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Jonathan Ball: Story Collections to Return To

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Jonathan Ball is the author of the new collection The Lightning of Possible Storms. Visit him online at https://www.jonathanball.com ***** All authors suffer the curse of terrible knowledge. They know that one of the most difficult literary forms is the short story. They also know that one of the hardest things to publish is a short story collection. Wise authors thus write novels, or even poetry. The unwise among us, enamoured of our dark arts, labour in service to this horrifying master. We offer foolish love, expecting nothing in return. When it came time to write my own short story book, I sat down and made a list of all the things I liked and disliked about the short story books I had read. I loved books where the stories felt connected, as if a theme ran through the collection, but I also loved books where the stories ranged wild, with differing styles and genres. I decided to push at both extremes, running a storyline throughout my book to connect everything while making each single story as different from the others as possible. In the process of writing The Lightning of Possible Storms, I kept stacking and re-stacking my books, studying and sorting them, reading and re-reading the collections I most admired. Here are the 10 books I found myself coming back to the most during the 19 years I spent working on my book.
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Silent Book Club Favourite Reads

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One of the beautiful things about being part of a silent book club is that it's a judgement-free zone. Members can read whatever they want, as the group is about readers reading and sharing companionably together - and any book, in any format, counts. That said, our east end Toronto silent book club (which is largely virtual these pandemic days, so in fact includes participants from outside that neighbourhood) is also a trusted book recommendation little engine that could. Many titles end up getting borrowed and purchased and read and read again in our group. This list captures some of those favourites. (Learn more about us here: http://bookgagabooks.ca/silent-book-club/)
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Sing It: Music in 2020 CanLit

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Music runs through these glorious books, from opera to punk and many stops in between.
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BE WHO YOU ARE: 8 Picture Books

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This is a list by Sue Macartney, who is the author-illustrator of Benjamin’s Blue Feet a story about a little Blue-footed booby coming of age in the Galapagos Islands. Benjamin is already the island’s best treasure spotter. One day he discovers a mirror and is thrilled with his new find until it leads to niggling self-doubt. Through a series of comic attempts to alter his appearance, Benjamin learns some very valuable lessons about who he is and why he is perfect just the way he is.
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Fiction from TouchWood Editions

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TouchWood Editions is an independent book publisher based in Victoria, BC, Canada. They publish both non-fiction and fiction.
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Editor's Picks: Week of September 21, 2020

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A man unravels the mystery of his dead fiance's life, a novel reminiscent of "Sliding Doors," the winner of the 2020 International Book Award for LGBTQ Fiction, a provocative new coming-of-age story, and a historical debut inspired by the history of the British “brideships."
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Exceptional Memoirs of Late

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"The pain of yesterday is the strength of today," writes Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, and these eight memoirs bear testimony to his words.
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Small-Town Fiction Standouts in 2020

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The intimacy of small towns creates ideal conditions for character development and intrigue.
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