New Releases- June 17

June 17, 2017

New books come into the store every weekday.
Hardcovers; paperbacks; books for adults, teens, young readers and children;
fiction; non-fiction; poetry; and more. View a small sampling of the latest additions.

New Hardcover:

 

The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada’s Best Publisher and the Best Part of Our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational
by Elaine Dewar
Biblioasis $29.95
Language Arts/ History
Canadian

Until recently, McClelland and Stewart had been known as “The Canadian Publisher,” the country’s longest-lived and best independent press. Its dynamic leader Jack McClelland worked with successive provincial and federal governments to help draft policies in the 1960s and 70s which ensured that Canadian stories would, for the first time in the nation’s history, be told and published by Canadians. M&S introduced Canadians to themselves while championing the nation’s literature, bringing to the world Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Mavis Gallant, Farley Mowat, Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler, and many others. When 75% of M&S was gifted amidst great fanfare to the University of Toronto on Canada Day 2000—“To achieve the survival of one great Canadian institution,” M&S owner Avie Bennett declared at the time, “I have given it into the care of another great Canadian institution”—one could’ve assumed that it would remain in Canadian hands and under Canadian control in perpetuity. But one would have been wrong.

In her controversial new book, Elaine Dewar reveals for the first time how M&S was sold salami-style to Random House, a division of German media giant Bertelsmann; how smart businessmen and even smarter lawyers danced through the raindrops of the laws put into place to protect Canadian cultural institutions from foreign ownership while cultural bureaucrats looked the other way; and why we should care. It is the story not just of the demise of the country’s best independent publisher, it is about the threats, internal and otherwise, facing Canadian culture. The Handover is more than just a CanLit How-Done-It: it is essential reading for anyone interested in the telling of Canadian stories.

 

Memory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia
by Gerda Saunders
Hachette Boooks  $35.00
Autobiography/ Health

In the tradition of Brain on Fire and When Breath Becomes Air, Gerda Saunders’ Memory’s Last Breath is an unsparing, beautifully written memoir–a true-life Still Alice that captures Saunders’ experience as a fiercely intellectual person living with the knowledge that her brain is betraying her. Saunders’ book is uncharted territory in the writing on dementia, a diagnosis one in nine Americans will receive.

Based on the “field notes” she keeps in her journal, Memory’s Last Breath is Saunders’ astonishing window into a life distorted by dementia. She writes about shopping trips cut short by unintentional shoplifting, car journeys derailed when she loses her bearings, and the embarrassment of forgetting what she has just said to a room of colleagues. Coping with the complications of losing short-term memory, Saunders nonetheless embarks on a personal investigation of the brain and its mysteries, examining science and literature, and immersing herself in vivid memories of her childhood in South Africa.

Written in a distinctive voice without a trace of self-pity, Memory’s Last Breath is a remarkable, aphorism-free contribution to the literature of dementia–and an eye-opening personal memoir that will grip all adventurous readers.

 

 

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds
by Mary Shelley
Edited by David H. Guston, Ed Finn, and Jason Scott Robert
MIT Press  $27.99
Literary Criticism/ Science

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years. Begun as a ghost story by an intellectually and socially precocious eighteen-year-old author during a cold and rainy summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, the dramatic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature can be read as the ultimate parable of scientific hubris. Victor, “the modern Prometheus,” tried to do what he perhaps should have left to Nature: create life. Although the novel is most often discussed in literary-historical terms—as a seminal example of romanticism or as a groundbreaking early work of science fiction—Mary Shelley was keenly aware of contemporary scientific developments and incorporated them into her story. In our era of synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and climate engineering, this edition of Frankenstein will resonate forcefully for readers with a background or interest in science and engineering, and anyone intrigued by the fundamental questions of creativity and responsibility.

This edition of Frankenstein pairs the original 1818 version of the manuscript—meticulously line-edited and amended by Charles E. Robinson, one of the world’s preeminent authorities on the text—with annotations and essays by leading scholars exploring the social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity raised by this remarkable story. The result is a unique and accessible edition of one of the most thought-provoking and influential novels ever written.

Essays by
Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, Heather E. Douglas, Josephine Johnston, Kate MacCord, Jane Maienschein, Anne K. Mellor, Alfred Nordmann.

 

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
by Balli Kaur Jaswal
William Morrow   $33.50
Fiction

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life . . .

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

 

 

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans and Our Quest to Understand the Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions
by Peter Brannen
Ecco  $34.99
Nature

As new groundbreaking research suggests that climate change played a major role in the most extreme catastrophes in the planet’s history, award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen takes us on a wild ride through the planet’s five mass extinctions and, in the process, offers us a glimpse of our increasingly dangerous future.

Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth’s past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future.

Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside “scenes of the crime,” from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record—which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish—and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits.

Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, and casts our future in a completely new light.

 

Young Adult

 

Saints and Misfits
by S. K. Ali
Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster   $25.99
Fiction  Ages 14+
Canadian

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

There are three kinds of people in my world:

1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They’re in your face so much, you can’t see them, like how you can’t see your nose.

2. Misfits, people who don’t belong. Like me—the way I don’t fit into Dad’s brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama’s-Boy-Muhammad.

Also, there’s Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don’t go together. Same planet, different worlds.

But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right?

3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O’Connor’s stories.

Like the monster at my mosque.

People think he’s holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask.

Except me.

Young Reader:

 

ReStart
by Gordon Korman
Scholastic Canada  $21.99
Fiction Ages 8-12
Canadian

Master storyteller Gordon Korman balances humour and heart in this reinvention story about a bully who must come to terms with who he was and what kind of person he wants to become.

Chase Ambrose forgets everything after falling off a roof and losing consciousness. He forgets his name. He forgets his parents. He forgets what he was doing up there on that roof. And he forgets that he’s the biggest bully at Hiawassee Middle School, along with his two best buddies Aaron and Bear.

Chase is shocked to learn how he bullied and tormented kids at school. He ruined lives. One kid left town because of him. And worst of all, even his little half-sister is terrified of him. Was he really such a monster? Determined to reinvent himself, Chase joins video club and befriends some of the kids who used to consider him a number-one enemy.

But some people aren’t so quick to forgive and forget. Can Chase really change who he is? Or will the old him merely come back over time?

 

Children:

Vegetables in Underwear
by Jared Chapman
Harry Abrams  $9.95
Toilet Training/ Humour  Ages 2-5

A bunch of friendly vegetables wear colorful underwear of all varieties—big, small, clean, dirty, serious, and funny—demonstrating for young ones the silliness and necessity of this item of clothing.

The unexpectedness of vegetables in their unmentionables is enough to draw giggles, but the pride with which the “big kid” attire is flaunted in front of the baby carrots in diapers will tickle readers of all ages.

With rhyming text that begs to be chanted aloud and art that looks good enough to eat, this vibrant story will encourage preschoolers to celebrate having left those diapers behind!

New in Paperback:

 

Smells Like Heaven
by Sally Cooper
Arbeiter Ring Publishing   $18.95
Fiction/ Short Stories
Canadian/ Hamilton author

Set in the fictional town of Fletcher, the connected stories in Smells Like Heaven span thirty years. Fletcher is a town the characters strive to escape, but keep returning to, as they stumble through life searching for ways to connect and transcend their claustrophobic pasts.

Following two sisters—Devon and Christine—as well as their friends and lovers, Smells Like Heaven exposes the core of what it means to be transformed by love.

Please join us on Tuesday, June 22 as we welcome Sally Cooper to the Reading Room. See our events page for details.

 

No is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need
by Naomi Klein
Knopf Canada  $24.95
Political Science
Canadian

“Trump is extreme but he’s not a Martian. He is the logical conclusion of many of the most dangerous trends of the past half-century. He is the personification of the merger of humans and corporations–a one-man megabrand, with wife and children as spin-off brands. This book is to help understand how we arrived at this surreal political moment, how to keep it from getting a lot worse, and how, if we keep our heads, we can flip the script and seize the opportunity to make things a whole lot better in a time of urgent need. A tool-kit for shock-resistance.” –from the Introduction

The election of Donald Trump produced a frightening escalation in a world of cascading crises. The Trump Administration’s vision–the deconstruction of the welfare and regulatory state, the unleashing of a fossil fuel frenzy (which requires the sweeping aside of climate science) and an all-out attack on vulnerable communities under the guise of a war on crime and terrorism–will generate wave after wave of crises and shocks around the world, to the economy, to national security, to the environment.

In No Is Not Enough, Naomi Klein embraces a lively conversation with the reader to expose the forces behind Trump’s success and explain why he is not an aberration but the product of our time–Reality TV branding, celebrity obsession and CEO-worship, Vegas and Guantanamo, fake news and vulture bankers all rolled into one. And she shares a bold vision, a clear-eyed perspective on how to break the spell of his shock tactics, counter the rising chaos and divisiveness at home and abroad, and win the world we need.

 

 

The Tree Climber’s Guide: Adventures in the Urban Canopy
by Jack Cooke
HarperCollins  $17.99
Nature/ Recreation

A wonderful cocktail of engaging writing, beautiful illustration and heartfelt appreciation for the natural world. An essential oddity for any book collection.

In this charming, witty and exquisitely illustrated companion, Jack Cooke explores the city through its canopy; teetering on the edge of an oak’s branches, scurrying up a Scots pine, spying views from the treetops that few have ever had the chance to see. He takes us through the parks, over the canals and rivers and into secret gardens on his journey sometimes only ten foot above the street.

Part guidebook, part meditation on the consolations of nature, The Tree Climber’s Guide is as uniquely odd, alluring and motley as the trees themselves. It is a journey into the tangle of bark and branches that surround us all and a welcome reminder that the best things in life are free – they just sometimes require a step in the right direction.