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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.