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2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Shortlist
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2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards Shortlist

By 49thShelf
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– The Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA) is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards. The following shortlist represents the finest of Alberta book publishing as determined by leading professionals in the book industry from across Canada. "At a time in our world when reading and books have never been more important, it’s wonderful to showcase the books published right here in Alberta,” says BPAA executive director, Kieran Leblanc. "Please remember most of these books are accessible through our Read Alberta eBooks Collection, available through public libraries throughout the province.” The winners of the 2020 Alberta Book Publishing Awards will be announced in a virtual gala reception. Further details on the virtual gala will be released in the coming weeks.


also available: eBook

In this provocative collection of short stories, Karen Hofmann creates characters who struggle to connect or disconnect from entanglements and relationships. With ironic accuracy and sensuous imagery, Hofmann considers a range of human foibles: a newlywed couple who transform into feral beasts during the hardships of a remote research expedition; backbiting faculty members who strip down during a post-conference BBQ; an heretical nun who explores the possibility of a new life by imaginatively ex …

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Virtue Prudence Courage
He saiddream vandals, the animals roaming the island at night.

What kinds of animals? she asked. She had never heard a man talk about his dreams before. It was like hearing him say frightened or pussy. She blushed. She was wearing little suede boots, jeans, a long baggy sweater, jade-green. All of her clothes were cheap. She had pale eyelashes mascara didn't stick to, and an overbite - she had been raised by her grand¬mother, no dental plan - and tended to hide behind her hair, which was not cut properly, and fell like a hood around her face, thick mats of it slanting across her forehead and over her cheeks.

At this party at her residence, she had been approached by a raw-boned, wispy-bearded young man, a young man who had barely enough flesh to cover his long bones. In his lanky, rusty-haired, knob-jointed ugliness, he had seemed less intimi¬dating than the more smooth-faced, opaque-mannered young men she met in her classes or at church. She had not been afraid of him, and so she had talked to him, listened when he explained about his work on sea birds, and had him all to herself the whole evening.

To be sure, she did not always understand what he was talking about. White bears, he said. A society of white bears, who exchange secret vows with smoke. You can see the gou¬ges in the walls of houses. Their warnings. You can see their neon tags on the boles of the cedars. They want to put their own gloss on the scripts in my head. He said this patiently, but as if she should be able to figure it out on her own, too.

It was poetry, she thought, like Ecclesiastes or The Revelations of St. John the Divine on the Isle of Patmos. She waited for his pause. Would she be expected to provide an extem¬poraneous close reading? That did not seem fair. She stood on one foot, then the other, remembered not to bite a hangnail.

She asked, What do they say about your dreams, the ani¬mals? She thought that she was being intelligent, to ask this. But his eyes, which had been meeting hers in an open gaze, now narrowed and hardened.

I can't keep doing the work for you. You'll have to figure it out yourself.

She blushed. Okay, she said.

He was twenty-seven, a Ph.D. student.

Then they had made arrangements to go see something in his lab, and for a hike, and another hike, and she saw that she was spending all of her free time with him. He called her a lot. She did not have any close personal friends with whom to discuss him; she fell into his life activities, his energy, as into a vortex.

He lived alone, austerely, with a mattress on the floor and camping equipment and stacks of animal skulls piled against the walls. They lay side-by-side reading their textbooks dur¬ing the long rainy days and still she did not think of him as a boyfriend. Then one day he put his large-knuckled paw on the small of her back and kissed her nape, and when she turned her face toward him in surprise, her mouth.

Then he began to kiss her more, and to undo her clothing, and she said, I am a virgin. She meant this as an apology for her lack of experience, which was soon to be revealed, but the young man said, I respect that, and even if I never do more than kiss the tips of your fingers, I will devote my whole life to you.

This was, surprisingly, a disappointment to her. When she encouraged him to continue to move his ginger-furred hands under her clothing, he said, We should get married. There were so many good excuses for not inviting family and friends - distance, penury, scheduling - that she was not even remotely troubled by the possibility of other motives for their secrecy and haste.

It was final exam time. For their honeymoon, they would spend a month on a remote West Coast island, where he would be doing his research. There would not be electricity or internet on the island - they wouldn't even have a phone. That made her feel safe from something.

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Protest and Democracy

Protest and Democracy


In 2011, political protests sprang up across the world. In the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, the United States unlikely people sparked or led massive protest campaigns from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. These protests were made up of educated and precariously employed young people who challenged the legitimacy of their political leaders, exposed a failure of representation, and expressed their dissatisfaction with their place in the aftermath of financial and economic crisis.

This …

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Alice at Naptime

Alice at Naptime

also available: Hardcover
tagged : motherhood

A beautifully poetic exploration of being both a new mother and an artist, told using her own unique graphic novel and fine art approach.
When Alice was born her mother only found time to draw her while she napped. Gradually Alice is multiplied in a tapestry of selves, both large and small, while an overarching narrative whispers through the pages, musing on the meeting of former and future selves. At its core, Alice at Naptime tells a universal story, of a parent pining for past freedoms, while …

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This Has Nothing to Do With You

This Has Nothing to Do With You


Winner of the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

When Melony Barnett's mother commits a violent murder, Mel is left struggling with the loss of her parents and her future. For more than two years, she drifts around the continent, trying to carve out a life that has nothing to do with her past, before returning to her Northern Ontario home and adopting a rescue dog?a mastiff with a tragic history. As she struggles to help the dog heal and repair her relationship with her brother, Matt, she begins …

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