Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


The Recommend: April 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 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 Joanna Lilley (If There Were Roads); Matt Murphy (A Beckoning War), Robert McGill (Once We Had a Country); Samantha Rideout (The People Who Stay); and Sheree Fitch (If You Could Wear My Sneakers, plus two dozen or so other books!).


Joanna Lilley recommends Karen Enns’ Ordinary Hours

If you find poetry intimidating or just don’t think it’s for you, try sitting at the kitchen table with a copy of Karen Enns’ collection, Ordinary Hours. Enns writes as if she’s sitting at the table with you, her hands around a mug of tea, glancing every now and then through the window into the garden as she tells you about her day and asks you about yours.
I used to be daunted by poetry—both reading and writing it. I think Enns’ poems are the sort of poetry I was always looking for. She writes about everyday life: rain and wrens, memory and wonder. She confronts the realization some of us can have that we really have no id …

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Great Families in CanLit

Don't you love escaping into a book where brothers, sisters, moms, and dads—not to mention freaky aunties and uncs—are crazier than yours? Where they fight more, philander more, commit more crimes, get sadder, and have their hearts broken even more than than you do? The best families in literature are wonderful because they are somehow utterly familiar—but strange enough—and thus cathartic. Here are a few greats. Of course there are many more (Larry's Party anyone? Fall on Your Knees?) so we want to hear suggestions from you. Tweet us @49thShelf with the hashtag #CanLitFamilies.


The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews

“Toews’s writing is a unique collision of sadness and humour. . . . The Flying Troutmans is a dark story but it is also a never-ending series of hilarious adventures.”—Ottawa Citizen

Days after being dumped by her boyfriend Marc in Paris—"he was heading off to an ashram and said we could communicate telepathically" —Hattie hears her sister Min has been checked into a psychiatric hospital, and finds herself flying back to Winnipeg to take care of Thebes and Logan, her niece and nephew. Not knowing what else to do, she loads the kids, a cooler, and a pile of CDs into their van and they set out on a road trip in search of the childre …

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