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Shelf Talkers Shopping List

Finally, in one handy spot, all our Canadian indie bookstore's Shelf Talkers picks for your buying and borrowing pleasure.

49th Shelf is all about making it easy to find your next great Canadian read, and over the past year, we've introduced several series with that goal in mind. One of these is Shelf Talkers, which has author and former bookseller Robert J. Wiersema asking independent booksellers from across Canada what books in particular they're thrusting into the hands of customers. Today's post is a one-stop access point for all our Shelf Talkers so far.



Shelf Talkers for April (click here to see booksellers' full recommendations)

Booksellers picked:

  • POETRY: Dina Del Bucchia's Coping With Emotions and Otters ("Like a conversation with your best friend, Del Bucchia's poetry offers laughter, comfort, and some perfectly strange advice ..."—Lindsay Williams from Galiano Island Books in BC).
  • FICTION: Anthony De Sa's Kicking the Sky ("... a beautiful, complex coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the 1977 murder of Yonge Street shoeshine boy, Emanuel Jaques."—Shelley Macbeth from Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario.)
  • FICTION: Janie Chang's Three Souls ("Perfect for fans of Vincent Lam's The Headmaster's Wager and Daniel Kalla's The Far Side of the Sky."—Mary-Ann Yazedjian from Black Bond Books in Lynn Valley, BC).
  • FICTION: Ray Robertson's I Was There the Night He Died (" ... a great story populated by some very real, very flawed characters."—David Worsley from Words Worth Books in Waterloo, Ontario).
  • FICTION: Jack Hodgins' Cadillac Cathedral ("Sit in the sun, put your feet up, and let Hodgins' expert wit and humour win you over."—Timothy Carlow from Bolen Books in Victoria).

Shelf Talkers for May


Booksellers picked:

  • FANTASY FICTION: Silvia Moreno-Garcia's This Strange Way of Dying ("There is plenty to enjoy ... not just for the gourmet of death, but for anyone who loves a good story, even for those ready to dismiss horror fiction as 'butcher’s work.'"—Chadwick Ginther from University of Manitoba Bookstore).
  • FANTASY FICTION: Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana: "If a customer comes in looking for a great epic fantasy novel I eagerly thrust Tigana into their hands and tell them their search is over."—Samantha Fraenkel from Vancouver's Book Warehouse on Broadway.)
  • FICTION: Audrey Thomas's Local Customs ("Audrey is a fantastic historical fiction writer and this one kept me up well past finishing the book."—Lee Trentadue from Galiano Island Books in BC).
  • YA/AGELESS: Don Calame's Swim the Fly: ("When we start describing it to a customer and say how everyone we know laughs out loud while reading this book (adults and teens), other customers overhear us and come over to get a copy too."—Kim Ferguson from Kaleidescope Kids’ Books in Ottawa).
  • KIDS/AGELESS: Griffin Ondaatje and Linda Wolfsgruber's The Camel in the Sun ("Young children and adults alike will be drawn easily into this tale illustrated beautifully to evoke heat, sand, and a moonlit night."—Heather Kuipers from Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore in Toronto).
  • COOKBOOK: Audrey Alsterburg and Wanda Urbanowicz's Rebar Modern Food Cookbook ("Your cookbook collection is really not complete without [this cookbook]."—Colin Holt, from Victoria's Bolen Books).

Shelf Talkers for June


Booksellers picked:

  • FICTION: Stacey May Fowles' Infidelity ("This was one of my favourite Canadian novels of 2013, and I'll drop everything to read her next book."—David Worsley from Words Worth Books, Waterloo, Ontario).
  • FICTION: Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer's All the Broken Things ("... both magical and melancholy, illustrating our need for love and the acknowledgement of our differences."—Jenn Hubbs from Curiosity House Books in Creemore, Ontario).
  • FICTION: Gillian Wigmore's Grayling: A Novella ("From the soft-focus descriptions of nature to the heated moments between characters, this atmospheric novella packs the punch of a full-length novel."—Lindsay Williams from Galiano Island Books, BC).
  • FICTION: Terry Fallis's No Relation ("A perennial store favourite, Terry Fallis has once again delivered a wise story that makes us laugh (a lot!) and makes us think ...")—Shelley Macbeth from Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, Ontario).
  • YA/AGELESS: Susin Nielsen's The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (" of the best kids books I've read in years and everyone (not just kids!) should read this novel about bullying."—Samantha Fraenkel from Book Warehouse on Broadway, Vancouver).

Shelf Talkers for July

Booksellers picked:

  • NON-FICTION: Arno Kopecky's The Oil Man and the Sea ("Part travel literature, part political manifesto, [it] has all the charm of the best travel writing, but it doesn’t shy away from the controversial topic at its core."—Timothy Carlow from Bolen Books in Victoria).
  • FICTION: Jane Woods' The Walking Tanteek ("My absolutely favourite book this year!"—Lee Trentadue from Galiano Island Books in BC).
  • FICTION: Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows ("I think this is Toews' best book; it is a masterpiece."—Mary-Ann Yazedjian from Black Bond Books in Lynn Valley, BC).
  • KIDS: William Gilkerson's Pirate's Passage ("It’s an amazing adventure, a great story of friendship and trust, and beautifully written."—Kelly Harrison from Kaleidescope Kids’ Books in Ottawa).
  • KIDS: Farley Mowat's Owls in the Family and The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be ("Both books are charming and hilarious and won’t disappoint, whether read aloud by a parent or independently by the young animal lover in your family."—Heather Kuipers from Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore in Toronto).


Stay tuned for more Shelf Talkers, and if you're an indie bookstore in Canada that would like to participate, give Rob a shout at rjwiersema at gmail dot com.

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