Shelf Talkers: November 2015

tagged : Shelf Talkers

It’s that most wonderful time of the year. The air is crisp, the world outlined in the sharpness that only a Canadian cold brings. In the distance, you can hear the sound of sleigh bells...

Wait, no.

Sorry. Those are cash registers.

This IS the most wonderful time of year, but it is also the most intense retail season of the year (as someone who spent more than two decades behind the till, I promise you those things can and do exist simultaneously. Surreptitious Baileys helps). Everyone is out looking for that perfect gift...

And that, really, is where those two things come together: people are packing into the stores to find a perfect gift for someone else. There’s something heartwarming about that gesture, about the whole season of generosity, that spirit of giving.

I’ve long been of the opinion that there is no more perfect gift than a book. And no, it’s not just because they’re easy to wrap. (Well, relatively. Somehow, even when I’m wrapping something that’s rectangular and all right angles, it still ends up looking like it was wrapped by a not-so-gifted marmoset. I blame the Baileys.).

A book is a way of making a connection, of bridging the distance between giver and recipient. A thoughtfully chosen book is a way of saying, “I know you.” A beloved book shared with someone else is a way of saying, “I want you to know me.”

It’s a beautiful thing. I’m misting up just thinking about it (though that, too, could be the Baileys.)

Booksellers know the power of the perfect book; for many of them, that notion of sharing something they love is one of the reasons they got into this ... let’s call it “thrilling”... trade. They spend the weeks leading up to the holidays matchmaking, bringing people together over books new and beloved, old favourites, and new flavours.

And in this month’s Shelf Talkers column, they’re sharing some of those choices with us, books perfect for giving, or receiving, beloved picks from Canada’s beloved booksellers. (Some of these choices are old favourites, and may not be as easily found as today’s bestsellers, but they’re worth searching out, and your local independent bookseller is there to help!)


The Bookseller: Jenn Hubbs, Curiosity House Books (Creemore, Ontario)

The Pick: Travels with Farley, by Claire Mowat

Travels With Farley explores the period in which Claire Mowat and her husband, Farley, lived in Port Hope, on the Magdelen Islands, and beyond; during this period they developed their love of some of the most remote places in Canada. As Claire Mowat recounts their experiences as outsiders, the reader begins to see how their writing was influenced by their surroundings. As much as it is a travelogue of their experiences in the wild, it is also an intimate portrait of their marriage, and a must-read for Mowat fans. 


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

The Pick: Butter Celebrates!, by Rosie Daykin

Fresh to the shelves, Butter Celebrates! is Rosie Daykin's sequel to her wildly successful Butter cookbook. Featuring a year of sweet treats, Butter Celebrates! is filled with mouth-watering photos and simple-to-follow delicious recipes. It is the perfect gift for the cookbook lover on your list.



The Bookseller: Anna Beddie, Misty River Books (Terrace, BC)

The Pick: Sugar Snaps and Strawberries, by Andrea Bellamy

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries by Andrea Bellamy is a well-written gardening book that I recommend to anyone starting out, anyone with limited space for gardening,  and for anyone who just enjoys reading gardening books. Bellamy is practical, but she doesn’t talk down to you. I have a copy by my bedside, and I read it every once in a while for pure pleasure: it’s good information, but also well-written and the photography inside is well done.


The Bookseller: David Worsley, Words Worth Books (Waterloo, ON)

The Pick: Safe As Houses, by Susan Glickman

Susan Glickman has turned to crime fiction with her new one, Safe as Houses.

Liz Ryerson is an independent bookseller in Toronto who has the misfortune to come upon a body in her neighbourhood pond. Her world opens up when she pieces together the identity of James Scott, a realtor who recently appraised a building she co-owns with her ex-husband. Safe as Houses is an engaging, finely plotted crime novel, easy to slip into and stay with, and it's always nice when a bookseller can play the lead.

November 27, 2015
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