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Shelf Talkers: Mysterious Disappearances, Bad Endings & Utopia in BC

Brace yourself: what I’m about to say may be shocking.

Are you ready?

It’s May.

In fact, it’s not just May – it’s the May long weekend. Go ahead, check your calendar. You’ll see.

Yes, the May long weekend. Victoria Day. The May 2-4. The unofficial start of Canada’s summer.

Well, most years. This year? Perhaps not so much. It’s been a very strange spring across the country. Virtually non-existent in some places. And now it’s time to open up the cottage? To chill out on a dock? To meet friends on a patio?

Fear not – we’re Canadian. We can do all those things, no matter the weather. We’ll just have to remember to pack a raincoat. And possibly a parka. And definitely a book. Or two.

For readers, Canada basically has two seasons: indoor reading, and outdoor reading. And while the variability of the weather might blur those seasons a bit this year, we’re nothing if not adaptable: sunglasses and cold drinks al fresco when the sun is shining, a cozy quilt and a hot beverage indoors when the skies turn grey. It all works out in the end.

But what to read?

Funny you should ask.

To kick off the summer reading season, Canada’s dedicated (and compulsive) independent booksellers have compiled a sterling selection of possibilities, from a Canadian icon to a hot new must-read, from a business visionary to a stunning short story debut, and more. A word of advice, though, given the weather? You might want to pack a couple of books. Just to be safe.

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Shelf Talkers: The Best New Book I've Read

Bookstores can be daunting experiences.

Walking into a good bookstore can be almost overwhelming: all these books! Where does one begin?

That’s where the bookseller comes in. A good bookseller can guide a reader through the impossibilities of selection in search of that perfect read. They know the sections intimately; after all, they’re responsible for every one of those spines being on the shelf. They’re the ones who spend hours every week selecting books, conscientiously and deliberately building a collection which they know will appeal to the readers in their communities. They’re responsible for keeping on-hand books they love, knowing that they will be able to match them with the perfect reader.

But what of new books? What of debut authors? What of the great unknown? How does a reader sift through the deluge of new titles being published every week?

This is where booksellers truly shine, spending the hours they’re not in the store reading ahead, perusing Advance Reading Copies and galleys, open to that electrical charge one feels when finding the next great book.

For this month’s Shelf Talkers column, we’ve set our panel of erstwhile indie booksellers a single question: what’s the best new book you’ve read? All of these recommendations are hot off the presses (one of them, in fact, is still on the presses, and won’t be on the shelf until next month!). These are the cream of this year’s crop, and they all come with the Shelf Talkers’ seal of approval.

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