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The Recommend: Masterpieces, Celebrities, Survival, and Magic

Research shows that 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 book blogger Laura Frey (reading-in-bed.com), Melanie Fishbane (whose debut YA novel is Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery), Katherine Ashenburg (whose debut fiction novel—following many nonfiction works—is Sofie and Cecilia), Karen Hofmann (whose forthcoming short story collection is Echolocation), and Bruce Cinnamon (whose debut novel is The Melting Queen).

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Laura Frey recommends Éric Dupont's Songs for the Cold of Heart

I am a blurb skeptic. Blurbs are, at best, the most biased form of literary criticism. Just check how often a blurber’s name appears on the acknowledgements page. At worst, blurbs are clichéd, or taken out of out of context, or of dubious veracity (did Gary Shteyngart really read all those books?).

The blurb on Songs for the Cold of Heart got all my skeptic senses tingling:

“If the Americans have John Irving and the Colombians Gabriel García Márquez, we have Eric Dupont. A …

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Authors for Indies: It's This Saturday!

Authors for Indies is an upcoming event where Canadian writers go into our country's indie bookstores on May 2 to handsell books to customers. Not just May 2—MAY 2 THIS SATURDAY! Find out where the nearest Author for Indies bookstore is for you right here.

The Avid Reader bookstore in Cobourg, Ontario, is lucky to have authors Wayne Johnston, Allison Baggio, Sarah Henstra, and Plum Johnson as volunteers on Saturday—and we're lucky to have a sneak peek at what they'll be recommending. This, right here, could fuel a brilliant reading year for just about anyone.

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fifthbusiness

lostsaltgiftofbood

Wayne Johnston, author of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and more, will be recommending Alistair MacLeod's The Lost Salt Gift of Blood and Robertson Davies' Fifth Business.

The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, one of Canada's most enduring classics, was last recommended on 49th Shelf by Michael Petrou, who wrote that it is in this book that MacLeod's writing is at its "most evocative, limpid, and heart-wrenching."

And you can see just a fraction of the ways Fifth Business has made its mark by scr …

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