Quel winter! After the longest cold season anyone I know can easily remember, I’m eager to get into anything new and fresh, starting with Running the Whale’s Back: Stories of Faith and Doubt from Atlantic Canada (Goose Lane Editions). Short story collections make the best summer reading. There’s more time and space available to sink into each story, and you can stare off into the sunset and think about them.
Where that’s true, an anthology of stories by different writers is even more appealing. Never mind Atlantic Canada: Running the Whale’s Back includes some of the best authors of their generation, period. Lynn Coady, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Michael Winter, Michael Crummey, Jessica Grant, Kathleen Winter: it’s a stellar roster, made up of heavy-hitters only.
Halifax poet Sue Goyette’s Ocean (Gaspereau Press) is next on my list. Goyette was recently named to the Griffin Prize shortlist, but her work has been close to my heart and mind for years and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up a copy of her newest book.
Breakwater Books just launched Wow Wow and Haw Haw, easily the most gorgeous children’s book I’ve seen in years—and I’d say that even if I didn’t live with the author, poet George Murray (… and, full disclosure, even if I didn’t work in marketing at Breakwater, too). Illustrated by Sobey Art Award-nominee Michael Pittman, the paintings alone are worth the price of admission—but the rhyme and cadence of the story, a re-telling of a Celtic legend, are perfect for young children and early readers alike.
At our house, we survived the worst of the winter by holding up a table at The Club, chef Mark McCrowe’s newest St. John’s venture, so I’m excited to get my hands on his new book (written with Sasha Okshevsky). Island Kitchen: An Ode to Newfoundland (Creative Publishing) highlights traditional ingredients and local artisan products. With the warmer weather finally on its way, here’s hoping McCrowe included a recipe for The Club’s signature Caesar.
Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s first collection of short stories, How To Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012) was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2013. Her first novel, The Devil You Know, is set to be released by Patrick Crean Editions in January 2015. She lives in St. John’s, NL.