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The Recommend: July 2015

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 Chelsea Rooney, author of the acclaimed first novel Pedal; Daniel Allen Cox, author of two Lambda Award-nominated novels and the new book Mouthquake; Kevin Hardcastle, much-published short story writer and author of the upcoming collection Debris; Chadwick Ginther, creator of the award-winning Thunder Road trilogy; and Teri Vlassopoulos, whose short story debut, Bats and Swallows, was a Danuta Gleed finalist and whose forthcoming novel is Escape Plans.

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Chelsea Rooney picks Nancy Lee’s The Age

In the 1980s myriad panics—both real and imagined—swept across North America. An untameable disease killed people by the tens of thousands. Crack cocaine flooded and ravaged the cities’ most embattled poor. Primetime television reported breathlessly on rumoured Satanic cults. And the threat of nuclear war reached its fever pitch, with WWIII imminent.

Nancy Lee’s The Age tells one story from this generation’s most vulnerable: its youth. …

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Visceral: A Book List, Part I

The word "visceral" originated in the 1500s, and it was defined vaguely as "affecting inward feelings," with these feelings said to stem from our "gut."  In modern times, the interpretation of visceral has extended beyond our bellies to encompass other parts of our bodies: the hair at the back of our necks, a shiver running down our spines, deep physical reactions to feeling unsettled, enlivened, repulsed, electrified, aroused.

Some books, more than others, affect readers via the extraordinarily powerful images they bring forth and the way they speak to every sense. These are books we feel in our bodies as much as our brains, and they can span a wide range of focuses, from hard-hitting stories of war and other miseries; erotic passages; razor-sharp, evocative poetry; shocking challenges to the status quo; sensual descriptions of food, land, bodies, etc.; and of course, stories of love and loss. Not surprisingly, these are some of the books we remember most.

Here are a few favourites including excerpts from jacket copy and reviews, with thanks also to Vicki Ziegler, Dee Hopkins, and Steph VanderMeulen for their ideas. But there are more: wait for Part II later this week.

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Vs., by Kerry Ryan: Ryan has a fairly rare distinction (we think?) of being a writer who's a …

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The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Interviews Nancy Lee

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Welcome 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 chat with Nancy Lee, author of the new novel, The Age. Of The Age, Annabel Lyon says:

"Nancy Lee has created a world of contradictions for our times: thoughtful terrorists, naive cynics, children as parents, girls who dream as boys. In sharply poetic prose, she delineates a world of gorgeous horrors and eerie loves.”

Nancy Lee lived her early years in England before immigrating to Canada. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught at the Simon Fraser University Writing and Publishing Program, and is the former Associate Director of the Booming Ground Writers Community.

Lee’s first book of fiction, Dead Girls, was named Book of the Year by NOW Magazine, and was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Her work has appeared in numerous literar …

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