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Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

By Robert J. Wiersema

One of the best pieces of news in an otherwise dark year was the word that, despite the growth of online giants during t …

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Book Cover The Shadow Life

My Drifter Reading List

By Jen Sookfong Lee

A poetry list by the author of new book The Shadow List.

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Book Cover Fuse

Persian-Canadian Writers You've Got to Read

By Hollay Ghadery

So, where were all the Persian Canadian writers? It turns out, here all along, but not as represented as one might hope; …

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Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

By Geoffrey Ruggero

Picture books are often written with young children as their intended audience. In Tough Like Mum, Lana Button provides …

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Book Cover We Jane

Aimee Wall on The Great Canadian Abortion Novel

By Kerry Clare

"I didn’t want the plot to turn on an abortion or the decision to have one. Any conflict or tension is rooted elsewher …

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Book Cover Because the Sun

Poetry That's Going to Grab You

By 49thShelf Staff

Great books to read before for National Poetry Month is out.

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The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

The Chat with Christopher DiRaddo

By Trevor Corkum

Christopher DiRaddo’s sophomore novel, The Family Way, is a dynamic and rich exploration of queer family, parenthood, …

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Book Cover No More Plastic

Fighting for the Planet: Inspiring Books for Earth Day

By Kerry Clare

An eclectic list of inspiring books about fighting to protect the planet.

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Book Cover Hour of the Crab

Other Beings, Other Minds

By Patricia Robertson

A recommended reading list by author of the new book Hour of the Crab.

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Book Cover WANTED! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom

Notes from a Children's Librarian: Life Sciences

By Julie Booker

Celebrate Earth Day with these fun and inspiring picture books.

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Shelf Talkers: Spring 2021

tagged : Shelf Talkers

One of the best pieces of news in an otherwise dark year was the word that, despite the growth of online giants during the Covid-19 pandemic, independent bookstores were not, in fact, at death’s door. More than holding their own, they were thriving.

If you were surprised by this news, you shouldn’t have been.

Independent booksellers have always been a breed apart, used to shifting on their feet, bouncing back in the face of adversity, bobbing and weaving as the world rains blows down upon them. They’re smart, and nimble, able to turn on a dime, to embrace change, to make the most of negative situations.
And they do it without a lot of recognition, without a lot of reward. They do it because they love it, because they feel a deep connection to their communities, to their customers, and to the books they sell.

And they never hesitate to do more.

Here, once again, are the independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers panel, with some recommendations. Please, call your local indie. Drop by, and say hello. Buy a book.

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The Bookseller: Susan Chamberlain, The Book Keeper (Sarnia, ON)
The Pick: Jonny Appleseed, by Joshua Whitehead

CBC’s Canada Reads has spoken, and we are all to read Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, so I did. Joshua Whitehead delivers an impressive …

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My Drifter Reading List

Jen Sookfong Lee's new book is The Shadow List.

I am not a natural poetry reader, in the way that I imagine very dedicated poetry readers exist. I have always pictured them poring over poems, interrogating each word and line break, ferreting out the purpose in every authorial decision. This is probably a myth, but the fact remains that I have never read like that.

 I am a big picture reader. I read quickly on the first pass, then go back for more, dipping in and out in spots where I feel the need to bask in an image or a line or a single word. I am the sunbather of poetry readers. A beach fan of poems. A poetry drifter, even.

Genre is not something that defines my writing and it certainly doesn’t define my reading. There are moments of poetry in many books of prose that I love, and narrative threads in many of the poetry books that I have treasured. This list will be a bit of mishmash, but then so is my brain.

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Book Cover The TE Lawrence Poems

The T.E. Lawrence Poems, by Gwendolyn MacEwen

I have been a fangirl of Gwendolyn MacEwen’s since I was 17 years old, and my love for her h …

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Persian-Canadian Writers You've Got to Read

As I began writing what would become Fuse (a memoir of mental health and mixed-race identity) I became desperate to find Iranian Canadian voices to help ground and situate my own—a task that proved somewhat more difficult than I thought it would be.

Or should be.

After all, hundreds of thousands of Iranian people call Canada home, and Iran is the birthplace of Rumi, one of the most celebrated poets of all time. The Iranian people have created a fine, strong tradition of poetry, story-telling and literature. My father, much like the endearingly zealous father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, never let me forget this: Persian poetry is the most beautiful. The stories, the most compelling.

So, where were all the Persian Canadian writers? It turns out, here all along, but not as represented as one might hope; as they deserve to be.

This reading list is part of my attempt to bring more of the work of Persian-Canadian writers to light; to give people a taste of the organoleptic artistry that I feel is at the singular heart of so much of the Iranian writing.

Lezzat bebarid! Enjoy!

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Book Cover Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang

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Tough Like Mum: An Essential Picture Book for Kids *and* Adults

Written by York Region District School Board Teacher Librarian Geoffrey Ruggero

Picture books are often written with young children as their intended audience. In Tough Like Mum, Lana Button provides adults with important messaging that we need to be reminded of.

Kim’s mum is tough. She works hard to provide for her daughter and keep her happy. But sometimes, Kim can tell her mum is not feeling well, as Kim must step up and take care of them both. Other parents in the neighbourhood say that Kim is strong just like her mother, even though she is just a child. Whether it’s making meals, getting ready for school, or just putting on a brave face, Kim shows that she can handle it.

Educators and parents often say they know how children are feeling. But do we? Sure we were once that age, but a lot has happened since then. Do we really remember what it was like to experience things for the first time? Do we really remember what it was like to deal with adult problems at such a young age? The world is different, how can we truly say that we know how the children of today are feeling?

Lana Button writes most of her picture books to “show the perspective and situation of a child that might be going unnoticed.” For educators, we try our best to get to know each one of ou …

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Aimee Wall on The Great Canadian Abortion Novel

Book Cover We Jane

We, Jane is the debut novel from Aimee Wall, a writer and translator from Newfoundland who now lives in Montreal. In the novel she tells the story of a young woman who, inspired by "the Jane Collective" that helped women find abortion access in 1960s' Chicago, returns to rural Newfoundland with the intention of being part of a similar movement.

Aimee Wall spoke to us about abortion activism, the narrative challenges of writing abortion, how being a translator influences her writing, and more!

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF WE, JANE ON OUR GIVEAWAYS PAGE!

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49th Shelf: A part of We, Jane that fascinated me, and which I could relate to so personally, was Marthe’s yearning to be part of a larger story, in particular in regard to her own abortion and the story of abortion in general. “She went looking for a fleet,” you write. Can you talk more about that impulse?

Aimee Wall: Something I was struck by when I was first reading about the Jane collective in Chicago was that some of the women in the group joined after having an abortion through the service. A lot of them weren’t coming from any kind of activist background, they were ordinary women who were kind of radicalized by this experience, and empowered in a new way, and it’s like they wanted to turn that feeli …

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