Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe.

In this issue, Helen Naslund, an Alberta woman who was sentenced to 18 years for killing her abusive husband, opens up for the first time to reporter Jana Pruden about the toll decades of abuse took on her family, what happened that night on the farm and her fight for freedom. It was through exchanging letters with other domestic-abuse survivors that Naslund decided to tell her story. She was initially reticent to talk, Pruden says, but came to believe sharing her story would help other women. When Pruden first met Naslund, she says she was struck by the woman’s petite frame – her husband was twice her size – and the “strength of her character.” “She described herself as someone who hides in the corner. For her to share this story, is a huge act of courage and generosity and goodwill,” Pruden says.

Kelly Grant reports from Arviat, where a modular housing factory will rise from a gravel pad on the outskirts of the Nunavut hamlet. The project has been met with much enthusiasm, with many hoping it will mark a step in alleviating the territory’s housing crisis.

And Eric Atkins examines why it costs so much more to fly in Canada than other countries.

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Helen Naslund at the Edmonton Institution for Women, where she is serving a sentence for killing her abusive husband.
Amber Bracken/The Globe and Mail

After enduring decades of abuse, Helen Naslund was sentenced to almost two decades behind bars for killing her husband on their Alberta farm. Her conviction sparked a level of public outcry that, from the isolation of her prison cell, Naslund couldn’t comprehend. Even as many advocates rallied to persuade her to appeal the sentence, overturning it would be a challenge, given that a plea bargain had been struck. What’s more, the appeal period had passed, and the lawyers and judge were competent. Naslund’s case was unsurprising in many ways, including in acknowledging the violence she’d suffered but finding it irrelevant to what she did, Jana Pruden writes.

Canada imposes user fees on passengers and airlines that are the most expensive in the world, according to WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech.
Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

After a chaotic summer rebound of travel, Canada’s largest airport set plans for a $5 increase to the airport improvement fee on Jan. 1, raising the amount each departing passenger pays to $40 plus tax. Toronto Pearson isn’t alone in this: St. John’s raised its fee in 2021 by $7, and 2020 saw both the Vancouver airport and Winnipeg Airports Authority raise their improvement fees by $5 and $13, respectively. Why is flying so expensive in Canada? Eric Atkins reports on the sky-high fees charged by the country’s airports.

A mother and child sleep side by side in this bedroom in Arviat, Nunavut, while four other family members share the second bedroom and another eight sleep on mattresses in the living room. The family is hoping to move into a four-bedroom home.
Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

In Arviat, work has begun on Nunavut’s only factory that will one day pump out two of the things the territory needs most: Homes and certified Inuit tradespeople for the hamlet of 2,700 people with one of Canada’s highest birth rates and rates of overcrowded housing. When it opens in 2025, the hope is that it will become a step toward building inexpensive Arctic-worthy houses faster, and serve as a training ground for Inuit tradespeople that could help Nunavut gradually reduce its reliance on construction workers who fly in from the south.

Jonathan Garfinkel peers into the coal-burning Kachelofen at his Berlin apartment. Once ubiquitous in German apartments, many are now being pressed into service again as tensions with Russia make natural gas more expensive.
Hudson Hayden/The Globe and Mail

With natural gas prices skyrocketing because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many in Europe are becoming desperate to stay warm. In anticipation of the cold winter ahead, plenty of Germans are turning back to coal or wood-pellet heating; electricity companies have too. Staring at the old coal-burning heating oven in his Berlin home, Jonathan Garfinkel writes about some of the unorthodox methods Germans are using to prepare for the colder months.

Related stories:

Plaintiff Jim Obergefell holds a photo of his late husband John Arthur as he speaks to members of the media after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. is close to codifying a law guaranteeing federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act is an insurance policy against the Supreme Court overturning its landmark 2015 ruling on the same issue. Though it would oblige state governments to honour same-sex marriages performed by other states, it stops short of obliging states to allow same-sex weddings within their own jurisdictions, like the case that recognized them. That loophole was added in to win enough Republican support in Congress. Its expected passage into law comes as the country sits at a crossroads on LGBTQ rights: polls show a growing majority of Americans support same-sex marriage even as right-wing politicians push anti-LGBTQ legislation.

A protester shovels snow in front of parked semi-trailer and pickup trucks on Rideau Street, on the 21st day of a protest against COVID-19 measures that had grown into a broader anti-government protest, in Ottawa, on Feb. 17, 2022.
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Emergencies Act inquiry gave Canadians a rare glimpse inside Canada’s most powerful public offices, with the release of more than 7,000 documents not meant for public consumption. The records reveal a behind-the-scenes scramble to figure out the legal threshold for invoking the act; whether the convoy posed a national-security threat; and how to articulate that in a memo to the Prime Minister. Despite the government’s extensive disclosures, the legal opinion undergirding its decision to invoke the act remains hidden from the commission, the public and from the Parliament that retroactively voted on the use of the act.

Alphonso Davies reacts after a loss to Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 1.
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Canada is walking away from the World Cup without a win, and yet, that’s hardly the impression the team is giving. They lost, but talked like winners. Between buzzwords like “learnings” and “brotherhood,” and the relentless positivity, Cathal Kelly argues, Canada doesn’t sound much like a serious national soccer outfit. If we want Canada to win important matches at future tournaments, he says, then this performance didn’t cut it, and there’s nothing shameful about that.

Illustration by Meegan Lim

To help shape this year’s Globe 100 annual list of best books, we surveyed more than 200 authors, in Canada and abroad, about their favourite reads of 2022. Votes were cast for nearly 600 titles – poetry and horror, history and memoir, essays and short stories – representing a diversity of genre and authorship, not to mention a robust selection of books from Canada’s independent publishing houses. From fiction to thrillers to graphic novels and biographies, here are the top 100 that made the cut.

Thanks for reading this week’s issue of Great Reads! Let us know what you think by e-mailing greatreads@globeandmail.com, and see you next weekend.

– Beatrice Paez and Emerald Bensadoun