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A gleaning of reading

December 5th, 2015 · No Comments

A local literary line-up for the holidays

By Annemarie Brissenden

Annex publisher Coach House Books, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and operates out of bpNichol Lane, boasts a bevy of award-winning reads: Fifteen Dogs gain human consciousness and language in André Alexis’s Giller Prize- and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize-winning novel; editors John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg, and Tatum Taylor curate a jumble of stories from The Ward (reviewed October 2015); and Carl Dair writes about his travels in Europe in the mid 1950s in Epistles to the Torontonians, a first and limited edition that reproduces Dair’s letters in manuscript form.

Also from Coach House, RM Vaughan explores how sleep competes with our desire to stay connected in Bright Eyed: Insomnia and its Cultures, while an academic goes from too much to not enough Sleep (Doubleday Canada) in Nino Ricci’s latest, and recently sworn-­in University-Rosedale member of Parliament and international trade minister Chrystia Freeland chronicles the rise of the new global super-rich and the fall of everyone else in Plutocrats (Anchor Canada).

Former mayor John Sewell explains How We Changed Toronto (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.), writing of civic life from 1969 to 1980 and those, like Jane Jacobs, who led the fight against the Spadina expressway. Editors Nancy Williams and Marie Scott-Baron also explore the fight to Stop Spadina! and recount other Huron-Sussex stories in Recollections of a Neighbourhood (Words Indeed Publishing), which was recognized by the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Get out your crayons for United Colours of Kensington Market (City Blocks Culture Collective and Keep Six Exhibits) and celebrate this unique neighbourhood with illustrator Shengyu Cai and writer Bruce Beaton.

Retired restaurateur (of Mama Rosa fame) Rose Grieco remembers The District: Growing up in Little Italy (The Gypsy Press) and the friends and family of her childhood in her beloved neighbourhood, while Barbara Abdeni Massaad makes Soup for Syria (Interlink Publishers), which inspired a November fundraising reception at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church for Syrian refugees.

One of Westbank Project Corp.’s Honest Ed’s Alley consultants, Jeb Brugmann, explains how cities are changing the world in Welcome to the Urban Revolution (Bloomsbury Publishing USA), while the company’s Mirvish Village architect Gregory Henriquez co-authors Citizen City (Blueimprint) with Marya Cotton Gould about the potential of public, private, and not-profit partnerships. Explore the Woodward’s redevelopment, which also resulted from a Westbank/Henriquez partnership in Body Heat (Blueimprint) by contributor Henriquez Partners and editor Robert Enright.

Don’t miss the final memoir in Catherine Gildiner’s trilogy, Coming Ashore (ECW Press) (reviewed January 2015), or Jane Fairburn’s exploration of Toronto’s waterfront heritage along the Scarborough shore, the Beach, Toronto Island, and the lakeshore in Along the Shore (ECW Press). And Ismé Bennie comes of age in apartheid South Africa in White Schooldays (self-published) (reviewed May 2015).

Finally, Margaret Atwood imagines a dystopian future in The Heart Goes Last (McClelland & Stewart). You didn’t think we’d skip the Annex’s most famous author, did you?

Tags: Annex · Liberty · Arts