Check out our roundup of books to check out in the first half of 2022!
Our top picks: When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O’Neill
When We Lost Our Heads is a story that explores gender, power, sex, desire, class and status. When Marie, the spoiled daughter of a sugar baron living in 19th-century Montreal, meets the brilliant Sadie, the two are immediately inseparable. Marie has bubbly charm and sees the pleasure of the world, whereas Sadie’s obsession with darkness is all-consuming. Class and circumstance lead them down different paths, while each woman plays an unexpected role in the events that upend their city.
Heather O’Neill is a writer and author from Montreal. O’Neill’s debut novel, Lullabies for Little Criminalswas a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award and won Canada Reads 2007. The Montreal-based writer was the first back-to-back finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night was a finalist in 2014 and her short story collection Daydreams of Angels was a finalist in 2015. Her latest books are the novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel and the nonfiction book Wisdom in Nonsense.
21:13Heather O’Neill on When We Lost Our Heads
Our top picks: Have You Eaten Yet? by Cheuk Kwan
Have You Eaten Yet? explores the global Chinese migration and how Chinese immigrants grapple with assimilation, cultural identity and economic survival. Family-run Chinese restaurants across the world are symbols of immigration and community, but they also offer insight into the social forces and history at play. Documentarian Cheuk Kwan shares the stories of the chefs, entrepreneurs and laborers who work in Chinese kitchens across the world.
Cheuk Kwan is a writer and filmmaker. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Singapore, Kwan has lived in the US, Saudi Arabia and Canada. His film series Chinese Restaurants explores stories from the Chinese diaspora by focusing on different family-run Chinese restaurants located all over the world.
TheCurrent23:22Writer Cheuk Kwan on what Chinese restaurants tell us about the country’s global diaspora
Our top picks: Parasitic Oscillations by Madhur Anand
Parasitic Oscillations examines a variety of philosophical and ethical dilemmas to inform and question. Set against the backdrop of ecological collapse, these poems draw on Madhur Anand’s work in the arts and sciences and experience living between North American and Indian culture.
Madhur Anand is a poet and professor of ecology at the University of Guelph. She is the author of the TO New Index for Predicting Catastrophes and This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heartwhich won the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for nonfiction.
The Next Chapter2:21Madhur Anand on This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir in Halves,
Our top picks: Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck
Shelterbelts tells the story of a Mennonite community breaking open, as traditional beliefs and modern values collide. The schisms in the community reach a turning point when a non-denominational mega-church opens on the edge of the rural village. Shelterbelts weaves together scenes from the community—a pastor and his queer daughter contend with lost parish members, a librarian writes prescriptive notes in books for her patrons and young activists fighting with a farmer over pipeline construction on his land.
Shelterbelts will be published on May 1, 2022.
Jonathan Dyck is a cartoonist from Winnipeg. He’s received several provincial prizes for his illustrations by him, including a silver medal at the 2021 Alberta Magazine Awards and the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award at the 2018 Manitoba Book Awards.
Our top picks: The Red Palace by June Hur
Set in Korea’s royal court of the 18th century, June Hur’s The Red Palace is a murder mystery laced with bits of romance. The novel follows Hyeon, the illegitimate daughter of a concubine, who works hard to earn a position as a nurse at the palace. When four women are suddenly killed and her mentor de ella is accused of the crimes, Hyeon teams up with a young police inspector to find the true killer.
June Hur is a Toronto-based writer, originally from South Korea. She’s also the author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls.
2:26June Hur on The Red Palace
Our top picks: Beatrice and Croc Harry by Lawrence Hill
In Beatrice and Croc Harry, to young girl wakes up all alone in a treehouse in the woods. She doesn’t know how she got there—or who she even is. But as she follows a trail of surprising and magical clues, she uncovers the story of the forest, of her family de ella and of herself, thanks in no small part to an unlikely friend and ally, King Crocodile Croc Harry.
Beatrice and Croc Harry is for ages 9 to 13.
Lawrence Hill is the acclaimed author of novels such as The Book of Negroes, Illegal, Some Great Thing and Any Known Blood and the memory Black Berry, Sweet Juice. He also delivered the 2013 Massey Lectures, Blood: The Stuff of Life. His novel The Book of Negroes won CBC’s Canada Reads in 2009 and was adapted into a six-part miniseries, which can be streamed on CBC Gem. Illegal also won Canada Reads in 2016, making Hill the only author to win CBC’s battle of the books twice.
19:29Lawrence Hill, Beatrice and Croc Harry
Our top picks: When I Listen to Silence by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Carmen Mok
When I Listen to Silence is a story of the power of silence when navigating your world. A girl looks out her window and discovers a space with breathing trees, dancing bears and a smoky dragon. It takes a bit of imagination and a dash of silence to save the day.
When I Listen to Silence is for ages 3 to 6.
When you can read it: April 1, 2022
Jean E. Pendziwol is an author from Ontario. She is the author of the novel The Lightkeeper’s Daughters and the children’s books Once Upon a Northern Night, Me and You and the Red Canoe and The Red Sash.
Carmen Mok is an illustrator. She has illustrated numerous books, including Ride the Big Machines in Winter: Waiting for Sophie by Sarah Ellis and Look at Me Now by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones.
The Next Chapter19:42Children’s book panel — December 2020