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2014: Our Books of the Year

You're probably already railing about the proliferation of year-end best-of lists cluttering up your social media feeds of late, but we promise you that this one is a little different from the rest. How? First, because list-making is not just a seasonal thing at 49th Shelf—we're dedicated to the task and do it all year round; we're book list experts. And second, because we've created this list by selecting critically acclaimed titles we know that readers have adored.

And just a note: this list is only the beginning of the huge number of fantastic Canadian titles that were published in 2014. Please do explore our site to find out about so many others, not to mention the great books that were published last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, etc.

We promise that you will never ever run out of great things to read. 

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Book Cover Between

Between, by Angie Adou

"The work of feminism is not done," notes Angie Adbou in her Q&A with us from September. "Of course our struggles in North America are not the same as the struggles of someone like Ligaya in the third world. Nonetheless, it is worth acknowledging that disparity exists here, too. I was pleased when Stacey May Fowles, in her Quill and Quire review, called Between a 'glaringly feminist narrative.'" 

Read our Q …

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Top Shelf: Gifts for Everyone on Your List

It is high time, given the holiday season almost upon us (aargh!), that we publish a new installment of Top Shelf, the series compiling great lists and posts on 49th Shelf. This one's all about ideas for the particular types of readers on your gift list.

Of course this can't be comprehensive, because it would take days to highlight the best lists on 49th Shelf in 2014. But here's our offer: if you're looking for another kind of book for a different kind of reader, tweet us @49thShelf and we'll help you find it!

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For the chef, the 2014 Taste Canada shortlist, including books by Lynn Crawford, Nick Saul, Andrea Curtis, and Lucy Waverman.

 

For the science buff, nominees for the Lane Anderson Award (celebrating the best science writing in Canada today, both for adults and kids).

 

For the urban planner and architecture student, a list of gor …

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Dazzling Debuts, As Picked by Mark Medley, Jared Bland, Steven W. Beattie, and Kerry Clare

tagged: debut, fiction, 2014, novel

First novels, as a lot, are exciting phenomena because they carry so much of an author's energy and ambition. The best of them are electric, marked with a confidence and uniqueness that sets them apart from the rest.

In today's post, Mark Medley, who's just moved from the National Post to the Globe and Mail as books editor; Jared Bland, arts editor at the Globe; Steven W. Beattie, review editor at Quill & Quire and author of the blog, That Shakespearean Rag; and our own Kerry Clare, editor here and author of the popular lit blog, Pickle Me This, choose their favourite Canadian debuts so far of 2014.

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Mark Medley's Picks

troop

throughthewoods

"Reading Nick Cutter's debut horror novel, The Troop, is just about the most fun I've had this year. Okay, I know Cutter is actually Giller Prize-nominated author Craig Davidson, but this is his first novel under the pen name. A violent yet surprisingly tender portrait of boyhood—forget Richard Linklater! I was also blown away by Emily Carroll's debut collection of illustrated stories, Through the Woods. These are old-school, slow- …

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2014 Literary Festival Guide

As of early morning last Saturday, summer is here, which means that Literary Festival Season will be arriving not long after. To ensure you make the most of it, we've once again compiled a handy guide to literary festivals across the country from here 'til November. Check out what's happening in your area, or at your vacation destination.

Or maybe even plan a trip around one of these stellar fests, so that new Canadian books and new Canadian places might be discovered together. 

 

In Nelson, BC, the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival runs July 10–13 with the theme of "Intersections: Geography, Genre, Genius." Scheduled presenters include Angie Abdou, Gail Bowen, Daryn Collier, Douglas Gibson, Donna Morrissey, and Eleanor Wachtel. The Lakefield Literary Festival kicks things off July 11–13 in Lakefield, ON, with featured authors including Charlotte Gray, Lawrence Hill, Maureen Jennings, Richard Wagamese, and Sheree Fitch. This year, Read by the Sea returns to River John, NS, for its 15th anniversary. Arrive at the Legion Gardens to spend the afternoon with writers including Guy Vanderhaeghe, Sharon Butala, Steven Galloway, and more! This year, the Saskatchewan Festival of Words runs from July 17–20 in Moose Jaw, SK, the lineup including acclaimed authors such as Beverly Brenna, Ted Barris, Cassie Stocks, Claire Cameron, Gail Bowen, Miriam Toews, Steven Galloway, Wayne Johnston, and Merilyn Simonds.

The Leacock Summer Festival takes place in Orillia, ON, July 21–27. Schedu …

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