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A Literary Roundup

How is it that we find ourselves in June? We are fast approaching the halfway mark of 2021, yet I can count the books I've read on one hand. Less than 6 books in six months? This doesn't bode well for a bookseller but I tell myself it hasn't been a normal year. However, I'm happy to report I'm catching up on my TBR list thanks to new works by Lauren Groff, Sally Rooney, and Taylor Jenkins Reid. And with over two million Ontarians fully vaccinated and our little shop open again I can't help but feel optimistic and hopeful for the remainder of the year. So as we usher in a new season I offer you a new list of literary links gathered from my online travels - presenting the hopeful and heartful.

The literary prizes have been rolling in these days with the Pulitizer Prize, the Governor-General, and the Dublin Literary awards being handed out to authors internationally and nationally.

Michele Good, a member of Saskatchewan's Red Pheasant Cree Nation who now resides in Savona, British Columbia, had recently won the $60,000 prize for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award for her novel Five Little Indians when days later was awarded the Governor-General award for Literary Fiction.

Set in the 1960's, Five Little Indians chronicles the lives of residential-school survivors Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie, and Maisie as they struggle to overcome the trauma of their past and find a way forward.

However, Good has publicly said the book's literary good fortune has been overshadowed by her grief with the recent discovery of 215 children found buried in unmarked graves on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, not far from her home in Savona, BC.

In writing Five Little Indians, Good, who at one time advocated for survivors as a lawyer, was in part paying tribute to the trauma her own mother suffered from her time spent at St. Barnabas Indian Residential School in Onion Lake. “This is something that is piercing the hearts of Indigenous people right across the country.”

To learn more about residential schools in Canada, here's a reading list - click here.

Joshua Whitehead, 2021 Canada Reads winner for his debut novel Jonny Appleseed has again won a Lambda Literary Award for his Indigenous Anthology Love After the End in the LGBTQ anthology category.

As we celebrate Pride Month in Canada in June, here are some books to read with your kids and teens.

“I believe that the most powerful books a person reads are when they’re making decisions about the kind of human they want to be,” says MG Leonard, author of the bestselling Beetle Boy. Here are the children's books that have inspired him, as well as authors Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald.

Listening to any literary podcasts these days? Here are two more to add to your list: Marlon James has a podcast, as do the volume of books entitled My Struggle.

And it seems that author Jeanette Winterson is struggling with how her books are being packaged and presented to her readers. She hated the domestic blurbs on her covers so much she burned them.

And we'll end this instalment with a little literary jeopardy. How bookish are you?

These 3 words precede “the centre cannot hold” in Yeats’s “The Second Coming”

To find out the question to the answer click here.

Have a great week!

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