New Releases- January 2, 2018

January 2, 2018

 Hardcover

Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving
by Julia Samuel
Doubleday Canada  $29.95
Death and Dying/ Family

A warm, moving and practical guide to grief from a leading bereavement counsellor, Grief Works features deeply affecting case studies of the author’s clients, which will appeal to readers of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, Stephen Grosz’s The Unexamined Life and Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air.

Death is the last taboo in our society, and grief is still profoundly misunderstood. So many of us feel awkward and uncertain around death, and shy away from talking honestly with family and friends. Grief Works is a compassionate guide that will inform and engage anyone who is grieving, from the “expected” death of a parent to the sudden unexpected death of a small child, and provide clear advice for those seeking to comfort the bereaved.

With deeply moving case studies of real people’s stories of loss, and brilliantly accessible and practical advice, Grief Works will be passed down through generations as the definitive guide for anyone who has lost a loved one, and revolutionize the way we talk about life, loss and death.

UK-based, Julia Samuel will be in Canada for a limited media tour and we are delighted to welcome her to Hamilton on January 18th for an event as part of the 100% Certainty Project. Please see our event page for full details.

 

Antigone Undone: Juliette Binoche, Anne Carson, Ivo van Hove and the Art of Resistance
by Will Aitkin
University of Regina Press  $24.95
Drama / Performing Arts
Canadian

 Antigone Undone offers an urgent and mesmerizing account of the creative and destructive power of great art.

In 2015 Will Aitken journeyed to Luxembourg for the rehearsals and premiere of Anne Carson’s translation of Sophokles’ 5th-century BCE tragedy Antigone, starring Juliette Binoche and directed by theatrical sensation Ivo van Hove.

In watching the play, he became awestruck with the plight of the young woman at the centre of the action. “Look at what these men are doing to me,” An­tigone cries, expressing the predicament of the dispossessed throughout time. Transfixed by the strange and uncanny power of the play, he finds himself haunted by its protagonist, finally resulting in a suicidal breakdown.

With a backstage view of the action, Aitken illuminates the creative process of Carson, Binoche, and Van Hove and offers a rare glimpse into collaborative genius in action. He also investi­gates the response to the play by Hegel, Virginia Woolf, Judith Butler, and others, who too, were moved by its timeless protest against injustice.

Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker
by A.N. Wilson
HarperCollins  $40.50
Biography / Science

A radical reappraisal of Charles Darwin from the bestselling author of Victoria: A Life.

With the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin—hailed as the man who “discovered evolution”—was propelled into the pantheon of great scientific thinkers, alongside Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton. Eminent writer A. N. Wilson challenges this long-held assumption. Contextualizing Darwin and his ideas, he offers a groundbreaking critical look at this revered figure in modern science.

In this beautifully written, deeply erudite portrait, Wilson argues that Darwin was not an original scientific thinker, but a ruthless and determined self-promoter who did not credit the many great sages whose ideas he advanced in his book. Furthermore, Wilson contends that religion and Darwinism have much more in common than it would seem, for the acceptance of Darwin’s theory involves a pretty significant leap of faith.

Armed with an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, Wilson explores how Darwin and his theory were very much a product of their place and time. The “Survival of the Fittest” was really the Survival of Middle Class families like the Darwins—members of a relatively new economic strata who benefited from the rising Industrial Revolution at the expense of the working classes. Following Darwin’s theory, the wretched state of the poor was an outcome of nature, not the greed and neglect of the moneyed classes. In a paradigm-shifting conclusion, Wilson suggests that it remains to be seen, as this class dies out, whether the Darwinian idea will survive, or whether it, like other Victorian fads, will become a footnote in our intellectual history.

Brilliant, daring, and ambitious, Charles Darwin explores this legendary man as never before, and challenges us to reconsider our understanding of both Darwin and modern science itself.

 

Insidious Intent
by Val McDermid
Grove Atlantic  $37.50
Fiction / Mystery

Widely recognized as one of our finest crime writers, with numerous accolades and legions of devoted readers worldwide, internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is back with the latest installment in her series featuring psychologist Tony Hill and former police detective Carol Jordan. In Insidious Intent, Tony and Carol are on the hunt for a serial killer who victimizes women at weddings without a date—and forces the duo to confront their most haunting moral dilemma so far.

In the north of England, single women are beginning to disappear from weddings. A pattern soon becomes clear: Someone is crashing the festivities and luring the women away—only to leave the victims’ bodies in their own burned-out cars in remote locations. Tony and Carol are called upon to investigate—but this may be the toughest case they’ve ever had to face. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Paula McIntyre and her partner Elinor must deal with a cruel cyber-blackmailer targeting their teenage ward, Torin.

Impeccably plotted and intensely gripping,Insidious Intent reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as Britain’s reigning Queen of Crime.

 

The Secret Twenties: British Intelligence, The Russians and the Jazz Age
by Timothy Phillips
Granta   $32.95
History

A thrilling true story of espionage and counterespionage between the Soviets and the British during London’s Roaring Twenties.

At the height of the hedonistic Jazz Age, many in British society became convinced that they were under attack from the new Soviet state. Still reeling from the Russian revolution of 1917, disturbed by the development of militant workers movements at home, and deeply paranoid about the recent wave of Russian immigration to the UK, the British government tasked the intelligence services to look for evidence of espionage.

Over the next decade, as the political pressure mounted, the spooks began to cast their net of suspicion wider, to include not only suspect Russians, but British aristocrats, Bloomsbury artists, ordinary workers, and even members of parliament. It was the biggest spying operation in British Intelligence’s peacetime history to date, undertaken with enthusiastic support from anti-Red crusaders like Winston Churchill, and its ramifications were profound. On the strength of the evidence uncovered, Britain deported hundreds of Russians and broke off diplomatic links with Moscow for more than two years. This was the first Cold War, and it not only set the rules of engagement for Russia and Britain for decades to come, but also sent shock waves through the British establishment, bringing down a government and ending careers.

Drawing on a wealth of recently declassified and previously unseen material, Timothy Phillips uncovers a world of suspicion and extremism, bureaucracy and betrayal set against the sparkling backdrop of cocktail-era London. The Secret Twenties shines fresh light on a glamorous decade, and offers a gripping account of the lives of the first Soviet spies, the British Secret Services that pursued them and the double agents in their midst.

 

Young Adult:

Fire Song
by Adam Garnet Jones
Annick Press  $12.95
Fiction / Indigenous / LGBTQ+  Ages 14+
Cree / Canadian

Novel based on award-winning film written and directed by Adam Garnet Jones.

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny.  How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort.  What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.

Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone.  Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.

With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn’t always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.

 

Young Reader:

Monster: The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim #2
by Shane Peacock
Tundra Books    $21.99
Fiction / Horror  Ages 11+
Canadian

The pulse-pounding second book in a gripping gothic trilogy, featuring monsters from classic literary tales, secret societies and the fight between good and evil.

After vanquishing the terrible creature that stalked the aisles of the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edgar Brim and his unusual crew of friends return to their mentor only to discover that he has been brutally murdered by an unknown assailant. The group go into hiding, Edgar desperate to protect his friends and family from what may be a second horrific creature torn from the pages of literature.

Meanwhile, Edgar’s guardian, Alfred Thorne, forces him to pursue a trade, and so Edgar begins working with his uncle, Doctor Vincent Brim, and a renowned vivisectionist, the brilliant yet mysterious Doctor Godwin. The more time Edgar spends in the company of Godwin, the more he begins to wonder about Godwin’s motives. And time is running out for Edgar and his friends. A monstrous creature is chasing them, a beast seemingly impervious to Thorne’s weaponry. Can Edgar Brim once again defy the horrors that pursue him, and protect those dearest to his heart?


Children:

Homemade Love
by bell hooks, Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Jump at the Sun  $8.99
Fiction / Board Book Ages 0-2

Her Mama calls her Girlpie-a sweet treat, homemade with love. And when Girlpie makes a mistake, the love of her mother and father lets her pick up the pieces and make everything right again.

Shane W. Evan’s resplendent artwork teems with “homemade love,” one of the tender nicknames award-winning author bell hooks gives her young heroine.

The simple, dynamic text paired with bold, energetic illustrations make this beautiful board book perfect for little hands.

Paperback:

The Wolves of Winter
by Tyrell Johnson
Simon & Schuster Canada  $24.99
Fiction / Thriller
Canadian

Station Eleven meets The Hunger Games in this ruthless, captivating story of a young woman’s survival in the frozen wilderness of the Yukon after the rest of the world has collapsed.

The old world has been ravaged by war and disease, and as far as Lynn McBride is concerned, her family could be the last one left on earth. For seven years, the McBrides have eked out a meagre existence in the still, white wilderness of the Yukon. But this is not living. This is survival on the brink.

Into this fragile community walk new threats, including the enigmatic fugitive, Jax, who holds secrets about the past and, possibly, keys to a better future. And then there’s Immunity, the pre‑war organization that was supposed to save humankind from the flu. They’re still out there, enforcing order and conducting experiments—but is their work for the good of humankind or is something much more sinister at play? In the face of almost certain extinction, Lynn and her family must learn to hunt as a pack or die alone in the cold.

Breakout debut novelist Tyrell Johnson weaves a captivating tale of humanity stretched far beyond its breaking point, of family and the bonds of love forged when everything else is lost. This is an enthralling post‑apocalyptic adventure and a celebration of the human spirit.

 

The Boat People
by Sharon Bala
McClelland & Stewart  $24.95
Fiction
Canadian

By the winner of The Journey Prize, and inspired by a real incident, The Boat People is a gripping and morally complex novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage to reach Canada – only to face the threat of deportation and accusations of terrorism in their new land.

When the rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees reaches the shores of British Columbia, the young father is overcome with relief: he and his six-year-old son can finally put Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war behind them and begin new lives. Instead, the group is thrown into prison, with government officials and news headlines speculating that hidden among the “boat people” are members of a terrorist militia. As suspicion swirls and interrogation mounts, Mahindan fears the desperate actions he took to survive and escape Sri Lanka now jeopardize his and his son’s chances for asylum.

Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer Priya, who reluctantly represents the migrants; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate, The Boat People is a high-stakes novel that offers a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis. Inspired by real events, with vivid scenes that move between the eerie beauty of northern Sri Lanka and combative refugee hearings in Vancouver, where life and death decisions are made, Sharon Bala’s stunning debut is an unforgettable and necessary story for our times.

 

The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness
by Emily Esfahani Smith
Penguin Canada   $23.00
Self-help /Personal growth

For anyone exhausted or disillusioned by the perpetual pursuit of personal happiness, here is the antidote: a book about the pursuit of meaning, a better route to a fulfilling life.

We have a lot to be happy about. And yet, we’re more dissatisfied than ever. In The Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith argues that we’ve been chasing the wrong thing. It’s not happiness that makes life worth living–it’s meaning.

Drawing on the latest cognitive science research, as well as insights from literature and philosophy and her own prodigious reporting, Smith shows that by developing a “meaning mindset,” we can all achieve a deeper satisfaction.

With a warm, assured voice that moves effortlessly from George Eliot and Aristotle to Monty Python, Smith spells out the four pillars of the meaning mindset: cultivating connections to others, working toward our life’s purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and finding transcendence. And she shows us how we can lean on the pillars in difficult times, and how we might begin to build a culture of meaning in our families, our workplaces, and our communities.

Stirring, inspiring, and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking more in life.

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