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Our Top Fiction of 2019

At 49th Shelf, this was the fiction that made our literary year. We're grateful to all of the authors who make our work—featuring amazing Canadian books—such a pleasure.

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Undercard, by David Albertyn

Albertyn says: "I wanted Undercard to have all the aspects of a great sports story, within the context of a great thriller. I wanted the outcome of a sports event to be integral to the outcome of a criminal plot. I wanted my four principal characters to be athletes, current or former, and the specific sport they each compete in helps define and develop who they come to be. I wanted a novel that was as riveting as the most furious boxing match, and as blood-thumping as the most daring revenge tale—one compounded on top of the other.

Read Albertyn's recommended reading list, "Story, Struggle and Sports"

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Days By Moonlight, by Andre Alexis

About the book: Almost a year to the date of his parents' death, botanist Alfred Homer, ever hopeful and constantly surprised, is invited on a road trip by his parents' friend Professor Morgan Bruno. Professor Bruno …

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2019 Poetry Splendour

Poetry advocate and community builder Vicki Ziegler recently put a call out on Twitter asking readers to share what poetry titles had helped make their literary year, and the response was so great that we wanted to share it. Let's celebrate the poetry splendour of 2019!

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Following Sea, by Lauren Carter

About the book: Spanning almost two hundred years, Following Sea finds anchor in the submerged regions of the heart. With great care, Lauren Carter wades into family histories and geography, all the while charting her own territories. Carried by the ebb and flow of language, Carter's second collection explores issues of infertility, identity, and settler migration, offering a tender examination of home. Urgent and intimate, Following Sea leads us along the shoreline of Carter's Manitoulin memories to show us what she has carried up from the depths.

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Dunk Tank, by Kayla Czaga

About the book: In the title poem of Kayla Czaga’s sophomore collection, a teenage speaker is suspended between knowledge and experience, confidently hovering there before the w …

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Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2019 Fiction Preview

New year, new books! The first half of 2019 promises glorious literary delights, and we begin our Spring Preview with a spotlight on fiction. 

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André Alexis's latest is Days By Moonlight (February), "a journey through an underworld that looks like southern Ontario, a journey taken during the 'hour of the wolf,' that time of day when the sun is setting and the traveller can't tell the difference between dog and wolf, a time when the world and the imagination won't stay in their own lanes." Watcher in the Woods (February) is the latest thriller in Kelley Armstrong’s City of the Lost series. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale gets adapted again, this time into a graphic novel (March) with illustrations by Renée Nault. A spellbinding, down-the-rabbit-hole tale about loneliness and belonging, creativity and agency, female friendship and desire, Bunny (June) is Mona Awad's second book after her acclaimed 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl. Bestselling and award-winning author Todd Babiak returns with The Empress of Idaho (April), an immersive and affecting story about a teenager’s fascination with an enigmatic new woman in town whose past is catching up with her.

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