St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the February 15, 2017 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

right-to-be-cold-book-cover-onlyThe  Right to be Cold: one woman’s story of protecting her culture, the Arctic and the whole planet

By Sheila Watt-Cloutier

A story of resilience, commitment, and survival told from the unique vantage point of an Inuk woman who rose from humble beginnings in the Arctic community of Kuujjuaq, Quebec to become one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocates in the world. Shortlisted for Canada Reads. This year’s theme: What is the one book Canadians need now?

company-town-cover-onlyCompany Town : a novel

By Madeline Ashby

New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd. Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig. Shortlisted for Canada Reads.

Do you know about Canada Reads 2017 @ Sapl on Friday, March 17? Find out more here.

Canada Reads 2017 @ SAPL – Fifteen Dogs

Find out more about Canada Reads 2017 @ the Library

andre-alexisfifteen dogs

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

— I wonder, said Hermes, what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.

— I’ll wager a year’s servitude, answered Apollo, that animals – any animal you like – would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence.

And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.

André Alexis’s contemporary take on the apologue offers an utterly compelling and affecting look at the beauty and perils of human consciousness. By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange, Fifteen Dogs shows you can teach an old genre new tricks. (Provided by the Publisher)

CBC Canada Reads information about the author and title

What is an apologue?

Q & A with Andre Alexis: Fifteen Dogs author talks about animals as allegory and his bond with words

Wager of the Gods – Andre Alexis (an Ideas broadcast on CBC Radio)

Review in the Globe and Mail

Review in The Star

Review in Fjords

Canada Reads 2017 @ Sapl – The Break

Find out more about Canada Reads 2017 @ the Library

break-vermetteWhen Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break ― a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house ― she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim ― police, family, and friends ― tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Métis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg’s North End is exposed.

A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature. (Publisher)

CBC Canada Reads information about the author and title

About Katherena Vermette

A Prairiefire interview with Katherena Vermette

A Winnipeg Review interview 

A 49th Shelf interview

A CBC Radio “The Next Chapter” interview

A YouTube video by Writers Trust of Canada

CBC Radio “Q”: Katherena Vermette’s musical tribute to Winnipeg’s North End

The Winnipeg Review book review about “The Break”

A Globe and Mail book review

A National Post book review

A Quill and Quire book review

A Literary Review of Canada review

Katherena Vermette’s National Film Board film “This River”

Canada Reads 2017 @ Sapl – The Right to Be Cold

Find out more about Canada Reads 2017 @ the Library

right-to-be-cold-2

The Right to Be Cold is a human story of resilience, commitment, and survival told from the unique vantage point of an Inuk woman who, in spite of many obstacles, rose from humble beginnings in the Arctic community of Kuujjuaq, Quebec—where she was raised by a single parent and grandmother and travelled by dog team in a traditional, ice-based Inuit hunting culture—to become one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocates in the world. The Right to Be Cold explores the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture—and ultimately the world—in the face of past, present, and future environmental degradation. Sheila Watt-Cloutier passionately argues that climate change is a human rights issue and one to which all of us on the planet are inextricably linked. The Right to Be Cold is the culmina­tion of Watt-Cloutier’s regional, national, and international work over the last twenty-five years, weaving historical traumas and current issues such as climate change, leadership, and sustainability in the Arctic into her personal story to give a coherent and holistic voice to an important subject. (Publisher)

CBC Canada Reads information about this author and title

About Sheila Watt-Cloutier

A Globe and Mail interview with Sheila Watt-Cloutier

An Ottawa Citizen interview with Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier videos

On winning the “alternative Nobel” in 2015

A Globe and Mail article on climate change as a human rights issue

A Globe and Mail book review

A Quill and Quire book review

 

 

Canada Reads 2017 @ Sapl – Nostalgia

Find out more about Canada Reads 2017 @ the Library

nostaliga-vassanji

In the indeterminate future in an unnamed western city, physical impediments to immortality have been overcome. As society approaches the prospect of eternal life, a new problem must be confronted: with the threat of the brain’s storage capacity being overwhelmed, people want to move forward into the future free from redundant, unwanted and interfering memories. Rejuvenated bodies require rejuvenated identities–all traces of a person’s past are erased and new, complete fictions are implanted in their stead. On occasion, though, cracks emerge, and reminders of discarded lives seep through. Those afflicted suffer from Leaked Memory Syndrome, or Nostalgia, whereby thoughts from a previous existence burrow in the conscious mind threatening to pull sufferers into an internal abyss.
Doctor Frank Sina specializes in sealing these memory leaks. He is satisfied in his profession, more or less secure in the life he shares with his much younger lover, content with his own fiction–a happy childhood in the Yukon, an adulthood marked by the influence of a mathematician father and poet mother. But one day, Presley Smith arrives in Frank’s office. Persistent thoughts are torturing Presley, recurring images of another time and place. As he tries to save Presley from the onslaught of memory, Frank finds clues that suggest Presley’s past may be located in war-torn, nuclear-ravaged Maskinia, a territory located in the southern hemisphere, isolated from the north by fiercely guarded borders and policy barriers. Frank’s suspicions are only intensified when the Department of Internal Security takes an interest in Presley. They describe him as one of their own, meaning his new life was one they created for him, and they want him back. Who was Presley before the Department remade him, what secrets are buried in the memories that are encroaching upon him?
As Frank tries to save Presley from both internal and external threats, cracks emerge in his own fiction, and the thoughts that sneak through suggest a connection with the mysterious Presley that goes well beyond a doctor and his patient. (Publisher)

CBC Canada Reads information about Nostalgia

M.G. Vassanji’s website

Author biography (Wikipedia)

Author biography (Canadian Encyclopedia)

A CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter interview

A Globe and Mail book review

A Quill and Quire book review

A Literary Review of Canada book review