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A blog on Canadian writing, reading, and everything in between

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Poetry Preview

[August 3, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

From Bonnie and Clyde and Love Actually references to symbolist poetry and exploded sestinas, not to mention a collectio …

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Book Cover A Youth Wasted Climbing

On Our Radar

[July 30, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

New books by Chaundry-Smart, eckhoff, Douglas, Dumont, von Konigslow, McClintock and Hughes, Gay and Homel, and Mallory …

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Shelf Talkers: July 2015

[July 29, 2015] | By [Rob Wiersema]

From a modern Canadian classic to a masterful YA book to a uniquely Canadian publishing situation surrounding one of the …

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The Recommend: July 2015

The Recommend: July 2015

[July 27, 2015] | By [Kiley Turner]

This week we're pleased to present the picks of Chelsea Rooney, author of the acclaimed first novel, Pedal; Daniel Allen …

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Book Cover Chinkstar

Perfect Summer Day with Jon Chan Simpson

[July 27, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Part voyeuristic pleasure, part travel-guide, the Perfect Summer Day Questionnaire connects writers and their books to r …

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Image: Cranberry Mousse

Summer Eats: Cranberry Mousse

[July 23, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Here is a refreshing dessert perfectly paired with fresh summer berries. You can eat it while discussing the virtues of …

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Book Cover the Silver Six

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Graphic Novels for Summer

[July 21, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Each of these picks delivers its own take on the graphic form, and makes for easy reading during the summer months.

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Book Cover Once They Were Hats

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Nonfiction Preview

[July 20, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Our Most Anticipated selections continue with this eclectic list of nonfiction: history, ecology, cookbooks, biography a …

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Book Cover The Hunting Ground

Summer Holiday #ReadLocal Special: Read Where You Are

[July 16, 2015] | By [Kerry Clare]

Find great reads connected to the places you're headed to this summer with our #ReadLocal map. 

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If You Love X, You Will Love Y

If You Love X, You Will Love Y

[July 15, 2015] | By [Kiley Turner]

Our reading tastes change, not just over our lifetimes—over weeks and months, and according to demands on time, states …

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2015 Poetry Preview

Book Cover Laundry Lines

From Bonnie and Clyde and Love Actually references to symbolist poetry and exploded sestinas, not to mention a collection that began as reworkings of the CIA's Human Resources Exploitation Training Manual. Canadian poetry will be looking good in Fall 2015.


Composer, performer, teacher and experimental poet Samuel Andreyev's second collection is The Relativistic Empire (October), combining the brevity and lightness of a comic strip with the complexity and richness of French symbolist poetry. The first collection by Ali Blythe, a recipient of the Candis Graham Writing Scholarship from the Lambda Foundation (for excellence in writing and support of the queer community), is Twoism (September). In Laundry Lines: Stories and Poems (September), Ann Elizabeth Carson looks to the past from the perspective of a contemporary feminist. Nicole Brossard's latest book is Ardour (September), translated by Angela Carr, poems about how "even as vowels tremble in danger and worldly destruction repeats itself on the horizon...the silence pulsing within us is also a language of connection."

Book Cover Rom Com
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On Our Radar

On Our Radar is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.


A Youth Wasted Climbing

A Youth Wasted Climbing, by David Chaundry-Smart

Interviewed by Lynn Martel at Crowfoot Media:

From the interview: "In Toronto in the late '70s there was a dismal anti-establishment cold war mood in youth culture that put a premium on doing what you liked and having it be chancy and maybe even annoying. Rock climbing wasn’t exactly a well-known activity anywhere, let alone in Toronto, so the people I knew who climbed were prepared to do things that were on the fringes of society. This extended to other areas of life besides climbing. I’m still a little prone to see aversity to law and order in climbing and elsewhere as just a little soulful." 

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Their Biography, by kevin mcpherson eckhoff

Reviewed at Poetxt:

"Composed of composites, Their Biography is an agglomerate of poems that are said to be from 'friends, family, co-workers, strangers, …

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Shelf Talkers: July 2015

It’s become a familiar cliché, a trope we’ve all seen all too often in movies, TV, and books... Strangely, though, when I was growing up, I was never, not once, asked to write an essay about what I did on my summer vacation. It would have been a pretty easy essay to write: as a kid, I spent my summer holidays exactly the same way I’m spending this one: reading. Sure, now I’m reading in my comfy chair in my office (usually with a cold beverage of the adult variety) rather than in a tree or in the hayloft (usually with a bag of penny candy from the corner store)—but the reading has remained a constant.

It’s the same way for independent booksellers across the country, including the five in this month’s installment. From a modern Canadian classic to a masterful YA book to a uniquely Canadian publishing situation surrounding one of the most controversial books in recent memory, the reading choices are as individual as the booksellers doing the reading.

And what are you reading as the dog days of summer set in?

And can I still get a little paper bag of penny candy anywhere nearby?


The Bookseller: Mary-Ann Yazedjian, Book Warehouse Main Street (Vancouver, BC)

The Pick: The Cure for Death by Lightning, by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

This novel is destined to becom …

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The Recommend: July 2015

Most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This week we're pleased to present the picks of Chelsea Rooney, author of the acclaimed first novel Pedal; Daniel Allen Cox, author of two Lambda Award-nominated novels and the new book Mouthquake; Kevin Hardcastle, much-published short story writer and author of the upcoming collection Debris; Chadwick Ginther, creator of the award-winning Thunder Road trilogy; and Teri Vlassopoulos, whose short story debut, Bats and Swallows, was a Danuta Gleed finalist and whose forthcoming novel is Escape Plans.


Chelsea Rooney picks Nancy Lee’s The Age

In the 1980s myriad panics—both real and imagined—swept across North America. An untameable disease killed people by the tens of thousands. Crack cocaine flooded and ravaged the cities’ most embattled poor. Primetime television reported breathlessly on rumoured Satanic cults. And the threat of nuclear war reached its fever pitch, with WWIII imminent.

Nancy Lee’s The Age tells one story from this generation’s most vulnerable: its youth. An …

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Perfect Summer Day with Jon Chan Simpson

Part voyeuristic pleasure, part travel guide, the Perfect Summer Day Questionnaire connects writers and their books to real-life Canadian places while celebrating the goodness of summer.

Jon Chan Simpson grew up in Red Deer, Alberta, and he lives in Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto's MA creative writing program, and his work has been featured in Ricepaper magazine. He debut novel is Chinkstar


Red Deer, Alberta

49th Shelf: Tell us about the setting for your perfect summer day. Is it a place in your book? The place where you live? Somewhere that you’re homesick for?

Jon Chan Simpson: I love Alberta weather, and the summers in Red Deer, my hometown, are fantastic. The mornings are crisp, the days are long, hot and sunny, and the evenings are clear and cool, perfect for hanging out and barbecuing. Grab a hoodie, a frisbee, some friends, beers and grillables, and you’re set. Even if you suck at frisbee.

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