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Shelf Talkers: May 2015


What is that, in the sky? Is it spring, unfolding all around us, after what was, for much of the country, a long and brutal winter?

Is that the scent of flowers on the breeze?

May is upon us, and in the wake of the amazing experience of Authors for Indies Day, we have a selection of recommendations from a handful of Canada’s foremost independent booksellers. Fiction and poetry, adult books and a kids book, this installment of Shelf Talkers is a veritable bouquet of spring blooms. And what better way to spend an afternoon than to visit your local independent bookseller, list in hand, then find a sunny spot to spend a few quality hours with a quality book.

Enjoy! And happy spring!



The Bookseller: Mary-Ann Yazedjian, Book Warehouse Main Street (Vancouver, BC)

The Pick: The Mountain Story, by Lori Lansens

Without a doubt, this is the best book I have read so far in 2015. It is a story of survival, friendships, family relationships, adversity, resilience, and love. Our 18-year-old narrator Wolf Truly takes the tram up the mountainside near Palm Springs with no intention of coming back. When he meets three enigmatic women on the mountain and becomes lost with them, he has to re-evaluate his priorities if any of them are going to survive. I loved this novel and I …

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Shelf Talkers for June

It’s not just that booksellers sell books (well, hopefully...), it’s that they read. They read not only with a voraciousness and attention unrivalled in the trade, but with a passion and a hope that remains, for the best of them, undiminished, despite years, sometimes decades, of season after season of new books, and new favourites.

The best of those books are the ones they share with their fellow readers in-store, and here, on Shelf Talkers. Here are some bookseller favourites for June.



The Bookseller: David Worsley, Words Worth Books, Waterloo, Ontario

The Pick: Infidelity, by Stacey May Fowles

"Infidelity is emblematic of a new and entirely welcome breed of Canadian fiction. It's a deceptively simple story of an affair between a working-class woman and a tweedy professor in present-day Toronto. Ronnie and Charlie are very different people, but both are in rather prosaic relationships. A meeting at a faculty party results in a goodly number of trysts and the pressure of balancing their secrets with the increasing weight of both of their daily …

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Shelf Talkers Shopping List

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 Nigh …
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Shelf Talkers for May 2014

When you’re considering adjectives to describe Canada’s independent booksellers, “eclectic” has to be near the top of the list. And this month’s installment of Shelf Talkers reflects that, with cookbooks, kids books, fiction and fantasy and more from booksellers from across the country.


The Bookseller: Chadwick Ginther from University of Manitoba Bookstore, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Pick: This Strange Way of Dying, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

"There is plenty to enjoy in This Strange Way of Dying, 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.' If you hunger as Moreno-Garcia’s 'Death Collector' does 'for the delicious, the delicate, the more refined crimes rather than clumsy trails of corpses,' then you will devour them in each wonderful story."



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Shelf Talkers for August

It’s time for the languorous days of August, those days of carefully conserved motion, constant hydration, and the gradual ebbing away of cares on waves of summer’s bliss ...
That’s the theory, anyway. As we all know, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out as planned.
For Canada’s independent booksellers, August marks the start of the fall book season, which this year looks more impressive than ever. But that’s all still to come. Here’s what our hardy booksellers have been reading and recommending in their stores recently.

We’ll start off with a new member of the Shelf Talkers’ community, Tracey, from Bryan Prince Bookseller, and we’ll finish with a hot one from Lindsay out on Galiano Island.


The Bookseller: Tracey Higgins, Bryan Prince Bookseller, Hamilton, ON

The Pick: The Whisper of Legends, by Barbara Fradkin

"This mystery by Ottawa author, Barbara Fradkin, takes place in the wilds of the Northwest Territories. Inspector Green has gone to search for his daughter who went missing during a canoeing expedition. While searching the wilderness, he becomes embroiled in a case that involves murder, corruption, and the dirty business of northern mining. I had a great time reading this book, especially the plot involving underhanded dealings with p …

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Shelf Talkers: March 2016

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-

ee cummings knows what he’s talking about. While parts of the country are still struggling with the last lingering vestiges of winter, spring is upon us, with new buds, new mud, new puddles, new books...

You knew where that was going, right?

One of the great things about Canada’s independent booksellers is their depth of knowledge, internal databases spanning decades, incorporating hundreds of titles and authors, thousands of characters. It’s the work of a lifetime. And it’s ongoing work. Good booksellers are not only steeped in, and knowledgeable of, the past, they’re also wired in to the present, devouring new books and Advance Reading Copies to keep abreast not only with what’s new, but with what’s to come.

For the March installment of the Shelf Talkers column, we’ve asked our assembled booksellers to weigh in on new favourites, perfect—when the weather cooperates—for reading al fresco.


The Bookseller: Lee Trentadue, Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island, BC)

The Pick: Carry Me, by Peter Behrens

Europe between the first and second world wars. Historical fiction at its best. Behren captures a Europe fraught with danger, anxiety, and loss. If you want to get lost in a book, pick up this one …

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Shelf Talkers: March 2015

Drip, drip, drip ... Canada is beginning to thaw, and with a new season bursting out, we need new books to celebrate. Thankfully, independent bookstores across the country are here to help. This month, we have five booksellers (including a new addition to the Shelf Talkers’ roster!) with five personal recommendations.


The Bookseller: Lee Trentadue, Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island, BC)

The Pick: If I Fall If I Die, Michael Christie

Michael Christie's first novel, If I Fall If I Die, is an exquisite portrayal of lives lived on the "Inside" by those suffering from confronting the dangers of the "Outside." Diane, the mom in the novel, suffers from extreme agoraphobia, and Michael knows of what he writes; his own boyhood was marred by similar suffering—his own mother also had agoraphobia, though not as extreme as Diane's. This story is so human at its core and Diane, Will, and all the characters in the novel are so well drawn. The setting of Thunder Bay, where Michael spent time as a youth, offers a setting where Will can flex his growing need for independence and freedom from his mother's extreme fears.

This is a novel that has wide appeal: who among us has not at one time or another experienced the deep need for safety, for the "inside" when the world thro …

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Shelf Talkers: October 2014

We’re in the heart of it now—the fall new release season is upon us, new books swirling all around like leaves in a gale. Only the bravest can weather such times, the courageous independent booksellers who stand fast, ardently reading, as the autumn rages around them. Here are a few of their personal recommendations.


The Bookseller: Sue Saunderson, Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, ON

The Pick: Mãn, by Kim Thuy

"Beautiful in its simplicity, and yet rich and lush in language ... perfect fulfillment, which is also the very definition of the Vietnamese word ‘mãn.'"

The Bookseller: Lindsay Williams from Galiano Island Books, Galiano Island, BC

The Pick: And the River Still Sings by Chris Czajkowski

"Chris Czajkowski has another treat for the BC Interest section of fine bookstores everywhere. Her wit, wonderful storytelling ability, and adventurous spirit reward the reader and make one's feet itchy to don hiking boots and hit the fresh air. And the River Still Sings is the perfect read for an autumn afternoon!"


The Bookseller: David Worsley, Words …

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