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The Recommend: May 2016

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 authors Tricia Dower (Becoming Lin); Nadia Bozak (Thirteen Shells); Teva Harrison (In-Between Days); and author, editor, and blogger Kerry Clare (The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood).


Tricia Dower recommends For Your Own Good, by Leah Horlick

I bought this poetic memoir because of the cover, featuring a gorgeous, creepy illustration by Thomas Shahan. It turns out to foreshadow the dark material within. I’m not an expert on poetry. I can’t tell you how a poem does what it does. I can only tell you the effect it has on me. Horlick’s collection of forty-nine poems grabbed me by the gut. Five poems in, I was pressing my lips together, afraid for the narrator, tense with foreboding. For Your Own Good unveils an account of abuse both devastating and redemptive. I almost hate to tell you that because part of the power for me in this collection was discovering the truth of it. Within the queer community, the word is this is an impor …

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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.


Becoming Lin, by Tricia Dower

Reviewed by Tom Sandborn in the Vancouver Sun:

Moving, well-crafted and thoughtful, Becoming Lin is a novel of ideas and of politics in the very best sense. Dower shows us the tectonic shifts that undergird a culture in transition while respecting and bringing to life the fine grain human details of the characters living out their own poignant stories on that shifting ground.

(Read the whole review here)


In This Together, by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail (Editor)

Profiled by Michael Hingston at the Edmonton Journal

The book’s guiding principle is that reconciliation is a thorny, complicated subject that involves asking tough questions and, particularly if you’re not aboriginal yourself, doing a lot more listening than talking. But that’s no reason to avoid it altogether. On the contrary, In This Together wades enthu …

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Shelf Talkers: March 2016

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-

ee cummings knows what he’s talking about. While parts of the country are still struggling with the last lingering vestiges of winter, spring is upon us, with new buds, new mud, new puddles, new books...

You knew where that was going, right?

One of the great things about Canada’s independent booksellers is their depth of knowledge, internal databases spanning decades, incorporating hundreds of titles and authors, thousands of characters. It’s the work of a lifetime. And it’s ongoing work. Good booksellers are not only steeped in, and knowledgeable of, the past, they’re also wired in to the present, devouring new books and Advance Reading Copies to keep abreast not only with what’s new, but with what’s to come.

For the March installment of the Shelf Talkers column, we’ve asked our assembled booksellers to weigh in on new favourites, perfect—when the weather cooperates—for reading al fresco.


The Bookseller: Lee Trentadue, Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island, BC)

The Pick: Carry Me, by Peter Behrens

Europe between the first and second world wars. Historical fiction at its best. Behren captures a Europe fraught with danger, anxiety, and loss. If you want to get lost in a book, pick up this one …

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Tricia Dower: True Confessions of a Clandestine Summer Reader

Book Cover Stony River

By age ten, I was traipsing home each New Jersey June with a list of required reading for the summer, pretending to be as vexed about it as the other kids. In truth I was keen for an excuse to hole up in my attic room away from my mother for whom the unabated sight of me on long summer days seemed to be cruel and unusual punishment: You’ve parted your hair like a cow path. Stop twitching your nose. Don’t slouch. You can’t come to the table looking like that.

Tricia Dower with Family

While attacking the “approved” reading list, however, I was on full alert for signs said mother was outside—the squeak of the clothesline pulley, her exasperated “shoo-shoo” to rabbits in her raspberries. Then I’d steal down the stairs as furtively as Nancy Drew and into the living room where she kept novels on the top shelves of bookcases my father had built (with no help from his carpenter dad, he’d bitterly remind us). The shelves also held the Encyclopædia Britannica from Aak to Zylviec, Webster’s Unabridged with a broken spine, the Merck Manual, the Bible, kids’ books …

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