Montreal Gazette

STACKS OF HOL­I­DAY READ­ING

Curl up with any, or all, of these good books. Sup­port lo­cal book­sell­ers and ar­range curb­side de­liv­ery of a Cana­dian ti­tle or two this sea­son. Pat St. Ger­main of­fers up a wide-rang­ing se­lec­tion you'll want to wrap up — or snug­gle un­der the cov­ers with.

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Dearly: Po­ems Mar­garet At­wood Mcclel­land & Ste­wart

Re­leased just ahead of her 81st birthday in Novem­ber, Mar­garet At­wood's new­est col­lec­tion of po­ems is the gift we all need in this year of loss and long­ing. We'd fol­low her down any mem­ory lane, but At­wood has al­ways been a vi­sion­ary, shar­ing witty, wise per­spec­tives of the present and the fu­ture, as well as the past. Ded­i­cated to her part­ner of 48 years, Graeme Gib­son, who died in 2019, the col­lec­tion has notes of whimsy and play­ful­ness, along with poignance. And like all the best gifts, there are el­e­ments of sur­prise, teased in ti­tles like Update on Were­wolves, Ev­ery­one Else's Sex Life and This Fjord Looks Like a Lake.

How to Pro­nounce Knife Sou­vankham Tham­mavongsa Mcclel­land & Ste­wart

Sou­vankham Tham­mavongsa's en­gag­ing, en­light­en­ing short-story col­lec­tion struck a chord with its com­pelling char­ac­ters, all first- or sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Lao im­mi­grants or refugees: The ti­tle story's de­fi­ant school­girl, with her un­shak­able be­lief in her fa­ther, and ex­ploited poul­try-plant work­ers among them. Al­ready an award-win­ning poet, Tham­mavongsa added the 2020 Sco­tia­bank Giller Prize to her list of hon­ours, and earned a spot on sev­eral best-of-2020 lists.

The Good Ger­man Den­nis Bock Harpercoll­ins Canada

Set in small-town On­tario, this riv­et­ing al­ter­na­tive his­tory imag­ines that would-be as­sas­sin Ge­org Elser suc­ceeded in his 1939 plot to kill Adolf Hitler. Un­for­tu­nately, Nazi hench­man Her­mann Göring seizes power, signs a peace pact with the United States and wins the Sec­ond World War by drop­ping an atomic bomb on Lon­don. The fall­out is deeply felt in Canada, whose cit­i­zens live un­der Rus­sian pro­tec­tion.

The Pull of the Stars Emma Donoghue Harpercoll­ins Canada

A global pan­demic dur­ing a po­lit­i­cally charged elec­tion year. Who'd have thought? Ir­ish-cana­dian writer Emma Donoghue, that's who. In March, Donoghue (Room) com­pleted the fi­nal ed­its on this novel, set in Ire­land dur­ing the 1918 flu pan­demic. Over the course of three days, the fates of three women — a nurse, a young vol­un­teer and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist doc­tor — in­ter­sect as they care for quarantine­d women in a ma­ter­nity hos­pi­tal.

Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Ab­solom Halkett

Michael Nest, Deanna Reder and Eric Bell Univer­sity of Regina Press

In 1967, two men dis­ap­peared from a lake­side camp­site dur­ing a ura­nium prospect­ing trip in north­ern Saskatchew­an. Métis leader James Brady and Cree band coun­cil­lor Ab­solom Halkett were both prom­i­nent In­dige­nous ac­tivists, and they were both ex­pe­ri­enced in the bush. When they van­ished from the fly-in lake be­fore a re­sup­ply plane ar­rived, po­lice gave the case cur­sory noth­ing-to-see-here at­ten­tion. Maybe they were eaten by bears. Maybe the bears also ate their Geiger counter. The au­thors of Cold Case have an­other the­ory — maybe they were mur­dered.

HELP YOUR­SELF

You say you want a res­o­lu­tion? Books to in­spire a fresh start in 2021.

The 4% Fix: How One Hour a Day Can Change Your Life

Karma Brown Harpercoll­ins

If you had one hour ev­ery day to do some­thing you've al­ways wished you had time to do — how would you spend that time?

Karma Brown spent her ex­tra hours on cre­ative writ­ing, and man­aged to churn out five nov­els, in­clud­ing tasty best­seller Recipe for a Per­fect Wife, pub­lished on Dec. 31, 2019. How'd she do it? By set­ting her alarm for 5 a.m. and stak­ing claim to that first hour — what mo­ti­va­tional speaker and writer Robin Sharma (The 5 AM Club) calls the “vic­tory hour.” Brown sup­plies solid ev­i­dence that the first hours are the most pro­duc­tive of the day.

Get Your $hit To­gether: The Rebel Mama's Hand­book for Fi­nan­cially Em­pow­ered Moms

Alek­san­dra Jassem and Nikita Stan­ley Harpercoll­ins

Tak­ing care of per­sonal busi­ness is the mis­sion of these self-de­scribed ex-party girls and ac­ci­den­tal moms, besties who blog on their web­site there­bel­mama.com. Do you need a will? Life in­sur­ance? A bud­get? Yes, yes and yes — along with un­com­pli­cated, straight­for­ward ad­vice.

Re­lax, Dam­mit! A User's Guide to the Age of Anx­i­ety Ti­mothy Caulfield Pen­guin Ran­dom House

You make a zil­lion de­ci­sions ev­ery day, and there's a good chance you are mak­ing many of them based on fears and be­liefs that don't hold wa­ter. A best­selling au­thor (Is Gwyneth Pal­trow Wrong About Ev­ery­thing?), Ti­mothy Caulfield is a Canada Re­search Chair in Health Law and Pol­icy based at the Univer­sity of Al­berta.

GOODSPORTS

Give your favourite fan some­thing to cheer about.

We The North: 25 Years of the Toronto Rap­tors Doug Smith Pen­guin Canada

Time flies. It's hard to be­lieve the Toronto Rap­tors have ex­isted for 25 years, but we'll take sports­writer Doug Smith's word for it. He's been on the side­lines from Day 1, and he de­votes 25 chap­ters to the NBA cham­pi­ons' com­plete his­tory. Stuff it into a stock­ing and call it a slam dunk.

The Role I Played: Canada's Great­est Olympic Hockey Team

Sami Jo Small

ECW Press

Hey, it's not brag­ging when it's true. Goalie Sami Jo Small re­calls the 10 years she spent mak­ing saves on the Cana­dian Women's Hockey Team — a decade that in­cluded three Olympic gold medal wins, with her fi­nal Olympic bow com­ing on home ice in Van­cou­ver in 2010.

Beau­ties: Hockey's Great­est Un­told Sto­ries James Duthie Harpercoll­ins

A goalie who's car­jacked on the way to a game ends up sav­ing his team from a hu­mil­i­at­ing loss. A young Syr­ian boy falls in love with the game when he moves to New­found­land. Gordie Howe, a.k.a. Mr. Hockey, lets an oft-men­tioned myth about his nick­name slide just for fun. Naughty or nice, funny or tragic, TSN sports­caster James Duthie's goal was to col­lect the most en­ter­tain­ing sto­ries from hockey he­roes, coaches, sports­writers and fans, and it looks like he scores with this timely roundup.

MIL­LEN­NIAL AP­PROACHES

Dra­matic read­ing for women of a cer­tain age.

Happy Hour Mar­lowe Grana­dos Fly­ing Books

At 21, pre­co­cious di­arist Isa Ep­ley doesn't let her pen­ni­less con­di­tion put a damper on her glam life­style. Dur­ing a sum­mer in New York City with her bestie, Gala, she raises freeload­ing to an art form. With fre­quent as­sists from their long­time guy pal Ni­cholas, the girls man­age to eke out a liv­ing of sorts. But it's not all shal­low he­do­nism. As the par­ty­ing winds down, Isa con­fronts a deep wound from her re­cent past.

Hench Natalie Zina Walschots Harpercoll­ins

Imag­ine a world where it's rou­tine to see su­per­heroes and vil­lains, and jobs as hench­men and hench­women are avail­able. Af­ter hench temp Anna is maimed by a su­per­hero, she an­a­lyzes the dam­age he­roes cause — de­stroy­ing pub­lic prop­erty, killing by­standers — and she's con­vinced they must be taken down.

Wait­ing for a Star to Fall Kerry Clare Dou­ble­day Canada

Sub­tly com­plex, this ro­man­tic drama is tailor-made for the #Metoo age. A charis­matic politi­cian with a habit of dat­ing young cam­paign work­ers in­vites home­town girl Brooke to work for him in the big city. He's sin­gle and she adores him so it's only nat­u­ral that they hook up. And if she is the lat­est in a long line, well, this time it's dif­fer­ent. Right?

YOUNG READ­ERS

New books to en­chant kids of all ages.

Hatch Ken­neth Op­pel Harpercoll­ins Canada

The sec­ond book in the Bloom ac­tion tril­ogy finds West Coast kids Anaya, Pe­tra and Seth deal­ing with a new wave in the alien in­va­sion. The first book for ages 10-14 in­tro­duced the teen trio, who seemed to be im­mune from toxic pollen re­leased by in­va­sive plants that sprouted af­ter a storm. This time, an­other storm brings a horde of mys­te­ri­ous eggs that hatch into fly­ing in­sects.

The Barnabus Pro­ject The Fan Brothers Tun­dra Books

Be­hind the scenes of an em­po­rium where kids can adopt ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered pets, poor Barnabus has spent his short life hid­den away from the world. Part mouse, part ele­phant, he is a mis­fit, one of the “failed projects” des­tined to be re­cy­cled — un­less he can es­cape to a place where he is free to be him­self. Beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated, it's the work of Terry and Eric Fan (The Night Gar­dener) and their brother Devin Fan.

The Bar­ren Grounds: The Misewa Saga

David A. Robert­son

Puf­fin Canada

Adrift in a strange city af­ter they're ripped from their homes, In­dige­nous kids Mor­gan and Eli forge a con­nec­tion, to one an­other and to their cul­ture, in this Nar­nia-like tale. A se­cret room in their Win­nipeg foster home leads to a mag­i­cal por­tal to an­other world. With help from a bear­like hunter and a puck­ish squir­rel, they learn tra­di­tional sur­vival skills that may help them save the day in two di­men­sions.

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 ?? MIKE HENSEN ?? Emma Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars is about health work­ers in a pan­demic. Sound fa­mil­iar?
MIKE HENSEN Emma Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars is about health work­ers in a pan­demic. Sound fa­mil­iar?

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