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Canada Reads Recap

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Well, the favourite week of all Canadian bookworms is over, Canada Reads has come to a close for the year. I thought this years debates were passionate, respectful, thoughtful, and oh so enjoyable. Here are my thoughts on the best week in Canada:

The Defenders
A two-sport Olympic champion, a screenwriter and actor, a retired WWE wrestler, a social entrepreneur, and an adventure travel CEO, the defenders this year represented the spirit and diversity of this country. And in true Canadian fashion, there was a lot of love for the other books while debating and lots of apologies, especially when it was time for eliminations.

Vinay - "We all get along so well". Gill - "That’s about to change.” #CanadaReads — Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016
The Host
So I will admit that when I heard Wab Kinew was not going to be host this year, I was majorly disappointed. I mean, I'm excited he's entering national politics because he definitely belongs there, but he was one of th…

"Still Mine" by Amy Stuart

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Clare is on the run and the remote mining town of Blackmore may be the best place for her to hide. Blackmore was once a prosperous town but when the mine closed after a devastating accident, the town and its residents began to crumble. The people are already suspicious of the newcomer in their midst and when she begins to ask questions about Shayna Fowles, a local girl who is missing, they want to know what she is really doing in their town.
But Clare isn’t the only one with secrets. Jared is Shayna’s ex-husband and suspect number one according to most people in the town. There is also Charlie, the town’s dealer and the one who supplied Shayna with the drugs she was addicted to when she went missing. Shayna’s parents Louise and Wilfred are not only dealing with tragedy of their missing daughter but the deterioration of Louise’s mind.  And Louise’s doctor Derek, who tried desperately to get Shayna to go to rehab, seems to be a little to close to the family. As Clare gets to know them,…

Canada Reads Preview

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Today is the day! It's time once again for Canada Reads, a national holiday celebrating books. Okay, maybe not national holiday, but it definitely gets the country fired up as five prominent Canadians participate in live debates, each defending the book they think all of Canada should read. At the end of four days, one book remains and is crowned the winner of Canada Reads. Past winners include Ru by Kim Thúy, The Orenda by Joseph Boyden, and The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

This year’s theme is starting over and here are the contenders (click on the title for my review):

Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter, defended by Adam Copeland
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, defended by Clara Hughes
Birdie by Tracey Lindberg, defended by Bruce Poon Tip
The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami, defended by Vinay Virmani (review to come)
Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz, defended by Farah Mohamed

I think the winner is tough to predict. One reason is that the defenders are always so passion…

"Bone and Bread' by Saleema Nawaz

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Beena and Sadhana are sisters who share a bond very few can understand. Orphaned as teenagers, they were left in the care of their Sikh uncle who ran a bagel shop in a Hasidic community in Montreal. Their Uncle didn’t want much to do with them so they were left to raise themselves. But the deaths of their parents led the girls in two very different directions.
Beena caught the attention of one of the boys who worked in her Uncle’s bagel shop. When she became pregnant at the age of sixteen, he took off leaving her to raise her son on her own. Sadhana was driven to achieve perfection and in doing so spent the rest of her life battling anorexia.
Now, Sadhana has died suddenly, her body was left undiscovered for a week. Beena is hurting because she had stopped speaking to her sister only days earlier. She is feeling guilty because if they hadn’t had an argument, if she hadn’t cut her out of her life, then maybe things would have ended differently. As Beena and her son Quinn head to Montr…

"Girl in the Dark" by Marion Pauw

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Iris is a single mother with a demanding job as a lawyer. She is trying to keep it together, caring for her son who has behaviour issues and dealing with her judgmental mother. Though she only works part-time, her job has her representing people like a man who is accused of making child pornography. She lives each day thinking that she is a failure, unable to cope.
One day, while she is house-sitting for her mother, one of the fish in her mothers aquarium dies. Iris has never understood why her mother would keep such a large tank filled with tropical fish and her mother always refused to say why. But as Iris looks into caring for the fish, she makes a shocking discovery - she has an older brother named Ray.
Iris’ mother has never mentioned Ray and she can’t figure out why. As she searches for answers she discovers that he is autistic and in a home for the criminally insane, where he was placed after being charged with brutally murdering his neighbour and her young child.
Iris takes i…

Spring Kids Books from Penguin Random House Canada

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Last week, I attended an event at the Penguin Random House Canada headquarters here in Toronto for employees of Indigo to find out what amazing kids books are coming out this spring. I have to say, Penguin Random House sure knows how to throw a party! 
They put on a breakfast for us and not just any breakfast, they made us pancakes. Mine were in the shape of Mickey Mouse and had chocolate chips for eyes. Shout out to the cooks! Then they introduced the many authors they had attending the breakfast and we were all able to mill around after that and get to know them.
The first author I spoke with was Vikki VanSickle. Vikki has written the middle grade novels Words That Start With B, Love is a Four-Letter Word, Days That End in Y, and Summer Days, Starry Nights. Her newest books is a children’s picture book titled If I Had A Gryphon.

When a kitten sneezes it's adorable. When a dragon sneezes? It's a fire hazard!
Sam is already bored of her new pet, a rather sedate hamster. Inspire…

"Becoming Lin" by Tricia Dower

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Twenty-two-year-old Linda Wise dreams of escaping her small town where almost everyone knows that she was sexually assaulted as a teenager. It’s 1965 and Linda is realizing there is a bigger world out there that can help her break free from her overprotective parents. And it seems that her saviour has come in the form of twenty-six-year-old minister Ronald Brunson.
Ronald’s passion for social justice ignites a determination in Linda. His stories of freedom rides, protests, and imprisonment fuel the fire in Linda. They marry, and he takes her far away from Stony River, New Jersey, to a prairie town in Minnesota.  Over the next seven years, Linda finds herself caught up in the turbulent world of civil rights and war resistance, all while performing her duties as a mother and pastors wife. But Lin soon realizes that if she is truly going to be free and become the woman she needs to be, she needs to confront the trauma of her past and put herself first.
Becoming Lin, by Tricia Dower, is a…

KidLit

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Just a quick post to share some of the books my kids, ages 6 and 9, have enjoyed over the past few weeks.

A1, Age 9


Bas les Pattes, Tete de Reblochon! - Geronimo Stilton (Paws Off Cheddarface in English) The Ultimate Fairy Guide - Daisy Meadows Drame - Raina Telgemeier (Drama in English)
A2, Age 6
Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss The Adventures of Captain Underpants - Dav Pilkey Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid - Megan McDonald

"A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy" by Sue Klebold

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On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their high school in Littleton, Colorado and committed what would forever be remembered as one of the worst high school shootings in America. Twelve students and one teacher died and twenty-four were injured before the boys took their own lives. 
In the days, months, and years that followed many questions were asked about how such a horrific incident could have happened. People looked for places to lay the blame and they did so everywhere they could find. One of those places was on the parents, and Dylan’s mother Sue completely understands why. For the last sixteen years, she has wondered how her loving and caring son could turn into a hateful and violent young man. She asked herself, like many others did, how could she not have known that something was wrong? She spent years searching for clues she might have missed and answers she would never find.
A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, by Sue Klebold, i…