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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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Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2013: Adult Fiction

The nights are cooling down and with the drop in temperature comes a frisson of excitement about a new season of life, and of books. Already Canadian publishers have begun releasing the titles with the potential to make a splash in the fall, during lit fests, during award season, and in bookstores. And more will come in the next few weeks. Here's a round-up of some of the most promising novels and short story collections geared for adults. Poetry, non-fiction, and kids lit will follow in the next couple of weeks.

Of course there will be more remarkable Canadian books that will emerge this fall; we will endeavour to introduce these to you as well through our regular editorial programming.

extraordinary

Long-awaited novels from celebrated authors compose a good portion of what we can look forward to this fall. Governor General's-Award-winning author David Gilmour examines sibling relationships and the incredible condition of being alive while anticipating imminent death in his novel, Extraordinary. Fans of Margaret Atwood will be buoyed to hear Booklist's verdict that the final work in her dystopian trilogy, Maddaddam, is anchored by a "feverishly suspenseful plot."

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Friend. Follow. Text: Shawn Syms on Stories From Living Online

cover friend follow text

Twitter lit? Facebook fiction? Here at 49th Shelf, we use the online realm to bring books and readers together. A new book, Friend. Follow. Text. #storiesFromLivingOnline, really takes this idea to heart. It consists of stories where the ways we connect online—chat sessions, Facebook status updates, website comment threads—are incorporated directly into the narrative. We asked editor Shawn Syms to talk about some of the stories in the book and the ways in which contemporary writing is being increasingly enhanced by the language and format of social media.

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How we meet each other, talk to one another, experience our lives together: it’s all changing. The possibility of being constantly online—while dancing in a big, sweaty crowd or standing alone on a quiet, snowy mountaintop—has started to permanently alter how we communicate as a culture. Whether we’re talking about sharing photos, trading tweets or texting exes, some find this delightful, others disconcerting.

This shift has affected us as readers. Curled up in bed reading 1984 on a tablet or getting breaking news while sitting on the bus, our eyes scan more information of myriad types in many different ways now. And it’s starting to affect how authors construct their works, too. Is there a plac …

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Most Anticipated: Spring 2014 Fiction Preview

"Spring" of course, is a relative term (except when it isn't—that whole business of the vernal equinox and all) but we live by aspiration here at 49th Shelf, and therefore the spring publishing season begins right now. There are so many exciting books forthcoming in the first half of 2014, and we'll be rounding them up over the next few weeks. First up is fiction, where it's immediately clear that we've got so much to look forward to. 

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Pastoral (February) is a new novel by André Alexis, a modern take on the age-old genre. Hysteric (March), by Nelly Arcan, has been translated into English by David Homel; it is described as "a chronicle of life among twenty- and thirty-somethings, a life structured by text messages, missed cell phone calls, the latest DJs and Internet porn." In Waiting for the Man (April), by Arjun Basu, a New York advertising executive starts listening to the voice in his head with surprising and sensational results. We like the sound of Greg Bechtel's Boundary Problems (March), a collection that "vibrates on the edge of meaning, as carjackers, accidental gunrunners, small-town cabbies, and confused physics students struggle to wring meaning from the strange events that overtake them." And those of us who loved his last novel are looking fo …

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Launchpad: Keepers of the Faith, by Shaukat Ajmeri

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Keepers of the Faith, by Shaukat Ajmeri, which Farzana Doctor calls, "complex, beautiful, and essential reading for our times."

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

It’s a story of two young lovers caught in their community’s religious strife, are forced to separate and meet again years later to face soul-destroying moral dilemma.

Describe your ideal reader.

Loves a good tale written well, reads widely and diversely and has a healt …

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Launchpad: The Heart Beats In Secret, by Katie Munnik

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching The Heart Beats in Secret, by Katie Munnik, a novel that explores the wilderness of the heart, the secrets concealed with every beat and the many ways it is possible to be a mother.

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

A young woman inherits her grandmother’s house, only to find a wild goose living in the kitchen.

Describe your ideal reader.

My ideal reader loves birds, 1940s foraged gin recipes, layered family histories, Scottish nature writing, migration stor …

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