Editor’s Picks: New Books for Winter ’17/18

18 of the season's most enticing new releases

Betrayal of Trust
Joel Zemel
New World Publishing

Zemel’s first book, Scapegoat, explored the inquiry following the Halifax Explosion that scapegoated Acting Commander F Evan Wyatt and shed new light on the causes of the Disaster, becoming the first Atlantic Canadian book to win a John Lyman Award. Zemel’s follow up digs deeper into Wyatt’s life and the navy’s failure to protect him. #History

Tappan Adney and the Heritage of the St. John River Valley
Keith Helmuth
Chapel Street Editions

Tappan Adney first met Peter Joe and saw him building a Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) birch-bark canoe in 1887 and began documenting how they were made, and building one-fifth-scale models using traditional materials gathered from the forest, making a significant contribution to the preservation of an Indigenous tradition. #History

400 Years in 365 Days
Leo Deveau
Formac Publishing

This is a celebration of all things Nova Scotia, condensed into bite-sized morsels and representing varied communities. It sings the songs of prominent Nova Scotians current and past, including Alexander Graham Bell, Carrie Best, Sam Langford, Viola Desmond, Rita MacNeil, Anna Leonowens, Alden Nowlan, Anne Murray, The Rankins, El Jones and George Elliott Clarke. #History

Big Business and Hitler
Jacques R Pauwels
Lorimer Publishing

In Nazi Germany, the re-arming of the deflated nation meant big bucks for multinational corporations. Pauwels lays bare the links between Hitler and companies including GM, IBM, Ford, Standard Oil and others, and how these connections kept America from joining the Allied Forces earlier, extending the war and holocaust. #History

Wartime
Edward Butts
Lorimer Publishing

Award-winning historian Edward Butts takes us back via news clippings, letters home from overseas and cinematic newsreels, as jubilant Europe-bound boys turned into casualties and lost promise as the Canadian government took desperate measures to enlist fresh recruits, by force if necessary. Ordinary Canadians struggled to make sense of a war without evident logic. #History

Develop or Perish
Gerhard P Bassler
Flanker

Develop or Perish is an illustrated companion to Gerhard P Bassler’s Escape Hatch, an in-depth examination of Smallwood’s Newfoundland industrialization effort, which drew in 17 new industries and more than 1,000 new immigrants in the 1950s and 60a. Images are provided from immigrants of the era. #History

Death at the Harbourview Cafe
Fred Humber
Flanker

Fred Humber plays the role of true-crime sleuth in uncovering details of foul play and disaster the night of Nov 6, 1958 in Botwood, Newfoundland, and the gruesome events that rocked the nation, ending three lives, destroying a Chinese-Canadian-owned business and creating long-term disorder for those who attended the scene. #History

Reconciliation Manifesto
Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson
Lorimer Publishing

Non-Indigenous Canadians: prepare to have your assumptions about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples challenged. Manuel and Derrickson show that governments are attempting to reconcile without addressing the very colonial structures that have long framed an attack on Indigenous Peoples, and highlight what is really required for true reconciliation.

Smaller Hours
Kevin Shaw
icehouse poetry

Kevin Shaw’s poems escort us back through #history to observe the archaic and gain insight into today’s condition through a celebrated cast of characters living ordinary lives, Ovid at the laundromat for example, the illusive innovators our City Halls wish to entice, all to the anachronistic beat of cinema and music.

Lost in September
Kathleen Winter
Alfred A Knopff Canada

Fiction fans rejoice, there’s a new Kathleen Winter on the shelves. Her last novel, Annabel, was a finalist for everything including the Giller, Governor General’s Award and Writers’ Trust prize. Here she dives deep into broad themes of PTSD, war, homelessness, heroism and how we interpret #history.

Peninsula Sinking
David Huebert
Biblioasis

Huebert first captured the public imagination when “Enigma,” his short story about a woman grieving the death of her horse, won the CBC short story contest in 2016. His debut collection features Maritimers “marooned on the shores of being.” One of the many striking features of his work is his respect for the relations between humans and other animals.

Beachbound
Junie Coffey
Thomas Allen & Son

In the second in the Pineapple Cay series, her sequel to 2015’s Sunbaked, New Brunswick’s Junie Coffey offers up a well-written attempted-murder mystery full of adventure with a little bit of romance. It’s a fun, engaging read and a great story with unexpected depth and insight.

The Kingdom of No Worries
Philip Roy
Ronsdale Press

Philip Roy continues creating fiction for young readers that plays on youthful desires for freedom, adventure and independence while exploring the sophisticated responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. Here, three friends set out to create a Utopic independent society but find themselves inextricably linked to other communities.

Camped Out
Daphne Greer
Orca

In this sequel to Maxed Out, Max once again finds himself under the stress of caring for his autistic brother, Duncan. Young readers are once again along for an emotional journey, with laughs and cries along the way and much scene stealing by the ever-observant Duncan. 

Plank’s Law
Lesley Choyce
Orca

Teenaged Trevor has Huntington’s disease and has a year to live when he meets potty-mouthed old Plank, whose philosophy is simple: just live. Their meeting inspires Trevor to improve his bucket list and get busy. This is a funny, fast-paced story with fascinating, quirky characters and an underlying theme as relevant to the living as to the dying.

Jumped In
William Kowalski
Orca

This is the story of a bright young man spending much of his energy avoiding the violence of a street gang in his neighbourhood. It’s a quick read with potent themes around race and class, and it serves as a reminder that not every childhood is lived in safe quarters.

Deer Island Mystery
Don Kelly
Chocolate River Publishing

This is a page-turner for young readers and it’s a joy to read quietly or aloud. Children will be compelled by the adventures of Jamie and friends as they follow the mystery of Captain Nehemiah Butler’s lost treasure. It may even make them eager to start their own heritage projects and learn more about orienteering.

The Gravel Pit Kids
Geraldine Ryan-Lush
Black Rose Writing

This is a beautifully written story of a friendship between two preteen boys in a small Newfoundland town. The setting is well enough rendered that it remains an important presence throughout. The boys’ bond is strong enough to endure significant differences in class and circumstance and the disapproving eyes of surrounding adults.

Written By

Chris Benjamin is the managing editor of Atlantic Books Today. He is also the author of three award-winning, critically-acclaimed books: Indian School Road: Legacies of the Shubenacadie Residential School; Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada and Drive-by Saviours; as well as several short stories in anthologies and journals.

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