Saleema NawazMclelland & Stewart, 2020428 pagesISBN: 978-0-7710-7257-4$24.95Reviewed by Giovani Ralaisa Saleema Nawaz’s bestseller Songs for the End of the World presents a world that mirrors our own, complete with a pandemic, self-isolation, reliance on the Web, and the power of human connection. Nawaz wrote this book from 2013 to 2019 after researching SARS and the Spanish Flu. She created ARAMIS, Acute Respiratory and Muscular Inflammatory Syndrome reminiscent of our own COVID-19, and let it flood her fictional world like “a maelstrom: intense, unseemly.” ARAMIS takes hold late July and spreads between August and December. Elliot is a first responder in New York who realizes he contracted it at a restaurant…


    [Book Review] Hana Shafi makes it very clear in the introduction of Small, Broken, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World that this is NOT a self-help book. It has evolved from her very popular Instagram series where Shafi is known as Frizz Kid to over 42,000 followers. There she delves into sexism, racism, and body politics as she does in these short essays divided into five chapters: “On Kindness,” “On Bodies,” “On Politics,” “On Self-Love and Healing,” and “On Resilience and Mental Health.”


    [Book Review] Any great memoir offers the reader immersion; the author researches his material by living it. It also has a protagonist with whom the reader can identify, not to mention suspense, urgency, and dramatic conflict. Heighton’s visceral and sensory scenes and authentic emotions build tension and rightly earn him CBC’s Best Non-Fiction Book of 2020, and a finalist position for the 2020 Writers Trust Prize for Non-Fiction.


    Joseph A. DandurandGuernica Editions, 2020127 pagesISBN: 978-1-77183-506-0$20.00Reviewed by Kashmir Lesnick-Petrovicz “Over time you begin to understand/who you are and why you are here” (111) I Will Be Corrupted is a fictional tale of a Kwantlen man living on Vancouver’s downtown east side who is both healer and heroin addict. Dandurand’s collection explores the painful battle of a life defined by addiction and mental health struggles, love and loss, trauma and Indigenous tradition, and forgiveness and eventual redemption. I Will Be Corrupted includes 57 relatable, raw, and heart-wrenchingly honest poems that play with fragments, unusual structure, and illusions so that each page is a new day unknown until we live it.…


    [Book Review] Throughout this memoir, Kurchak addresses the stigma associated with autism and how that effects who she is and wants to be. Autism is a part of her, but it is just one of many qualities that make her unique. Autism plays a role in how she forms her relationships with other people, but it is not the last word.


    Madeline SonikAnvil Press Publishers Inc, 2020194 pagesISBN: 978-1-77214-148-1$20.00 Reviewed by Isaac Maschek Madeline Sonik sets her misanthropic and heartbreaking short story collection in the fictional Ontario city of Fontainebleau, along the Detroit river. Each story follows a citizen of the city through traumas relived and repressed, from idealistic cops to heartbroken vandals. Sonik makes it easy to sympathize with even the most troubled individuals, and weep for the good-hearted souls trapped by Fontainebleau’s pull. Fontainebleau presents an immoral world where every human is a monster and every monster is humanized. The world Sonik describes is dark and grim,and plays with perspective, unreliable narrators, and characters that cross over between stories,…


    Catherine BushGoose Lane Editions, 2020365 pagesISBN: 9781773101064$24.95Reviewed by Benjamin Weick Blaze Island captures the essence of 2020: global warming, mass forest fires in Australia and California, and the Covid-19 pandemic. These are lessons we’ve failed to learn as a community or have been unable to acknowledge in the face of peril. Blaze Island is a remote, rural location based on Fogo Island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland (not to be confused with Blaze Island in Nunavut). North of Blaze Island icebergs are increasingly breaking off sheets and drifting southward. Miranda is the protagonist whose father has become fearful and overprotective after his fall from grace in the scientific community…


    Claire Cameron’s The Last Neanderthal presents readers with the dual narrative of two women separated by 40,000 years. While these two characters are different in almost every conceivable aspect, they both serve to illustrate themes: the indomitable human spirit; female empowerment; and the nature of humanity.


    This spellbinding collection of folklore is set in one of the most naturally stunning parts of “supernatural” British Columbia. From ethereal forests to mystical coastlines, Vancouver Island is renowned for its visual and spiritual influences on inhabitants and visitors alike.


    If you could replace the ghost in your lesbian supernatural romance with a living character and nothing substantial changed, you might not be writing a ghost story. Lambda Literary Award-winner Amber Dawn's second novel is many things – a compelling family drama, a fascinating piece of historical fiction, a thoughtful examination of the scars left by abuse, and a surprisingly sweet romance – but it is not a ghost story.