The Wordfest Book Club began with the inaugural Summer Reads Threesome series, hosted by blogger and book reviewer Anne Logan of ivereadthis.com. Because we had so much fun with you all summer, we decided that the book club should extend all year. Once a month, a group of equally engaged book lovers get together to discuss the month’s book of choice, which is chosen as a group at the end of each book club meeting. Everyone is welcome to join the Wordfest Book Club at any time. We hope to see you there!
Anne Logan writes book reviews on her blog ivereadthis.com for various publications, and she’s the books columnist for CBC Calgary’s Homestretch. She worked in the Canadian publishing industry for 7 years, and loved every minute of it. She’s the Past President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors and she is the host of various literary events around the city.
It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts, destroys our lives, and it’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored — until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds.
In this moving and enormously entertaining debut novel, long-time romantic partners Kathryn and Chris experiment with an open relationship and reconsider everything they thought they knew about love. After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. But, as content as they are together, an enduring loneliness continues to haunt the dark corners of their relationship.
Warren Botts is a disillusioned Ph.D., taking a break from his lab to teach middle-school science. Gentle, soft-spoken, and lonely, he innocently befriends Amanda, one of his students. But one morning, Amanda is found dead in his backyard, and Warren, shocked, flees the scene.
A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” While leading her all-too-placid life, Eve can’t curtail her obsession with the message and her new interest in a website that features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself.
One frigid winter night, the happily prosperous Mia and Michael Slate discover that a close friend and business partner has cheated them out of their life savings. On the same night, their son, Finn, passes out in the snow at a party — a mistake with shattering consequences. Everyone finds their own ways of coping with the ensuing losses.
Jean Mason has a doppelganger. She’s never seen her, but others swear they have. Apparently, her identical twin hangs out in Kensington Market, where she sometimes buys churros and drags an empty shopping cart down the streets, like she’s looking for something to put in it. Jean’s a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving bookstore in downtown Toronto, and she doesn’t rattle easily—not like she used to.
As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow—some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent—momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame.
Avery Graham has built a life that anyone would admire. She has a brilliant career as chief of staff to Peter Haines, the charismatic mayor of Toronto. She has a devoted partner in Matt, her live-in boyfriend of 14 years. And she has a loving family and deep friendships that stretch back to childhood summers at the cottage.
Set in Calgary in 1982, during the recession that arrived on the heels of Canada’s National Energy Program, The Western Alienation Merit Badgefollows the Murray family as they struggle with grief and find themselves on the brink of financial ruin. After the death of her stepmother, Frances “Frankie” Murray returns to Calgary to help her father, Jimmy, and her sister, Bernadette, pay the mortgage on the family home.
Coming of age in The Park, a cluster of town houses and leaning concrete towers in the disparaged outskirts of a sprawling city, Michael and Francis battle against the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry. Propelled by the pulsing beats and styles of hip hop, Francis, the older of the two brothers, dreams of a future in music. Michael’s dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school, whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow.
Ava Hart is the most reluctant cast member of a reality TV show based on her big city family’s (mostly staged) efforts to run a B&B in small-town Nova Scotia. Every family has its problems, but Ava has grown up seeing her family’s every up and down broadcast on national television.
Mags Kovach is the charismatic lead singer of a struggling Halifax rock band hoping to be the “Next Big Thing.” For years she’s managed to contain her demons and navigate the uglier aspects of being a woman in the music industry, but after a devastating loss, she releases her anger on the only person she can: herself.
It is the early 1950s in a restless Iran, a country powerful with oil wealth but unsettled by class and religious divides and by a larger world hungry for its resources. One night, a humble driver in the Iranian army is walking home through a neighbourhood in Tehran when he hears a small, pitiful cry. Curious, he searches for the source, and to his horror comes upon a newborn baby girl abandoned by the side of the road and encircled by ravenous dogs. He snatches up the child, and forever alters his own destiny and that of the little girl, whom he names Aria.
Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life.
Frances Jellico is dying. A man who calls himself the vicar visits, hoping to extract a deathbed confession. He wants to know what really happened that fateful summer of 1969, when Frances – tasked with surveying a dilapidated country house – first set eyes on the glamorous bohemian couple, Cara and Peter. She recalls the relationship they forged through sweltering days, lavish dinners and elaborate lies, and the Judas hole through which she would spy on the couple.
Frances Price — tart widow, possessive mother, and Upper East Side force of nature — is in dire straits, beset by scandal and impending bankruptcy. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s the Price’s aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts.
Harry Miles was born between the wars on a working-class London street. After winning a scholarship and the subsequent chance to escape his station, he discovers instead that poetry is what offers him real direction. This discovery leads him to meet Evelyn Hill on the steps of Battersea Library. The two fall in love as the world prepares once again for war, but their capacity to care for one another over the ensuing decades becomes increasingly tested.
At the centre of the action is Pinch Bavinsky. Conceived while his father, Bear, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, Pinch learns quickly that Bear’s genius trumps all. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy of his father’s attention – first trying to be a painter himself; then resolving to write his father’s biography; eventually settling, disillusioned, into a job as an Italian teacher in London. But when Bear dies, Pinch hatches an improbably scheme to secure his father’s legacy – and make his own mark on the world.
In Motherhood, Sheila Heti asks what is gained and what is lost when a woman becomes a mother, treating the most consequential decision of early adulthood with the candor, originality, and humor that have won Heti international acclaim and made How Should A Person Be? required reading for a generation.
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive.
Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more. But then we fast-forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men. After her father disappears, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.
Rose and Windy are summer friends whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis. From the creators of Skim comes an investigation into the mysterious world of adults.