When Susan MacLeod accompanied her 90-year-old mother through a labyrinthine long-term care system, it was a nine-year journey navigating a government within a heart in a system without compassion. Her family, much like the system, erected walls rather than opening arms. She found herself involuntarily placed at the pivot point between her frail, elderly mother's need for love and companionship, the system's inability to deliver, and her brother's indifference. She had also spent three years as a government spokesperson enthusiastically defending the very system she now experienced as brutally cold.
MacLeod's tone is defined by a gentle, self-effacing humour touched by exasperation for the absurdities and the newfound wisdom around expectations. Dying for Attention is the latest memoir in the graphic medicine field, shelved alongside Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? or Sarah Leavitt's celebrated Tangles—which MacLeod has included on the recommended reading list below.
Bird in a Cage, by Rebecca Roher
(Winner of the Doug Wr …
Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.
LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.
Today Janie Chang is recommending the new memoir from Jane Hutton and Tony Wanless, Four Umbrellas: A Couple's Journey Into Young-Onset Alzheimer's. Chang writes, "June Hutton and her husband Tony Wanless have written Four Umbrellas which is about their experience with Tony’s early-onset Alzheimer's. It’s unusual in that generally such memoirs are by the caregiver. In this case, because Tony is a journalist, they made the decision to document their journey together, so you also get first-person accounts from Tony about how it feels, what it’s like, as well as the challenges of working with a healthcare system that doesn’t assume Alzheimer's for younger patients. I feel this is a valuable memoir because the demographics of our aging population will make this a familiar story to many."
This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.
Today we're launching The Home Stretch: A Father, a Son, and All the Things They Never Talk About, by George K. Ilsley, which David Chariandy calls, "a wonderful book—witty, tender, and lucidly written—about the caregiving of sons and the complicated inheritances of fathers."
The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.
This creative nonfiction memoir is about my relationship with my father when he was in his 90s. Over the course of nine visits to my small hometown in Nova Scotia, my f …