"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.
White Elephant, by Catherine Cooper
Reviewed by Sarah Murdoch in The Toronto Star:
Dr. Richard Berringer has long dreamed of bringing his medical skills to the poor of Africa. So now he, his sick and unhappy wife, Ann, and their difficult 13-year-old son, Tor, have pulled up stakes in Nova Scotia and settled in Sierra Leone, on the cusp of civil war... This self-assured debut novel, with its difficult characters operating at cross-purposes, can be hard to read. Yet it is so deftly executed that it’s impossible to turn away.
Tell, by Soraya Peerbaye
Winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted for the 2016 Griffin Prize for Poetry:
From the Griffin Judges' citation: The true miracle of Tell is not merely its choice to sing of such things, but its ability to sing in such a way as to urge the reader to embrace painful sympathies. Peerbaye’s language becomes a vehicle not just for exploring what others in the world may be capable of, but also of drawing readers into excruciating proximity with our own adolescent longing, fear, shame and rage.
Reviewed by Jay Hosking in the National Post:
Over the last decade there have been a number of books published about the science of music—such as Daniel Levitan’s This Is Your Brain on Music, Oliver Sacks’s Musicophilia, and David Byrne’s How Music Works—and Bad Singer is a doubly successful effort because it doesn’t retread the same ground of these books, with Falconer couching his subject in a personal journey that’s enjoyable to follow.
Susanna Moodie: Roughing It In the Bush, by Patrick Crowe and Carol Shields, Illustrated by Selena Goulding, Introduction by Margaret Atwood. Adapted by Willow Dawson
Reviewed by Helen Kubiw at CanLit for Little Canadians:
As authors Patrick Crowe, Carol Shields, Margaret Atwood and Willow Dawson can attest, Susanna Moodie’s writing has both been lauded and lambasted, for its raw honesty about the hardships of pioneers to settle in the new world. By sharing the details of her life, both before the book's publication and afterward, with realistic graphics by Selena Goulding that tell more of the story than the words might allow for a youthful audience, Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush is a brilliant story of fortitude and resolution that exposes the scars and charms of a life lived and a country born.
Finalist for the 2017 Amazon.ca First Novel Award
Physician Richard Berringer, his wife, Ann, and their thirteen-year-old son, Torquil, have abandoned their home in Nova Scotia and moved to Sierra Leone, despite warnings that the West African country is in a civil war. Two months on, things are not going well. Tensions are rising between Richard and …
The Surprising Science of Tone Deafness and How We Hear Music
In the tradition of Daniel Levitin’s This Is Your Brain on Music and Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia, Bad Singer follows the delightful journey of Tim Falconer as he tries to overcome tone deafness — and along the way discovers what we’re really hearing when we listen to music.
Tim Falconer, a self-confessed “bad singer,” always wanted to mak …
Carol Shields was fascinated by the life and writing of Susanna Moodie. Moodie was a Romantic writer from a celebrated literary family whose life changed forever when she and her husband left England for the backwoods of Canada in 1832. The Moodies, utterly unprepared for their new life, soon found themselves starving in the hostile wilderness of …