Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Open Book Recommends: The Holiday Reading Guide 2013

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Winter Holiday

by Jessica Spettoli

Still looking for gifts ideas? Look no further! We’ve collected some great titles in all sorts of genres that should please everyone on your list. As an extra treat, we’re also giving away a prize pack with some of these titles. To enter, send an email to with your name and address as well as the title of one of the books from our list that you're interested in reading. The contest closes December 16, 2013, and is subject to the following Rules.

Welcome to Maple Leaf Gardens: Photographs and Memories from Canada’s Most Famous Arena (ECW Press) by Graig Abel and Lance Hornby

Graig Abel and Lance Hornby share their stories about one of Toronto’s iconic buildings and hockey Mecca in this historical tribute to the Gardens.

The Great Escape: A Canadian Story (Dundurn) by Ted Barris

For the first time, one of WWII’s most astonishing episodes is told through a compelling firsthand account on the eve if its 70th anniversary. The Great Escape: A Canadian Tale tells the real story behind the breakout from Stalag Luft III and of the consequences for the escapees and for their families waiting for them at home.

Blood: a Scientific Romance (Playwrights Canada Press) by Meg Braem

After a tragic car accident left them orphaned, twin sisters Poubelle and Angelique are brought home with Dr. Glass. However, Dr. Glass’s endless experiments in his quest to study the bond between the two sisters come into question as a young doctor strives to save Poubelle and Angelique’s lives.

Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of the HMS Investigator (Dundurn) by Andrew Cohen

For 160 years, the HMS Investigator was lost in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. In 2010 Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to discover the ship’s fate. Their search was successful as they found the Investigator off the shores of Aulavik National Park. The story of the lost ship had to tell is chronicled in Lost Beneath the Ice by best-selling author and award-winning journalist Andrew Cohen.

Great Expectations: The Lost Toronto Blue Jays Season (ECW Press) by Shi Davidi and John Lott

Great Expectations delves into the ups and downs of the Toronto Blue Jays 2013 season as seen by two seasoned sports journalists. Featuring insightful analysis and a colourful collection of candid photos, this book is a fascinating tale of a season gone wrong.

Invisible Dogs (Brick Books) by Barry Dempster

Dempster’s 14th collection of poetry, Invisible Dogs, is a complex but deeply coherent hymn to the difficult business of staying alive documented in poems full of rare self-knowledge, wry humour and an unornamented determination to go on living.

Bite Down Little Whisper (Brick Books) by Don Domanski

Bite Down Little Whisper is Governor General’s Award–winning poet Don Domanski’s newest collection and delves into the interconnectedness of all life with spiritual gravitas and powerful mindfulness.

Slack Action (The Porcupine’s Quill) by Jeffery Donaldson

Slack Action is Jeffery Donaldson’s fifth collection of words, images and poems that reflects on motion of “slack action”—the free movement experienced by the boxcar of a train when the car coasts free.

Juanita Wildrose: My True Life (Pedlar Press) by Susan Downe

Juanita Wildrose: My True Life is a coming-of-age story about a girl named Juanita Wildrose. Juanita chronicles the story of her family’s move from Kansas to Elk Creek, Texas County, Missouri, how she leaves the farm to go to school and the stories she hears about her paternal grandfather, a Confederate soldier in the Civil War.

A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic (ECW Press) by Caseen Gaines

A holiday classic, A Christmas Story celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and what better way to celebrate than to take a look behind the scenes of Bob Clark’s sleeper hit film. With rare and previously unreleased photographs and drawing from original interviews with the cast and crew, the story of what happened during the making of the film and what happened afterward is told for the first time.

The Lost Letters (Brick Books) by Catherine Greenwood

With diverse poems based on the story of Heloise and Abelard, Greenwood connects the 12th century to the 21st through themes of love and the tension between flesh and spirit.

Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends (Pajama Press) by Rob Laidlaw

Kids around the world are caring for and making a difference in the lives of abandoned and feral cats. Filled with real-life stories about “Cat Champions,” animal advocate Rob Laidlaw brings readers a hopeful look at the issues domesticated and feral cats face.

Love, and all that jazz (The Porcupine’s Quill) by Laurie Lewis

In Love, and all that jazz, Laurie Lewis recollects her life after her marriage musician Gary Lewis. Laurie is forced to flee back to Canada as Gary’s days and nights became a sleepless, drug-and-alcohol-fuelled, nonstop celebration.

A History of Breathing (Playwrights Canada Press) by Daniel Macdonald

In a post-apocalyptic world where civilization is completely underwater, two boats survive. One boat carries a father and daughter and the other their only hope for a new beginning.

The Stowaways (Pajama Press) by Meghan Marentette

The Stowaways are a family of Weedle mice that go on some great adventures. Gran Stowaway and Rory Stowaway embark on their greatest adventure yet as they try to find the truth behind one of their biggest secrets.

This is War (Playwrights Canada Press) by Hannah Moscovitch

Four soldiers recount their version of events leading up to a horrific incident in one of the most volatile regions of Afghanistan. As each of them are interviewed by an unseen broadcasting organization, a picture is formed of the true effects of war.

149 Paintings You Really Need to See in Europe (Dundurn) by Julian Porter

149 Paintings You Really Need to See in Europe is the essential guide to all the major European museums and galleries from The Louvre to the Sistine Chapel. Julian Porter shares his love of art in a fresh and original voice and gives you a tour of the world’s greatest paintings without leaving your home.

The Life and Times of Conrad Black (The Porcupine’s Quill) by George A. Walker

The Life and Times of Conrad Black is a wordless biography of the Canadian media baron. Black’s life is represented with a series of 100 woodcuts made by master engraver George A. Walker. Walker presents a unique perspective of Black’s life using only black and white images.

Light (Pedlar Press) by Souvankham Thammavongsa

In Light, Souvankham Thammavongsa examines the word ‘light’ from sparkles to fish without eyes using her same elegant and precise voice.

Jessica Spettoli is a recent graduate of the Ryerson Publishing Program and is a self-proclaimed book nerd. She currently interns for Open Book: Toronto and Entangled Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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