The Outlander by Gil Adamson. Recommended by Janice Beley.

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Published November 2008 by House of Anansi Press

ISBN: 978-0887848285

The Recommend:

I fell in love with the strong and fiesty young widow in this book and her often trecherous journey in the wild.

Beautifully written.


About Janice Beley


Janice Beley, Marketing Director, Arsenal Pulp Press.

Janice has involved with books, theatre, dance, and the arts for over 20 years.

For the past 5 years she has been the Marketing Director at Arsenal Pulp Press.

A graduate of the Capilano College Arts Management Program, she is also the General Manager for Raven Spirit Dance a contemporary First Nations dance company.

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Music’s Spell: Poems About Music and Musicians edited by Emily Fragos. Recommended by RJ Wheaton

Music’s Spell: Poems About Music and Musicians edited by Emily Fragos

Published March 2009 Everyman Library

ISBN: 9780307270924

The Recommend:

A charming, thoughtful, and richly eclectic collection.

The design — as with all volumes in this series — feels both whimsical and essential; the contents bring together voices separated by centuries.

William Shakespeare and Allen Ginsberg sing within five pages of one another.

Yusef Komunyakaa’s reflections on Little Willie John hum against those of Gerard Manley Hopkins on Purcell.

And don’t miss Joyce Carol Oates’s vignette about waiting on Elvis at a diner in 1956.


About RJ Wheaton


RJ Wheaton (@rjwheaton) is a writer and blogger.

He works for a Canadian bookseller and is Senior Producer at

He contributes to Datachondria and his writing can currently be found in the Oxford American‘s 2009 Music Issue. His book on Portishead’s Dummy will be published in Continuum’s 33 1/3 series in 2010.

RJ Wheaton resides online at

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The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods. Recommended by Monique Trottier.

The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods by Kate Inglis w/ illustrations by Sydney Smith

Published October 2009 by Nimbus Publishing

ISBN: 978-1551097374

The Recommend:

As quoted from the backcover, highly “recommended for antsy boys who long for glory, for spritely girls inclined to reach out for adventure, and for good-humoured grown-ups who like the smack of Limberger and devil’s club sandwiches with a dash of June bug pepper.”

This pirate tale is it’s own booty.


About Monique Trottier


Monique Trottier (@somisguided) is the blogger behind Plain Words, Uncommon Sense on books, writing, perfumery, technology and other amusements.

She’s a writer, editor, internet marketer, point-and-shoot photographer, web-aficionado and book reader. She’s also the owner of Boxcar Marketing, a boutique internet consultancy.

She has too many favourite books to mention in such a small blurb.

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Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall. Recommended by Joanna Karaplis.

Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall

Published: August 2009, House of Anansi

ISBN: 978-0-88784-234-4

The Recommend:

A group of twentysomethings in Toronto experience love and heartbreak, life and death.

If this book were a Facebook profile, its relationship status would be “It’s Complicated.”


About Joanna Karaplis:


Joanna Karaplis recently relocated to Toronto from Vancouver (Abe: *shakes head*).

She spends her days working at Annick Press and her nights swing dancing (Abe: *nods knowingly*), learning Spanish, reading, and writing.

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Clare Hitchens discusses her love of Canadian Crime Fiction.

When I was young and had exhausted my pile of library books, usually long before the next scheduled trip, I would go to my parents bookshelves in search of something to read. My parents love mysteries, and the ones on their shelves were mostly British classics: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, or Margery Allingham. I cut my teeth on them.

Years later in the library I stumbled across an Eric Wright mystery, set in Toronto. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head, because suddenly I was familiar with the streets and the landmarks in a book. I set out to read as many as I could and hounded the librarians for Canadian titles. I found Gail Bowen, whose Joanne Kilbourn has become like family to me. I fell hard for detective Alex Kequahtooway, her first love interest, and I was devastated at his death. When I met Gail she assured me I’d come to love Zack, his lawyer replacement. I’m not sure I’m there yet (Sorry, Gail!) but I do know why Joanne loves him. The Joanne Kilbourn mysteries are set mostly in Regina and around Saskatchewan and delve deeply into that province’s political tradition for their stories.

Recently I’ve been exploring Dundurn’s great collection of Canadian mysteries. From undercover Mountie Jack Taggart (Don Easton) and authority-bucking David Bliss (James Hawkins) to psychiatrist Rebecca Temple (Sylvia Maultash Warsh) and zoologist Cordi O’Callaghan (Suzanne F. Kingsmill), the characters and the locations are wide-ranging and entertaining. I must admit to a new favourite, though. How lucky we are that John Moss has turned his brilliant academic mind to writing mysteries. His Miranda Quin and David Morgan of the Toronto Police service are a different breed of detectives. Intellectual and culturally sophisticated, they wrestle with both existential problems and their feelings for each other. Their adventures take them through the streets of Toronto and into the wilds of rural southern Ontario. Moss has written two titles so far (Still Waters and Grave Doubts) and I hope there will be many more.

I still love a good British police procedural mystery, but there’s something about being able to place myself in these Canadian locations that is so appealing. Here are some further recommendations:

Peter Robinson — Books are set in Yorkshire but often have a Canadian link or sub-plot.

Louise Penny – Wonderful books featuring Inspector Gamache of the Montreal police.

Maureen Jennings – Victorian Toronto is the backdrop for the deeply moral Detective William Murdoch

Giles Blunt – Set in Ontario’s near north, these novels feature Detective John Cardinal, who must cope with the mental illness of his beloved wife Catherine as he tries to keep Algonquin Bay free of crime.

For still more see the Crime Writers of Canada website.


About Clare Hitchens (@clarehitchens):


Clare Hitchens is the publicist for Wilfrid Laurier University Press and the Young Adult Author Coordinator for the Eden Mills Writers Festival.

She spends far too much time online already but hankers for an iPhone anyway.

Posted in Crime Fiction, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The City in History by Lewis Mumford. Recommended by Tod Davies.

The City in History by Lewis Mumford.

Published 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 978-0156180351

The Recommend:

Okay, so it was first published in 1961, and I first read it in 2003.

But not only is it a classic, it’s more to the point today than ever before: “What makes the city in fact is the common interest in justice and the common aim, that of providing the good life.”

No kidding.


About Tod Davies


Tod Davies is the Publisher of Exterminating Angel Press, the writer of the memoir/cookbook Jam Today, and the partner of a vegetarian husband and two blue heeler dogs, too smart for their own good.

She and Exterminating Angel Press believe passionately in “the common interest in justice and the common aim… of providing the good life.”

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Morbidity and Ornament by Steve Noyes. Recommended by Chris Hutchinson.

Morbidity and Ornament by Steve Noyes

Published October 2009 by Oolichan

ISBN 978-088982-260-3

The Recommend:

Steve Noyes’ fourth book of poetry, Morbidity and Ornament, is spring-loaded with chthonic-wisdom and formal dexterity.

And its range is heady: from the mysticism of mating slugs to the patois of the chronically inebriated, the collection contains multitudes—of subjects, voices, places, times and cultures—while the style oscillates brilliantly between metaphoric weirdness and laser-point specificity.

At the heart of the book, and what makes it cohere, is a pyrotechnic intelligence driven to probe within and without, beneath and beyond, the merely observable.

This is not your ordinary Canadian poetry pub fare.

You should read it now.


About Chris Hutchinson


Chris Hutchinson’s most recent book of poetry, Other People’s Lives, was recently published by Brick Books.

For more info check out on his blog:

It should be noted that Chris was also the very first interview ever recorded for Books on the Radio.

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