New Releases: October 24, 2017

October 24, 2017

 Hardcover

The Shoe on the Roof
by Will Ferguson
Simon & Schuster Canada  $32.00
Fiction

Imagine…meeting someone with the same name, the same history, the same family, the same identity as you. Now, imagine meeting another person making the same exact claim. What would that do to you?

From the Giller Prize–winning novelist of 419 comes the startling, funny, and heartbreaking story of a psychological experiment gone wrong.

Ever since his girlfriend ended their relationship, Thomas Rosanoff’s life has been on a downward spiral. A gifted med student, he has spent his entire adulthood struggling to escape the legacy of his father, an esteemed psychiatrist who used him as a test subject when he was a boy. Thomas lived his entire young life as the “Boy in the Box,” watched by researchers behind two-way glass.

But now the tables have turned. Thomas is the researcher, and his subjects are three homeless men, all of whom claim to be messiahs—but no three people can be the one and only saviour of the world. Thomas is determined to “cure” the three men of their delusions, and in so doing save his career—and maybe even his love life. But when Thomas’s father intervenes in the experiment, events spin out of control, and Thomas must confront the voices he hears in the labyrinth of his own mind.

The Shoe on the Roof is an explosively imaginative tour de force, a novel that questions our definitions of sanity and madness, while exploring the magical reality that lies just beyond the world of scientific fact.

 

The River of Consciousness
by Oliver Sacks
Knopf Canada  $32.00
Science

A profoundly fascinating, illuminating major work from the beloved, bestselling thinker and neurologist Oliver Sacks–completed by him just before his death–provides readers with a compelling, rare gift from the master.

The River of Consciousness reflects Oliver Sacks at his wisest and most humane, as he examines some of the human animal’s most remarkable faculties: memory, creativity, consciousness, and our present, ongoing evolution.

Before his death, Sacks personally collected into this one volume his recent essays and case studies, never before published in book form, which he felt best displayed his passionate engagement with his most compelling and seminal ideas. The book, lucid and accessible as ever, is a mirror of his own consciousness, discovering in his personal and humane interactions with others, unique insight, and fresh meaning.

Featuring a preface written two weeks before his death, The River of Consciousness reveals the beloved, bestselling author’s unique ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless project to understand what it is that makes us human.

 

Bookshops: A Reader’s History
by Jorge Carrion
Biblioasis   $32.95
Literary Collections

Jorge Carrión collects bookshops: from Gotham Book Mart and the Strand Bookstore in New York City to City Lights Bookshop and Green Apple Books in San Francisco and all the bright spots in between (Prairie Lights, Tattered Cover, and countless others).

In this thought-provoking, vivid, and entertaining essay, Carrión meditates on the importance of the bookshop as a cultural and intellectual space.

Filled with anecdotes from the histories of some of the famous (and not-so-famous) shops he visits on his travels,  thoughtful considerations of challenges faced by bookstores, and fascinating digressions on their political and social impact, Bookshops is both a manifesto and a love letter to these spaces that transform readers’ lives.

 

The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease and the End of an Empire
by Kyle Harper
Princeton University Press  $44.95
History

A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire. Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome’s power – a story of nature’s triumph over human ambition.Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome’s pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a “little ice age” and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague.A poignant reflection on humanity’s intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history’s greatest civilizations encountered and endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature’s violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit-in ways that are surprising and profound.

 

Shadowless
Hasan Ali Toptas
Bloomsbury Publishing  $37.00
Fiction

Hasan Ali Toptas exquisitely weaves an enigmatic, mystical tale of memory and identity, displacement and belonging.

In an Anatolian village forgotten by both God and the government, the muhtar has been elected leader for the sixteenth successive year. When he staggers to bed that night, drunk on raki and his own well-deserved success, the village is prosperous. But when he is woken by his wife the next evening he discovers that Nuri, the barber, has disappeared without a trace in the dead of night, and the community begins to fracture.

In a nameless town far away, Nuri walks into a barbershop as if from a dream, not knowing how he has arrived. Try as he might, he cannot grasp the strands of his memory. The facts of his past life shift and evade him, and as other customers come and go, they too struggle to recall how they got there.

Blurring the lines of reality to terrific effect, Shadowless is both a compelling mystery and an enduring evocation of displacement from one of the finest, most exciting voices in Turkish literature today.

Young Adult

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki
by Kevin Crossley-Holland, Illustrated by Jeffery Alan Love
Candlewick   $34.99
Mythology  Ages 11+

Long-recognized master of Norse mythology Kevin Crossley-Holland pairs with award-winning artist Jeffrey Alan Love for an exceptional look at the Viking gods.

A collaboration by two talented creators provides the perfect means to delve into Norse mythology and pore over the enthralling exploits of all-powerful Odin; mighty Thor and his hammer, Mjolnir; and Loki, the infamous trickster.

From the creation of the nine worlds to the final battle of Ragnarok, Carnegie Medal winner Kevin Crossley-Holland details the Viking gods as never before, while Jeffrey Alan Love’s lavish illustrations bring the mythic figures to life on the page. Readers will be caught up in the seesawing struggle for power between gods, dwarfs, and giants, punctuated by surprising love matches, thrilling journeys, and dazzling magic. With its well-researched, lyrical prose and its dramatic and powerful artwork, this wonderful gift edition makes the perfect book for both the staunchest fans of mythology and newcomers with no knowledge of Viking folklore.

Young Reader:

 

The Secret of the Nightingale Wood
by Lucy Strange
Chicken House Books   $22.99
Fiction  Ages 8-12

1919: Mama is ill. Father has taken a job abroad. Nanny Jane is too busy to pay any attention to Henrietta and the things she sees — or thinks she sees — in the shadows of their new home, Hope House.

All alone, with only stories for company, Henry discovers that Hope House is full of strange secrets: a forgotten attic, ghostly figures, mysterious firelight that flickers in the trees beyond the garden.

One night she ventures into the darkness of Nightingale Wood. What she finds there will change her whole world…

 

Children:

Sam & Eva
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Simon & Schuster Canada  $23.99
Fiction/ Imagination  Ages 4-8
Canadian

Harold and the Purple Crayon meets Tom and Jerry in this sweet and funny picture book about a boy and girl who must balance their creativity and figure out how to cooperate after their drawings come to life.

When Sam starts drawing a super cool velociraptor, Eva decides to join in. But Sam isn’t too happy about the collaboration. Soon Eva and Sam are locked in an epic creative clash, bringing to life everything from superhero marmots to exploding confetti. But when their masterpieces turn to mayhem will Sam stay stubbornly solo or will he realize that sometimes the best work comes from teamwork?

Paperback:

 

An Unkindness of Ghosts
by Rivers Solomon
Akashic Books
Fiction/ Science Fiction  $22.95

Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she’d be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world.

Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot–if she’s willing to sow the seeds of civil war.

 

Against All Odds: The Untold Story of Canada’s Unlikely Hockey Heroes
by P.J. Naworynski
HarperCollins Canada  $24.99
Hockey
Canadian

The announcement was shocking—Canada, the birthplace of hockey, would not be sending a team to the 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland. Outraged, a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron leader, Sandy Watson, quickly assembled a team of air force hockey players who were “amateur enough” to complete under the Olympic guidelines.

Sergeant Frank Boucher was recruited to coach the team and begin the cross-Canada search for players. Hubert Brooks, a decorated flying officer and serial escapist from POW camps, was another early recruit. Andy Gilpin joined from the RCAF base in Whitehorse, as did airmen from Quebec, the Maritimes and western Canada. And when their starting goalie, Dick Ball, didn’t pass a medical exam, Murray Dowey was called up from his job as a TTC driver and occasional practice goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The ragtag team got off to a rough start, losing so many exhibition games that Canadian newspapers called them a disgrace to the country. But the RCAF Flyers battled back, and Boucher’s defensive strategy paid off. They eliminated the American team, tied the Czech team and beat the Swiss as the hometown crowd pelted the Canadians with snowballs during the game. On the same ice where Barbara Ann Scott won a gold medal, the underdog RCAF Flyers also won Olympic gold, and their goalie, Murray Dowey, set an Olympic record that still stands.

Against All Odds is the inspiring untold story of a group of determined men, fresh from the battlefields of WWII, who surprised a nation and the world.

 

But It’s So Silly: A Cross-Cultural Collage of Nonsense, Play and Poetry
by JonArno Lawson
Wolsak & Wynn Publishers   $22.00
Performing Artists/ Storytelling
Canadian/ Hamilton Author

How are ideas of play shaped by culture? What is imagination, or creativity, and where does poetry fit into this mix? For the past decade, award-winning children’s author JonArno Lawson has been collecting children’s poetry, lap rhymes, finger games and stories of how people interact with young children across the world, drawn to each culture’s unique approach. In this wide-ranging collection we learn of language play from Malta, round games from Jamaica, Yiddish hand rhymes, and of the wonderful and complex ways these are all passed down through generations. Along the way Lawson looks at the implications for how North American society approaches childhood and what we might gain from looking at things differently.

 

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