Almost Brown by Charlotte Gill

The BC based author of Eating Dirt returns with a look at the myriad complexities of life within a multicultural household.

Exploring issues of diversity, ancestry and the historical concept of race, Gill’s memoir of her globe-trotting and dysfunctional family is both hilarious and heartwarming, in a non-saccharine way. This is also a look at how our relationships with our parents change as we grow older, about forgiveness and mending relationships after the fall-out of divorce. Gill is a deceptively skillful writer with a style that’s subtle to the point that it’s easy to miss just how good she is. For readers of The Glass Castle and Educated, besides those interested in diversity and multicultural issues.

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr7072536

 Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane

Deeply rooted racism in South Boston is explored in this excellent crime drama set in the blistering hot summer of 1974, on the eve of forced desegregation when a 17 year old girl disappears after the murder of a young Black man.

Author and Boston native Lehane’s early work (Gone, Baby, Gone and Mystic River, most notably) quickly endeared him to readers of modern noir. After Hollywood came calling, he began to publish less frequently and explored other genres (Shutter Island, Since We Fell) while doing a lot of writing for TV (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire). His early fans will be thrilled to have Lehane back writing in the manner that made his reputation, with themes of violence, vengeance, racism and poverty. I’d be surprised if a movie version isn’t already being planned.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr6925404

All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

A Black sheriff in a small town in the South grappling with his own personal traumas, is faced with a school shooting that leads to the discovery of other local murders.

The author of Razorblade Tears gives us a dark story about how all sins must be reckoned with, in time, one way or another.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr6943608

 Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast by John Vaillant

An incendiary look at the Fort McMurray fire that caused the largest civic evacuation in Canadian history.

Vaillant combines history, science and environmental background with an account of the infamous fire, that reads like a thriller, despite an ending we’re already familiar with. An astonishingly informative and frightening look at the changing nature of fire, particularly in the increasingly arid west.

I can’t imagine a better winner for this year’s Canada Reads, with its theme of “one book to shift your perspective;” it’s extremely unfortunate that this book, which will be published in May, was not eligible for consideration. Forget what you think you know about fire, resource extraction and climate change and read this book.

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr6946760

Tell Me Pleasant Things: Stories by Lindsay Wong

The most surprising and original book I’ve read in ages.

Gloriously perverse and wonderfully weird. I’m reluctant to elaborate because I think the best way to approach this book is as I did, with zero advance knowledge or expectations. I started reading it on the train to OLA and had grabbed it simply because I had an advance copy laying around, liked the cover, and thought that short stories would be well suited to the trip. And then, whoa!

From the author of The Woo Woo, a Dewey Diva pick and Canada Reads finalist.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr6665889

 The Longest Suicide: The Authorized Biography of Art Bergmann by Jason Schneider

Possibly the most unlikely recipient of the Order of Canada, our nation’s punk poet laureate has been shaking up the music scene here for half a century.

Largely unheralded, known by some solely for his roles in Hard Core Logo and Highway 61, Bergmann helped lay the foundations of the Vancouver punk scene in the 70s, playing in and leading bands like The K-Tels, Young Canadians, the Mount Lehman Grease Band and Los Popularos, along with solo work. Kitchener author Jason Schneider (Whispering Pines) has delivered a resonant deep dive into an important but little known chapter of Canadian music and cultural history.

Adult Non-Fiction Paperback pr6732579

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