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Shelf Talkers: Women, Songs, Oceans, Freedom, and Hellfire

It’s a special time of year.


Even the word sounds a little magical.

The kids are back in school, some of us are taking classes, our routines are starting to settle again, after a few months of lovely summer entropy...

This month, our dedicated independent booksellers (including a couple of new folks!) have selected a set of fantastic fall reads. These are all fiction, all novels, but it’s striking just how close these picks hew to the real world, and what is going on in it. Sometimes we read for escape, and sometimes—like now—we read to connect to the world, to have the light of fiction shone into the shadows of the real world.


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

The Pick: Women Talking, by Miriam Toews 

Women Talking, the fantastic new novel from Miriam Toews, tells the story of a group of Mennonite women meeting in secret to decide the fate of their community. Set over 48 hours, and told from the view of the lone male in attendance (because the women are unable to read or write but need this event transcribed), Women Talking is a powerful read about the inner strength a group of women find to take control and change their futures for the better. It is a story that is often heartbreaking but sprinkled with wit to make it bearable …

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Art Begets Art at the Vancouver Writers’ Fest, a Guest Post by Dina Del Bucchia

Dina Del Bucchia, a Vancouver writer and poet whose first book is Coping With Emotions and Otters, reports from the Vancouver Writers' Festival, where she attended an event featuring Wayne Grady, Rachel Kushner, and Cathy Marie Buchanan. In all three writers' latest works, art is a preoccupation and serves to highlight other elements in the cultures in which the books take place. 


The always lovely Bill Richardson charmed audience and authors as he took us through the ekphrasis of Art Begets Art, an event at the Vancouver Writers’ Festival that brought together three writers whose current novels are inspired by forms of art: Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers has the New York art world of the 70s, Wayne Grady’s Emancipation Day features a musician who hides who he really is, and Cathy Marie Buchanan’s novel The Painted Girls is about a young dancer who inspired Degas’ Little Dancer Aged 14.

Though art was the unifying factor, personal inspirations were significant to the creation of these novels as well. Grady’s Emancipation Day was in …

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The Best Book Trailers We've Seen Lately

When creating a book trailer, it certainly helps to have a good book to start with, not to mention a friend with strong video-editing skills. But otherwise, there really is no formula when it comes to making a book trailer great, although it seems the great ones have no truck with formula in the first place.

All Jessica Westhead has to do is read her book, and the story sells itself. With the assistance of some 1960's stock footage of a hotdog casserole, of course. From And Also Sharks:


Vintage footage is also used to great effect in the trailer for Mark Lavorato's novel Believing Cedric:


The trailer for Suzette Mayr's Monoceros is a less formal affair, but underlines the truth that we've all suspected for some time: it is impossible to have too much kitsch.


Erin Bow's award-winning Plain Kate has a spectacularly animated trailer whose music and images create a perfect atmosphere for the book:


Put two writers together in a car and keep them there for a couple of months and it's more than likely that you'll get a book. And a book trailer too, for Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds' fabulous Breakfast at the Exit Cafe:


And it's good music coupled with a nice dose of self-deprecating humour that makes the trailer for Doug Harris' YOU comma Idiot.


Any other great trailers we missed? Tweet us your favourites @cdnbookshelf with the #booktrailers hashtag.

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