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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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Books in Translation to Read This Fall

With books in translation, Canada's two solitudes are bridged, but one needn't just read these titles as civic duty. Because each of these books, which include thrillers, historical fiction, a view into international politics and comedy, is a terrific read in its own right, all of them titles that expand the reader's idea of just what fiction can do.

They're already generating buzz and, in the case of one book, a long-listing for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.  

*****

Book Cover Arvida

Arvida, by Samuel Archibald, translated by Donald Winkler

About the book: Like a Proust-obsessed Cormac McCarthy, Samuel Archibald’s portrait of his hometown is filled with innocent children and wild beasts, attempted murder and ritual mutilation, haunted houses and road trips to nowhere, bad men and mysterious women. Gothic, fantastical, and incandescent, filled with stories of everyday wonder and terror, longing and love, Arvida explores the line which separates memory from story, and heralds the arrival of an important new voice.

Why we're taking notice: Everybody's taking notice. Arvida has just been long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

**

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10 Books in Translation to Read This Fall

Book Cover Baloney

The selection of Canadian titles published in translation this fall is truly excellent and really exciting. Make sure to diversify your reading list with one of these books, and there's no need to stop at one. 

*****

Baloney, by Maxime Raymond Bock, translated by Pablo Strauss

About the book: A Tristram Shandy–esque novella about failing memory and failed writing, from one of French Canada’s most exciting new voices.

A young, floundering author meets Robert ‘Baloney’ Lacerte, an older, marginal poet who seems to own nothing beyond his unwavering certainty. Over the course of several evenings, Lacerte recounts his unrelenting quest for poetry, which has taken him from Quebec’s Boreal forests to South America to East Montreal, where he seems poised to disappear without a trace. But as the blocked writer discovers, Lacerte might just be full of it.

Why we're taking notice: Bock is an award-winning writer in Quebec, and we also like this from a review of the book in its original French by Jeremy Laniel in Spirale: "Books are dangerous. They call into question the order of things, turn the world upside down to get a better sense of it and shake the dust off the lenses we look through." 

**

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