{Guest Post} 10 Literary Locals

By Jessica Rose

Choosing the right book for somebody on your holiday list might not be an easy task, especially when there are thousands of titles to choose from. To make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier, why not commit to buying local? Here’s a list of ten books local to Hamilton for every kind of book lover on your list.


For the fiction lover on your list …
Last month, the Hamilton Arts Council awarded the inaugural Kerry Schooley Book Award to Rachael Preston for The Fishers of Paradise. This self-published novel is one that we can all easily relate to, as it’s centred on family, choices, and the quest for happiness. What makes The Fishers of Paradise especially unique is that it takes place in a setting Hamiltonians are very familiar with — Cootes Paradise.




For the history lover on your list …
Many Hamiltonians don’t know it, but one of Canada’s largest rail disasters happened right here at home in 1857. In End of the Line: The 1857 Train Wreck at the Desjardins Canal Bridge, Don McIver tells the tragic story of an ill-fated Toronto-to-Hamilton train that plummeted into the icy water of Desjardins Canal after a bridge collapsed. Among those killed were some of pre-Confederation Hamilton’s most prominent figures. 



For the historical fiction lover on your list …
Set in 1940s Manhattan, Studio Saint-Ex by Ania Szado is one of those books you just can’t put down. At a time when the world is at war, young fashion designer Mignonne LaChappelle finds herself fighting a different type of battle — a love triangle. Hers is not just any love triangle. It involves writer Antoine Saint-ExupĂ©ry at the time when he is writing his most famous work, The Little Prince

For the poetry lover on your list ...
In her recent release from Hamilton publisher Wolsak and Wynn, poet Catherine Graham experiments with an early Renaissance form of a poem known as a glosas. In a glosas, a poet weaves the opening four lines of a poet’s work into the last line of four ten-line stanzas. The result is Her Red Hair Rises with the Wings of Insects, a graceful fifth collection of poetry that pays tribute to poets P.K. Page and Dorothy Molloy. 




For the little one on your list …
Who says history isn’t fun? Rosa Parks and Other Poems by Robert Priest is a collection of poems that make history fun, celebrating heroes such as Rosa Parks, Elijah Harper, Terry Fox, and Deepa Metha. The collection features illustrations by Dundas’s Joan Krygsman.

For the young adult on your list …
In Sylvia McNicoll’s latest offering, Dying to Go Viral, 14-year-old Jade will do anything to impress a popular older boy named Aiden. Unfortunately, this includes a daring stunt that ends in her tragic death. Luckily for Jade, this story has a supernatural twist, and she’s given a chance to go back to Earth to deal with some unfinished business. I’m the first to admit that even adults will be captivated by Jade’s story (I was!).



For the true crime lover on your list …
Reporter Jon Wells has covered many grisly stories as a crime reporter at the Hamilton Spectator. In his seventh book, Death’s Shadows: True Tales of Homicide, Wells takes readers beyond the newspaper headlines of four Hamilton murders, providing updates and interviews with family members about some of the city’s most infamous crimes.

For the dreamer on your list …
In two separate, yet connected tales, The Miracles of Ordinary Men by Hamilton’s Amanda Leduc tells the unlikely stories of two dreamers — Lilah, a wandering dreamer, and Sam, a teacher who somehow begins to grow wings. This book is the perfect gift for any reader who enjoys suspending belief and losing themselves in the impossible. 



For the short story lover on your list …
Anyone who has ever lived in Hamilton and left it behind will relate to the coming-of-age stories in Jeffrey Luscombe’s Shirts and Skins. Though the book reads as a novel, each selection in this debut collection is a short story in and of itself. These linked stories tell the tales of protagonist Josh Moore, chronicling his years growing up in Hamilton, coming out, and the often turbulent relationships in families.





For the entertainer on your list ...
No holiday party is complete without the perfect cocktail, so Kitestring, a branding company in Hamilton, is serving up the Kitestring Colour Cocktail Story. This hardcover features recipes for twelve cocktails, among them some perfect for the holidays – like the Peppermintini (Need I say more!?). The best part about this book is that all proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society. 



Buying local also offers the opportunity to shop at one of Hamilton’s independent booksellers. Happy holidays and happy shopping!

Jessica is a writer and editor who happily lives in downtown Hamilton. When she's not editing children's books, she's blogging at www.notmytypewriter.com or tweeting at @NotMyTypewriter. Jessica is also on the committee for gritLIT, Hamilton's literary festival, and she writes the "Shelf Life" column in Hamilton Magazine.

1 comment

Erin said...

Thanks so much, Jessica! To whom it may concern, this fiction-lover would very much like to read Studio Saint-Ex!