BookwormBeyondBorders

This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

On a battlefield, among the ashes of a dying world, an agent finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. So begins an unlikely correspondence between two enemy agents, Red and Blue, each determined to win the war for their faction. What started as a battlefield taunt soon turns into something else, something romantic and epic. But also, something forbidden.
The discovery of their correspondence, let alone their blossoming relationship, could mean death for each of them. There is still a war going on after all, and someone has to win the war. Read More »

City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett

The city of Bulikov was once the greatest city on the Continent, thanks to the all-powerful Gods who watched over its people. But these Gods also had the power to conquer the world and enslave its people, until they were killed themselves. Now Bulikov’s illustrious history has been censored and its inhabitants subjugated. The city itself was irrevocably altered by the death of the Gods and stands as a constant haunting reminder to its inhabitants of the lives they once lived.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. On the surface, she is just another junior bureaucrat sent by the city’s oppressors to lord it over them. But beneath her official veneer, Shara is in fact one of her country’s most accomplished spies. She was sent to Bulikov to investigate a murder but soon realizes that there is much more going on amongst the rubble. And she begins to suspect that the all-powerful Gods may not be as dead as everyone thinks. Read More »

Two Trees Make a Forest, by Jessica J. Lee

After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather’s life, Jessica J. Lee was determined to learn more about her family’s history. So she journeyed to Taiwan in search of answers. Taiwan is an island of extremes: from towering mountains to dense rainforests and barren escarpments. But its political history is also fraught with obstacles, mystery and tension.
Seeking to piece together her family’s past, as they moved from China to Taiwan, and then further on to Canada, Jessica not only has to navigate the tumultuous terrain of Taiwan, but also the treacherous and uncertain world of memory and language. Read More »

Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good

Five children, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie, taken from their families at a very young age, to a remote church-run residential school. After years of horrible treatment, abuse and malnutrition, they are simply released into the world at age 18. Without any skills, qualifications or life experience, the young people find their way to the seedy world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver. Their paths cross over the decades as they all strive to survive and find a place within this world that doesn’t want them.

Fuelled by rage, Clara finds her way into the dangerous world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalises all of her past pain but keeps putting herself in dangerous situations. Famous among the children for his daring escapes from the residential school, Kenny can’t stop running. Moving from job to job, trying to outrun his memories and find a life. Lucy finds peace in motherhood, but struggles with a compulsive disorder, fuelled by the years of cleaning at the school. After beating one of his tormentors almost to death, Howie serves some time in prison, before being released and trying to re-enter society once again. Read More »

The Right to be Cold, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

The Arctic ice sheet is melting. Polar bears and other Arctic animals are losing their habitat and their lives. But what of the people who call these cold polar regions home? They are also losing their homes, their livelihoods, and the land which has sustained their way of life for centuries. And yet, nobody is talking about them or their plight. Or indeed the fact that their plight will be shared by the rest of the world if we do not take a stand on global warming.
Sheila Warr-Cloutier is someone who has dedicated her life to bringing these issues to the global stage. As an Inuk, born and raised in the cold Arctic, she knows better than most the struggles that the indigenous Arctic communities have faced, ever since the missionaries first arrived on their shores. But those struggles pale in comparison to what they are now facing. Loss of sea ice and hunting grounds, collapsing buildings and roads due to melting permafrost, health issues caused by invisible pollutants, and many more. Read More »