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Shining Light on School Libraries With a $500 Holiday Contest

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Every year at 49thShelf.com we run a holiday contest that ends up with one lucky member winning a lot of books. This year is no different and our holiday contest is on until December 12th, so don’t miss your chance to win big!

This year we are using our contest to shed light on an important issue that is very close to our hearts (and we guess many of yours as well): school libraries.

Year after year, studies tell us that teachers and teacher-librarians spend hundreds of their own dollars to buy books and learning materials to help stock their classrooms and libraries’ shelves. Without teachers’ own contributions and school fundraising events, school libraries can turn into barren rooms that aren’t fun for children, diminishing the likelihood that these children will grow up with a love of—or even a capacity for—reading. This is especially true in low-income areas.

The Ontario Library Association confirms that, “Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

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“Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

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To support teacher-librarians and …

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49th Summer Contest

With excitement building about what promises to be another stellar fall for CanLit, we're launching a contest today that will run till August 31, 2014, and which will see winners receive a bounty of the year's best new fiction.

All you need to do is:

  • Tweet us a pic of you in the company of your Canadian-authored summer read, and tag it with #49thSummer;

OR (for those who are camera-shy)

  • Tweet us a pic of that same read in a heavenly summer setting (looking glorious on a patio table? nestled in white sand? sidling up to a chilled glass of wine?), tagged again with #49thSummer.

This will automatically enter you into our draw to win five books from our 2014 Fall Fiction Preview. The five books will be the winners' choice.

There will be three winners, and we'll announce them in the first week of September.

Snap away!

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Tell Us How It Was: Post-Holiday Edition

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If you're like us, you're fighting your way into 2014, trying to get a grip on work and life, inching away from holiday excesses, and hoping that if you tell the New Year enough times that it will be bright and brilliant, it simply will be. A little contest to the rescue: Tell Us How It Was, where your review of a Canadian book you read this holiday (or in 2013 in general) gets you a chance to win five books of your choosing from our Most Anticipated Spring Fiction list.

Until January 31, 2014, every review you post on the site—from a few sentences to a few paragraphs—gets you one chance to win the five-book prize pack. A random draw will determine the winner.

Everyone who's anyone is agreeing that 2014 stands to be one of the most stellar Canadian fiction years this country has ever seen, so this is a great chance to bite right into it! Good luck.

PS: To fuel your cold-weather reading, check out our Lit Wish List page for ideas.

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Summer Contest: Tell Us How It Was!

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Want to win some great prizes from 49th Shelf this summer, including a gorgeous e-reader or limited editions of Canadian classics? Write a thoughtful review or comment of a book you’ve read and you’ll have the chance to do just that.

Our job here on 49th Shelf is to make it easy for you to find your next great Canadian read. We do that via expertly curated book lists, guest posts and author interviews, and more. In addition, 49th Shelf members help each other out with recommendations and reviews—and we want even more of these!

You'll see the "Community Reviews and Comments" panel just under the cover image on every title listing page on the site. It looks just like this and it's really easy to add your review or note:

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Until August 31, every review or comment you contribute for any book on the site enters you to win some swell prizes.

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Enter to Win a Collection of the 2013 Trillium Award Finalists

The contenders for Ontario's 2013 Trillium Award—Ontario's leading literature award, with past winners including including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Timothy Findley, and Anne Michaels—are formidable.

Any one of these books would demand top billing on your nightstand and an indulgent evening or two in to take them in, but the Ontario Media Development Corporation has given us permission to post a contest today in which the winner will receive the entire English-language 2013 shortlist; please see the full list here with all the details on the books. You just need to guess which finalist will win the award!

Just click on the "Pick a Winner, Be a Winner" tab in the top, right-hand corner of this page. Click on that tab to open the poll and enter to win. The contest closes at 5:00 pm ET, Tuesday, June 18.

We will draw for the winner June 19, and announce him/her shortly after that. Good luck!

NB: For those in Toronto, several of the shortlisted authors will be reading on the evening of June 17, 2013, at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. There is no admission fee or RSVP required to attend—it is first come, first seated. Doors will open to the public at 6:30 pm, and the readings will commence at 7:00 pm. Please contact trillium2013@omdc.on.ca for further information.

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To the Core's Exciting Poetry Prizes!

49th Shelf's To the Core contest was a joy to run and to read; it featured selections from notable Canadian authors like Cathy Marie Buchanan and Miranda Hill as well as inspired choices from avid 49th Shelf community readers. To the Core submissions together formed a quiet, powerful testament to the paradox of good poetry: abundance delivered through spareness. Contributors wrote eloquently about the profound effect these snippets of words have had on their lives:

  • Kaarina Mickalson, who chose a verse from "elbow jab" by Rita Wong, wrote: "I had no idea that anyone could put into words that heart wrenching feeling I had for my hometown."
  • Jen Selk, who chose something from Joe Cummings' "Hunting Season," wrote: "I don't know why this affects me, exactly, but somehow, the image of the bear stripped of its fur has stayed with me, and I find myself thinking of it from time to time, years later."
  • Jennifer Dawson, who chose a bit from from Sonnet L'Abbé's "LOVE," wrote, "when i read poems i am always paying attention to how my body feels when i am reading."
  • Sanchuri Sur, who chose a stanza from "thirsty" by Dionne Brand, wrote, "I love all of Brand's poems for being visceral, but this one in particular touches a chord in my previously broken heart."

Many others provided wonderful thoughts about how their poetry choice for the contest touched—or walloped—them in a way they've never forgotten. You can read their contributions in the comments field beneath the To the Core …

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To the Core: The 49th Shelf Contest for National Poetry Month

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For National Poetry Month, we want to celebrate how poetry can cut through everything to get to the core of what is beautiful … or rotten … or otherwise remarkable—and we need your help. Consider the following ideas from a lovely article we found by Roger Housden:

Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind .... It is a magical art, and always has been—a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of. This is why poetry can be dangerous as well as necessary. Because we may never be the same again after reading a poem that happens to speak to our own life directly.”

What Canadian poem has spoken to your own life directly, such that you have never forgotten it?

Use the comments field below to tell us the name of the poem and the poet, type in a verse or two of the poem so everybody can check it out, then say why you love it/chose this selection. You’ll be entered three times (yup, 3x) into our To the Core Poetry Contest (#readcdn #poetry). We will draw five winners from the pool of entries at the end of the month, and each winner will win one of five prize packages of …

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Feel the Love Valentine's Day Contest

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Photo Credit: Eric M. Martin

Whether or not you’ve found your one true love, you’ve read enough to know what it should feel like—and it ain’t all pretty. For Valentine’s Day, help us create a list of Canadian books with powerful love stories in them. The love can end well, it can end tragically, but it must have made your heart beat harder or broken it at least a little.

We've started off the Feel the Love list, so add your book(s) by:

By adding a book to our list in any of these three ways, you get entered automatically into our contest to win a $150 gift certificate for books at the bookstore of your choice. You can also enter by sharing the list on Twitter or by sharing one of our FB posts about the contest (for both options add #cdnbooklove).

Contest ends at midnight on February 14, 2013. We will announce the winner February 15!

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Win 1 of 5 Copies of Your First Home: A Buyer's Kit by Kimberley Marr. #realestate #homebuyers #givecdn

Kimberely Marr, author of Your First Home

Kimberley Marr, CAAP, ABR, is a RE/MAX real estate broker with over 23 years' experience. Throughout her career she has assisted many buyers and sellers in fulfilling their real estate goals and dreams. Marr has developed and taught real estate buyers' programs for the last 17 years with a focus on first-time home buyers. She has made television appearances and has been a speaker at national and international real estate, mortgage financing, and industry related conferences. Your First Home: A Buyer's Kit is her first book. Visit her online at www.kimegerton.com.

Julie Wilson: In your experience, what would say is the #1 misconception about buying your first home?

Kimberley Marr: There is a misconception that a large down payment (i.e. 20-30 percent of the purchase price) is required, which may not be the case for buyers that qualify for a high-ratio type of mortgage. Mortgages usually fall into one of two categories—conventional or high-ratio financing. Sometimes a buyer, based on lender underwriting criteria qualifies for a mortgage, may not have a large enough down payment to be considered a conventional type of mortgage (i.e., 20 per cent or more of the purchase or appraised price whichever is lower, for a down payment). However, the buyer may still be able t …

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