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To honour Women’s History Month in Canada this October, we rounded up 14 choice titles by women about women.
Showing all 16 results
Felicia Mihali writes: “I would like this novel to be read as a universal story about little girls born in small and poor villages around the world who are not as lucky as those born in big cities and in good families. These are girls who have to struggle to succeed, to fight their own complexes and their shame over not being more fortunate. For many of them their only escape is through the imagination.”
Sales and Market Bullets
An unstintingly honest and surprisingly humorous memoir that charts a couple’s parallel diagnoses of Parkinson’s and Lewy body dementia.
In 2011, Leslie Davidson and her husband Lincoln Ford were enjoying retired life to the fullest as ardent outdoor enthusiasts, energetic travellers, and soon-to-be grandparents. But when Lincoln’s confusion became a concern and Leslie began to experience a hesitant leg and uncontrollable tremors in one arm, a devastating double diagnosis completely changed their life.
In this personal and unstintingly honest memoir, Leslie recounts the years that follow the diagnoses—her Parkinson’s and Lincoln’s Lewy body dementia—charting physical changes, mastering medications (and sometimes flubbing it), the logistical puzzles of caregiving, and the steady support of their close-knit community in the small town of Grand Forks in south central British Columbia.
She describes her struggle to maintain perspective while questioning what having perspective even means, and the work of being an advocate while needing an advocate. And she explains how, amid all the challenges and tears, shared laughter remained all-important to their survival, especially in times when Lincoln saw her as an imposter. She shares powerful lessons in love, courage, and grace from the man who had always led the way and who, despite the ravages of his illness, in many ways, still did.
At once poignant and unflinchingly frank Dancing in Small Spaces is the story of a long and adventurous marriage, of deep gratitude, and, ultimately, of writing one’s way toward understanding and acceptance.
Emily & Elspeth follows two women and their unique paths to love… and each other. Catherine McNeil’s latest collection is a delightful romp through Mexico, the imagined inner-workings of Frida Kahlo’s relationship(s), and Vancouver bedrooms. Through poems that flirt with the intersections of desire, art, and commitment, she pieces together Emily and Elspeth’s relationship as playfully as she takes it apart.
Along the way, Emily & Elspeth brings you to places both intimate and unexpected: a belly where a uterus used to be; a girl matador facing off against a bull; and “fat, honeyed days, swollen with desire” that risk being destroyed by the nefarious aims of a government spy.
Weird, wonderful, and slightly dangerous, this is a queer love story that’s anything but typical.
This Meditation on the impact of human and ecological trauma explores the cost of survival for three generations of women living between empires. Writing from within the disappearing tallgrass prairie, Sarah Ens follows connections between the Russian Mennonite diaspora and the disrupted migratory patterns of grassland birds. Drawing on family history, eco-poetics, and the rich tradition of the Canadian long poem, Flyway migrates along pathways of geography and the heart to grapple with complexities of home.
Drawing on her own experiences as a woman of Iranian and British Isle descent, writer Hollay Ghadery dives into conflicts and uncertainty surrounding the bi-racial female body and identity, especially as it butts up against the disparate expectations of each culture. Painfully and at times, reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.
Perhaps more than any other relationship or identity, motherhood is both organic and constructed. Mothers are created by their children, and then simultaneously expanded and abbreviated by maternity as a social category. In Scar Tissue: Tracing Motherhood, Montreal writer and literary philosopher Sara Danièle Michaud brings her considerable intellectual scope to the impossible intimacy of this most primal human relationship. Intense and intertextual, the book draws as easily from Saint Augustine as from Sheila Heti, weaving a long essay that is both deeply personal and eloquently universal.
– Semi-Detached is a queer love story that spans time and crosses classes to explore the meaning of home. Set during two paralyzing ice storms (one in 1944 and one in 2013) that are connected by a murder, a ghost, and the real estate agent who pieces the puzzle together.- Examines the meaning of home and the challenges lesbian couples faced in 1944 and more currently, in 2013.- Part mystery, part love story, part emotional struggle, this enthralling new tale from acclaimed author Elizabeth Ruth has something for everyone.- Elizabeth Ruth is the founder and curator of Bent on Writing reading series and edited an anthology of the same name. Her work has been recognized by the Writers’ Trust of Canada Fiction Prize, The Amazon.ca Best First Novel Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and One Book, One Community Program. The CBC named Elizabeth Ruth one of 10 Canadian Women writers you need to read!- Elizabeth Ruth holds an MA in Counselling Psychology from the University of Toronto, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. She teaches creative writing at U of T and is known for her mentorship of aspiring writers through the Humber School for Writers’ Correspondence Program, Diaspora Dialogues, Writers in Electronic Residence, and various writer-in-residencies.
Dispatches from modern motherhood by a reluctant suburbanite.
Send Me Into The Woods Alone is an honest, heartfelt, and often hilarious collection of essays on the joys, struggles, and complexities of motherhood.
These essays touch on the major milestones of raising children, from giving birth (and having approximately a million hands in your vagina) and taking your beautiful newborn home (and feeling like you’ve stolen your baby from the hospital), to lying to kids about the Tooth Fairy and mastering the subtle art of beating children at board games. Plus the pitfalls of online culture and the #winemom phenomenon, and the unattainable expectations placed on mothers today.
Written from the perspective of an always tired, often anxious, and reluctant suburbanite who is doing her damn best, these essays articulate one woman’s experience in order to help mothers of all kinds process the wildly variable, deeply different ways in which being a mom changes our lives.
“Easily the most validating book you’ll read this year.”—Ann Douglas, author of Happy Parents, Happy Kids and The Mother of All Pregnancy Books
Lise, Appoline and Anne are related, though they live on opposite coasts at different moments of time, with the vast geography of Canada and decades of change in between. The three women are linked by generations of hardship, displacement, and an eighteenth-century French musket that has been passed down through the LeBlanc family since the time of the Acadian expulsion. In contemporary Victoria, BC, Lise’s estranged son, Daniel, reappears in Nova Scotia just when she’s making significant changes in her life, including a nasty divorce from Daniel’s father. Upon learning that her son is living with a distant relative Lise barely knows and causing enough trouble to draw the attention of the authorities, Lise goes to him and begins to unravel a family history that brings about unintended consequences. In 1832, on Isle Madame, Nova Scotia, eighteen-year-old Appoline is left by her older brother to overwinter in an isolated cove, where she’s in charge of five members of her family ranging in age from ten to ninety-nine. Grand-mère, the family matriarch, refuses to leave despite the wishes of her family. Tension grows between Appoline and her younger sister, coming to a head when the sister brings home a young ‘Jersey man.’ Finally, Grand-mère tells her own story of the Acadian expulsion of 1755. Her memories follow a group of Acadian fugitives on their flight into what is now northern New Brunswick, seeking refuge at the infamous Camp D’Espérance. In each successive generation, the imprint of the expulsion perpetuates further suffering, severs a connection to the past and contributes to the gradual erosion of cultural identity. Nevertheless, these three women are resilient in the face of great obstacles. The Broken Heart of Winter speaks to the capacity of the human spirit to love, to adapt, and to carry on.
Notes on desire, reproduction, and grief, and how feminism doesn’t support women struggling to have children
In pop culture as much as in policy advocacy, the feminist movement has historically left infertile women out in the cold. This book traverses the chilly landscape of miscarriage, and the particular grief that accompanies the longing to make a family. Framed by her own desire for a child, journalist Alexandra Kimball brilliantly reveals the pain and loneliness of infertility, especially as a lifelong feminist. Her experience of online infertility support groups – where women gather in forums to discuss IVF, surrogacy, and isolation – leaves her longing for a real life community of women working to break down the stigma of infertility.
In the tradition of Eula Biss’s On Immunity and Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-sided, Kimball marries perceptive analysis with deep reportage – her findings show the lie behind the prevailing, and at times paradoxical, cultural attitudes regarding women’s right to actively choose to have children. Braiding together feminist history, memoir, and reporting from the front lines of the battle for reproductive rights and technology, The Seed plants in readers the desire for a world where no woman is made to feel that her biology is her destiny.