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

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Book Cover bread and water

Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2021 Nonfiction Preview

By 49thShelf Staff

New books about everything, including food, beauty, art, travel, singing, healing, grieving, shopping, aging, and so muc …

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Book Cover Unlocking

CanLit Yearning

By Amy LeBlanc

"At the heart of my novella and in each book on this CanLit list is a sense of desire or a yearning (for belonging, iden …

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The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

The Chat with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo

By Trevor Corkum

This week we’re in conversation with political trailblazer Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, whose memoir, The Queer Evangelist, …

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Book Cover The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Most Anticipated: Our 2021 Fall Fiction Preview

By 49th Shelf Staff

With new books by Miriam Toews, Dawn Dumont, Douglas Coupland, Marie-Renee Lavoie, Omar El Akkad, Zoe Whittall, Trudy Mo …

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Book Cover The Quiet is Loud

Speculative Fiction: Vast and Thrilling

By Samantha Garner

"As a reader and a lightly superstitious human, I can’t deny the pull of the unusual, the not-quite-real. I love books …

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Book Cover Travels in Cuba

Writing with Four Hands

By Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

"That’s what the Travels series is all about: sending a resourceful, observant, unafraid (well, sometimes a little afr …

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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

By Trevor Corkum

“Norma Jeane Baker of Troy leverages a millennia-old story of beauty and war to animate a history of the male gaze and …

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Book Cover The Hunted

The Places We'll Go

By Roz Nay

Pack your fictional bags at your peril! A recommended reading list by Roz Nay, whose latest thriller is The Hunted.

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Book Cover Ontario Picnics

Ontario Picnics

By Lindy Mechefske

A celebration of dining in the outdoors from new book ONTARIO PICNICS.

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Visceral: A Book List, Part II

Today we follow up Part I of our focus on visceral books: books we feel in our bodies as much as our brains, books that can range from shocking to arousing to graphic ... and more. These books often stay with us long after we've turned the last page. We're pleased to present a compilation of these books, complete with publishers' descriptions and review excerpts.

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Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson: Book Five of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Midnight Tides is the most visceral of the series. After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King of the Hiroth, There is peace—but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has enslaved all its less-civilized neighbors with rapacious hunger. All, that is, save one—the Tiste Edur. It seems only a matter of time before they too fall, either beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword. Yet as the two sides gather for a pivotal treaty neither truly wants, ancient forces are awakening. The impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle …

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Shelf Talkers: Mid-Summer 2018

Summer.

The very word sends a shiver down the spine, carrying with it memories and echoes of those glorious months from our younger days when the world seemed limitless, and full of potential.

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For readers, the summer months have a special connotation. We remember not family trips, per se, but those books we read wedged in the back seat. We remember not pick-up games in the yard, but library reading programs and the stacks of books we devoured, heedless of the outside world. (Did you cross an ocean, measuring the nautical miles in page counts? Or did your reading stats take you on an epic walk? Did you get stickers, or bookmarks, or was the reading simply for its own sake, with no thought of prizes?) We remember all that time we had to read what we wanted, not what we had to read for school. Summer is when we made some of the reading discoveries that have lasted for a lifetime, books and authors who would shape us, in ways we may not even really understand.

As exciting as summer is for adults, it’s never quite so wondrous as those we remember.

But as readers, we can recapture a bit of that magic, whether we’re travelling the world, or sipping coffee on our tiny deck.

This month, the booksellers of the Shelf Talkers column pull back the curtain a little to describe …

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Shelf Talkers: Women, Songs, Oceans, Freedom, and Hellfire

It’s a special time of year.

September.

Even the word sounds a little magical.

The kids are back in school, some of us are taking classes, our routines are starting to settle again, after a few months of lovely summer entropy...

This month, our dedicated independent booksellers (including a couple of new folks!) have selected a set of fantastic fall reads. These are all fiction, all novels, but it’s striking just how close these picks hew to the real world, and what is going on in it. Sometimes we read for escape, and sometimes—like now—we read to connect to the world, to have the light of fiction shone into the shadows of the real world.

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The Bookseller: Colin Holt, Bolen Books (Victoria, BC)

The Pick: Women Talking, by Miriam Toews 

Women Talking, the fantastic new novel from Miriam Toews, tells the story of a group of Mennonite women meeting in secret to decide the fate of their community. Set over 48 hours, and told from the view of the lone male in attendance (because the women are unable to read or write but need this event transcribed), Women Talking is a powerful read about the inner strength a group of women find to take control and change their futures for the better. It is a story that is often heartbreaking but sprinkled with wit to make it bearable …

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The Chat with Rawi Hage

Hage, Rawi -- credit Babak Salari

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

Rawi Hage’s latest—the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize-longlisted Beirut Hellfire Society—follows the story of an undertaker’s son during Lebanon’s Civil War.

Quill & Quire calls Beirut Hellfire Society “a novel of tragic beauty and dark humour that is comfortable with contradiction and charged with probing philosophical insights and the luminosity of Arabic poetry. It’s a timeless story of the outcast whose act of witness chronicles the world he observes.”

Rawi Hage was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He immigrated to Canada in 1992 and now lives in Montreal. His first novel, De Niro’s Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Cockroach was the winner of the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. It was also shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His third novel, Carnival, was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Award and won the P …

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