Craig Davidson was at a low point in his life and looking for a day job when he signed up to drive a yellow school bus. He got much more than he bargained.


    One Brother Shy follows Alex MacAskill, a shy computer programmer who works for a tech company that produces facial recognition software. After the death of his mother, he discovers that she has been receiving monthly payments of $5,000. He also finds out he has a twin brother, and sets out to find both him and his father in a wild ride from Canada, to the UK, to Russia, and back.


    Laid out in 12 chapters, Anne Bokma’s My Year of Living Spiritually is an inspirational calendar for the secular set. Let the pages fall open randomly in November to be reminded to practice gratefulness. Hum a tune when you land on Ella Fitzgerald’s quote, “The only thing better than singing, is more singing” (Bokma devotes the entire month of June to finding her voice). Bokma makes her way through 20+ non-religious practices and activities to inspire a more meaningful life. For the millions of Canadians who consider themselves spiritual but not religious (SBNR) this is literary soup for the soul


    My Conversations with Canadians is a collection of non-fiction essays by novelist Lee Maracle examining coloniztion and its effects on Canada’s First Nations, counterbalancing colonial myths and exposing cultural stereotypes perpetuated by media. It also discusses, globalization, global warming, exploitation of First Nations cultures and natural resources by multinational companies dominating industries where First Nations people are often under- or unemployed, and the differences between First Nations and European worldviews.


    An apple tree grown from seed can take up to 10 years to bear fruit and Marlene Cookshaw’s fifth book of poetry, Mowing, has likewise germinated for over a decade. Now she is harvesting the fruits of her literary labour and it is sweet.


    “You’re not a monster,” Mother used to say. “Just a little beast.” In the original French, the title for Little Beast was Barbe: Roman. “Barbe” means “beard” in French. Both of these titles ring true when looking at the story as a whole.


    Mark Laba’s Inflatable Life is a collection of 35 poems pondering everything from Edgar Allan Poe to skeet shooting to TV variety shows he watched as a child, most now forgotten in the vault of broadcast history. Consequently, The Inflatable Life, features singing, dancing, drama, comedy, and commentary on gritty pulp fiction, “Borscht Belt” humour, ventriloquism, and comic books, so that the poems collectively present a kind of Jewish vaudeville both surreal and lyrical.


    “The dark cup of the cat’s ear moved, the long guard hairs at the tip shivering toward the crack in the window beside her. Art finished his drink, put his glass down by the whiskey bottle, and waited to see if the cat’s ear would come back to rest, but it didn’t. Instead, she lifted her head and looked out the window, both ears pointed at whatever was outside.”


    Cold Skies by Thomas King is the third in the Thumps DreadfulWater series, featuring a retired Cherokee LAPD detective with a keen interest in photography who is unwillingly pulled back into the force to replace Sheriff Duke Hockney in his hometown of Chinook, Montana. Hockney hands the reigns to DreadfulWater when he is ordered to go to Costa Rica, a questionable choice that casts a shadow over the whole book given that it is the FBI’s responsibility to investigate murders that occur on U.S. reservations