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Homegrown: Locally Produced Reads (October 5)
We’ve picked some of the highlights and best of the fall season and recently released with weekly batches of fresh new books. Equally stoked to spotlight some of the Canadian indie publishers we know and love—all with their own unique identities—we’ve chosen one exciting book each from over 40 indies.
What’s on today? A gripping YA novel, nature-forward poems, and three character-driven novels make up our five fantastic picks.
The Father of Rain by Martin West (Anvil Press)
Why it’s on our list: Seventeen-year-old Cirrus is still reeling from the sudden disappearance of his father only for his mother to also vanish, a few months later. The house is busier than ever, with visits from investigators, social services, and relatives alike, but Cirrus is determined to find for himself the root cause of his newfound loneliness, as well as uncover who his parents really were. We loved author Martin West’s debut novel Long Ride Yellow and are ready for more character-driven fiction in The Father of Rain.
Martin West published The Father of Rain and his previous books with Vancouver, BC-based publisher Anvil Press. With over twenty years of publishing under their belt, Anvil has firmly established itself as a publisher of progressive, contemporary Canadian literature with a distinctly urban twist. National and local in its vision, Anvil remains committed to its East Vancouver roots, and doesn’t shy away from work from the wrong side of the tracks.
Click here for more about The Father of Rain + purchasing options.
The Brickworks by Lucy E.M. Black (Now or Never)
Why it’s on our list: Based on the real-life Tay Bridge collapse in Scotland in 1879, Lucy E.M. Black’s historical novel The Brickworks centres the tragedy around the character of Brodie Smith, the young son of the train operator left destitute and guilty after his father’s death. While learning engineering in an attempt to reestablish his father’s good name, Brodie finds more opportunities and a fellow Scottish immigrant, Alistair, to help bring them to fruition. The novel is inspired in part by Black’s visit to the Cheltenham Brickworks in Caledon, and how it anchored a small community and its needs.
Now or Never Publishing is a boutique west coast publishing house that seeks out titles that accurately reflect its literary mandate: to publish a diverse range of contemporary literature that showcases the “fighting spirit” of Canadians in the face of adversity in all of its forms, and to present this body of work to readers both at home and abroad.
Click here for more about The Brickworks + purchasing options.
The House Filler by Tong Ge (Ronsdale Press)
Why it’s on our list: If books offer the opportunity to explore a different place and time, prepare yourself for the moving, powerful historical journey in Tong Ge’s debut novel, The House Filler. Set in the tumultuous years in China from the Second World War, Japanese invasion, and Communist takeover. Golden Phoenix, a woman caught in the crosshairs of these sweeping historical events, tries desperately to keep her family together despite death, hardship, and political oppression.
Operating out of British Columbia, Ronsdale Press publishes in a wide variety of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, regional history, and children’s books. Founded in 1988, Ronsdale has published over 300 books, most of which are still in print.
Click here for more about The House Filler + purchasing options.
How to Be Found by Emily Pohl-Weary
(Arsenal Pulp Press)
Why it’s on our list: We have a bit of a hair-trigger for books that are compared to Nancy Drew – they move up to the top of our TBR pile like that. So when Jes Battis called How to Be Found a stand out for “its focus on an unbreakable relationship between two girls, well-portrayed disability representation, and sly nods to detective tropes like Nancy Drew…” you best believe we took notice. In Emily Pohl-Weary’s novel, the bonds of found sisterhood between two teen girls Michie and Trissa are put to the ultimate test as Trissa goes missing; leaving only Michie to look for her.
Arsenal Pulp Press is a book publisher in Vancouver, Canada with over 400 titles currently in print, which include literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry; books on social issues; gender studies; LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC literature; graphic novels and non-fiction; children’s and young adult literature; regional history; alternative crafts; and books in translation. Arsenal focuses on literature that engages and challenges readers, and which asks probing questions about the world around us.
Click here for more about How to Be Found + purchasing options.
Crushed Wild Mint by Jess Housty (Nightwood Editions)
Poetry / Indigenous
Why it’s on our list: The cover of Jess Housty’s collection Crushed Wild Mint is fitting – a testament to the profound connection between humans and nature. An herbalist and activist as well as a poet, Housty’s collection reflects their careful examinations and interactions with their natural environment, the poems communing with animals, geology, and their ancestors who came before.
Founded in 1963 by bill bissett as blewointmentpress, Nightwood Editions continues its commitment to publishing and promoting the best new poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by writers across Canada. Nightwood strives to publish books that foster a community of writers and readers, and reflect the diversity our country is known for.
Click here for more about Crushed Wild Mint + purchasing options.
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Join us here every Tuesday and Thursday until October 12 for a roundup of fresh new books. Books can be purchased on All Lit Up (with free shipping Canada-wide), or from your local indie bookstore (try our Shop Local button located on every book listing to find copies at your local indie).
Click here for more Homegrown picks.