Tuesday 29 August 2017

Most Anticipated Fall Non-fiction 49th Shelf

Very happy that Miss Confederation The Diary of Mercy Anne Coles, is included in the 49th Shelf's Most Anticipated Fall Non-fiction Preview
Miss Confederationwas published by Dundurn Press in late June so it's (she's?) out already. As the 49th Shelf points out, this is the story of Canada, as it talks of Confederation, from the very rarely heard, woman's point of view.
 "In Miss Confederation (June), Anne McDonald, through the diaries of Mercy Anne Coles, takes readers through the social whirlwind of Canada’s confederation from a (rarely depicted!) woman’s point of view."
      Mercy Coles' story is both a depiction of Canada as it was in 1864, and also of the creation of a self-identity of a young woman at a pivotal time in both Canada's history and that of the United States. Of course, the whole story of Confederation and Canada's 150 right now is a whole mixture of ideas and emotions. It is incredibly important that we hear what Mercy Coles had to say about it all at the time - primary documents are crucial to our understanding of the past.

There are many more great non-fiction books the 49th Shelf has profiled here. Ones I'm particularly looking forward to include, (from the end of their post to the beginning):
- b/c I love comedy and irreverence, and a female point of view - "What I Think Happened (October), the debut book by comedian Evany Rosen, is really two books: a no-holds-barred romp through the history of the western world, and the personal story of a self-described "failed academic" who recasts historiography from a feminist perspective—albeit an underqualified and overconfident one."
-b/c I love food and who on the Prairies could turn their nose up at the mention of Hawkins Cheezies "Janis Thiessen’s Snacks: A Canadian Food History (September) chronicles the history of Canadian snacks including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and Ganong, and unwraps a social history of junk food."
-b/c yep, I want to figure out how to make Canada work "Graham Steele, whose What I Learned About Politics was nominated for the 2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, returns with a new insiders’ guide to Canadian politics, The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work For You (September)."
-b/c the stories help create change which is so desperately needed - "In Seven Fallen Feathers (September), focusing on the lives of seven Indigenous young people who died in the city of Thunder Bay between 2000-2011, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against indigenous communities."
- b/c it's a story of what is not known -  "Hunting the Northern Character (November) not only tracks former Yukon Premier Tony Penikett's footsteps in his hunt for a northern identity but tells the story of an Arctic that the world does not yet know.
-b/c it is 2017 - "In My Conversations With Canadians (September), “the book that Canada 150 needs” Lee Maracle engages with questions that are too big to answer, but not too big to contemplate."
-b/c the essence of childhood is life itself - " JonArno Lawson, whose work includes the award-winning wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, playfully examines our understanding of childhood in But It’s So Silly (September)."
- b/c it looks at the importance of women's letters, diaries and writing - ie back to the top and Mercy Coles -  "Sheila Johnson Kindred's Jane Austen's Transatlantic Sister (October) is a  is a rich new source for Jane Austen scholars and fans of her fiction as well as for those interested in biography, women’s letters, and history of the family.
- b/c I admire and read everything Helen Humphrey writes, and I also love apples, and serendipitous finds -  "Helen Humphreys explores the history of the apple in North America in The Ghost Orchard (September), a fascinating journey into the secret history of an everyday food."
- b/c Neilsen Glenn's writing is always so illuminating, and again, the story is of women and their unheard voices/stories -  "Poet and essayist Lorri Neilsen Glenn works to unravel issues of racism, sexism, and colonial nation-building in Following the River: Traces of the Red River Women (November), which explores her Indigenous roots and haunting family secrets."
- b/c it's a discovery of Canada - "In A Newfoundlander in Canada (October), Alan Doyle tells his story of leaving Newfoundland and discovering Canada for the first time."
- b/c, well, it is about love and the search for it - and back to the top and Mercy Coles again -  "Essayist Mandy Len Catron’s debut is the collection How to Fall In Love With Anyone (June), a candid examination of what it means to love and be loved."
- both of these b/c they're both Regina and the world together -- "Ven Begamudr√© traces the history of both sides of his family in Extended Families: A Memoir of India (September). In The World's Most Travelled Man (October), Mike Spencer Bown shares stories from his decades of wandering, voyaging and trekking through every single country in the world."

There are many more fascinating books listed here too - bring on Canadian writers and writing and Canadian stories, and yes, especially female ones.  
      You can follow, and join, the 49th Shelf to keep in the loop about Canadian writing - Here
 You can also rate and review Miss Confederation yourself, or any of the other books too


Wednesday 2 August 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo

My Goodreads Review
Lincoln in the Bardo is both lovely and a marvel. The history is fascinating and the presentation of it is stylistically impressive. The book is life-affirming and if you have or are suffering from grief, the story is consoling. <br />I found the history fascinating b/c I've been researching some of the Civil War for my book on Mercy Coles's diary. (Miss Confederation The Diary of Mercy Anne Coles -- the young woman who accompanied her father, George Coles, one of the PEI Fathers of Confederation, to the talks on Confederation in 1864. She and her parents travel back thru the northern US in Nov - when Lincoln was re-elected and when General Sherman started his infamous March to the Sea. So it was really interesting for me to read more of the time period and the people and places of the Civil War.)