams are dashed when her sensei keeps looking down her karategi. The smell of a used diaper in “I’m Sorry and Thank You” reminds the main character of things he …

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