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LET THE TURF WARS BEGIN!

Canada Reads Top 40: Explore the booksIt’s time to turn the Canada Reads 2014 Top 40 list into a Top 10 list!  See who made the regional lists and vote at Canada Reads by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday November 3rd!

Explore the 2014 Top 40 Contenders.

Find out more about Canada Reads here.

The 2013 winning title was “February” by Lisa Moore.

Check out previous winners here.

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Five New Books

I confessed my book addiction in an earlier post.  With an hour to spare between appointments earlier this week, I wandered into yet another book store.  Here’s what I came home with …

Curiosity by Joan Thomas maple-leaf

paperback_Curiosity.pjg_1The weaving together of history and fiction holds a strong appeal for me.  The jacket description made this book irresistible, “Some forty years before Darwin published On the Origin of Species, Mary Anning … discovers in the soft cliffs near Lyme Regis, Dorset, the intact skeleton of a prehistoric creature.  Henry De la Beche … runs away from military college and soon finds himself living with his fashionable mother in Lyme Regis.  One morning, on an expedition, he encounters a young woman unlike anyone he has ever met.  Curiosity is an uncommon love story and an exploration of the fervours of both mind and heart.”


Love Poems
by Pablo Neurada (Nobel Laureate)

Love-Poems-9780811217293The pink and red cover of this small tome caught my eye first, but the jacket sold it, “Charged with sensuality and passion, Pablo Neruda‘s love poems are the most celebrated of the Nobel Prize winner’s oeuvre, captivating readers with earthbound images and reveling in a fiery re-imagining of the world.  Mostly written on the island paradise of Capri … Love Poems embraces the seascapes surrounding the poet and his lover Matilde Urrutia, their waves and shores saturated with a new, yearning eroticism.”  I was inspired to become more familiar with this much-loved Chilean poet by the mystery surrounding Neruda’s death.  How fitting that April is National Poetry Month, and 40 years after his death, Neruda’s body is about to be exhumed over claims that Pinochet’s regime (1973) murdered him.

Sleeping Funny by Miranda Hillmaple-leaf

13536358Since I don’t sleep much, any book about sleeping grabs my attention, as do story collections and debut authors.  This book has it all, as well as a funky cover. “Sleeping Funny is that rare book – a debut that introduces us to a fully mature writer, one who instantly draws you in with her lean style, empathy and wit, and keeps you reading, with growing admiration and delight, from first page to last. These stories showcase Miranda Hill’s astonishing range and virtuosity, introducing us to a protean variety of characters, each as well-realized as the next. Here is a writer who can seamlessly inhabit the consciousness of a sixteen-year-old navigating an embarrassing sex-ed class, a middle-aged minister experiencing a devastating crisis of faith in a 19th century rural village, a pilot’s widow coping with her grief by growing an unusual “victory garden” during World War II, and well-heeled modern professional women juggling jobs, kids, and husbands, and trying to cope with the arrival of a beautiful bohemian neighbour, on a gentrified street in downtown Toronto.”  I just had to have this one!

419 by Will Fergusonmaple-leaf

419Winner of the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Will Ferguson “… has hitchhiked the length of Japan, has worked as a professional space-cadet at the Toronto CN Tower and has walked across Northern Ireland in the rain.” Book Description: “… a novel both epic in its sweep and intimate in its portrayal of human endurance. A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the Internet, looking for victims. Lives intersect. Worlds collide. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help…

This final book was ordered online when a fellow blogger recommended it.

41MTBdBWoDLWhat is Reading for? by Robert Bringhurst

Robert Bringhurst a Canadian poet, typographer and author, has translated substantial works from Haida and Navajo, as well as classical Greek and Arabic.

Only 1000 copies of this book were printed, 500 in the fall of 2011 and a second printing in the fall of 2012.  I’m so pleased I found a copy. Book Description: “Reading could have a rich and interesting future, because it does have a rich and interesting past. But if no one remembers that past, it may not mean much to the future. This succinct and thoughtful essay is the text of a talk commissioned for a symposium entitled The Future of Reading which was held at RIT in June 2010. Written and designed by Robert Bringhurst, this limited edition is carefully crafted and letterpress printed.” It is a handsome text work! maple-leaf

After dinner and a walk along Queen Street East (The Beaches) in Toronto recently, I tried to pass by Book City but failed.  I came away with three exciting new books I can’t wait to get into:

13526293
11994903 13642927


Unsaid” by Neil Abramson

I love reading début novels.  I also love dogs and dog stories.  The cover caught my eye … doesn’t that face just grab your heart? It was Garth Stein’s endorsement of Abramson’s book that sold me, “An extraordinary story of animals, mortality, and the power of love.  Everyone needs to read this novel!”

Garth Stein authored The Art of Racing in the Rain, a book I loved so much I had to fight the urge to read it aloud in a crowded room so it would stick to anyone in earshot.  His recommendation was more than good enough for me.

Published by Center Street, Hatchet Book Group, 2012.


The Chemistry of Tears” by Peter Carey

A new author for me, Peter Carey is one of only four writers to win the Booker Prize twice, in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda and  2001 for True History of the Kelly Gang.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes it as, “Ambitious, playful and engagingly strange”!  I love strange stories.

Published by Vintage Canada, Random House of Canada, 2013.

Indian Horse” by Richard Wagamesemaple-leaf

The topic of this novel is close to my heart.  My good friend’s dad was 4.5 years old when he was taken from his family and placed at the Spanish (Ontario) Residential School where he stayed until he was 15.  A recent visit to the ruins of that facility inspired me to re-read Porcupines and China Dolls, a novel by Robert Arthur Alexie that examines the lives of students forced into the residential school system.

Richard Wagamese has written much (fiction and non-fiction) on the impact of these church-run educational institutions, and in this novel, a Canada Reads 2013 contender, he confronts that horrific legacy head-on.

Published by Douglas & McIntyre, D&M Publishers, 2012.

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