Reading through a year’s worth of Shelf Talkers columns, I am struck by a couple of details that likely have not slipped your attention: the quality of the books chosen by our panelists, and the eclectic nature of those choices.
Every month, our esteemed independent booksellers share their picks for not just the best books they have been reading, but those books which they feel merit special attention. Books that aren’t just good, but are distinct in some way, powerful enough to merit an enthusiastic response.
You’ve likely experienced this directly, in-person, during a visit to an independent bookstore: the bookseller leading you through the aisles, all-but-tugging you to a special shelf, or a slot on a table, picking up a book and pressing it into your hands, saying, almost breathlessly, “You must read this!”
For this year-end column, we’ve combed through the dozens of recommendations, a year of reading, to create a double-handful of special books, a stack of a dozen or so books to fill your carry-bag, to fill your winter nights with sheer reading pleasure.
Simply put, you must read these.
We’ll be back in January to begin another year of books, another year of discoveries.
Until then, though, we wish you warm nights, full bellies, and the happiest of reading.
There’s probably been research done on this, but I think it’s a well-established enough truth as to not require footnoting: winter is the perfect time of year for mysteries. Whether it’s the punishing cold, the latent isolation, the stark quality of the light through the skeletal trees, the barren, dark ground... it’s easy to imagine the world littered with crime scene tape and evidence tags, mysteries lurking in the shadows, in the seemingly endless twilight.
As a result, it’s likely no accident that many of the best mysteries in recent memory are Scandinavian in origin.
And, it has to be said, Canadian.
While readers likely need no reminder, the recent success of CTV’s Cardinal (based on Giles Blunt’s Forty Words for Sorrow) alerted many viewers to the high quality of homegrown crime fiction.
Which is—as you might suspect—a subject dear to the hearts of Canada’s independent booksellers, who have eagerly weighed in with their own recommendations for the waning days of winter.
Bundle up—you’re in for a chilling night.
The Bookseller: Colin Holt, Bolen Books (Victoria, BC)
The Pick: Sing a Worried Song, by William Deverell
In Sing a Worried Song, the sixth novel in the Beauchamp series, Deverell revisits a murder case 30 years in his detective's …
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 award-winning poet Lorna Crozier, whose latest book is The Wild in You; Jael Richardson, author and and artistic director of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD); Laura Frey, literary blogger at ReadinginBed.com; Susan Renouf, editor and publishing strategist; Steve Stanton, author and former president of Canada's national association of science fiction and fantasy authors; and Jean Marc Ah Sen, author of the debut novel, Grand Menteur.
Lorna Crozier picks Connie Gault’s A Beauty
Connie Gault's new novel, A Beauty, is a beauty from the first page to the last. It’s set in the Dirty Thirties, that decade of drought and hard times in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t only the wheat that shrivelled. So did the human spirit. Gault takes us into the minds and hearts of several small-town people trying to break through despair and the narrowing of their days into some kind of wonder. All of her minor characters are touching and memorable. Th …