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2016: Picture Books of the Year

Book Cover King Baby

The possibilities of picture books are endless, appealing to readers of all ages, and the best are by requirement read over and over again, which allows us to know them so well, by heart. This list celebrates the amazing work that Canadian authors and illustrators have got up to in 2016, and some of our favourite titles. 

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King Baby, by Kate Beaton

All hail King Baby! He greets his adoring public with giggles and wiggles and coos, posing for photos and allowing hugs and kisses. But this royal ruler also has many demands, and when his subjects can't quite keep up, King Baby takes matters into his own tiny hands.

A modern, funny, and (let's be honest) realistic take on life with a new baby, and the perfect gift for anyone with an adorable little ruler in their life.

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The White Cat and the Monk, by Jo-Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith

A monk leads a simple life. He studies his books late into the evening and searches for truth in their pages. His cat, Pangur, leads a simple life, too, chasing prey in the darkness. As night turns to dawn, Pangur leads his com …

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2016: Our Books of the Year

2016 has been the year that demonstrated we need books more than ever—to ask questions, to make sense of the madness, to underline the importance of empathy, and to show us where we're going and where we've been.

That we've managed to come up with 21 of our favourite books suggests that 2016 wasn't so bad after all; certainly, the books have been terrific.

These are the books that, for us, have been standouts.

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Brown, by Kamal Al-Solaylee

"One of the things I set out to prove in Brown is how resistance to multiculturalism and the rise in nationalist politics in Europe and North America is largely code, and not a subtle one, for anti-Muslim sentiment. The religion has become “colourized” as that of brown and given the face of mysterious men and women hiding behind beards or heard scarves. I despair when commentators call these movements 'populist' and not 'far right' or 'racist.' We’re not willing to confront the xenophobia and pure racial animus at the heart of these movements so we direct attention to the “economically disenfranchised electorates” and hope that we won’t offend the racists among them."

Read Trevor Corkum's interview with Kamal Al-Solaylee.

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Most Anticipated: Our Fall 2016 Fiction Preview

Book Cover The Hidden Keys

Books by your favourite writers, exciting debuts, and titles that are going to make your want-to-read list grow and grow. Fall 2016 is shaping up fantastically in terms of fiction. Here are books you're going to be loving. 

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Cathy Ace's new Cait Morgan mystery is The Corpse With the Ruby Lips (October), in which Cait investigates a chilling cold case in Budapest. Giller-winner André Alexis follows up Fifteen Dogs with The Hidden Keys (September), based on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Gail Anderson-Dargatz's new novel, The Spawning Ground (September), is an intimate family saga rooted in the Thompson-Shuswap region of British Columbia. And Wayne Arthurson (who was part of our crime fiction virtual round table in May) launches a new mystery series with The Traitors of Camp 133 (September), set in a German POW camp in Alberta during WW2. 

Book Cover Into the Sun

The third volume in Linwood Barclay's Pleasant Falls trilogy is The Twenty-Three (November), about a mysterious epidemic and a plot to poison the town. With Cocktails at Seven, Apocalypse at Eight (Octo …

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Our 2016 Spring Literary Festival Guide

The Galiano Island Literary Festival ran February 19–21 Galiano, BC, featuring Theresa Kishkan, Aislinn Hunter, Billie Livingston, Robert J. Wiersema and Michael Christie. It represented the unofficial start to the Canadian Spring Literary Festival Season. And we have so much to be excited about!

Festival Logo Cuffed

Nothing warms our heart more than a brand-new literary festival that sounds amazing, and Cuffed: Vancouver International Crime Festival ticks all the boxes. Cuffed takes place on Granville Island in Vancouver March 11–13, and features writers including Linwood Barclay, Gail Bowen, Caterina Edwards, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Chevy Stevens, and Sam Wiebe. 

Versefest, in Ottawa, runs March 15–20, and it features writers from all around the world. Canadians authors at Versefest include Ben Ladouceur, Christian Bök, David McGimpsey, George Elliott Clarke, Jane Munro, Katherine Leyton, Marilyn Dumont, and Pamela Mordecai.

In Victoria, BC, WordsThaw warms the University of Victoria from March 16–20, with Molly Peacock, Elizabeth May and others.

From April 6–9, Heather O'Neill, Will Ferguson, and others gather for the ImagiNation Festival at the Morrin Cultural Centre in Quebec City, QC. 

And the fantastic gritLIT Readers and Writers Festival happens April 7–10 in Hamilton, ON …

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Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2016 Fiction Preview

Book Cover Tears in the Grass

"Really?" some sad cynic somewhere might be saying as he contemplates just how many books appear on our Most Anticipated lists. "How can anybody possibly be that excited about so many books?" To which we'd reply, "But have you met the people behind 49th Shelf? Have you met our community members, the most avid supporters of Canadian literature?" If you have, you'll know that CanLit enthusiasm, as ever, abounds, and we're so pleased to be part of the movement. So here are some  of the best books you're going to be reading this spring. 

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In Cathy Ace's latest Cait Morgan book, The Corpse With the Garnet Face (April), the foodie sleuth accompanies her husband to Amsterdam to solve a mystery in his family tree. Tears in the Grass (March), by Lynda A. Archer, is set in Saskatchewan and it confronts a history of trauma, racism, love, and cultural survival. There's lots of buzz already for Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (February), by Mona Awad, which is a novel that hilariously skewers our body-obsessed culture. The latest by Todd Babiak is Son of France (March), the sequel to Come BarbariansThe Pharos Gate: Griffin and Sabine’s Missing Correspondence (March), by Nick Bantock, is the final volume in a love story that’s been celebrated by readers for 25 …

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