amazon.ca

Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books

Blog

Quick Hits: Lightning, Sand, Coconuts, and More

tagged: Quick Hits

Watermark, by Christy Ann Conlin

Genre: Short stories

Publisher: House of Anansi Press

What It's About

From Christy Ann Conlin, the critically acclaimed and award winning author of Heave, comes a breathtaking and unforgettable collection about how the briefest moment can shape us forever.

In these evocative and startling stories, we meet people navigating the elemental forces of love, life, and death. An insomniac on Halifax’s moonlit streets. A runaway bride. A young woman accused of a brutal murder. A man who must live in exile if he is to live at all. A woman coming to terms with her eccentric childhood in a cult on the Bay of Fundy shore.

A master of North Atlantic Gothic, Christy Ann Conlin expertly navigates our conflicting self-perceptions, especially in moments of crisis. She illuminates the personality of land and ocean, charts the pull of the past on the present, and reveals the wildness inside each of us. These stories offer a gallery of both gritty and lyrical portraits, each unmasking the myth and mystery of the everyday.

What People Say

"A sometimes-mystical Gothic in which the horror arises from those closest to us … Watermark is taut, sharp writing."—Globe and Mail

"These stories are deliciously discomfiting … Suspenseful excavations of family secr …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: 5 Gems You Don't Want to Miss

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

 

Annie Muktuk and Other Stories, by Norma Dunning

Genre: Short stories

Publisher: University of Alberta Press

What It's About

I woke up with Moses Henry’s boot holding open my jaw and my right eye was looking into his gun barrel. I heard the slow words, “Take. It. Back.” I know one thing about Moses Henry; he means business when he means business. I took it back and for the last eight months I have not uttered Annie Mukluk’s name.

In strolls Annie Mukluk in all her mukiness glory. Tonight she has gone traditional. Her long black hair is wrapped in intu’dlit braids. Only my mom still does that. She’s got mukluks, real mukluks on and she’s wearing the old-style caribou parka. It must be something her grandma gave her. No one makes that anymore. She’s got the faint black eyeliner showing off those brown eyes and to top off her face she’s put pretend face tattooing on. We all know it’ll wash out tomorrow.

— from "Annie Muktuk"

When Se …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Cranky Dads, Angsty Teens, and Love Letters

tagged: Quick Hits

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

**

The Home Stretch: A Father, a Son, and All the Things They Never Talk About, by George K. Ilsley

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

What It's About

A moving, honest memoir about a man who returns to his rural hometown to take care of his cranky elderly father.

George K. Ilsley explores his complex relationship with his aging father in this candid memoir full of sharp emotion and disarming humour. George's father is ninety-one years old, a widower, and fiercely independent; an avid gardener, he's sweet and more than a little eccentric. But he's also a hoarder who makes embarrassing comments and invitations to women, and he has made no plans whatsoever for what is inevitably coming over the horizon.

Decades after George has moved four time zones away, he begins to make regular trips home to help care for his cranky and uncooperative father, and to sift through the hoarded fragments of his father's life. In doing so, George is forced to confro …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: 6 Books for Teens this Fall

These new books span everything from disability and difference to grief and homelessness—for starters. They're important books, and gripping reads.

**

thejusticeproject

The Justice Project, by Michael Betcherman

Publisher: Orca Books

Recommended ages: 12 and up

About the Book

High-school football star Matt Barnes was on the top of the world until a freak snowboarding accident ending his promising sports career and left him with a permanent limp. As he struggles to accept his changed body, Matt becomes depressed and isolated. Instead of college football camp, he faces a summer job at the local golf club. Then by chance Matt lands an internship at the Justice Project, an organization that defends the wrongly convicted. The other intern is his high-school nemesis, Sonya Livingstone, a quick-witted social activist with little time for jock culture. The two slowly develop a friendship as they investigate the case of Ray Richardson, who was convicted of murdering his parents twenty-one years ago. Matt and Sonya are soon convinced that Ray is innocent—but how will they prove it? Unravelling the cold case takes them on a journey filled with twists, turns, deception and danger. It will take dedication, perseverance and courage to unmask the real murderer. Can those same qualities help Matt m …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Circus Acts, Prison Love, Middle Age, and More

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

**

Weekend, by Jane Eaton Hamilton 

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

What It's About

Prize-winning writer Jane Eaton Hamilton's novel explores the complexities of contemporary queer love.

On her fiftieth birthday, crazy-in-love Ajax visits her mercurial lover Logan, who trails their tarnished reputation like a lapsed halo. Logan has secrets, but so does Ajax, and during their weekend getaway to Ontario's cottage country, some of these secrets will prove explosive.

In the next cottage, long-term couple Joe and Elliot are having their own challenges as the parents of a newborn baby girl. Joe isn't sure if Elliot loves her or even if Elliot wanted a baby at all. Can she make it through a weekend feeling as she does, let alone the rest of her life?

Jane Eaton Hamilton's ninth book is an intimate, sexy queer romance. Weekend is a bold and heartbreaking consideration of the true nature of love at the cusp of middle age—about trust, negotiation, …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: 5 Books with Awesome Reviews

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

**

The Dark, by Claire Mulligan

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

Publisher: Doubleday Canada

What It's About

In the deep of winter 1893, a briskly practical physician named Mrs. Mellon arrives at a New York tenement and takes up her duty to care for the aged, the indigent and the dying. Her patient in the garret, she decides, fits all three categories nicely—that is, before she realizes she is in the presence of a most unusual lost soul: the charismatic Maggie Fox.

Part mystery, part ghost story, part riveting historical fiction, The Dark ushers the reader into the shadowy border between longing and belief as it unfolds the incredible story of the famous and controversial Fox Sisters, Maggie, Katie, and Leah. In their heyday, the sisters purported to communicate with ghosts and inspired the Spiritualist Movement, a quasi-religion complete with mediums and séances and millions of followers.

Now only Maggie is left alive, and Mrs. Mellon is her lifeline to the …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Stunning Fiction and Poetry PLUS a Brilliant Cookbook

The Good Body, by Bill Gaston

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: House of Anansi Press

What It's About

The Good Body is a triumphant blend of mordant humour and heartbreak. It tells the comic and poignant story of a retired pro-hockey ruffian named Bobby Bonaduce who is stubbornly ignoring a disease—multiple sclerosis—that may be killing him. Bobby returns to his hometown and scams his way into university in a misguided attempt to redeem his messy past and lay emotional claim to a son he abandoned twenty years earlier.

With this terrific novel [said the 2008 Giller Prize jury] "Bill Gaston demonstrates yet again that he is a writer of great empathy, capable it seems of getting beneath the skin of anybody."

What People Say

"There’s some good writing about a Bob Dylan concert, but the author is at his best here when describing the game, 'the body seen as pure desire, the puck a chunk of dumb rubber the perfect symbol of worthlessness … so abstract, so pure in its meaninglessness it is almost Japanese.'
Gaston’s got the goods and he’s been there: you can’t imagine something as real as this."—Quill and Quire

**

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Laugh-Out-Loud Titles

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

**

Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, by Zarqa Nawaz

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: HarperCollins

What It's About

Zarqa Nawaz has always straddled two cultures. She’s just as likely to be agonizing over which sparkly earrings will “pimp out” her hijab as to be flirting with the Walmart meat manager in a futile attempt to secure halal chicken the day before Eid. “Little Mosque on the Prairie” brought Zarqa’s own laugh-out-loud take on her everyday culture clash to viewers around the world. And now, in Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, she tells the sometimes absurd, sometimes challenging, always funny stories of being Zarqa in a western society. From explaining to the plumber why the toilet must be within sitting arm’s reach of the water tap (hint: it involves a watering can and a Muslim obsession with cleanliness “down there”) to urging the electrician to place an eye-height electrical socket for her father-in-law’s epilepsy-inducing …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Incredible Debuts and Award Winners

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

**

Easy to Like, by Edward Riche

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: House of Anansi

What It's About

"C"-list screenwriter and wannabe vintner Elliot Johnson's life is growing more ruinous by the day—his writing career is on the rocks, his struggling vineyard is being investigated by the feds, and his son, a former child star, is in prison—Elliot decides to do what any self-respecting wine lover would do: escape to France.

Alas, fate has other things in store. Stranded in Canada by an expired passport, he is strongly encouraged to remain there due to his bit part in a growing Hollywood scandal. Deciding that Toronto may just be the perfectly engineered city in which to lay low, Elliot kills time by bluffing his way to the top of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

What People Say

"Easy to Like lives up to the promise of its title ... Riche [has a] gift for withering turns of phrase."—Globe and Mail

"Hilarious ... laugh-out-loud funny ..."—Maclean's

**

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: From Paradise to Pop Culture

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

*****

 

Trauma Farm, by Brian Brett

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Greystone Books

What It's About

An irreverent and illuminating journey through a day in the life of writer and poet Brian Brett, as he tends a small island farm on Salt Spring Island, affectionately named Trauma Farm, with numerous side trips into the natural history of farming.

Brian Brett moves from the tending of livestock, poultry, orchards, gardens, machinery, and fields to the social intricacies of rural communities and, finally, to an encounter with a magnificent deer in the silver moonlight of a magical farm field. Brett understands both tall tales and rigorous science as he explores the small mixed farm—meditating on the perfection of the egg and the nature of soil while also offering a scathing critique of agribusiness and the horror of modern slaughterhouses. Whether discussing the uses and misuses of gates, examining the energy of seeds, or bantering with his family, farm hands, …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Books of the Year and Books for Right Now

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

*****

 

Sweet Jesus, by Christine Pountney

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

What It's About

Set mainly on Vancouver Island, in Toronto, and in the American Midwest, Sweet Jesus tells the story of three siblings who, in the week before the 2012 US Presidential election, reunite and set off on a journey that will transform their lives.

Connie Foster, a mother of three young children, learns that her husband’s attempt to maintain their lifestyle has led them to financial ruin. Her sister, Hannah Crowe, a writer, desperately wants to have a child but the man she loves is determined not to. Zeus Ortega, their much younger adopted brother, who left the family home when he was only fifteen, is living in Chicago with his boyfriend and working as a therapeutic clown in a children’s hospital. Prompted by a heartbreaking loss, he quits his job and decides to search for his birth parents in New Mexico. Together, the three siblings head south and, …

Continue reading »

Quick Hits: Infernos, Outrage, Love, and Anything But

In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.

*****

Pathologies, by Susan Olding

Genre: Personal Essays

Publisher: Freehand Books

What It's About

In 15 personal essays, debut author Susan Olding takes us on an unforgettable journey into the complex heart of being human. Each essay dissects an aspect of Olding's life experience—from her vexed relationship with her father to her tricky dealings with her female peers; from her work as a counsellor and teacher to her persistent desire, despite struggles with infertility, to have children of her own. In a suite of essays forming the emotional climax of the book, Olding bravely recounts the adoption of her daughter, Maia, from an orphanage in China, and tells us the story of Maia's difficult adaptation to the unfamiliar state of being loved.

Written with as much lyricism, detail, and artfulness as the best short stories, the essays in Pathologies provide all the pleasures of fiction combined with the enrichment derived from the careful presentation o …

Continue reading »