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Shelf Talkers: May 2016

Is it spring where you are, or summer ... or more of a mishmash of weather?

With the sheer size of this country, and the vicissitudes of climate change, it’s tough to get a handle on the change of seasons. In Victoria, for example, it’s been positively balmy for weeks now, and while Alberta is struggling with a tragically early summer, eastern Canadians are finally, tentatively, shoving winter coats into the darkest corners of closets in hopes they remain there.

We live in a country not of two solitudes, but of climatic blur. Book-wise, though, we are a united country, and on that is clearly in the spring. From coast to coast, the intrepid indie booksellers of the Shelf Talkers project are enthralled with what’s sprouting on the shelves, the first new growth of a fine literary year.  It’s time for renewal, and our booksellers, as always, have just the thing.

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The Bookseller: Carolyn Gillis, of King’s Co-op Bookstore (Halifax, NS)
The Pick: Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Like all of Kay's previous works, the scope is vast and the characters are incredibly well drawn. Kay always manages to make my heart ache and feel uplifted, often at the same time, for his characters. Their lives are entwined with destiny and none of them are safe from it …

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The Recommend: April 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 Andrew Forbes (The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays), Peter Behrens (Carry Me) and Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus and soon, The Voodoo Killings); librarian Jamie-Marie Thomas; and me (Kiley Turner).

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Andrew Forbes recommends A Token of My Affliction, by Janette Platana

I want to say that Janette Platana's excellent story collection A Token of My Affliction is a funhouse mirror on domestic life, but that's not quite right. It's not a cracked mirror, either. I'm flipping through all the mirror metaphors here, and none fit. What it is is a magnifying glass that you hold up to an assortment of lives that look a lot like your own, and through that magnifying glass you see all the fascinating and horrible microscopic entities crawling over the surface and within the minuscule cracks of those lives.

“Invisible Friends” begins with a sequence which deploys the language of crime reportage to describe in unsettling fashio …

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The Interruption With Kristi Charish

Hi everyone! Welcome back to The Interruption, a 49th Shelf–Books on the Radio collaboration in which I interview Canadian writers about the surprising things that inform, inspire, and even interrupt their creative process.

Today I speak with author Kristi Charish about leaving a career in science for a life in writing and how she finds inspiration in RPG-style video games.

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Kristi is an author, a scientist, and an RPG enthusiast who possesses a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She is also the author of a new book called Owl and the Japanese Circus, out this year from Simon and Schuster Canada. It’s an urban fantasy about an ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief. Available in paperback wherever fine books are sold.

You can find out more about Kristi and her work online at www.kristicharish.com/.

The Interruption always features two podcast selections for your listening enjoyment: the first podcast features my conversation with Kristi. The second podcast features a reading from the early part of Owl a …

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Kristi Charish: Canadian Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Book Cover Owl and the Japanese CIrcus

Kristi Charish's debut novel is Owl and the Japanese Circus, about the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day "Indiana Jane" who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. The book draws on Charish's own background in science and archeology, and joins a fine tradition of Canadian Sci-Fi/Fantasy writing. In this recommended reading list, Charish tells us more about that tradition, and how she has been inspired by it. 

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As I’m an urban fantasy author, I thought it’d be appropriate to come up with a mix of Canadian authors I consider essential reads. I’ll be the first to admit it’s an eclectic list—a couple speculative fiction literary greats alongside adventure and urban fantasy authors, and a few who toe the line somewhere in between. That said, they all do have one thing in common. They’ve heavily influenced the Canadian Sci-Fi/Fantasy landscape and this (very) new author’s own writing.

Book Cover Flash Forward

Robert J Sawyer

With 21 novels, a Nebula Award, Hugo Award, John W. Campbell Memorial Award, (one of only 7 sci-fi authors in the world to win a …

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