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The Chat with Eve Lazarus

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Eve Lazarus has drawn back the curtain on some of Vancouver’s secret places. Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History (Arsenal Pulp) explores some of the city’s hidden history, focusing in particular on the city’s architectural and urban spaces.

Author Aaron Chapman (Vancouver After Dark) says “Fond, funny, and fizzing with some of the most fascinating people and places, Vancouver Exposed is a highly readable and revelatory cultural history chock-a-block with as many illuminating photos as insights into the city itself.”

Eve Lazarus is a Vancouver writer and podcaster with an Aussie accent and a passion for true crime stories, cold cases, and non-traditional history. She is the author of four Arsenal titles: Cold Case Vancouver: The City's Most Baffling Unsolved Murders (2015), a BC bestseller and 2016 finalist for the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes; Blood, Sweat, and Fear: The Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver's First Forensic Investigator (2017); Murder by Milkshake: An Astonishing True Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and a Charismatic Killer (2018); and Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City's Hidden History (2020). She is also the author of Sensational Vancouver (2014), Sensational Victoria: Bright L …

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The Chat with Zsuzsi Gartner

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Zsuzsi Gartner’s debut novel, The Beguiling (Hamish Hamilton), is a stunner. It was a finalist for this year’s Writer's Trust Fiction Prize, and the Globe and Mail calls it "exquisite."

2020 Writer's Trust jury citation:

“A lapsed Catholic, curbside confessionals, and quantum realities come together in a one-of-a-kind romp in Zsuzsi Gartner’s The Beguiling: an exquisitely crafted, profoundly readable novel about the human compulsion to seek absolution in strangers, a page-turner so compelling, so inventive, so weirdly weird, readers will feel like they’ve been to a party that leaves them wondering at the genius of the host who pulled it off. A book as full of imagination as heart, its structure like a nesting doll, a scrappy, unforgettable narrator, a multilayered look at stories as both connection and mode of transformation — this is Gartner at her best.”

Zsuzsi Gartner is the author of the fiction collections All the Anxious Girls on Earth and Better Living through Plastic Explosives, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her fiction has been widely anthologized, broadcast on CBC and NPR, and won numerous prizes, including a National Magazine Award. Gartner is the founder and director of Writers Adventure Camp in Whistler, British Co …

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Launchpad: Legacy of Trees, by Nina Shoroplova

Today we're launching Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park, by Nina Shoroplova, which Wayne Grady calls "a fascinating answer to why we should care about trees in the first place." 

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver’s Stanley Park tells the stories of the trees of Stanley Park through the eyes of an amateur botanist and researcher who has much to learn and appreciate.

Describe your ideal reader.

A Vancouverite or a British Columbian who loves our world-class park and wants to learn more about it, especially how the stories of its trees also tell the story of Vancouver.

What books is your work in conversation with?

Gerald B. Straley’s Trees of Vancouver. Alison Parkinson’s Wilderness on the Doorstep. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.

What is something interesting you learned during the process of creating and publishing your book?

I set myself the mission of getting to know Stanley Park well enough to be able to confidently call to call it “my park.” To do this, I realized I would have to wander it purposefully, path by path, plaque by plaque, monument by monument, tree b …

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Launchpad: Lost Lagoon, Lost in Thought, by Betsy Warland

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter, great insight, and short and snappy readings to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Lost Lagoon/ Lost in Thought, by Betsy Warland, which Shaena Lambert calls, "an extraordinary love spell cast by a master magician."

The Elevator Pitch for Lost Lagoon/lost in thought.

An up-close prose poetry account of The Human’s relationship between Stanley Park’s lagoon wildlife and Vancouver’s fast-paced urban living.

Describe your ideal reader.

Sinks into the soundscape of Tord Gustavsen’s The Other Side; savours reading Tanya Tagaq’s Split Toot …

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The Chat With Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight’s debut memoir Dear Current Occupant (Bookt*ug) takes a closer look at childhood trauma and the uncertain idea of home. It’s a haunting, experimental, and deeply moving book which follows the author as she returns to many of the apartments she lived in as a young girl.

The Toronto Star calls Knight “one of the storytellers we need most right now” and calls the writing in Dear Current Occupant “lush, lyrical...mesmerizing.”

Chelene Knight was born in Vancouver, and is currently the Managing Editor of Room Magazine. A graduate of The Writers’ Studio at SFU, Chelene has been published in various Canadian and American literary magazines. Her debut book, Braided Skin, was published in 2015. Dear Current Occupant is her second book. Chelene is also working on a historical novel set in the 1930s and 40s in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley.

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THE CHAT WITH CHELENE KNIGHT

Trevor Corkum: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind Dear Current Occupant?

Chelene Knight: While I was writing my first book, Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Publishing 2015), I felt that there was an unfinished thread. Something wasn’t complete. I actually started working on Dear Current Occupant in 2013, but quickly tucked it away because the realization that I was n …

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The Chat With Kevin Chong

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Kevin Chong 2017-credit Andrew Querner

Award-winning Vancouver author Kevin Chong has a new book out this month. A modern-day story of infectious disease and rising social inequality, The Plague is Chong’s take on Camus’ classic novel, set in present-day Vancouver.

David Chariandy says, “The Plague is Kevin Chong's artfully wry parable of contemporary social relations. Gripping, funny, and engagingly metafictional, it offers a timely reboot of the modern classic.” Eden Robinson, meanwhile, calls the book “Kevin Chong’s nuanced study of human nature under biological siege, and a terrific riff on the Camus classic. It combines all the horror of The Walking Dead’s best episodes with a timely investigation of moral and philosophical courage, failures, and the grey spaces between.” 

Kevin Chong is the author of six books, including the memoir My Year of the Racehorse and the novels Beauty Plus Pity and Baroque-a-Nova. His work has been published in Canada, the US, France, Australia, and Macedonia, and has been shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Fiction Prize and a National Magazine …

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The Chat with Timothy Taylor

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Taylor, Timothy-AuthorPhoto-creditDavidMiddleton

Timothy Taylor returns with his latest offering, the Vancouver-based thriller The Rule of Stephens. The novel follows the story of Catherine, the survivor of an airline disaster who is convinced she is being pursued by a doppelganger.

Of the book, the Toronto Star says “Taylor has composed a tightly-crafted, suspenseful story, and one that smartly plays off the disjunction between the rational world of Stephen Hawking and the 'power and darker land' of Stephen King.'” 

Timothy Taylor is an award-winning novelist, journalist, and short story writer. His debut novel, Stanley Park, was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Giller Prize, and his most recent novel, The Blue Light Project, was a national bestseller and winner of the CBC Bookie Prize in literary fiction. Both his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Canada's leading publications, and he is the only writer to have had three stories selected and published simultaneously in The Journey Prize Stories. He currently lives in Vancouver, where he teaches creative writing at the Universi …

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The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

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We begin The Chat in 2018 with a conversation with Ahmad Danny Ramadan, author of the stirring debut novel The Clothesline Swing (Nightwood Editions). A journey through the aftermath of the Arab Spring, The Clothesline Swing is “an enthralling tale of courage that weaves through the mountains of Syria, the valleys of Lebanon, the encircling seas of Turkey, the heat of Egypt and finally, the hope of a new home in Canada.”

Writing in Quill & Quire, Kamal Al-Solaylee says, “This debut novel from the Vancouver-based Syrian writer reads as many things—a coming-out memoir, a history lesson, a critique of authoritarianism, a narrative about sharing narratives—but above all, it’s a requiem for a dying country and people.”


Ahmad Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-born author, storyteller, and LGBTQ-refugees activist who calls Canada home. His debut novel is The Clothesline Swing. He also translated Rafi Badawi's 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, and published two collections of short stories in Arabic. His work in activism has supported the arr …

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Shelf Talkers for the Dark Days of November

Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean November isn’t dark enough all on its own. Is there something inherently spooky about the autumn that lends itself to a celebration of the darker mysteries around us?

With the waning of the year, we’re surrounded by reminders of mortality, from the crunch of leaves underfoot to the snap of cold in the air in the morning to the faint whispers of smoke in the distance. And along with those reminders, the early evenings and the lengthening shadows hint at secrets beyond the darkness, beyond the divide between life and death ... Though perhaps that’s just me.

Or not.

The daring independent booksellers of the Shelf Talkers column have taken a peek into the darkness and come up with a great selection of titles for November, some fiction and a couple of local, true-to-life collections that will chill you to the bone and give you the perfect excuse to lock the door and pretend you’re not home. You’re not hiding, you’re reading.

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The Bookseller: Colin Holt, Bolen Books (Victoria, BC)

The Pick: The Haunting of Vancouver Island, by Shanon Sinn

It is the perfect time of year to brush up on your scary stories, and Shanon Sinn is here, with a compelling investigation into supernatural events and local lore on Vancouver Isla …

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Eliza Robertson's Red Letter Day

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Red Letter Day is the 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash.

Today that day is envisioned by Eliza Robertson, author of the upcoming short story collection, Wallflowers.

Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.

And so ...

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GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (ER: Munro's in Victoria) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy. What are they?

ER:

GM: Then you se …

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Our Coast-to-Coast Guide to Word on the Street 2011

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This Sunday September 25th, Canadians coast-to-coast will take to the street for The Word on the Street National Book & Magazine Festival. This year the festival, which began in Toronto in 1990, will take place in six Candian cities: Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener, Toronto and Halifax. With its tagline, "Celebrating Reading, Advocating Literacy," WOTS is a chance for Canadians to learn about and support local literacy causes, as well as connect with some of the people behind the best books and magazines this country has to offer.

In Vancouver the festival runs for three days (September 23-25). Not to be missed is Charlotte Gill, whose book Eating Dirt has just been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for nonfiction. Also be sure to check out poet Aisha Sasha John, Wayde Compton (whose book After Canaan is up for the Vancouver Book Award), Jen Sookfong Lee, kids writer Vikki VanSikkle, Kevin Chong, short story writer Samuel Thomas Martin, Campie author Barbara Stewart, Governor General's Award-winning writer John Vaillant, awesome poet Sachiko Murakami, and Andrew Nikiforuk,whose most recent book is Empire of the Beetle.

Angie Abdou (whose novel The Bone Cage was a 2011 Canada Reads contender) reads at the Word on the Street in Leth …

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