25th Trillium Award

Open Book Recommends: Romantic Reads for Valentine's Day

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By Maeve O'Regan and Megan Philipp

Valentine's Day is tomorrow! To celebrate, check out Open Book's recommended Books of Love for some mystery, humour, history and — of course — romance.

Contest! Enter to win a prize pack from Open Book and the publishers of these fine titles. To enter, send an email with the subject line "Books of Love" to [email protected] with your name and address as well as the title of one of the books from our list that you're interested in reading. Please click here for full contest rules. The contest closes on February 17, 2023.

Aloha, Candy Hearts: A Russell Quant Mystery (Insomniac Press) by Anthony Bidulka
Aloha, Candy Hearts takes gay PI Russell Quant on a journey from the Pacific to the prairie as a puzzle he’s investigating turns into a game of cat and mouse. Upon receiving a dead man’s last gift, Russell Quant follows a series of clues spanning decades, revisiting the hidden history of Saskatoon through an early homestead and investigating the blackmail of a writer. As he gets drawn further into his case, Russell Quant must balance his professional life with a wedding, memorial and a home-cooked meal at his mother’s. At the same time, Russell faces the consequences of his indecision, both in his personal and professional life.

Read Open Book's On Writing Interview with Anthony Bidulka.

Love Outlandish (Brick Books) by Barry Dempster
In Love Outlandish, Barry Dempster carries on the tradition of writing love poetry, but then takes away the clichés, exploring love in poetry in a fresh light. These poems are a response to D.H. Lawrence’s plea that we should discover and articulate what the heart really wants rather than some idealized version of it. At times thoughtful, passionate and humourous, this is a dynamic book full of wisdom.

Read Open Book's Ten Questions Interview with Barry Dempster.

Under the Moon (Dancing Cat Books) by Deborah Kerbel
Finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award in the Children's text category and a Resource Links Year's Best of 2012
After the death of her Aunt Su, Lily MacArthur finds herself unable to sleep. She spends restless nights awake in bed with only the moon to keep her company. Then she begins sneaking out of the house. Lily soon meets Ben, a troubled young man and newcomer to town who works the night shift at a local drive-thru. Ben keeps his past — and future — a secret from Lily, so as her sleepless nights begin to take a greater toll on her health, she has no idea that it’s Ben who might be able to save her. First, however, she must try to save him.

Read Open Book’s On Writing interview with Deborah Kerbel.

The Whirling Girl (Cormorant Books) by Barbara Lambert
When her long-estranged uncle dies, botanical artist Clare Livingstone is surprised to learn that she’s inherited his property in Tuscany. Eager to know why she was chosen to maintain his legacy, Clare travels to the hill town of Cortona. There, pursued by two different men and pestered by meddlesome neighbours and corrupt archeologists in search of buried Etruscan artefacts, Clare finds answers incredibly difficult to come by. She soon realizes that in order to uncover Cortona’s secrets, she’ll have to face her own.

Read Open Book’s On Writing interview with Barbara Lambert.

Love and Other Ruins (Insomniac Press) by Karen Tulchinsky
The sequel to Karen Tulchinsky’s first novel Love Ruins Everything, Love and Other Ruins is a joyful, hilarious and touching story about a series of characters and their love stories. Set during 1999, as the Millennium is approaching, Nomi Rabinovitch is in a long-distance relationship with Julie Sakamoto and is struggling with its complications. At the same time, her cousin’s health continues to decline and he has to cope with treatments, while also dedicating his energy towards AIDS activism. Solly and Belle are Henry’s estranged parents, and they gradually become closer due to their shared love of their son, while Bubbe, an old woman, observes the events happening around her.

Read Open Book's On Writing Interview with Karen Tulchinsky.

DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains (Insomniac Press) by Natalie Zina Walschots
Doom is a book of poems that investigates comic book villains, exploring the results of abusing power and examining the pathology of evil. At times both edgy and erotic, Walschots is a writer who brings to life this topic with technical, amusing, intimate and sensual language.

Natalie Zina Walschots is Open Book's February Writer in Residence. Visit her WIR page to read her blog and her interview with Open Book and to check out her reading and website suggestions.

Words to Live By (Cormorant Books) by William Whitehead
A boy from the prairies, William Whitehead trained as a scientist. He ended up, however, in love with the stage — and with Timothy Findley. His experiments with written and spoken word gave new meaning to the phrase “words to live by." In his memoir, Whitehead, one of the major participants in and spectators to the development of Canadian culture since the 1950s, documents this vibrant period in theatre, radio, television and literature. It is the story of the remarkable life of a most remarkable man.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Maeve O'Regan is an avid reader, occasional writer and enthusiastic publishing newbie. She is currently interning for Open Book: Toronto and enrolled in the Publishing Certificate Program at Ryerson University. She worked previously as an Editorial Intern at Knopf Canada.

Megan Philipp is an Editorial Intern at Open Book: Ontario. Having completed the Publishing Certificate Program at Ryerson University, she is pursuing a career in publishing. She also writes and edits for The Mindful Word, an online magazine focused on mindfulness and engaged living.

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