Friday, November 22, 2013

Black Bottle Man

Forced to move every twelve days, what would happen to your life?
It’s 1927. Rembrandt is the only child in the tiny community of Three Farms and his two aunts grow desperate for babies of their own. Hope and Hell arrive in a mysterious black bottle, and on a moonless night a dark spell is cast. Soon after, a man wearing black top-coat, and a ‘glad-ta-meet-ya’ smile comes to visit. The devil seeks payment, and a dangerous wager is made. Until they can defeat him, Rembrandt, Pa, and Uncle Thompson must embark on the journey of their lives, for if they stay in one place for more than twelve days terrible things happen. But where and when will they find a champion capable of defeating the Black Bottle Man? Time ticks. Lives change. Every twelve days.

The unique book comes to us from Canadian author, Craig Russell.  He grew up on what may be the flattest half-section of land on the planet, six miles north of Carman, Manitoba. He is now a lawyer and lives in Brandon.

Here's the rave from our friends in Canada:

“An extraordinary book. I was completely captivated. You can read it as an adult and be quite moved by a story of profound love, of commitment to family, of humility, of grace under pressure; so rich with metaphor and allegory, depth, complexity. It’s really one of those books you read as a teenager and love it, and then pick it up again thirty years later and have a completely different, equally rewarding reading experience.” — Nikki Tate, CBC All Points West

“One part travel narrative, one part spiritual fable, one part historical fiction, and one part adventure story—this tragic tale pulls readers in with its strong voice, richly depicted setting, and chilling confrontations with a shape-shifting Satan. Russell weaves magic into the narrative.” —Meghan Radomske, CM Magazine.

“Russell has told his fable…and it is done beautifully.”  —Alison Edwards, Resource Links

“Read it.  Because it’s not likely you’re ever going to find anything like the Black Bottle Man again.” — Stephanie Yip, What If? Magazine

“…this fable will intrigue teens who like historical fiction and the satisfying thrill of rooting for a persistent, humble hero.”  — Joan Marshall, Bookseller

“A truly unique story. The author tackles his “fable” with imagination and great turns of phrase.”  — Jury comments, Manitoba Book Awards

“Scenes alternate effectively between an urban present and the various times and places of Rembrandt’s travels, with a particularly moving evocation of the Dirty Thirties.”  — Jury comments, Manitoba Book Awards

Click here to purchase Black Bottle Man.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Storm Boy

On this wind-stormy day in Seattle, I can think of no better book than Storm Boy.  This week, not far from my home, Orcas have been hunting and frolicking off our shores.  A pod performed a mysterious display of delight as a ferry loaded with ancient native artifacts neared Bainbridge Island, WA.  Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman said the whales were “welcoming the artifacts home as they made their way back from Seattle, back to the reservation.”  To learn more about this interesting story, click here.

Here's the Storm Boy plot: In the storm-tossed seas along the rugged Northwest Coast, an Indian boy is thrown from his canoe into a great mystery. Washed ashore before an unfamiliar village, the boy finds his arrival has been eagerly awaited by the strange and giant "people" there. Just who are these beings? And what do they intend for their guest? What follows both answers-and deepens the mystery.

Careful attention is paid to historical detail both in the story and the vibrant illustrations. Storm Boy follows the rich mythic traditions of the Haida, Tlingit, and other Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, whose stories often tell of individuals cast mysteriously into parallel worlds inhabited by animals in human form.

A portion of the proceeds from this book is donated to the Haida Gwaii Rediscovery Program for tribal youth.

Click here to learn more about Storm Boy.