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Best of the West 2012 - Manitoba's Fiction Bestsellers of last year

Friday, Jan 04, 2013 at 6:22pm

1. Manitowapow edited by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair and Warren Cariou.
This anthology of Aboriginal writings from Manitoba takes readers back through the millennia and forward to the present day, painting a dynamic picture of a territory interconnected through words, ideas, and experiences. A rich collection of stories, poetry, nonfiction, and speeches.

2. Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther.
In a flash, Ted Callan's world exploded. Now he's on the road looking for a fresh start. What he finds is a mysterious young woman named Tilda who tells him he's destined for more than an ordinary life. When three stout men assault Ted in his hotel room, ordinary starts to look very appealing. The next thing he knows, his body is covered in an elaborate Norse tattoo, complete with the power of the Gods.

Accompanied by the trickster Loki and the beguiling Tilda, Ted wants nothing more than to have his old life back. No more tattoos. No more mystic powers. No more smart-ass Gods. The problem is, if he succeeds, it might just be the end of the world.

3. Dating by Dave Williamson.
Jenkins never dreamed he'd live long enough to be dating again. Old folks acting like teenagers was unheard of in his parents' generation. Less than two years after his beloved wife's death, Jenkins finds himself sheepishly slinking past her portrait to take another woman out to the movies. With good (and sometimes not-so-good) memories of his youth, Jenkins recalls his dating experiences through the decades -- and finds that he is still no wiser than a schoolboy. Especially when he learns his high school grad date is back n town and newly widowed. Will she be the same sweet Janie who made his grad night perfect or will age have taken its toll? Things don't look good when her son greets him at the door with a list of rules. The tables have turned and the parents are now the children. Boomers will connect on many levels with this outrageously funny portrayal of their generation grappling with the realities of growing older.

4. Ravenscraig by Sandi Krawchenko Altner
Nothing is more important to Rupert J. Willows than the image he has built to hide the deep secret of his impoverished past. Even his wife does not know the story of his true identity. A master manipulator, Rupert schemes his way into the upper class. He ascends to power in Winnipeg?s inner circles once he moves his family into the opulent mansion, Ravenscraig Hall, in the stony neighbourhood of Armstrong?s Point.

Rupert is a ruthless, charming and charismatic city alderman with a talent for exploitation and a flair for avoiding the stain of scandal. He is virulently anti-foreigner, and sees little need to pay attention to the city slums that absorb the crushing numbers of newcomers. Rife with disease and poverty, the desperately overcrowded immigrant neighbourhood is a ramshackle collection of refuse that would come to be known as Winnipeg?s North End.

For Malka Zigman, the drive to succeed is born from a drive to survive. Orphaned in London, she makes her way to Canada in 1900, to join her uncle Zev and his family. They are hardworking Jews who recently escaped the poverty and violence of the Russian Pale of Settlement and are struggling to put down roots in Winnipeg. With family resources stretched thin, Malka determines to make her own way in the new country. She transforms herself into Maisie Rosedale, and crosses over into the world of ?the English?, as a maid at Ravenscraig.

Fate and fortune bring the Willows and Zigman families into each other?s secrets as their futures entwine. Tragedies, typhoid, and the Titanic grip their lives and illuminate a dark corner of Winnipeg?s past as it rose to become one of the fastest growing cities in North America.

5. Twelve Drummers Drumming by C.C. Benison
Tom Christmas came to picturesque Thornford Regis with his young daughter to escape the trauma of losing his wife. Her murder sent him packing to the bucolic and charming town, where violent crime isn't supposed to happen and the greatest sin is supposed to be nothing a member of the clergy can't handle. Then, at the town fair, a woman is found murdered. Tom soon learns that everyone in Thornford Regis has a secret to hide--infidelity, theft, even past murders. Twelve Drummers Drumming showcases a lovely place to live and/or die, and marks the debut of a planned twelve-book mystery series featuring the brilliant Father Christmas.

6. The Age of Hope by David Bergen
Born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg, beautiful Hope Koop appears destined to have a conventional life. Church, marriage to a steady young man, children - her fortunes are already laid out for her, as are the shiny modern appliances in her new home. All she has to do is stay with Roy, who loves her. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms Hope. Where - among the demands of her children, the expectations of her husband and the challenges of her best friend, Emily, who has just read The Feminine Mystique - is there room for her? And just who is she anyway? A wife, a mother, a woman whose life is somehow unrealized?

This beautifully crafted and perceptive work of fiction spans some fifty years of Hope Koop's life in the second half of the 20th century, from traditionalism to feminism and beyond. David Bergen has created an indelible portrait of a seemingly ordinary woman who struggles to accept herself as she is, and in so doing becomes unique.

7. Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
Nineteen-year-old Irma Voth lives in a Mennonite community in northern Mexico, surrounded by desert and both physically and culturally isolated from the surrounding towns and cities. It's been six years since her family up and left Canada to escape the prying eyes of the government and preserve their religious freedom, but Irma still misses the minor freedoms she had in their small town. She even misses the cold. This new life has not been an easy one, and Irma finds herself deserted by her husband of one year, who has left to pursue a life of drug-running, instead of working her family's farm. The most devastating blow for Irma is that he didn't take her with him, take her away, so now she's left to live under her father's domineering rule alone.

Things change for Irma when a film crew moves into the empty house next door. They've come to make a movie about the Mennonite community, and have made a deal with Irma's father to stay on their land. The director enlists Irma to work for them as a translator, as she can speak not only Spanish and English but Plattdeutsch, or Low German, the language of her people. At first bemused by the ragged and absurd crewmembers, Irma comes to embrace the passion and creative freedom of their world - but in doing so brings on the wrath of her father, who is determined to keep her from it at all costs. When Irma's thirteen-year-old sister Aggie begins to come by and spend time with the crew, their father is sent over the edge with rage, and Irma is forced to make a hard decision to save not only herself, but her younger sister, and to break the dark chain of violence holding her family.

The girls flee to the city, not knowing where they'll find food or shelter, let alone build a life, but knowing for the first time that they are free to make that choice. And even as they begin to understand the truth of the tragedy that has their family in its grip, Irma and Aggie use their love as a source of strength to help each other move on from their past lives and work toward a future that can truly become anything they want it to be.

8. What You Get at Home by Dora Dueck
Full of longing and melancholy, the stories in What You Get at Home find comfort and understanding in the unlikeliest of places. In "The Rocking Chair" a piece of furniture simultaneously divides a family and heals old wounds. The narrator in the title story finds a sense of belonging and purpose in a small pool of light and her favourite book. In "Chopsticks," a piano in a personal care home reminds a woman of the wonder and admiration she had for her father as a child. With the power of memory, the characters that inhabit What You Get at Home find the strength to carry on when life is at its most challenging.

The second oldest of a family of eight children, Dora Dueck grew up in a Mennonite community in Alberta. An editor, writer and historian, Dora has published two previous novels, Under the Still Standing Sun (1989) and This Hidden Thing (2010) for which she won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. What You Get at Home is Dora's first collection of stories. She currently lives and writes in Winnipeg.

9. Gethsemane Hall by David Annandale
The skeptics think they know what's going on at Gethsemane Hall. So do the religious. So do the spiritualists. They're all wrong. Richard Gray, grieving over the loss of his wife and daughter, learns that his ancestral home holds the secret of what lies beyond the grave. And all of a sudden, everybody wants a piece of Gethsemane Hall.

Louise Meacham wants in because a fellow CIA agent committed suicide there, and she has to put the ghost rumours to rest to get her career back. Anna Pertwee wants in because she's determined to save the ghosts from the unbelievers and the debunkers. Patrick Hudson wants in because he has to save Gray's soul.

So Gray will let them all in, these people who think they're coming for the truth. What they don't know is that the truth is coming for them.

10. Not Being on a Boat by Esmé Claire Keith.
Rutledge, an aging, divorced man, has treated himself to a Cruise on the Mariola. The Cruise is not just any cruise. It's the whole shebang. It's around the world. It's a lifestyle change: G & Ts and tuxedos and cigars and cognac galore. The service is top-rate. And Rutledge's steward, Raoul, is a good kid.

But then a day trip to a Caribbean port ends in commotion. Some people don't make it back onto the ship. Rutledge, nonplussed, makes use of the vacant machines in the Fitness Room and the unoccupied loungers on deck. But soon, crew members seem few and far between, and the menu in the Captain's Mess significantly diminished. Rutledge gets the feeling that something is amiss. And that's just unacceptable.

Welcome aboard Esme Keith's debut dystopic novel, a cunning parody of modern day luxury and the coveted all-inclusive vacation, from the refreshingly blunt point of view of a man unable to see beyond his own needs, with hilarious results.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Bestseller, Newsletter

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Manitowapow

- by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

Trade paperback $35.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $31.50

This anthology of Aboriginal writings from Manitoba takes readers back through the millennia and forward to the present day, painting a dynamic picture of a territory interconnected through words, ideas, and experiences. A rich collection of stories, poetry, nonfiction, and speeches.

Thunder Road

- by Chadwick Ginther

Trade paperback $16.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $14.40

Winner of the 2014 Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction as well as the 2013 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher. In a flash, Ted Callan's world exploded. Now he's on the road looking for a fresh start. What he finds is a mysterious young woman named Tilda who tells him he's destined for more than an ordinary life. When three stout men assault Ted in his hotel room, ordinary starts to look very appealing. The next thing he knows, his body is covered in an elaborate Norse tattoo, complete with the power of the Gods. Accompanied by the trickster Loki and the beguiling Tilda, Ted wants nothing more than to have his old life back. No more tattoos. No more mystic powers. No more smart-ass Gods. The problem is, if he succeeds, it might just be the end of the world.

Dating

- by Dave Williamson

Trade paperback $19.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.10

Jenkins never dreamed he'd live long enough to be dating again. Old folks acting like teenagers was unheard of in his parents' generation. Less than two years after his beloved wife's death, Jenkins finds himself sheepishly slinking past her portrait to take another woman out to the movies. With good (and sometimes not-so-good) memories of his youth, Jenkins recalls his dating experiences through the decades -- and finds that he is still no wiser than a schoolboy. Especially when he learns his high school grad date is back n town and newly widowed. Will she be the same sweet Janie who made his grad night perfect or will age have taken its toll? Things don't look good when her son greets him at the door with a list of rules. The tables have turned and the parents are now the children. Boomers will connect on many levels with this outrageously funny portrayal of their generation grappling with the realities of growing older.

Twelve Drummers Drumming

- by C.c. Benison

Trade paperback $19.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.96

Tom Christmas came to picturesque Thornford Regis with his young daughter to escape the trauma of losing his wife. Her murder sent him packing to the bucolic and charming town, where violent crime isn't supposed to happen and the greatest sin is supposed to be nothing a member of the clergy can't handle. Then, at the town fair, a woman is found murdered. Tom soon learns that everyone in Thornford Regis has a secret to hide--infidelity, theft, even past murders. Twelve Drummers Drumming showcases a lovely place to live and/or die, and marks the debut of a planned twelve-book mystery series featuring the brilliant Father Christmas.

What You Get at Home

- by Dora Dueck

Trade paperback $19.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.10

Full of longing and melancholy, the stories in What You Get at Home find comfort and understanding in the unlikeliest of places. In "The Rocking Chair" a piece of furniture simultaneously divides a family and heals old wounds. The narrator in the title story finds a sense of belonging and purpose in a small pool of light and her favourite book. In "Chopsticks," a piano in a personal care home reminds a woman of the wonder and admiration she had for her father as a child. With the power of memory, the characters that inhabit What You Get at Home find the strength to carry on when life is at its most challenging. The second oldest of a family of eight children, Dora Dueck grew up in a Mennonite community in Alberta. An editor, writer and historian, Dora has published two previous novels, Under the Still Standing Sun (1989) and This Hidden Thing (2010) for which she won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. What You Get at Home is Dora's first collection of stories. She currently lives and writes in Winnipeg.

Gethsemane Hall

- by David Annandale

Trade paperback $22.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $20.69

Sometimes the truth will make you bleed.

The skeptics think they know what's going on at Gethsemane Hall. So do the religious. So do the spiritualists. They're all wrong. Richard Gray, grieving over the loss of his wife and daughter, learns that his ancestral home holds the secret of what lies beyond the grave. And all of a sudden, everybody wants a piece of Gethsemane Hall. Louise Meacham wants in because a fellow CIA agent committed suicide there, and she has to put the ghost rumours to rest to get her career back. Anna Pertwee wants in because she's determined to save the ghosts from the unbelievers and the debunkers. Patrick Hudson wants in because he has to save Gray's soul. So Gray will let them all in, these people who think they're coming for the truth. What they don't know is that the truth is coming for them.

Not Being on a Boat

- by Esme Claire Keith

Trade paperback $21.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $19.76

Winner of the 2012 McNally Robinson Book of the Year. Rutledge, an aging, divorced man, has treated himself to a Cruise on the Mariola. The Cruise is not just any cruise. It's the whole shebang. It's around the world. It's a lifestyle change: G & Ts and tuxedos and cigars and cognac galore. The service is top-rate. And Rutledge's steward, Raoul, is a good kid. But then a day trip to a Caribbean port ends in commotion. Some people don't make it back onto the ship. Rutledge, nonplussed, makes use of the vacant machines in the Fitness Room and the unoccupied loungers on deck. But soon, crew members seem few and far between, and the menu in the Captain's Mess significantly diminished. Rutledge gets the feeling that something is amiss. And that's just unacceptable. Welcome aboard Esme Keith's debut dystopic novel, a cunning parody of modern day luxury and the coveted all-inclusive vacation, from the refreshingly blunt point of view of a man unable to see beyond his own needs, with hilarious results.