Briny Books (http://www.brinybooks.ca/)is a one-of-a-kind partnership between writer Kerry Clare and Blue Heron Books, featuring a rotating selection of expertly curated fiction. It's a selection that’s just far enough off the beaten track—but not so far that these books won’t read up a delight.
Our titles are fresh, provocative, and bursting with life, the kinds of books that will make you sit up and pay attention, and be reminded of why you fell in love with reading in the first place. The titles also happen to be Canadian and published by independent presses, which is important, but also kind of incidental. Most essentially: these are the kinds of books that readers deserve to know and will fall in love with.
Why trust Kerry, you might ask. Very good question. Over the past decade, she's developed a proven track record of literary matchmaking through her book blog, Pickle Me This, book reviews in The Toronto Star, Chatelaine, the Walrus, and other places, and also with her monthly books column on CBC Ontario Morning. She's been editor of the Canadian books website 49thShelf.com since 2011, which has provided her an expert perspective of what’s going on in Canadian publishing and which titles are worth readers’ attention. Through her website, newsletter, and social media channels, there are literally thousands of readers who’ve come to trust her recommendations and she takes that commendation really seriously.
The three books chosen for this fall are:
The Western Alienation Merit Badge by Nancy Jo Cullen, Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd., 2019
This novel begins billions of years ago: "After the inland sea dried up and its beaches turned to sandstone and the plant life turned to coal and gas..." But by the end of the sentence, we've arrived in the 1970s Alberta, a small girl emerging from the bushes with her cap-gun loaded, a copy of The Guide Handbook tucked into her waistband. The Western Alienation Merit Badge is a pleasure to read, and in terms of craft-and also book design-is thrily a stand-out.
All That Belongs by Dora Dueck, Turnstone Press, 2019
Maybe it was the WInnipeg setting, the gorgeous prose, or the touching and complex portrayal of marriage and family, but reading All That Belongs made me feel one of my favourite feelings in the universe-it made me feel like I was reading a new book by Carol Shields. Except with Dora Dueck's unique consideration of history and Mennonite culture, of course. I finished reading this one in a hammock, which was ideal for such an immersive and pleasurable novel.
The Lost Sister by Andrea Gunraj, Nimbus Publishing Limited, 2019
The Lost Sister is a rich and artful novel about community, solidarity, and resilience. Though through her narrative, Gunraj takes her reader on a most demanding journey, she navigates the delicate and difficult terrain with such considerable grace that I feel comfortable recommending this book to everyone.