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“The Sign on my Father’s House” by Tom Moore
This story is set in NL at the end of the Smallwood era. There was an exodus from outport NL to the new Memorial university in St. John’s. That experience of university, city life, the Thompson Student Center, Doyle House, Payton College dining hall, changed us. We shared a new life with other young NLers, and it gave us friendships that last to this day.
It’s about finding love, then heartbreak, then finding yourself. We were suddenly Canadians, but what did that mean? The book is about a search for identity by the young narrator and by a people. A sign on your house shows who you are and what you believe. Just like the medal on you neck, the tattoo on your arm, the words on your cap, the flag over your door. “Who are you?”
Signs are important symbols throughout the novel, e.g. Smallwood High, White’s Store, Dirty Dick’s bar, Peace Angels, Last Stop Diner. There are 15 physical signs in the novel and each is a statement by someone telling who they are, their personal identity. A sign also tells how we see ourselves. Our self-identity is even more important than our message to the world. The hand print painted on the caves of Lascaux 45,000 years ago is a statement of identity. A fierce “I am!” to a silent universe.
Publisher: Flanker Press
Available: though Flanker Press, in all bookstores and at www.amazon.ca.
“Stepping Stones” by Michelle Myrick
In her debut memoir “Stepping Stones”, Myrick takes readers on a relatable and inspirational journey of discovery. She is a singer/songwriter who uses her original songs as a framework to tell her story. Creative arts (music, writing, and painting) and the way they have helped her uncover the hidden gifts within her past, play a starring role. She describes the lessons learned from living through loss, self-doubt, and self-sabotage; and points out how our worst experiences can be the best tools for creating a life full of love, acceptance, and belonging. Through example, she proves that a fulfilled life doesn’t come in spite of the past, but because of it.
“Stepping Stones” helps the reader identify and change limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs; find deeper purpose and meaning within personal experiences; and develop greater confidence in abilities. Myrick has also released an album of original songs as an accompaniment to her memoir: www.ammoartworks.com
Publisher: AMMO Artworks (independently published August 2019)
“Unsettling Mixture – An Activist’s Writings” by Helen Forsey
“Unsettling Mixture – An Activist’s Writings” is a non-fiction collection, offering a thought-provoking and often touching combination of analysis and reflection. Its articles, letters, political rants, poems and vignettes span more than four decades, covering a wide range of subjects and approaches – from farming and fishing to fund-raising, from the climate to the constitution, from revolution to reconciliation, from patriarchy to peace. Author Helen Forsey’s Newfoundland roots and her love for our province are evident in a number of the selections.
The writings in this “unsettling mixture” have been chosen for their originality and continuing relevance in today’s challenging times. Blending the personal and the political, they will appeal to those who relish a good conversation, care about what’s happening in the world, and appreciate someone telling it like it is.
Publisher: Burnstown Publishing House
“A Salmon’s Sky View” by Carol McDougall
The ink and watercolour illustrations in this book reflect the life cycle of a salmon from the salmon’s point of view looking up from underwater. Silhouette images provide a clue to the seasons and to the predators the salmon encounters throughout its life. The story reminds us how the salmon demonstrates great determination and strength in its long journey from the stream where life begins, to the ocean, and back to its natal stream. This 10th anniversary edition, from CSWA Science in Society award-winning author/illustrator Carol McDougall invites readers to become artists too. Carol ends the story with a step-by-step instructional guide to create your own ink and watercolour image.
Publisher: Strong Nations Publishing
Available: at select bookstores and https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=3415&f=
“What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home” by Sonja Boon
Sonja Boon’s heritage is complicated. Although she has lived in Canada for more than thirty years, she was born in the UK to a Surinamese mother and a Dutch father. Boon’s family history spans five continents: Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, and North America. Despite her complex and multi-layered background, she has often omitted her full heritage. An invitation to join a family tree project inspired a journey to the heart of the histories that have shaped her identity.
Deeply informed by archival research, but written as a reflective and intimate memoir, What the Oceans Remember addresses current issues in migration, identity, belonging, and history through an interrogation of race, ethnicity, gender, archives and memory. More importantly, it addresses the relevance of our past to understanding our present. It shows the multiplicity of identities and origins that can shape the way we understand our histories and our own selves.
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press (September 2019)
Available: Broken Books, Chapters-Indigo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.