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The Chat with GG's Literature Award Winner Anne Carson

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Anne Carson's Norma Jeane Baker of Troy (New Directions) is this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Literature Award for Poetry.

According to the Governor General's Peer Assessment Committee, “Norma Jeane Baker of Troy leverages a millennia-old story of beauty and war to animate a history of the male gaze and the nature of power wielded by privilege. Tracing its origins from ancient and modern forms, the book inquires into the history of language and being. It exposes the uncertainty and vulnerability that underpin our desire for ‘the precision of command.’ The oceanic pull of Carson’s poetry uses irreverence to lure and wreck our concepts of time, place and subject.”

Anne Carson is a Toronto-born poet, essayist, classicist, and translator who has also taught at Canadian and American universities including McGill and Princeton. A Member of the Order of Canada with more than 20 titles to her name, she recently received a Princess of Asturias Award. Throughout her career, Carson’s work has earned her Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships, two Griffin Poetry Prizes, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Lannan Literary Award, among many other honours. Anne Carson now divides her time between the US and Iceland.

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Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is a performa …

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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 largely overlooked. Which, as I have mentioned before, is ridiculous. Who better to be able to winnow the thousands of books published each year down to a list (or a single pick) than those people who spend their lives literally surrounded by books?

Of course, a lot of booksellers do provide lists, for their customers. They may not appear in the newspaper or in a magazine, but across the country there are table displays and printed sheets, featured shelves and, you guessed it, shelf talkers.

Which is terrific. A good independent bookseller is worth their weight in gold, an invaluable resource when it comes to your next great read, or in finding the perfect gift.

But geography has a sad role to play. It would be nearly impossible to visit every bookseller in this country (though if I had a bucket list, that would surely be on it).

Thankfully, you have the booksellers of the Shelf Talker community to turn to, a country’s worth of erudite, well-read bibliophiles who have, this month, provided t …

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The Recommend: May 2016

Most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.

This week we're pleased to present the picks of authors Tricia Dower (Becoming Lin); Nadia Bozak (Thirteen Shells); Teva Harrison (In-Between Days); and author, editor, and blogger Kerry Clare (The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood).

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Tricia Dower recommends For Your Own Good, by Leah Horlick

I bought this poetic memoir because of the cover, featuring a gorgeous, creepy illustration by Thomas Shahan. It turns out to foreshadow the dark material within. I’m not an expert on poetry. I can’t tell you how a poem does what it does. I can only tell you the effect it has on me. Horlick’s collection of forty-nine poems grabbed me by the gut. Five poems in, I was pressing my lips together, afraid for the narrator, tense with foreboding. For Your Own Good unveils an account of abuse both devastating and redemptive. I almost hate to tell you that because part of the power for me in this collection was discovering the truth of it. Within the queer community, the word is this is an impor …

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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.

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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 …

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