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Ann Lambert: Watershed Books

The Birds That Stay is Ann Lambert's first novel, a murder mystery set in a small village in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. And Lambert brings to her first book more than two decades of experience as a theatre direction, playwright, and English teacher, all of which inform her novel, and in this recommended reading list she shares works that have similarly served as a foundation for her, both as a reader and as a writer.

Although narrowing the list down wasn't easy...

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How do I isolate ten books to recommend from the range and depth of Canadian literature? How do I not include Barometer Rising, The Tin Flute, The Wars, Le Matou, Unless, A Complicated Kindness, A Fine Balance, The Life of Pi, The Book of Negroes, Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Tiger, The Break and so many other terrific books? I decided to select books by Canadian writers whose work prompted a watershed moment for me, over a lifetime of reading.

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The Diviners, by Margaret Laurence 

This was the complete novel for me. It told the story of a woman, Morag Gunn, who migrated fr …

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Megan Gail Coles: Writing Through Risk

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, by Megan Gail Coles, begins with a warning: "This might hurt a little. Be Brave." But oh, the rewards for the reader who dares to venture forth: Coles' fresh and vibrant storytelling is stirring and unforgettable, and this novel that's set over the course of a single day proves to be so much more expansive in terms of time and place. It's a literary tour de force, and one of the most powerful books you'll read this season.

We're pleased to feature Coles' recommended reading list, "Writing Through Risk."

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The books on this list challenge literary expectations and community norms while demanding artistic honesty and human compassion. This is fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama from the whole of our country written by individuals taking creative risks. Some of these are small linguistic risks, forcing the structure of a sentence into a new shape. Others are grand demonstrative risks, urging the industry to move beyond traditional gatekeeping. Still others are risking more, risking everything, even safety and wellbeing, to speak their truth rather than sit silent and unseen. These books, to varying degrees, have given me courage to write as I do about things I feel are important to the place and people I love. I am …

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