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On Our Radar: Quests and Journeys for Survival

"I think the role of the writer is the same as it has always been—to connect with another person in a way that makes them feel less alone in the world."

Outside, by Sean McCammon

Interviewed on rob mclennan's blog in the 12 or 20 questions series

About the book: Emotional and uplifting, Outside is the story of a teacher's escape to Japan from classroom, country, and self in the wake of a small-town Ontario tragedy.

David Woods, a first-year teacher, shares his Grade 4 students' passion for nature and their reluctance to be hemmed in by classroom walls. He pushes the boundaries of risk and the constraints of school board policy, leading his class on outdoor adventures with hooting owls, curious stream creatures, and maple syrup making.

Then, during a seemingly innocuous field trip, a fateful decision leads to disastrous consequences, not just for himself but many around him. Consumed by guilt, and desperate to make sense of the seemingly random incident, David flees to Japan, going to ground with a group of Western ESL teachers in a Kyoto boarding house.

As the tragedy is recalled, a parallel narrative finds David drawn into the chaotic lives of his boarding-house companions. The group, including a food-connoisseur deejay, a crude karate student, and an Israeli draft …

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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

"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.

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"...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

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"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. 

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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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