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Valgardson’s Reading List

In Valhalla’s Shadows is a thrilling crime novel with an extraordinary cast of characters set on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. In it, W.D. Valgardson shapes a portrait of small-town living while masterfully weaving in threads of Icelandic mythology as well as discussions of contemporary issues such as systemic racism within the justice system and the lasting effects of PTSD on first responders.

In this recommended reading list, he shares other titles that explores these themes and ideas. 


Ten Years in Winnipeg, 1870-79, by Alexander Begg and Walter R. Nursey

This journal written during the turbulent years of Winnipeg’s birth gives a raw chronology of the events that would determine the city’s future, presents characters determined to wrest fortunes from the land, and provides insights into the machinations that made some people fortunes. There is nothing polished about the narrative and that is what makes it valuable. It is available online.


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Tanya Lloyd Kyi's Small-Town Tales

Book Cover Anywhere But Here

Tanya Lloyd Kyi is the author of the YA novel Anywhere But Here, the story of young man whose small town is a trap he's desperate to escape. But there is often more to small-town life than it seems, as Lloyd Kyi had to figure out for herself and as she portrays in her novel. As she explains here, however, her small-town parents didn't think her message was clear...


My parents were offended when they read the first draft of my novel. And my sister suggested I change the name of our town. 

 “It’s a little harsh,” she said, of my portrayal.

 “Didn’t you read the last chapter?” I asked. “It’s redemptive.”

I admit it: I love small town jokes. You know you’re from a small town when you don’t use your turn signal, because everyone knows where you’re going. You know you’re from a small town when you schedule a party according to the police schedule, because you know which officers will bust you. You know you’re from a small town when you dial a wrong number and talk for 15 minutes anyway.

Those of you who grew up in the big city will think these are exaggerations. And you will be wrong.

I spent every teenage day plotting my escape from the truth of these jokes. I wanted out of my small town more badly than I wanted my backcombed hair to last th …

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