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Three Recommended Reads

PROOF I WAS HERE by Becky Blake, Wolsak and Wynn 

What’s the point of trying to leave a mark when everything disappears? This question is at the heart of Proof I Was Here, a novel that tells the picaresque coming-of-age story of a young thief and aspiring artist who attempts to reboot her life on the streets of Barcelona after an unexpected breakup. Hailing from Toronto, where she has an assault charge waiting, Niki is outside of Canada for the first time. The pickpockets, squatters and graffiti artists she meets challenge her to reassess her ideas about luck and art. With the help of a passionate Catalan separatist who dreams of building a new country from the ground up, Niki realizes that starting her life over from scratch could be an opportunity – if she can just find a way to clear her name.

I immediately gravitated towards this book because of the title! Then, admittedly, it had all my favourite elements; Barcelona, young thieves, hustlers, buskers and graffiti artists. Broken hearts, complicated friendships, freeganism (fascinating idea), and dysfunctional familial relationships. This book was my perfect kind of escape read. Nikki aka Jane, kleptomaniac when stressed kept me following her adventures, holding my breath and wishing her all the best.

ALBATROSS by Terry Fallis, Penguin Random House Canada

Adam Coryell is your average high-school student--well, except for that obsession with fountain pens--when his life changes forever. Based on a study by a quirky Swedish professor that claims that every human being, regardless of athletic inclination, has a body that is suited to excel in at least one sport, it turns out that Adam is good--very good, in fact--at golf. Even though he'd never even picked up a golf club.

Almost instantly, and with his coach, hard-nosed Bobbie Davenport by his side, Adam and his new-found talent skyrocket to a prodigy-level stardom that includes tournament titles, sponsorship deals, throngs of fans following his every move, and fodder for tabloids.

But here's the catch: Adam doesn't really like golf. And as the life he once knew slips away--including the love of his life, the dream of being a writer, and everyday normalcy--he can't help but wonder if all this success and fame is worth it . . . or if it's enough for him. 

Heartwarming and funny, sweeping and entertaining, Terry Fallis's new book takes readers on a journey of self-discovery.

Yes, Terry Fallis’ books are funny. But they’re more than a simply comedic read, they really do, as the acknowledgment says, talk about life. What happens when you’re happy to make do with the lemons life has given you and you’re content to set about making lemonade but then out of nowhere, you win the DNA lottery and you’re pretty much force-fed champagne lemon gelato? Ad if you’re not sure what I’m getting at, you’ll have to read the book! The albatross of good fortune is an interesting concept, as is that of God given talents vs that which one works so hard to achieve. As always, the road is hilly, life is messy and the results are bittersweet. A reaffirming read, I enjoyed Albatross  and there are interesting insights into writing, publishing and fountains pens!

LIVING ON A BLANK PAGE by Gili Haimovich, Bue Angel Press

New Edition for Gili’s poetry collection Living on a Blank Page (Blue Angel Press 2008).
The new edition is the first one to include Gili’s photography as well as two new additional poems. Single Sock, one of the poems in the book, also featured in LRC- The Literary Review of Canada. The poem Date from the book was recently published in Writing in the Margins ezine.

I met Gili Haimovich years ago when this volume of poetry came out and we recently reconnected on Facebook. I always remembered the beauty and power of her launch reading and the powerful poignancy of her words. I’m very happy to see Gili’s continued success as a poet and it’s a lovely treat to revisit her words.

Here's an excerpt from Living on a Blank Page:

one last poem
like one last chance
to be
vague and beautiful


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"And if a writer has genuine star quality, a sharper, deeper radiance than most, then he or she ought to be identified and celebrated without delay. 
Time may be of the essence. Margaret Macpherson, a relatively unknown Maritime-born Albertan, is such a writer, and Body Trade, her seventh book and second novel, is the proof. She writes with the psychological insight of Carol Shields, the gravitas of Margaret Atwood, the poetic reflexes of Earl Birney and the earthy eroticism of Leonard Cohen, but her voice remains uniquely her own."  
Lesley Hughes, Winnipeg Free Press