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Kingston Writers Fest

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Whether you’re looking for a light read for the beach, or a heady topic of debate for your next book club, we hope these suggestions will help launch you into an exciting summer of reading love.

Zolitude, Paige Cooper (Biblioasis)

Short fiction doesn’t often get the respect it deserves, as there’s a tendency to view such stories as incomplete or underdeveloped. Perhaps this is a result of our own elementary school memories of hastening a creative writing assignment to completion when we discover recess is 5 minutes away. Paige Cooper’s stories, however, defy this interpretation, never feeling rushed or disjointed. She slides us into dense and challenging worlds that demand the reader to slow down and adjust to these new surroundings, and, when the tale ends, to pause, and absorb what they have just read. The plots and characters are varied, but all are linked in one way or another with the theme of love – be it a romantic impulse, a passion for one’s work, or unhealthy delusions of assorted kinds. Biblioasis has a reputation of bringing smart, quality short fiction to Canadian readers, and this debut is no exception.

Further reading – The Ambassador of What, Adrian Michael Kelly (ECW Press)

Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men, Daemon Fairless (Random House Canada)

Misogyny, toxic masculinity, and the #MeToo movement is a story that is not going away in 2018. In Mad Blood Stirring, Daemon Fairless takes a deeply personal look at the shameful violent impulses he himself experiences, and has acted upon throughout his life. Why does a man who was brought up by liberal, pacifist, progressive parents find himself grappling with urges that he knows he should not harbor. Daemon takes readers on what he describes as a half-scientific, half-gonzo-journalism exploration that touches upon the nature-nurture debate, and interviews experts on the scientific, psychological, and social theories that might help explain, and allow him to understand, why men – and why he – behave and react in the ways they do. Smart, honest, and well-written.

Further reading – Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls (House of Anansi)

Cold Skies: A DreadfulWater Mystery, Thomas King (HarperCollins Canada)

While Thomas King has established a reputation as an award-winning, serious author, activist, and spokesperson for Indigenous issues, he also has a very, very funny side. CBC Radio listeners got a taste of that with his acclaimed Dead Dog Café, and readers get a chance to enjoy it again, as he’s back with the third installment of his DreadfulWater mystery series. California cop Thumps DreadfulWater is back, recently retired, hiding out in a tiny town with his cat and a new hobby as a fine arts photographer. He just wants some peace and quiet, but when a body turns up on the eve of a major water conference and the understaffed sheriff’s department turns to Thumps for help, his sense of duty, and need for a new stove, takes precedence. Thomas writes characters that feel like old friends – full of flaws and personality. Whimsical, wry, and at times laugh out loud funny, this is the perfect summer cottage escape!

Further reading – for something a little darker, try Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s Hysteria (HarperCollins Canada)

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