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book cover footlights

2020 Poetry Delights

By Pearl Pirie

A list by the author of new collection footlights. These books turn and explore, question and listen.

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

By Trevor Corkum

Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Write …

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Book Cover Loss Lake

Launchpad: LOSS LAKE, by Amber Cowie

By Kerry Clare

"Sentence by gorgeous sentence, Cowie reveals an intricately woven, powerful plot, unveiling the depths of the character …

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Hope Matters

25 Reasons to be Hopeful

By Kerry Clare

The following books are infused with hope—that what we do and who we are really matters, that second chances are possi …

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Book Cover Spend It

Notes From a Children's Librarian: Money Money Money

By Julie Booker

Financial literacy is part of the new math curriculum for grades 4-6. But why not start even sooner, as young as kinderg …

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Book Cover You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked.

Launchpad: YOU ARE EATING AN ORANGE. YOU ARE NAKED. by Sheung-King

By Kerry Clare

"This novel ...gives the cold shoulder to the dominant gaze and its demands to control the Asian body, carving out a thr …

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Book Cover The Way Home

Books for University Press Week

By Clare Hitchens

“Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across a m …

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Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

Shelf Talkers: Indie Booksellers Get Us Through the End of the Year

By Robert J. Wiersema

To mark the passing of the year, we’ve gathered the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers fellowship – the st …

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Book Cover Four Umbrellas

Launchpad: FOUR UMBRELLAS, by June Hutton and Tony Wanless

By Kerry Clare

"Our goal from the outset was to write a book in which the person with Alzheimer’s has a place on the page, too."

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Book Cover The Crooked Thing

Stories that Excavate the Underworld

By Mary MacDonald

A recommended reading list by the author of new story collection The Crooked Thing.

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2020 Poetry Delights

Pearl Pirie's new collection, footlights, is available now.

*****

These are compelling reads from Canadian poets. They delight in being imaginative and in distinct dense tellings of their worlds. These books turn and explore, question and listen.

*

Niagara & Government, by Phil Hall

These poems don't get swept up in themselves, but heckle easy assumptions, resist hero or villain, the lyric impulse for perfect beauty or paper-cut endings. He wants to be more real than that and escape the literary within the literary. "I dare not smear with wit or cheapen with harmony" (p. 79).

He reflects on past decades, and interpretations, and impacts within the moment's "deep accordion sigh" (p. 55) and realizing "this is Bottom I thought but I was wrong. /I was wearing the hole in Bottom// the bottle still had it over me/I was its tongue" (p. 51). His expression is fresh and deft. It is an ear candy to read, and fittingly absurd to stick candy in the ear. He is irreverent. "happy to muck about allow & accumulate".

He explores being an outsider to those he was born amon …

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

Gartner_Zsuzsi

Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Writer's Trust Fiction Prize, and the Globe and Mail calls it "exquisite."

2020 Writer's Trust jury citation:

“A lapsed Catholic, curbside confessionals, and quantum realities come together in a one-of-a-kind romp in Zsuzsi Gartner’s The Beguiling: an exquisitely crafted, profoundly readable novel about the human compulsion to seek absolution in strangers, a page-turner so compelling, so inventive, so weirdly weird, readers will feel like they’ve been to a party that leaves them wondering at the genius of the host who pulled it off. A book as full of imagination as heart, its structure like a nesting doll, a scrappy, unforgettable narrator, a multilayered look at stories as both connection and mode of transformation — this is Gartner at her best.”

Zsuzsi Gartner is the author of the fiction collections All the Anxious Girls on Earth and Better Living through Plastic Explosives, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her fiction has been widely anthologized, broadcast on CBC and NPR, and won numerous prizes, including a National Magazine Award. Gartner is the founder and director of Writers Adventure Camp in Whistler, British Co …

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Launchpad: LOSS LAKE, by Amber Cowie

Launchpad Logo

Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Samantha Bailey, bestselling author of Women on the Edge, is recommending Loss Lake, by Amber Cowie. She write, "Amber Cowie is a gifted storyteller. In Loss Lake she creates a stunning suspense about dangerous small-town secrets that threaten the lives of its residents, and its latest newcomer. Sentence by gorgeous sentence, Cowie reveals an intricately woven, powerful plot, unveiling the depths of the characters and their lies. A magnificent read crackling with tension."

*****

49th Shelf: What particular something have you managed to achieve with this book that you’re especially proud of?

Amber Cowie: Loss Lake is a creepy cabin-in-the-woods story that was a true labour of lov …

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25 Reasons to be Hopeful

In difficult times, sometimes hope is maligned as something frivolous, a symptom of one's inability to engage with reality and look trouble in the face. But of course, the certainty of hopeless is its own kind of limitation. As Rebecca Solnit writes, "To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don’t know what will happen next, and that the unlikely and the unimaginable transpire quite regularly.”

The following books are infused with hope—that what we do and who we are really matters, that second chances are possible, and so too is a better world.

*****

This is Not the End of Me, by Dakshana Bascaramurty

About the book: Layton Reid was a globe-trotting, risk-taking, sunshine-addicted bachelor—then came a melanoma diagnosis. Cancer startled him out of his arrested development--he returned home to Halifax to work as a wedding photographer—and remission launched him into a new, passionate life as a husband and father-to-be. When the melanoma returned, now at Stage IV, Layton and his family put all their stock into a punishing alternative therapy, hoping for a cure. This Is Not the End of Me recounts Layton's three-year journey as he tried desperately to stay alive for his young son, Finn, and then found purpose in preparing Finn for a world without him.

Wit …

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Money Money Money

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

*****

Financial literacy is part of the new math curriculum for grades 4–6. But why not start even sooner, as young as kindergarten? The concepts of saving, spending, earning, and donating are familiar to all ages. The complexities of budgeting, payment methods, taxes, and interest rates are found in books mentioned near the end of this list.

*

Cinders McLeod has written a series for readers as young as four. “It’s never too early to teach your little bunny about money,” the afterword tells us. Her loveable bunny characters (often with simple “carrot” charts to demonstrate basic mathematical notions) will appeal to students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 1. Sometimes math stories can feel like the plot is secondary, propping up a teaching concept, but these tales are completely satisfying. The series includes the following four titles:

In Give it!, Chummy’s grandma gives him some birthday carrots. He wants to spend them on a superhero cape to save the world. Grandma tells him there’s another way to help the world… planting flowers for the bees. He comes up with three different plans for his carrots and ends up doing more for the world than for hims …

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