Shelf Talkers

Shelf Talkers is a monthly series where independent booksellers across Canada tell us about a book they would put (and are putting!) in everyone's hands, it is that good.

Shelf Talkers: Back to School and Beyond

Let’s face it: the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, of newly laundered gym strips, of paper and pens and binders ushers in the gorgeous Canadian fall season.

But more than anything else, there is the smell of new books.

Is there any better smell than that? Especially at this time of year?

I think not.

And if you disagree, well, you should take that up with one of our panel of independent booksellers.

They’ve weighed in this month with a healthy crop of books for the fall. And, for possibly the first time in this column’s history, two of our booksellers have chosen the same book.

**

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

The Pick: The School Year Survival Cookbook, by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh

Over the years there have been many cookbooks written on "how to survive during the school year" aimed at young adults heading off on their own, but what about parents needing to get the family back into a routine and dealing with hectic schedules once again? Laura …

Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: August Long Weekend, 2017

We try not to be overly political here in the Shelf Talkers column, but there are some issues we can only avoid for so long. We would like to apologize in advance for any offense this column might give, but we feel it’s something that needs to be discussed, now more than ever.

Summer reading.

Yes, you read that right.

Summer reading probably isn’t the most contentious issue of our times, but it’s a conflict that recurs with a troubling, almost calendar-like, regularity.

Every year, we are face …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: July 1, 2017

Most years, the significance of July 1 passes with little in the way of fanfare. Sure, there are festivals and fireworks, cake and crowds, but—generally speaking—we’re a fairly low-key nation when it comes to celebrating ourselves. We might wave flags, one day a year, but we do it somehow apologetically.

This year is different, though. The Canada150 celebrations have turned (brace yourself for impending Spinal Tap reference) our annual momentary patriotic fervour up to 11. And that’s as i …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: Mysterious Disappearances, Bad Endings & Utopia in BC

Brace yourself: what I’m about to say may be shocking.

Are you ready?

It’s May.

In fact, it’s not just May – it’s the May long weekend. Go ahead, check your calendar. You’ll see.

Yes, the May long weekend. Victoria Day. The May 2-4. The unofficial start of Canada’s summer.

Well, most years. This year? Perhaps not so much. It’s been a very strange spring across the country. Virtually non-existent in some places. And now it’s time to open up the cottage? To chill out on a dock? To mee …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: Six New Books to Usher in Spring 2017

Is it safe to come out yet?

Groundhog Day was months ago, and across the country, Canadians are only now daring to emerge cautiously from our holes in the ground, wondering if the strangest winter in recent memory is finally over. Take, for example, Victoria. Looking back, thanks to the miracle of social media, Victoria’s cherry trees were in full bloom in mid-February last year (yes, we know that makes you hate us; that’s one of the reasons we post those photos every year). This year, Victor …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: The Best New Book I've Read

Bookstores can be daunting experiences.

Walking into a good bookstore can be almost overwhelming: all these books! Where does one begin?

That’s where the bookseller comes in. A good bookseller can guide a reader through the impossibilities of selection in search of that perfect read. They know the sections intimately; after all, they’re responsible for every one of those spines being on the shelf. They’re the ones who spend hours every week selecting books, conscientiously and deliberately b …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: The Mystery Edition

There’s probably been research done on this, but I think it’s a well-established enough truth as to not require footnoting: winter is the perfect time of year for mysteries. Whether it’s the punishing cold, the latent isolation, the stark quality of the light through the skeletal trees, the barren, dark ground... it’s easy to imagine the world littered with crime scene tape and evidence tags, mysteries lurking in the shadows, in the seemingly endless twilight.

As a result, it’s likely n …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: On Family Day

By Rob Wiersema

I may be in the minority, but I've actually become quite fond of Family Day. In part, it's a practical thing: I love the way it breaks up that long stretch between Christmas and Easter, that formerly bleak, wintery run of five-day weeks with no respite. In part, I like its ramshackle nature, an invented holiday which occurs on different days across the country.

Mostly, though—and feel free to call me soft—I like it because I buy into the premise. The occasion gives me a chance, …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: Under the Tree 2016!

It’s as seasonally inevitable as the need for warm gloves and the appearance of twinkling lights: every year, as December hits, readers are inundated with a flood of lists, each proclaiming The Best Books of the Year. It seems like everyone gets in on the game: journalists, writers, celebrities, newspapers, magazines... Everyone, it seems, except those folks who know the books best, the booksellers.

Sure, you might occasionally find a Best Of list featuring a token bookseller, but they are larg …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: Remembrance Day 2016

We, as a nation, have grown up observing November as a time of remembrance, a quiet marking of the past (and present), and an attempt to come to an understanding of both the world around us, and our role in it, historically and today.

That search for meaning and understanding is on the minds of everyone today, even as we reel from the shock of this week's election result. From an exploration of the nature of Remembrance Day itself, to an examination of what it means to be Canadian, to a heartbrea …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: From Outer Space to Wrestling Rings to Vietnam

I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. It’s not just the turkey dinner (though I’m always thrilled when turkey-dinner season comes around, that glorious stretch of monthly feasts incorporating Thanksgiving, my birthday, and Christmas. Gobble, gobble, indeed.), but it’s what comes before, and what characterizes the day: a moment to take stock of our lives and offer our gratitude for what we have, for what we love, and for what, in …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: Private Detectives, Secret Mommies, Suspicious Men, and More

Shhh...

Listen, do you hear that?

That’s the sound of hearts breaking across the country as another summer comes to a close. I know, you don’t want to talk about it, or acknowledge the reality of the situation, but it’s time. The leaves have already started to turn here in Victoria, and the nights are growing cool. There might be a renewed blast in September, but the truth is undeniable: the summer is on the wane. Fall is upon us, and winter (forgive me, Tyrion Lannister) is coming.

For some, …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: August Is the Best Time for Reading

With record-breaking temperatures across the country, I think it’s safe to say we’re into the dog days of summer now. It really is the best and worst of the year: it’s hard to resist those blue skies, the heat, and the seemingly limitless potential outdoors—but at the same time, it’s too hot to really take much joy in moving around. It’s perfect weather for sitting in the shade, for finding a patio or a cool pool, for laying in the grass.

Or, conversely, for managing the hot walk fro …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: Canada Day 2016 Edition

I think it’s easy, for many of us, to take the July 1 holiday for granted. I mean, what better way to kick off the heights of summer than with a stat, right? Especially when that stat is on a Friday, so you’ve got a three-day weekend. Time you can spend grilling and sipping and hiking and gardening and swimming and generally playing in the sun (though, if you’re me, the long weekend seems, traditionally, to be one of cleaning and organizing and general housework, I’m not sure why).

Too of …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: May 2016

Is it spring where you are, or summer ... or more of a mishmash of weather?

With the sheer size of this country, and the vicissitudes of climate change, it’s tough to get a handle on the change of seasons. In Victoria, for example, it’s been positively balmy for weeks now, and while Alberta is struggling with a tragically early summer, eastern Canadians are finally, tentatively, shoving winter coats into the darkest corners of closets in hopes they remain there.

We live in a country not of two …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: April 2016

With any luck (and owing entirely to the incredible effort put in by the organizers), the end of April will become known as well for books as it is for being the early days of spring. Authors for Indies, now in its second year, draws attention to Canada’s independent booksellers with the best of Canada’s writers working shifts on the country’s independent sales floors, meeting customers and making recommendations. It’s a beautiful synergy, a living representation of the ecosystem that un …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: March 2016

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious

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. …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: February 2016

Despite being the shortest month of the year, February can often feel like the longest, a month of dark days and cold nights, suffused with a sense that winter may have set so deeply, it may never end.

There is, however, much brightness and joy.

Say what you will about manufactured holidays (and I’m perhaps more of a cynic about Valentine’s Day than most), there’s something, well, wonderful, about the combined force of Valentine’s Day and Family Day. Sure, Valentine’s Day seems to exist …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: January 2016

Winter, with its long nights and its forced sequestration, is a perfect time for books. Whether you take on a big reading project, or use the time to catch up with old favourites, or merely try to keep up with the new releases, winter is ... well, it’s basically peak season for book geeks. None of that feeling “I should really be outside” nonsense.

And here to help minister to your winter reading needs, our dedicated independent booksellers weigh in with some of their picks for the darkest …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >

Shelf Talkers: December 2015

It’s that time of year again, that most wonderful time, when the evenings are long, and the air is full of the sound of Year-End Best-Of lists. What, you were expecting carolling?

Sure, the holidays are swell and everything, but as a booklover, the turning of the year is a time to look back, to recall what books brought me joy and, more significantly, to look at other peoples’ lists and see what I missed.

My book budget goes out the window in December, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.

T …


Click here to read all five Shelf Talkers for this month >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...