Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


Shelf Talkers Special Edition: Authors for Indies

Oh, my, what a month! April marks the first anniversary of this column, which offers monthly recommendations from independent booksellers across the country—the books you need to read, from people who know reading best.

(Waiting a moment, looking around ... Where’s the balloon drop?)

To celebrate, we have something even better than a balloon drop. We have an entire national movement! This month we have an extra-special, jumbo-sized edition of Shelf Talkers, wherein some of Canada’s finest authors weigh in with their recommendations. We’re not only celebrating the anniversary of this column, we’re pitching in and helping out with the Authors for Indies program.

On May 2, under the auspices of the Authors for Indies program, writers from across the country will be serving as volunteer booksellers at their local independent bookstore, helping out customers with their picks, throwing their support behind Canada’s independent booksellers.

In this month’s column, we’ve asked some of those volunteer, one-day booksellers for their picks, a sneak preview of what you can expect next month.

May 2: Mark that date on your calendar, and make a point of visiting your favourite authors at your favourite indie.

Until then, enjoy these picks, and thank you for reading this year. We’re just getting started.




Continue reading »

Visceral: A Book List, Part II

Today we follow up Part I of our focus on visceral books: books we feel in our bodies as much as our brains, books that can range from shocking to arousing to graphic ... and more. These books often stay with us long after we've turned the last page. We're pleased to present a compilation of these books, complete with publishers' descriptions and review excerpts.


Midnight Tides, by Steven Erikson: Book Five of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Midnight Tides is the most visceral of the series. After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King of the Hiroth, There is peace—but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly. To the south, the expansionist kingdom of Lether has enslaved all its less-civilized neighbors with rapacious hunger. All, that is, save one—the Tiste Edur. It seems only a matter of time before they too fall, either beneath the suffocating weight of gold, or by slaughter at the edge of a sword. Yet as the two sides gather for a pivotal treaty neither truly wants, ancient forces are awakening. The impending struggle between these two peoples is but a pale reflection of a far more profound, primal battle …

Continue reading »

Great Characters in CanLit

Chances are, when you think about a book you loved, it's not the sublime descriptions of architecture that come to mind. More likely, it's the characters—fictional, but in terms of impact, not. Characters happen to us, we care about them, love them, cringe at their foibles, laugh at their antics, and cry at their defeats. We want things for them, and we often flip pages faster and faster as our investment in them deepens.

Today some avid readers—Steph VanderMeulen, Léonicka Valcius, Dee Hopkins, Jaclyn Qua-Hiansen, Vicki Ziegler, and me (Kiley Turner)—talk about the CanLit characters that have most affected us and stayed with us. We all wanted to name at least twenty more, and on Twitter over the next week we'll be asking you to name some of your favourites (please use #bestcharacters). We'll then create a nice big list, with your picks included.


Steph VanderMuelen picks Patrick deWitt's barman and Trevor Cole's Jean Horemarsh

"Patrick deWitt’s Ablutions is chock-full of well-imagined, strange, and funny people, but the whiskey-loving barm …

Continue reading »

Angie Abdou and Between: The world is not made for women

Steamy sex, global labour issues, feminist politics: Angie Abdou's new novel, Between, takes on a bit of everything and doesn't shy away from the nasty bits (or the naughty bits!). Already receiving great reviews, Between is sure to delight Abdou's many fans (of previous books including Canada Reads finalist The Bone Cage) and bring her some new ones too. In this 49th Shelf exclusive, she dishes about the inspiration for Between, its portrayal of motherhood, what she's been reading lately, and just how exactly she "researched" the scenes of her novel that take place at Jamaica's infamous Hedonism resort. 


49th Shelf: For me, the linchpin of your novel is the line, "The world is not made for women. Not in the Philippines. Not here. Maybe not anywhere." How do you think Between is informed by this idea? 

Angie Abdou: Yes. I'm inspired by Unless, by Carol Shields, and its assertion that the work of feminism is not done. In an interview, Shields expressed her worry about young women no longer self-identifying as feminists. It is a worry that I share. Between grows out of that anxiety.

To give this same anxiety a less literary context, a friend with young children recently complained "It's still f*cking 1950 around here but now we have jobs too." Again—the work of …

Continue reading »