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On Our Radar: Internet Trolls, Black Histories, Mental Illness, and Hawaiian Shirts

"Each story holds a mirror to the sociology of now."

Wave Forms and Doom Scrolls, by Daniel Scott Tysdal

Reviewed by Lisa de Nikolits on Goodreads

About the book: In this heart-twisting collection of short stories, Daniel Scott Tysdal delves deep into the human experience. From the middle-aged man involved in a suicide cult to the young woman trying to write a poem for a friend who has recently died, to the daughter of a man who loses everything on a theme park, these stories are filled with beautifully drawn and often profoundly flawed characters. Throughout the collection, Tysdal looks unflinchingly at the darkness of society, at suicide, at internet trolls, at violence, but the powerful empathy of his writing brings significance to even the most tragic moments. These stories have intricate and unexpected plots, filmic descriptions and crisp writing, but what will stay with the reader is the way Wave Forms and Doom Scrolls breaks the reader's heart and then puts it back together again filled with compassion for these lost souls.

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"But she clarifies that her lectures are not rooted in stories of Black hardship."

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On Our Radar: Dancing Chickens, Pregnancy Loss, Powerful Poetry, and Pandemic Days

"Dumont employs her signature razor-sharp wit and impeccable comedic timing to this wildly entertaining novel."

The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour, by Dawn Dumont

Recommended by Iron Dog Books' Hilary Atleo at CBC British Columbia

About the book: The hilarious story of an unlikely group of Indigenous dancers who find themselves thrown together on a performance tour of Europe

The Tour is all prepared. The Prairie Chicken dance troupe is all set for a fifteen-day trek through Europe, performing at festivals and cultural events. But then the performers all come down with the flu. And John Greyeyes, a retired cowboy who hasn't danced in fifteen years, finds himself abruptly thrust into the position of leading a hastily-assembled group of replacement dancers.

A group of expert dancers they are not. There's a middle-aged woman with advanced arthritis, her nineteen-year-old niece who is far more interested in flirtations than pow-wow, and an enigmatic man from the U.S.—all being chased by Nadine, the organizer of the original tour who is determined to be a part of the action, and the handsome man she picked up in a gas-station bathroom. They're all looking to John, who has never left the continent, to guide them through a world that he knows nothing about. As the gang makes it …

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On Our Radar: Style, Represention, and In Praise of Retreat

On Our Radar features books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

**

Heaven No Hell, by Michael DeForge 

Reviewed in Comics Bookcase by Zack Quaintance

"I don’t keep a ranking or anything, but Heaven No Hell by Michael DeForge may be the comic or graphic novel that has made me laugh aloud the most this year. And that’s not an easy thing to do, especially not when also operating with Heaven No Hell’s high level of wit, poignancy, and depiction of how it feels to just live right now on this planet as a human today.

This isn’t a book trafficking in cheap fourth-wall breaks of instantly-dated pop culture references. No, this is a smart and moving work. It’s all in here—an excess of heart and thoughtfulness—between a rare sense of humor that made me laugh as much (if not more) than any work I’ve encountered of late in comics or any other medium."

"

[Michael DeForge] is a comic creator who is lighting the way for a new generation.

"

Ontario Pi …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" features books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

****

"...the pleasure and potency inherent in this lovely novel."

All That Belongs, by Dora Dueck

Reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press, by Karen Chisvin

Most of the discoveries Catherine makes on her pilgrimage confirm what she has already known or always remembered... There is not a lot of excitement or poignancy in these discoveries, but that does not diminish the pleasure or potency inherent in this lovely novel. It is, after all, much more than a story about digging up and coming to terms with one’s past, and even more than a story about the lingering effects of trauma and pain, and grief and guilt.

Read the Review

*

"Cities are spaces in which new and better worlds can be imagined."

Feminist City, by Leslie Kern

Reviewed in the Hamilton Review of Books by Sue Ferguson

This world isn’t built for women, literally. Our cities are designed and built in ways that perpetuate and accent w …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

****

Lands and Forests, by Andrew Forbes

Featured as part of Short Story Month at All Lit Up: 

I love what [the short story] is not. It’s not a novel. It’s not poetry. It’s something beautiful and defiantly self-contained and malleable. It requires attention and awareness, and it rewards with arresting insight. It’s an uncomfortably personal conversation with a stranger, made bearable and occasionally joyful by the awareness that when it’s over you’ll never speak to one another again. It’s an incredibly varied form, practiced by a cross-section of humanity, producing wildly divergent examples so unalike that they strain the margins and test the definition of “form,” but all such producers in agreement that to practice it is akin to pledging adherence to a secret sect.

Read the whole thing here. 

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Nitinikiau Innusi/ I Kee …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

*****

Crow, by Amy Spurway

Profiled by Erin Pottie at the Cape Breton Post 

“I freaked out because all of a sudden my own mortality just kind of clubbed me over the head and I thought I might not live forever,” [Spurway] said.

“I have to figure out a way to make peace with that and deal with that. And I knew I had to do it in writing. And I knew fiction was how I had to do it.”

(Read the whole thing here.) 

*

Through, Not Around: Stories of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss, edited by Allison McDonald Ace; Ariel Ng Bourbonnais & Caroline Starr

Essay "Why I Don't Call My Child a Miracle," by Teri Vlassopoulos, excerpted at Catapult

It’s difficult deciding where to begin and then draw the line with fertility treatments. At the beginning, you tell yourself, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. You imagine your life without a baby …

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On Our Radar

tagged: on our radar

"On Our Radar" is a 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

*****

Hummingbird, by Devin Krukoff

Reviewed at Consumed By Ink

Hummingbird reminded me of Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill. I thought I knew what was going on until I realized I didn’t. And from that point on, I questioned everything I read (I was as confounded as Felix). If you don’t like being confused or not knowing how things stand in your fiction, you might want to avoid this book. But, for me, it was a pleasure.

Read the whole review here

*

Claws of the Panda, by Jonathan Manthorpe

Opinion piece at The Toronto Star: 

So it was not until two years ago that I saw I had the full picture, and felt confident enough to sit down and write the outline for what has become my book, Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.

What is astonishing is that just as the book was completed, the story of Meng Wanzho …

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On Our Radar

tagged: on our radar

In this series, we highlight new and recent books with buzz. 

*****

The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes, by Bridget Canning (Fiction)

Longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award for 2019: 

"Hurling a can of coconut milk at a gunman in a grocery store, thrusts Wanda Jaynes into the media spotlight. Her world spirals out of control as her job is made redundant, her love life gets frayed and the tension of being a heroine changes everything. How do you cope when the world is watching your every move?" (Librarian's comments)

*

Refuse: CanLit in Ruins, edited by Hannah McGregor, Julie Rak, and Erin Wunker (Nonfiction)

Reviewed by Alex Good in the Toronto Star: 

"Whether you agree or disagree, Refuse is an important collection of immediate responses to this fracturing. Important because, whether it’s being taught in the classroom or making news headlines, the debate over these matters is now so loud it’s no longer possible to ignore the calls for change."

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

*****

Paper Teeth, by Lauralynn Chow

Reviewed by Melwyk at The Industrious Reader:

"I found it really absorbing reading; Chow has a unique story to tell, even with the reliance on the kind of family stories we might expect to see in short fiction. Her characters develop more complexity as you read, and see them in different situations and at different ages.

Her narrative style is also quite fascinating—she has a habit of adding in parenthetical afterthoughts or commentary, often ironic and/or funny, often a judgement made by an older narrator/writer. It's very entertaining, and I found that particular habit intriguing. I really liked this book. There was good writing and lots of great imagery, as well as things happening—not just vague or open ended stories about emotional exploration of the self."

Read the whole review here

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Journey Through …

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On Our Radar

tagged: on our radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

*****

Glass Beads, by Dawn Dumont

Reviewed by J.S. Sutcliffe at Quill and Quire

Although Glass Beads is billed as a collection of short stories, it works excellently as a panoramic, polyphonic Bildungsroman, following the lives of four Indigenous friends from the early 1990s to the late 2000s... Dumont’s talent for comedy shines in a great deal of snappy, wry wit. She uses this both for universal concerns like interpersonal interactions (“Their relationship was a broken vase that Nellie kept gluing together. And then once she got it to stand, she would proclaim, ‘Look at it! It’s beautiful’ while everyone else knew it was a fragile piece of shit”), but also more politically. Discussing the situation of native people in Canada, Nellie keeps “wanting to make it sound better than it was but failing as the night went on.”

*

Book Cover Raising Royalty

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet. 

*****

Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall, by Suzette Mayr

Featured on CBC Book's Magic 8 Q&A series

"...it was definitely a surprise when I figured out I'd internalized and then reproduced names from the television show Downton Abbey in my new novel without realizing it. I'd deliberately chosen the name "Crawley Hall" as the name of the main building, but only because I liked the sound of "crawl." But then only very late in the writing process I realized I'd also used the names Edith and Carson, and I'm pretty sure there are other Downton Abbey influences in there that I haven't recognized yet. That show irritates me so much: I hate it, but I love it. I can't believe it infiltrated my brain like that. I also accidentally copped from Alice in Wonderland without realizing it too: I have a character in my new book who wears a Cheshire Cat watch, and somehow two characters both named Alice, and jackrabbits and an obsession with time. Clearly I don't have a single original thought in my head."

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On Our Radar

tagged: on our radar

Book Cover The Two of Us

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet and elsewhere. 

*****

The Two of Us, by Kathy Page

Reviewed by Vicki Ziegler at Bookgaga:

Kathy Page’s hypnotic short story collection The Two of Us reinforces its title from the first to the last of its unforgettable tales. Each story, unto itself and building successively, piece by piece, spirals in and out from the power of duos and duality. That power is dizzying, and intensifies and deepens with each relationship depicted … and discovered. 

Read the whole review here. 

**

Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Issues in Canada, by Chelsea Vowel

Included by Alyssa Sherlock as one of "5 Books by Indigenous Authors You Should Read" at I am Writer, Hear Me Roar: 

The reviewers are right—Indigenous Writes is a super accessible introductory book, aimed at Canadians ignorant of Indigenous issues in Canada. It provides a starting p …

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