HAMILTON READS - Hamilton City Magazine Skip to main content
Celebrating all things Hamilton / Welcome Message
Arts + Culture


Let’s talk about sex, baby, and also long hikes in the woods, a town that’s lost its way and the unthinkable things that untether a grieving woman. Check out these works by local authors.

What better way is there to spend the extra daylight hours of late spring and early summer than reading? Here are four books with a local touch to enjoy!

Sex in Canada: The Who, Why, When, and How of Getting Down Up North
By Tina Fetner

“Who wouldn’t like to learn more about sex?” asks Tina Fetner, professor and chair of the sociology department at McMaster University, in the introduction of her unprecedented new book, Sex in Canada: The Who, Why, When, and How of Getting Down Up North. Guided by the results of a one-of-a-kind survey of Canadians aged 18-90, the book offers a comprehensive look into the sex lives of Canadians, while also challenging myths and taboos through in-depth research, analysis, and a little bit of humour along the way.

“Sex is often the basis through which we make connections with others and learn more about ourselves,” writes Fetner, who has served as president of the Canadian Sociological Association and is currently co-chair of the Canadian chapter of Sociologists for Women in Society. “It is tangled up with falling in love, forming families, and having children. It can bring us pleasure and pain, and we can invest our sexual relationships with all our hopes and our fears.” Yet, she argues, sex was unmentionable not very long ago.

Though social scientists have had reliable information about sexual behaviour in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and other countries, Canada has been behind in “generating a broad, informed picture” — until now. So, what does that picture look like? In Sex in Canada, Fetner pulls back the covers on a variety of topics, including marriage, monogamy, and pleasure, exploring how age, gender, sexual identity, education, region, and affect our sex lives. 

“In the end, this book is an overview of the social organization of sexuality — the way that social forces nudge us into patterns of sexual behaviour,” writes Fetner.

40 Days & 40 Hikes: Loving the Bruce Trail One Loop at a Time
By Nicola Ross

At first glance, you might think 40 Days & 40 Hikes by author and environmentalist Nicola Ross is a simple travel guide, providing tips and tricks for eager hikers interested in navigating more than 900 kilometres of trails. Sure, it’s packed with recommendations for amateurs and adventurers alike; however, it offers much more, weaving together 40 day loops with unforgettable stories, poems, illustrations, and quotes. Each page celebrates the Bruce Trail and the flora, fauna, and ecosystems it holds. 

Hamilton readers will be especially interested in loops that include Devil’s Punch Bowl, Dundas Valley, the Royal Botanical Gardens, among others. 

Spider in the Well
By Jess Hannigan, Illustrated by Jess Hannigan

Written and illustrated by Hamilton’s Jess Hannigan, Spider in the Well brings readers to the town of Bad Göodsburg where troubling news has emerged. The town’s trusty wishing well is broken, and none of the townspeople’s wishes are coming true. Leave it to Bad Göodsburg’s multi-talented newsboy who is quick on the case! Spider in the Well is a quirky page-turning adventure that will delight readers of all ages with its quick wit, dark humour, and unexpected twists and turns. 

By Brent van Staalduinen

In the early pages of Unthinkable, the latest by Hamilton’s Brent van Staalduinen, former special operations medic Lorry Martens finds herself holding a box of her partner’s ashes. She’d been looking forward to a quiet life with Neil – a dream that is shattered upon finding him “face down in his bed, a tiny and almost bloodless hole at the base of his skull.” The murder is just one in a series of unthinkable things that untethers Lorry and those around her. A fast-paced thriller, Unthinkable seamlessly binds heart-racing action with elements of grief and a battle against nature and ecological destruction.