Satisfying Books About Snow

It has arrived: UWaterloo is blanketed with snow. This isn’t just a dusting: across the city you can hear the sound of scraping shovels. From Canadian classics (that famous snowball), to the year of no summer, and a trip through the wardrobe, there are snowy books for every reader.


Fifth Business, Robertson Davies
The most famous snowball in literature, one which resonates across an entire series, makes its first appearance here.

Washington Black, Esi Edugyan
The winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, this neo-slave narrative was also a finalist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and the 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Born in slavery in Barbados in the 1800s, Black escapes with an uneven white patron, following him to the Arctic.

Moon of the Crusted Snow, Waubgeshig Rice
A dystopian novel about a northern Anishinaabe community which loses power as winter sets in—chaos ensues, aggravated by white travelers from the south who appear to be escaping their own cataclysmic event. Rice is host of the CBC Radio show Up North; this novel received the 2019 Evergreen Award.

Split Tooth, Tanya Tagaq
Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English ,and Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Split Tooth combines mythology, philosophy, and narrative in its tale of a pregnant teenager. The structure itself reproduces the rhythms of life above the Arctic tree line.

Almost a Full Moon, Hawksley Workman
Based on Workman’s song of the same name from his 2001 Christmas album, this children’s book imagines a crisp winter evening. As guests arrive from far and beyond, a boy and an older woman prepare soup to feed all.

Younger Readers

The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
Keats received the 1963 Caldecott Medal for The Snowy Day, in which a young boy finds pleasure in doing all of those things one does in the first snowfall: walking with your toes pointed out, dragging a stick, smuggling a snowball into the house….

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis
In which banishing eternal winter becomes an epic battle, and we all wish for a place as cozy as Mr. Tumnus’s to keep warm, and a coat from the wardrobe to protect us from the elements.

Over and Under the Snow, Kate Messner
As a father and daughter ski through a wood—swoosh! down, down, faster, faster—readers peep into the “secret kingdom” under the snow, and learn about how animals survive the winter.

The Snow Day, Komako Sakai
There is so much snow that kindergarten was cancelled, and a father’s flight delayed. A mother and daughter spend the day doing the quiet things one does on a snow day.

Snow, Uri Shulevitz
Drawing on Shulevitz’s memories of pre-Holocaust Europe, Snow captures the magic of the first snowfall: “It’s snowing, said boy with dog. “It’s only a snowflake,” said grandfather with beard. Snow was named a 1998 New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year and a 1999 Caldecott Honor Book.


Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the novel takes up the anti-Japanese sentiment of World War 2, and its ongoing resonance in the lives of a small community in Washington state as they negotiate a possible murder.

Pym, Mat Johnson
In this wildly satiric and experimental novel, Johnson takes up Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, traversing the metaphorical landscape of American politics and racial identity, complete with a voyage to Antarctica. Mind the Snow Honkies.

Snow, Ruth Kirk
A non-fiction book about snow, which will increase your appreciation of it as a force of nature, as well as the variety of creative ways humans have interacted with it.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Many have claimed that The Left Hand of Darkness changed everything in science fiction—published in 1969, it won the Hugo Award with its portrait of an icebound planet where gender is not fixed.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Due to the eruption of Mount Tambor, 1816 became known as “the year without a summer”—it even snowed in July. And so there Shelley was, at Lake Geneva, in what was a year of winter—is it any surprise the novel ends with an ice floe?



Books to Read for Remembrance Day

CBC Books has shared a list of books by Canadian authors to read for Remembrance Day. First up? Waiting for the Rain, by UWaterloo English’s Dr. Lamees Al Ethari. And if you’re visiting CBC Books, you might also want to check out “40 Works of Canadian Nonfiction to Watch for this Fall,” which features  UWaterloo alumnus Jess Thistle, as well as Malcolm Gladwell, whose father was a UWaterloo professor (Gladwell credits wandering around the university when young as key to his intellectual trajectory).




Graphic novels, Migrants, and Media

That is such a short title that really doesn’t get to the heart of this upcoming talk by Dr. Elizabeth Nijdam (UBC), properly titled The Social Media Aesthetics of Mobility: Reinhard Kleist’s The Olympic Dream and Comics on Refugee Experience, organized by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies.

Dr. Nijdam will examine Reinhard Kleist’s graphic novel An Olympic Dream: The Story of Samia Yusuf Omar and how it integrates the technologies of refugee life in order to disrupt media representation of migrants and the – often fatal – experience of migration.

When: Tuesday, November, 12, 2019 at 3:00pm
Where: PAS 1241 (Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology Building, University of Waterloo)

Zombies: Monsters with Meaning

Not ready to say goodbye to Hallowe’en? Join us for Zombies: Monsters with Meaning with guest lecturers Arnold T. Blumberg (Dr. of the Dead) and Robert Smith (Mathematics, University of Ottawa).

Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg presents a whirlwind look back at 100 years of cinematic zombies and their evolution into a modern pop culture icon, with special attention to the ways in which Night of the Living Dead permanently impacted the media landscape. Robert Smith? (yes, he uses a question mark in his name) looks at zombies as a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Everyone is welcome to register* for this complimentary event.

Where: St. Jerome’s University’s Academic Centre
When: Friday, November 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Zombies: Monsters with Meaning is the second event in the 2019-2020 Bridges Lecture Series. *Tickets are free, but a copy (electronic/hard) will be requested as you enter the Vanstone Lecture Hall.

Dreaming with Deanna Young

Once again, it’s time to announce another participant in The Reading Series at St. Jerome’s! November’s featured speaker is Deanna Young, who will be reading on Friday 22 November at 4:30pm, in SJ1 3027.

Deanna Young is the author of four books of poetry. House Dreams (2014) was nominated for numerous awards, including the Ottawa Book Award and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. Reunion (2018) was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Archibald Lampman Award. Born in Lucan, Ontario, she lives in Ottawa where she works as an editor and teaches poetry privately. In 2019 she was named Ottawa’s English Poet Laureate for a two-year term.

Congratulations to Dr. Lamees Al Ethari

Congratulations to UWaterloo alumni and instructor Dr. Lamees Al Ethari, whose new book Waiting for the Rain: An Iraqi Memoir will be included in the Fall 2019 Mawenzi House Annual Book Launch. As the press writes, “In this memoir, Lamees Al Ethari traces her transition from an idyllic childhood in a large extended Iraqi family to the relative stability of an exilic family life in Canada. Through memory fragments, flights of poetry, diary entries, and her own art, the author reveals the trauma suffered by Iraqis, caused by three senseless wars, dehumanizing sanctions, a brutal dictatorship, and a foreign occupation. Finely observed, highly personal, and intensely moving, this account also gives testimony to the Iraqi people’s resilience and the humanity they manage to preserve in the face of adversity. It is the other voice, behind the news flashes.”

Date and Time
Tue, 12 November 2019
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM EST

Centre for Social Innovation – Annex
720 Bathurst Street
Toronto, ON M5S 2R4

Songs in the Key of Cree

Screenshot 2019-10-24 11.11.21

Songs in the Key of Cree is a collection of Cree and English songs written by one of Canada’s most renowned authors, Tomson Highway. Part of a larger multimedia and scholarly Indigenous language revitalization project of the same name, this integrated performance-speaker event features outstanding musicians Patricia Cano, Marcus Ali, and Nathan Halcrow, and graduate student and artist Emma Rain Smith. Read about the Songs in the Key of Cree project.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 — 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM EST
Modern Languages Theatre of the Arts
University of Waterloo

The Indigenous Speakers Series is co-presented by the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, the Faculty of Arts, the Department of History, and the Department of Communication Arts. The Series highlights the voices of Indigenous artists, writers, activists, and leaders from across Turtle Island, offering UWaterloo students, faculty and staff opportunities to learn from, understand, and engage with Indigenous issues.

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