25th Trillium Award

Open Book’s Holiday Book Guide 2011: Story Time

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Happy Holidays from Open Book! Our second annual Holiday Book Guide will direct you to some of the most engaging books on store shelves this season. Open Book's Guide will be regularly updated throughout December, featuring a fresh theme with each listing.

Today's theme is STORY TIME


The fine art of mathematics and gambling are the inspiration for Gerard Beirne’s newest collection of poetry, Games of Chance (Oberon Press). Weaving mathematical formulas and scientific lingo into beautifully written verse, Beirne creates a happy union between the arts and science.

Winterberries and Apple Blossoms (Tundra Books) by Nan Forler is a charming collection of 12 poems — one for each month of the year — told from the perspective of Naomi, a young Mennonite girl. Bonus: at the back of the book you’ll find 12 mouth-watering recipes. The book is beautifully illustrated with paintings by Peter Etril Snyder.

Set in Alberta, Eric Freeze’s story collection, Dominant Traits (Oberon Press), is about people who find themselves in unusual situations, yet manage to find hope.

Rajka Kupesic’s The White Ballets (Tundra Books) is a treasure. A former ballerina, Kupesic tells the stories of three white ballets: Swan Lake, Giselle and La Bayadère. At the end of each story, she shares her thoughts on the ballet and on her gorgeous artwork that illustrates the book.

Mainstay of the Montreal music scene, ageless punk Alan Lord has written a collection of stories, vignettes and musings. When speaking about his book, he says, " it’s my duty to consider no subject or social group off limits, and not to worry ahead of time about offending anyone. That would be the worst form of censorship — self-censorship." If you enjoy short, desperate bursts of wry, cutting honesty, or perhaps have a friend that could use a slap in the face in the form of a gift, then it's time for some ATM Sex (Guernica Editions).

Playwrights Canada Press has put together a gorgeous and engrossing series of important contemporary Canadian plays. The Mill is perhaps the big biggest of these releases, if for no other reason than the text is in fact a quartet of plays bound in one volume. The plays were helmed by four different significant emerging Canadian playwrights over a two year period — Matthew MacFadzean, Hannah Moscovitch, Tara Beagan and Damien Atkins — and centre around a symbolic and titular Canadian mill. Reading a play can be quiet enjoyable, and PWCP makes books that beg you to give them as gifts. But beware, The Mill is haunted!

11: Best Canadian Stories (Oberon Press), edited by John Metcalf, is a staple for the library of any Canadian Lit aficionado. A carefully curated collection of some of this year’s best short stories by Canadian writers, the Ottawa Citizen has described the annual anthology as “a literary institution.”

In an interview with Open Book, Anne Perdue described her dark and witty short story collection, I’m a Registered Nurse, Not a Whore (Insomniac Press), as “a book that celebrates seemingly ordinary lives. A tribute to the underemployed, the overworked and the often unnoticed.”

Buy these books at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

The Holiday Book Guide is written by Kate Burgess, Michael Doyle and Clelia Scala

Are you a high school student who loves to write? Check out Write Across Ontario, a creative writing contest for Ontario high school students from IFOA Ontario and Open Book: Ontario. You can find the full details at http://www.litontour.com/write-across-ontario.

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