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Hipless in Montreal

Hipless Boy by Sherwin Tjia

The Hipless Boy

by Sherwin Tjia
(Conundrum Press,
2009;
$19.95)

Set against a backdrop of urban Montreal, The Hipless Boy is a collection of 45 semi-autobiographical short stories by Sully, the pen name of poet, graphic novelist and illustrator Sherwin Tjia. Originally a weekly column in the McGill Daily, The Hipless Boy introduces readers to Tjia's protagonist, aptly named Sully, who is your typical sketch-book carrying, sushi-eating, poetry-writing urbanite who grapples with his surroundings, feeling alien in a neighbourhood dominated by noisy nightclubs and girls in stilettos.

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Words for a new world

Fifth World Drum

by Anna Marie Sewell
(Frontenac House,
2009;
$15.95)

"These days serious poets aim for the bone" writes Anna Marie Sewell. They do, and so does she. Writing surface poetry is not Sewell's style. In Fifth World Drum she goes deep and takes her reader with her. Recounting her experiences with identity, her search for culture and spirituality, and work on her craft -- poetry -- Sewell is not afraid to write about reality.

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Crashes, bubbles and booms: What's next for the Canadian economy?

Beyond the Bubble: Imagining a New Canadian Economy

by James Laxer
(Between The Lines,
2009;
$24.95)

James Laxer's new book Beyond the Bubble: Imagining a New Canadian Economy pulls the curtain back to reveal the deliberately-obfuscated workings of the North American economy, and perhaps the best way for me to illustrate just how important a work I think he's wrought is by pulling back the curtain on my reviewing style: not one to mark up a book's margins with pen or pencil marks, I will sometimes opt for the subtle dog-earing of a page when I find a passage of note.

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Canada's zionist roots

Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid

by Yves Engler
(Fernwood Publishing,
2010;
$14.95)

Zionism's roots in Canada are Christian as well. At the time of Confederation Canada's preeminent Christian Zionist was Henry Wentworth Monk. Monk "took part in the first attempt at a Zionist agricultural settlement in Palestine," boasts his biography.

To buy Palestine from the Ottomans (Turkey) in 1875 he began the Palestine Restoration Fund. Unsuccessful, seven years later Monk took out an ad in the Jewish World proposing a "Bank of Israel" to finance Jewish resettlement. A history of the Canadian Jewish community explains:

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James Hansen's climate reckoning

Storms Of My Grandchildren

by James Hansen
(Bloomsbury US,
2009;
$31.00)

In 2009, just before the Copenhagen conference, some scientists working on climate change models at the University of East Anglia were exposed for proposing that some data should be concealed. The chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was then widely criticized for predicting the precise year that Himalayan glaciers will disappear without any peer-reviewed evidence.

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Mapping feminism

Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism

by Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Bernstein
(Seal Press,
2009;
$24.95)

Two years ago, best friends and daughters of second-wave feminism, Nona Willis Aronowitz and Emma Bee Bernstein climbed into the front seat of a Chevy Cavalier and criss-crossed the United States, talking to more than a hundred young women along the way. The end result of their inspirational journey is Girldrive: Criss-Crossing America, Redefining Feminism, a non-fiction book that looks and reads like a magazine, coupling Aronowitz's critical prose with Bernstein's vibrant photography.

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The black American dream

Dreaming Blackness: Black Nationalism and African American Public Opinion

by Melanye T. Price
(New York University Press,
2009;
$79.63)

The unprecedented election for president of an African American south of the border probably looked to many like the culmination of a grand process of inclusion. African Americans, the story goes, can now see their efforts for civil rights and participation in the American Dream as embodied in Barack Obama. The struggle is over and there remain no racial tensions. But this, of course, is only a story. The reality is conceived quite differently for many African Americans, according to Melanye T. Price in her book, Dreaming Blackness: Black Nationalism and African American Public Opinion.

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A poetic call to action

Letter Out: Letter In

by Salimah Valiani
(Inanna Publications,
2009;
$18.95)

It's refreshing to see a new poet on the scene who brings a different perspective to the privileged life we live as Canadians. Salimah Valiani, a queer activist of colour, brings readers to different places with very different views on what it is to educate and challenge through poetry, letters and memoir.

Packed in the 150 pages that is Valiani's second, and newest, collection, Letter Out: Letter In, are memories, meditations and calls to action through radical thought and crisp sentences. The collection is split in four parts: Letter to South Africa; Letter to Canada; Letter to All; Letter Out: Letter In.

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Downtown Eastside dreams

A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Fight for Its Future

by Neil Boyd, Larry Campbell and Lori Culbert
(Greystone Books,
2009;
$24.95)

A Thousand Dreams tells grim stories of missing women, sardine and cat food diets, epidemic illness and the crippled support systems that struggle to manage the situation that is life, and survival, in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

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What's the skinny on self-publishing?

Brussel Sprouts and Unicorns

by Robert Chaplin
(Robert Chaplin,
2009;
$20.00)
Radio book lounge goes underground to explore some unconventional forms of publishing. We ask Vancouver-based author, artist and publisher Robert Chaplin about his own underground tactics and how to get started with self-publishing.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

(00:00-00:35) - Intro

(00:36-13:26) - Interview with Robert

(13:27-18:17) - Reading from The Elephant Book and Brussel Sprouts and Unicorns.

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