Reading through a year’s worth of Shelf Talkers columns, I am struck by a couple of details that likely have not slipped your attention: the quality of the books chosen by our panelists, and the eclectic nature of those choices.
Every month, our esteemed independent booksellers share their picks for not just the best books they have been reading, but those books which they feel merit special attention. Books that aren’t just good, but are distinct in some way, powerful enough to merit an enthusiastic response.
You’ve likely experienced this directly, in-person, during a visit to an independent bookstore: the bookseller leading you through the aisles, all-but-tugging you to a special shelf, or a slot on a table, picking up a book and pressing it into your hands, saying, almost breathlessly, “You must read this!”
For this year-end column, we’ve combed through the dozens of recommendations, a year of reading, to create a double-handful of special books, a stack of a dozen or so books to fill your carry-bag, to fill your winter nights with sheer reading pleasure.
Simply put, you must read these.
We’ll be back in January to begin another year of books, another year of discoveries.
Until then, though, we wish you warm nights, full bellies, and the happiest of reading.
Is it safe to come out yet?
Groundhog Day was months ago, and across the country, Canadians are only now daring to emerge cautiously from our holes in the ground, wondering if the strangest winter in recent memory is finally over. Take, for example, Victoria. Looking back, thanks to the miracle of social media, Victoria’s cherry trees were in full bloom in mid-February last year (yes, we know that makes you hate us; that’s one of the reasons we post those photos every year). This year, Victoria had blizzards through February. Blizzards. Of actual snow! That’s a once-a-decade or so occurrence.
But weather be damned, it’s spring on the calendar, and in the bookstores. Our hardy crew of independent booksellers has recommendations for every eventuality, from guides to take you outside (down to the dirt or up to the skies) to companions to warm you indoors. Plus, a baseball book, because it IS spring, after all.
And summer is just around the corner. Though many of us will believe it when we see it.
The Bookseller: David Worsley, Words Worth Books (Waterloo, ON)
The Pick: Baseball Life Advice, by Stacey May Fowles
With Baseball Life Advice, Stacey May Fowles has captured the tumult, frustration, and unabashed love that comes with being a long-suffering Blue Jays fa …
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 award-winning poet Lorna Crozier, whose latest book is The Wild in You; Jael Richardson, author and and artistic director of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD); Laura Frey, literary blogger at ReadinginBed.com; Susan Renouf, editor and publishing strategist; Steve Stanton, author and former president of Canada's national association of science fiction and fantasy authors; and Jean Marc Ah Sen, author of the debut novel, Grand Menteur.
Lorna Crozier picks Connie Gault’s A Beauty
Connie Gault's new novel, A Beauty, is a beauty from the first page to the last. It’s set in the Dirty Thirties, that decade of drought and hard times in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t only the wheat that shrivelled. So did the human spirit. Gault takes us into the minds and hearts of several small-town people trying to break through despair and the narrowing of their days into some kind of wonder. All of her minor characters are touching and memorable. Th …