Thursday Night Showcase: Curiosities – $20
The fiction and non-fiction writers in this showcase reveal just what makes the subjects of their new books — India’s transgender hijras, the killer whale who changed the world, 50 seemingly ordinary Canadian objects, the hidden language of trees and a return voyage up the Amazon — so fascinating and ultimately unforgettable.
The Naturalist by Alissa York
Set in the time when Darwin was reshaping the world and a new breed of explorer-hero possessed the popular imagination, The Naturalist is a spellbinding tale of loss, discovery and love. In 1867, Philadelphia, Walter Ash is on the brink of a long-awaited return expedition to the Amazon when he dies in an accident, obliging his only son to take his place. More at ease among his books than in the field, Paul Ash takes a reluctant leave of absence from Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology to accompany his grieving stepmother and her young companion to the fabled River Sea. Paul holds no memory of the place even though he was born there, but neither the region nor its people have forgotten Paul.
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
How do trees live? Do they feel pain, or have awareness of their surroundings? Research is now suggesting trees are capable of much more than we have ever known. In The Hidden Life of Trees, forester Peter Wohlleben tells their stories, revealing the delightfully complex life of the trees around us and the incredible role forests play in our world. The startling revelations in this book have led to worldwide attention and widespread anticipation for its English-language publication, with accolades ranging from bestseller lists in Europe to a feature in the New York Times. After a walk through the woods with Wohlleben, you’ll never look at trees the same way again.
A Number of Things by Jane Urquhart
From one of our nation’s most beloved and iconic authors comes a lyrical 150th birthday gift to Canada. Jane Urquhart chooses 50 Canadian objects and weaves a rich and surprising narrative that speaks to our collective experience as a nation. Each object is beautifully illustrated by the noted artist Scott McKowen. The 50 artifacts range from a Nobel Peace Prize medal, a literary cherry tree, a royal cowcatcher, a Beothuk legging, a famous skull and an iconic artist’s shoe, all the way to an Innu tea doll, a Sikh RCMP turban, a Cree basket, a Massey-Harris tractor and a hanging rope, among an array of unexpected and intriguing objects.
The Killer Whale Who Changed the World by Mark Leiren-Young
Mark Leiren-Young gives a fascinating and heartbreaking account of Moby Doll, the first publicly exhibited captive killer whale, whose story forever changed the way we see orcas and sparked the movement to save them. Killer whales had always been seen as bloodthirsty sea monsters. That all changed when a young killer whale was captured off the West Coast of North America and displayed to the public in 1964. Moby Doll was an instant celebrity. He died within a few months, but his famous gentleness sparked a worldwide crusade that transformed how people understood and appreciated orcas.
The Parcel by Anosh Irani
The Parcel is a powerful new work about a transgender sex worker named Madhu from the red-light district of Bombay. Madhu, now at 40 and no longer in the profession, one day is given an unexpected task. He receives a call from Padma Madam, the most feared brothel owner in the district, and is told a “parcel” has arrived. It’s a young girl from the provinces, betrayed and trafficked by her aunt, and Madhu must prepare her for her fate. This is a dark, devastating, but ultimately redemptive novel that promises to be one of the most talked-about publications of the year.Buy Tickets