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Ottawa's Latest and Greatest on Books & Lit

Write On Ottawa: Welcome to the ideas machine

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Why do you read fiction? Is it to fall in love with an exotic character or fantastic creature? To travel to a new dimension or a specific moment in the past? Maybe what you seek is a strange idea that sets your mind on fire? Your answer to this question – why do you read fiction? – will likely determine whether you enjoy the writing of Ottawa-born and raised author Andrew Simpson, whose quirky and highly original work cannot be pigeonholed into a traditional literary category. At first glance, one could... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: The strange powers of Zoya the fox

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Writers often find inspiration in interesting places. For local author Neven Humphrey, who has lived in the National Capital Region since 2000, the idea for his novel Dr. Jekyll’s Foxes came in a dream. The book, which is aimed at readers 12 years and up, tells the story of Zoya, a cub from a farm just north of Kyiv, Ukraine. A gentle animal the friendly cub is adopted by a local family. However, soon after starting her life with her new owners, Zoya senses a frightening presence before blacking out. When she... | Continue reading article

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Librarian in Residence: Holiday gift list 2015 – books for children and teens

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Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips. Here is Part two of the 2015 Holiday Gift List. [Editor's note: You can read part one, which covers books for adults, here, and check out Jessica's 2014 kids' book picks here!] This time, I started out with my reviews of seven teen novels, then four juvenile novels and finally, ten picture books plus one... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Novel set in West Bank impresses

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Wall of Dust

While relatively new to the literary scene in Ottawa-Gatineau, Deux Voiliers Publishing from Aylmer, Quebec has already developed a reputation for releasing good books. Of the more than 20 authors that they have published, however, a strong case can be made that Wall of Dust by Timothy Niedermann is among the best works in their catalogue. Released earlier this year, this beautifully written novel looks at the human cost of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The story begins with heartbreak when Aisha, a school teacher in the West Bank, sees a dozen... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: The history of comedy in our city

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“I think comedy comes more from a low sense of self-esteem, and I certainly have that.” - Craig Ferguson Ottawa-residents are often caricatured as a sorry lot who live boring lives. This probably explains why this region has produced so many great comedians. Wait, what? I thought this was the city that fun forgot. Not so fast. In his book Ottawa: Gateway to Carp (Comedy in the Nation’s Capital), John Mazerolle puts the kibosh to the claim that our lovely city is an insomnia-induced fog of boredom. In fact, his research... | Continue reading article

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Librarian In Residence: Holiday gift list 2015 – adult reads

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Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips. Once again, I’ve rounded up my favourite books for this year. [Editor's note: See Jessica's 2013 and 2014 picks as well!]  These will be in two separate posts, one for adults and the other for kids and teens. It’s not exhaustive and I likely forgot many other gems I read this year. Funnily enough,... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: A love story you’ll root for

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If you read my reviews, you know that I am a sucker for a good love story.  And The Hungry Heart by Brenda Gayle definitely falls into that category.  Book One in her Heart’s Desire series, it’s a contemporary romance with suspense and lots of drama to keep the pages turning. The hero, Hunter Graham, is the classic wealthy playboy, running a 5 star restaurant, living in a hotel, featured on the society page and able to turn on the charm and polish like a light switch.  Gayle keeps him... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: A magical stroll in Mali

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Every once in a while you come across a book that just makes you smile. A Little Walk in our Neighbourhood by Ottawa-based author JP Melville is such a work. Based on his experience living in Mali with his family from 2002-2004, this short book of less than 40 pages chronicles a single day in the lives of Melville’s daughter Olivia, then 4, and Ben, then 6, as they walk around their neighbourhood in Bamako, the capital of Mali. With colourful photos and easy to read text, this cute story... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Stories of courage in cancer fight

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For almost two decades, the Ottawa-based Busting Out dragon boat team has been offering inspiration and hope to women who have survived breast cancer. While there is no age limit to join (members range in age from their mid-30s to early-80s), all team members must have completed cancer treatment, and also recovered sufficiently to be able to be part of the team. Inspired by her fellow paddlers, Busting Out member Shelagh Needham (who joined the group in 2000) decided to write All in the Same Boat, a collection of life stories of... | Continue reading article

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Write On Ottawa: Seeking asylum in Canada

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In the not-so distant future, the United States has fallen prey to a secretive and authoritarian government. In this dark world, a history teacher named Laek who lives in New York City tries to hide his radical past. After a violent confrontation with police, however, he decides that he has to flee his native country. Together with his partner Janie, an activist lawyer, and their two children Siri and Simon, the family flees to Quebec on their bicycles where they pretend to be eco-tourists. Once inside Canada they apply for... | Continue reading article

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