Canada Reads 2017 @ Sapl – Company Town

Find out more about Canada Reads 2017 @ the Library

company-town-ashbyNew 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–making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa’s front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be–but now, the danger is personal.

A brilliant, twisted mystery, as one woman must evaluate saving the people of a town that can’t be saved, or saving herself.

CBC Canada Reads information about this author and title

Madeline Ashby’s website

An author biography

A Science Fiction Encyclopedia author biography

An Unbound Worlds interview with Madeline Ashby

A My Bookish Ways blog interview with Madeline Ashby

A Corey Redekop blog interview with the author

Madeline Ashby videos

A book review

A book review

A Kirkus book review


Canada Reads 2017 @ the Library


St. Albert Public Library joins the debate with our 2nd annual Canada Reads panel!

Last year, over 75 people came to listen to what our local celebrity experts had to say in defence of their book, and added their own voices to the debate.  This year our panellists include Lynda Moffat, Sharon Morin, Zach Polis, MLA Marie Renaud and returning champion Paul Shamchuk.

Be part of a fun, stimulating evening, and help us decide what Canada’s Next Great Read will be.  Click here to register for this fun, free evening.

Friday, March 17
7:00-9:00 pm
Forsyth Hall at St. Albert Public Library

Check out detailed information about the five contenders:

The Break by Katherena Vermette                 @ the Library
Company Town by Madeline Ashby                @ the Library
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis                            @ the Library
Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji                               @ the Library
The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier    @ the Library

Canada Reads 2016 @ Sapl – Birdie

BirdieTraceyLindbergBirdie by Tracey Lindberg

Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from wounds of the past, informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions. Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns, who played Jesse on The Beachcombers, because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Bernice heads for Molly’s Reach to find answers but they are not the ones she expected.

With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Bernice finds the strength to face the past and draw the lessons from her dreams that she was never fully taught in life. Part road trip, dream quest and travelogue, the novel touches on the universality of women’s experience, regardless of culture or race. (Publisher)

Author website

Tracey Lindberg’s biography

Academic accomplishments

A National Post interview

YouTube videos

A Globe and Mail review

An Edmonton Journal review




Canada Reads 2016 @ Sapl – The Illegal


The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

Keita Ali is on the run. Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita’s ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches-until Keita is targeted for his father’s outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family’s survival. He signs on with notorious marathon agent Anton Hamm, but when Keita fails to place among the top finishers in his first race, he escapes into Freedom State-a wealthy island nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown. Keita can stay safe only if he keeps moving and eludes Hamm and the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he would face almost certain death. This is the new underground: a place where tens of thousands of people deemed to be “illegal” live below the radar of the police and government officials. As Keita surfaces from time to time to earn cash prizes by running local road races, he has to assess whether the people he meets are friends or enemies: John Falconer, a gifted student struggling to escape the limits of his AfricTown upbringing; Ivernia Beech, a spirited old woman at risk of being forced into an assisted living facility; Rocco Calder, a recreational marathoner and the immigration minister; Lula DiStefano, self-declared queen of AfricTown and madam of the community’s infamous brothel; and Viola Hill, a reporter who is investigating the lengths to which her government will go to stop illegal immigration. Keita’s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but for his sister’s life, too. Fast moving and compelling, The Illegal casts a satirical eye on people who have turned their backs on undocumented refugees struggling to survive in a nation that does not want them. Hill’s depiction of life on the borderlands of society urges us to consider the plight of the unseen and the forgotten who live among us. (Publisher)

About Lawrence Hill

A CBC interview with the author

YouTube videos

A Globe and Mail review

A Quill & Quire review

Lawrence Hill on writing




Canada Reads 2016 @ Sapl – The Hero’s Walk


The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

After the release of Anita Rau Badami’s critically acclaimed first novel, Tamarind Mem, it was evident a promising new talent had joined the Canadian literary community. Her dazzling literary follow-up is The Hero’s Walk, a novel teeming with the author’s trademark tumble of the haphazard beauty, wreckage and folly of ordinary lives. Set in the dusty seaside town of Toturpuram on the Bay of Bengal, The Hero’s Walk traces the terrain of family and forgiveness through the lives of an exuberant cast of characters bewildered by the rapid pace of change in today’s India. Each member of the Rao family pits his or her chance at personal fulfillment against the conventions of a crumbling caste and class system.

Anita Rau Badami explains that “The Hero’s Walk is a novel about so many things: loss, disappointment, choices and the importance of coming to terms with yourself and the circumstances of your life without losing the dignity embedded in all of us. At one level it is about heroism – not the hero of the classic epic, those enormous god-sized heroes – but my fascination with the day-to-day heroes and the heroism that’s needed to survive all the unexpected disasters and pitfalls of life.” (Publisher)

About Anita Rau Badami

Globe and Mail book review

Interview with Anita Rau Badami

January Magazine book review

Publishers Weekly book review