Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

Open Book Recommends: 2015 Holiday Reading Guide Part Two

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Yesterday we shared the first part of our 2015 Holiday Reading Guide, and today we offer up part two of our recommendations for some of the year's best books to give and receive this holiday season.

Despite the hectic nature of the festive season, we can't help but suggest finding some time to curl up with a good book, and a cup of something hot (and boozy, if that's your thing) this holiday season!

Brick Books Classics (Brick Books) by Anne Carson, John Steffler, Dennis Lee, Marilyn Dumont, Michael Crummey and Jan Zwicky

In celebration of 40 years of publishing Canadian poetry, Brick Books has released six new editions of classic books from their back catalogue. Each new book includes a special introduction from an esteemed Canadian poet or scholar, and features a reflective afterword from the authors themselves.

The Signalman (Biblioasis) by Charlies Dickens

First published in 1866 for a special Christmas issue of All the Year Round, Charles Dickens’ The Signalman has since fallen into obscurity. An eerie story of isolation, dread and supernatural visitation, this book is a small treasure, meant to be read aloud on a cold, dark winter night.

Strangers & Others: Newfoundland Essays (Pedlar Press) by Stan Dragland

A new and exquisite volume of critical essays by one of Canada's best essayists, Strangers and Others: Newfoundland Essays is a collection of Dragland's writings on Newfoundland subjects, literary and otherwise, approached from the perspective of an inside/outsider in Newfoundland: a resident of Newfoundland originally from elsewhere.

Here Comes the Dreamers (Inanna Publications) by Carole Giangrande

Here Comes the Dreamers is narrated by three family members, Canadian expat and artist Alistair Luce, his passionate American wife Nora who misses the excitement of wartime life and finally, their exiled daughter Grace. All three are bound together by their history, as a crisis draws their lives to a climax. It's then that Grace ventures homeward for the first time, into a startling vision of the unknown.

Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call (Between the Lines Books) by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson

Unsettling Canada is built on a unique collaboration between two First Nations leaders who have both served as chiefs of their bands in the B.C. interior and gone on to establish important national and international reputations. Together the Secwepemc activist intellectual and the Syilx (Okanagan) businessman bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to Canada's most glaring piece of unfinished business: the place of Indigenous peoples within the country's political and economic space.

A Little More Free (ECW Press) by John McFetridge

Montreal, Labour Day Weekend, 1972. As the city is getting ready to host the first game in the legendary Summit Series between Canada and the USSR, three men set fire to a nightclub and the Museum of Fine Arts is robbed and two million dollars' worth of paintings are stolen. Against the backdrop of these historic events, Constable Eddie Dougherty discovers the body of a murdered young man on Mount Royal. As he tries to prove he has the stuff to become a detective, he is drawn into the world of American draft dodgers and deserters, class politics and organized crime.

Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (Between the Lines Books) by Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner

In Flight and Freedom, Ratna Omidvar and Dana Wagner present a collection of thirty astonishing interviews with refugees, their descendants or their loved ones to document their extraordinary, and sometimes harrowing, journeys of flight. The stories span two centuries of refugee experiences in Canada: from the War of 1812—where an escaped slave and her infant daughter flee the United States to start a new life in Halifax—to the War in Afghanistan—where asylum seekers collide with state scrutiny and face the challenges of resettlement.

The Farmerettes (Second Story Press) by Gisela Tobien Sherman

A group of mismatched girls, Helene, Peggy, Isabel, Binxie, Jean and "X" all live and work together on a farm during the summer of 1943. Defying convention, they must take over for the millions of men who’ve gone to fight in the Second World War. Friendship, romance, hardship and heartbreak shape their summer, and no one will be left unchanged.

Karyotype (Brick Books) by Kim Trainor

At the heart of Karyotype is the Beauty of Loulan, a woman who lived four thousand years ago, her body preserved in the cool, dry sands of the Taklamakan Desert. The poems range from the title sequence, which explores the DNA and woven textiles of this woman and her vanished people, to the experience of watching the televised invasion of Iraq in the dark of a Montreal night. The Beauty of Loulan becomes a symbol of the ephemerality of human genetic and cultural texts, and of our chances for survival.

Oddballs (The Porcupine's Quill) by Jim Westergard

Oddballs is a collection of wood engravings accompanied by short, tongue-in-cheek biographies showcasing forty fantastically detailed, warts-and-all portraits of some of history's most peculiar figures. Jim Westergard creates a veritable rogues' gallery, populated by notorious historical rebels and eccentrics.Oddballs pays tribute to the zany, bizarre, mischievous and just plain odd rascals who, by accident or design, have found their way into the annals of history.

Pauls (BookThug) by Jess Taylor

Paul is not always the same Paul, but could very well be a similar Paul, another Paul in a long line of Pauls. Pauls, the debut short-story collection by the exciting young writer Jess Taylor, is about people: the things that remain unseen to them; how they cope with their unforgettable pasts; the different roles they take in each other's lives; how they hurt each other; how they try to heal each other; the things they want to learn; and the things they'll never discover.

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