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Shiver Me Timbers: A Little Murder with My Fall

Helen Walsh’s debut novel Pull Focus—a feminist thriller set behind the scenes at an international film festival—publishes September 7 in North America and October 7 in the UK.  

Autumn’s long shadows cut across the darkening sky. A director frames a close-up shot of a woman in an armchair clutching a book, legs curled up beneath her, half-drunk glass of Pinot Noir on the side table. The crackle of the fire makes her jump, as her eyes dart from the page out the bare window, and back again. What lurks outside? Waits upstairs? Under the bed, perhaps. . .

Is there anything more delicious than a chill up the spine as nights grow longer and shadows lurk?

Here are 10 novels full of crackling tension that crowd my beside table or will soon, once their publication date arrives.

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Everything Turns Away, by Michelle Berry

I was a film producer living half-time in lower Manhattan when September 11th blew up life as I knew it. Cataclysmic events shake our very foundation, prompting us to look at the world, and those closest to us, through greater clarity …

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No Longer a Footnote: Extraordinary Lives

Lauren McKeon's latest book is Women of the Pandemic.

History is too often told through the texture of men’s lives. Women become accessories and footnotes, their struggles and dreams, triumphs and sacrifices inevitably erased. In recent years, the rise of women’s biography and memoir has sought to rectify that, making permanent extraordinary stories about women’s lives, past and present. There is courage in demanding your voice be heard, in telling the world your story matters—that you matter. Today, we celebrate diverse women who’ve boldly told their truths, making us all richer for it.

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Book Cover Mistakes to Run With

Mistakes to Run With, by Yasuko Thanh

Yasuko Thanh tells us what to expect in the title: this is not a tidy book, and she has not had a tidy life. Her memoir is beautifully vulnerable, inviting us into her life as a teen on the streets of Vancouver and showing us how past informs—but doesn’t always define—who a person is constantly becoming. Neither the book, nor Thanh’s story has a neat ending, a reminder that women’s lives don’t have to come pre …

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Pairs Well: Ali Bryan's Awesome YA Reading List

Book Cover the Hill

The Hill is a feminist YA dystopia and something new and different from Ali Bryan, celebrated author of Roost and The Figgs. According to Booklist, The Hill "hits all the right apocalyptic notes" and is "a great pick for forward-thinking feminist teens."

In this recommended reading list, Bryan shares other great titles to complement her novel.

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Dystopian Worlds & Wayward Girls

Book Cover the Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline

Dimaline single-handedly flips the dystopia genre on its head with her runaway hit, The Marrow Thieves, a gritty coming-of-age story in which Indigenous people are hunted for their dream-containing, world-saving bone marrow in a landscape ravaged by climate collapse and madness. A deftly woven and brutal tale of colonialism and environmental neglect but also of community, culture, resilience and hope. Inventive, rich, important.

Pairs well with Doritos and activism.

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Patriarchy Lies: Women Are Funny

Book Cover Better Luck Next Time

Kate Hilton's latest novel is Better Luck Next Time, a story that puts the comedy in "divorce comedy" and of which Marissa Stapley writes, "Kate Hilton’s writing reminds me of Nora Ephron‘s work: it’s laugh-out-loud funny, with startling observations about life, love, family and reinvention at any age."

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Patriarchy tells so many lies that it’s hardly a sport to single one of them out for special attention. Let me do it anyway: Women are funny. And when they set their minds to writing comedy—especially about the intricate web of relationships that we call a family—they do it very well. (Perhaps it is the feminist undercurrent in women’s comedy that the patriarchy finds unfunny? Just a thought.) Today we celebrate the women of Canadian humour writing, and their perfectly dysfunctional families.

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Ayesha at Last, by Uzma Jalaluddin

Dysfunctional Family: Ayesha Shamsi is an aspiring poet and substitute teacher who lives with her widowed mother, her brother, and her grandparents—unmarried and seen by many in her conservative Muslim community a …

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