Canada Reads Shortlist: Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
171 pages
Published: April 14, 2015 by Coach House Books

This book won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize

About the Book: “I wonder”, said Hermes, “what it would be like if animals had human intelligence.”
” I’ll wager a year’s servitude, answered Apollo, that animals – any animal you like – would be even more unhappy than humans are, if they were given human intelligence.”

And so it begins: a bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world, as they become divided among themselves, as each struggles with new thoughts and feelings. Wily Benjy moves from home to home, Prince becomes a poet, and Majnoun forges a relationship with a kind couple that stops even the Fates in their tracks.

About the Author: André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His other books include Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas: A Play.

About the defense – Humble the Poet: Kanwer Singh, a.k.a. Humble The Poet, is a Toronto-bred MC and spoken-word artist. He began releasing independently recorded tracks on YouTube in 2008, and since then has toured internationally with dynamic live sets that shake conventions and minds at the same time. #LEH and #IVIVI, his collaborations with YouTube star Lilly Singh, have collectively drawn over 15 million YouTube views to date. Humble The Poet has been featured in numerous publications including Buzzfeed, Rolling Stone, MTV, Huffington Post (Canada), The Times of India and WorldstarHipHop.

Why Humble the Poet thinks Fifteen Dogs is the book Canadians need now: If you read this book, immediately the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup, and the Blue Jays will win the World Series, all at the same time. Fifteen Dogs is a really dope book – who doesn’t love dogs?! It explores the cool things, the interesting things and the painful things about what it means to be a human by giving those qualities to 15 different dogs. We learn about ourselves through these different animals.

My initial thoughts: As an animal lover and a big fan of anything related to the Greek gods (I am unashamed to admit I just finished reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians recently!) Fifteen Dogs is another one of the Canada Reads books I have had on my radar for a while. I am a little afraid to read it, too, because I like happy animal stories and I have a feeling this won’t be that. I am also a little confused, because this is a book from 2015, and I thought that the Canada Reads nominees had to be from the year previous.

*With information from and

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Canada Reads Shortlist: Company Town by Madeline Ashby

The first book I am going to talk about is Company Town by Madeline Ashby

Company Town by Madeline Ashby
285 pages
Published: May 17, 2016 by Tor Books

About the Book: New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.

Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she’s the last truly organic person left on the rig – making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defence and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city’s stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa’s front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be – but now, the danger is personal.

About the Author: Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer and strategic foresight consultant living in Toronto. She has been writing fiction since she was about thirteen years old. (Before that, she recited all her stories aloud, with funny voices and everything.) Her fiction has appeared in Nature, Tesseracts, Escape Pod, FLURB, the Shine Anthology, and elsewhere. Her non-fiction has appeared at,,, Online Fandom, and WorldChanging. She is a member of the Cecil Street Irregulars, one of Toronto’s oldest genre writers’ workshops. She holds a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (her thesis was on anime, fan culture, and cyborg theory) and a M.Des. in strategic foresight & innovation (her project was on the future of border security). Currently, she is represented by Monica Pacheco of Anne McDermid & Associates.

About the defense – Tamara Taylor: Born in Toronto to an African-Canadian father and a Scottish-Canadian mother, Tamara Taylor dropped out of high school to pursue modelling, which soon led to acting. Her big break came when she landed a regular role on Party of Five. Her most notable role is that of Dr. Camille Saroyan, head of the forensic division on the TV crime drama Bones. Recently, Taylor was also the voice of Wonder Woman in the Justice League: Gods and Monsters film.

Why Tamara thinks Company Town is the book Canadians need now: Canada is the ultimate melting pot. Canadian women are mixed, multi-ethnic, smart, strong, scrappy and funny, and it is rare that we get to see reflections of ourselves in literature. Madeline Ashby, my new girl-crush, clearly decided that it was time to change that in the most prophetically imaginative way. Set on an oil rig in the future, our half-breed heroine takes us on a hunt for a serial killer and her self-worth, both of which will affect the fate of her town.

My initial thoughts: I am a hardcore fan of everything Tor does, so Company Town has actually been on my radar for a while. I actually currently have it from the local library, and I waited over a month to get it. I had no idea that it was written by a Canadian, though, and I am very excited to read more science fiction/fantasy by local authors. This is probably the book from Canada Reads that I am most excited to read.

*With information from and
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Some Exciting News Regarding Canada Reads!

Hello bookish lovelies!

Late last week, I emailed CBC Books to see if I could get my hands on a set of the books on the 2017 shortlist for Canada Reads. The idea was that I would read and review the books while offering my own opinions here, and then I would put the books into my Little Free Library to increase the community involvement.

Today, I received an e-mail back, and they have agreed to my request! So, over the next few days I will be posting information about the five books and the people who are defending them.

And from March 27-30, Ali Hassan and CBC will lead debates that decide which book it is that Canadians need most right now.

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Shelf Control – February 22, 2017

I stumbled across this new book blogging meme today, and I thought it would be PERFECT for me, because I have approximately eleventy-billion unread books on my shelf at any given time. So without further ado, may I present Shelf Control!

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly – every Wednesday – celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! Fore more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out the introductory post, here.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
432 pages
Published: September 21, 2001
Series: Women of the Otherworld (Book 1)

I received this book from my mom when we moved into the house, which was about two years ago now. She bought it when the third book was fairly new, so 2004? She originally bought it for me, but I didn’t have much interest in it at the time. I have wanted to read it for a while but it never took priority. I want to read it now because I am going to be a panelist at a convention in May where Kelley Armstrong will be presenting as the author guest of honor. Also, Kelley Armstrong is Canadian, and I love supporting Canadian authors!

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Hello bookish lovelies! I am currently going through the fun of redoing my blog theme. I ask that you bear with me while I do. I promise it will be worth it.

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2016 Nebula Nominees

These were announced yesterday, but it was a holiday in Canada so I didn’t turn on my computer. I grabbed this list from (because is AMAZING).


  • All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)


  • Runtime, S.B. Divya ( Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson ( Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle ( Publishing)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
  • “The Liar”, John P. Murphy (F&SF 3-4/16)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson ( Publishing)


  • ‘‘The Long Fall Up’’, William Ledbetter (F&SF 5-6/16)
  • ‘‘Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea’’, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 2/16)
  • “The Orangery”, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • ‘‘Blood Grains Speak Through Memories’’, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies3/17/16)
  • “The Jewel and Her Lapidary”, Fran Wilde ( Publishing)
  • ‘‘You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay’’, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)

Short Story

  • ‘‘Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies’’, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
  • ‘‘Seasons of Glass and Iron’’, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • ‘‘Sabbath Wine’’, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
  • ‘‘Things With Beards’’, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 6/16)
  • ‘‘This Is Not a Wardrobe Door’’, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine 1/16)
  • ‘‘A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers’’, Alyssa Wong ( 3/2/16)
  • ‘‘Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 3/16)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

  • Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistics
  • Doctor Strange, Directed by Scott Derrickson, Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill, Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
  • Kubo and the Two Strings, Directed by Travis Knight, Screenplay by Mark Haimes & Chris Butler; Laika Entertainment
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Directed by Gareth Edwards, Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy; Lucusfilm/ Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
  • Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’, Directed by Jonathan Nolan, Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan; HBO
  • Zootopia, Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, Screenplay by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch)
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Kathy Dawson Books)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

I have to say that the POC representation is getting better, at the very least. I am so happy to see Seanan McGuire nominated again, because she is one of my favorites! I have a few others on here that I would like to read, or that I grabbed from NetGalley, but as of right this moment Every Heart A Doorway is the only one I have read.

How about you? Which of the Nebula Nominees have you read?

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Top Ten Tuesday – February 21


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s topic is Books I Liked More/Less Than I Thought I Would. I really like this topic because it garners awesome discussion! It can be disappointing to read a book that you are super excited for, and realize that you don’t like it at all. But the opposite is so uplifting. When you go into a book that you don’t feel anything strongly about, or that you feel a little “meh” about… and it ignites your world? It is amazing. It is so very amazing.

Five Books I Liked Less Than I Thought I Would:

  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott – I really thought this book would be about awesome girls doing awesome cheerleader things. Instead, it perpetuated a lot of harmful stereotypes about girls in high school.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This was so predictable I was just… yeah.
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – I thought I would love this book. But I really really didn’t. There are many tales of Clare’s alleged copyright infringement, and I found a lot of parallells between this book and others of its genre. Far too many for my comfort.
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – I really hated the ending of this book. I feel like it undid the entire book’s worth of story.
  • The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa – I loved most of this series. The end of it, though, was terribly disappointing.

Five Books I Liked More Than I Thought I Would:

  • Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney – I got this from NetGalley forever ago and I still haven’t reviewed it because I have no idea how to. How do you review a book that is so outside your wheelhouse? This is a contemporary fiction about a woman who had enough of putting on a front, so she writes a Christmas letter that just lets it all loose. And it gets sent by mistake. And it was so relatable and hilarious and I just loved this book.
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – My mom bought me this book and I put off reading it for about four years. When I finally got around to reading it, I was kicking myself. It is so amazing and rich.
  • Lost Gods by Brom – I picked this one up on a whim from the Library late last year. I had heard of Brom, but I hadn’t read any of his books. So I grabbed this one and read. And I loved it so very much. It combines a whole host of cultural beliefs about the afterlife and underworld without treading on any of them.
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – This is another series I was given by my mother. Just after the fourth book came out, I got the first four. And I put off reading them because I knew nothing about them. And then I read them and my world was shiny and new.
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen – This was a recommendation I got through book blogging. I picked it up thinking “OK, whatever”. Romance is not my preferred genre. And then I read it and I was introduced to one of my favorite authors. Her magical realism is so amazing and her romance is organic.

So bookish lovelies, what books did you like more or less than you thought you would? Do you find over-hyped books are more likely to disappoint, or do you tend to agree with the masses?

Stay bookish!

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My Journey to Becoming a Little Free Library Steward

I need to start this post off by thanking everyone involved. The Winnipeg Public Library, the Winnipeg Public Library Board, and The Winnipeg Foundation for providing funds for this project. This never would have happened without you, and I am so thankful. I would also like to thank my mom and dad for helping me with decorating, assembly, and installation. Also, for letting me do everything and store everything in their garage for several weeks months. Even when the snow started and they REALLY wanted to park in there.

Back in June (? I think. I might have been July… SUMMER anyways) I noticed that the local library was accepting applications for stewards for Little Free Libraries in the city. Normally, to be a Little Free Library steward, you just fill out a form on the website and pay a small fee. Then you can either purchase a pre-fabricated library kit, or build one from scratch.

With the help from the Winnipeg Public Library, the Winnipeg Public Library Board, and The Winnipeg Foundation, I was able to become a steward for no money out of my pocket. The small registration fee was covered, and the pre-fabricated library kit was sent to me, free of cost, as well.

The excitement I felt when I got this box in my hands was SO REAL.

I asked to take the pieces home before build day, as I wanted to do some more intensive painting. It is a good thing I did, as I needed to do about four coats of paint on each of the pieces. I recruited my niece to help me paint. And then my mom. It was a great painting party at my house.

The first round of painting, done!

Then, we had to dig the hole for the post. My husband was recruited, as was dear old dad. No toes were lost, and it was a great success.

Dad and Mr Blue, digging me a post hole.

Dad and Mr Blue, digging me a post hole.

There was a build day scheduled where all the new stewards were supposed to get together and put their new Little Free Libraries together with some guidance from local handymen. I, unfortunately, had a severe migraine and had to miss it. So I had to do all the building and installation on my own. But thankfully dear old mom and dad were there again to help!

I used power tools and everything!

I used power tools and everything! (Yes, that is a hammer, but a drill was involved)

And finally the magical day arrived. The day when I got to install my Little Free Library and call it my own. Stock it with the books I had grabbed from various used book sales over the past months, and let my bookishness loose on the neighbourhood.

The Little Free Library in all its installed (but empty) glory!

The Little Free Library in all its installed (but empty) glory!

The books are stocked and ready to go!

The books are stocked and ready to go!

Once again, I am so thankful to the Winnipeg Public Library, the Winnipeg Public Library Board, and The Winnipeg Foundation for the funds they provided, I couldn’t have done this without my mom and dad to help with the decoration, assembly, and installation. And I am just… beyond grateful to my husband for his support in this whole endeavour. From agreeing to let me put this up in our yard to helping out, to not freaking out when I brought home more books… my husband really is the best there is.

And there you have it. My journey over several months to becoming a Little Free Library steward!

Have you ever used the services of a LFL?

Stay bookish, lovelies!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Personal, Reading, 3 comments

Top Ten Tuesday: November 8, 2016


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s topic is Most Recent Additions To My TBR Pile. This is going to be super fun because it gives me an excuse to not pull from the same pool of like, 30 books that I usually post about.


According to Goodreads, that is it!

What have you recently added to your TBR pile? Have you read any of the books I have listed here?

Stay bookish, lovelies!


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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon – End of Event Survey

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Anything from about 18-on. I got really tired and just kind of threw in the towel (but was still really proud of myself!)

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
These weren’t from the readathon…
Newsflesh series by Mira Grant (including all the novellas because they add so much to the story!)
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
The Others series by Anne Bishop
Throne of Glass series (including novellas) by Sarah J Maas
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?
Not specifically. I would love to see how cheerleaders work, because I felt a little lonely on the blog at times. Otherwise I thought it was great!
For me personally, not deciding the night before might be a good thing. I chose some bad books to read and I didn’t have any snacks prepared.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I have nothing to compare it to, because this was my first time.

How many books did you read?
I read 4.75 books!

What were the names of the books you read?
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah’s Scribbles
(most of) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Which book did you enjoy most?
Adulthood is a Myth.

Which did you enjoy least?
Lily and the Octopus. It made me very sad.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will definitely be participating again! I am going to try and do some artwork to donate as a prize. I would love to host a challenge…
At the very least, I will be a forever cheerleader!

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