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Launchpad: HAPPY HOUR, by Marlowe Granados

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Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today we're launching Marlowe Granados' debut novel Happy Hour, which is being championed by Jen Sookfong Lee, who writes, "In Happy Hour, Isa, a young woman whose future is stretching out in front of her, moves to New York City, where every chance meeting is an opportunity to start fresh. Funny and complex, Happy Hour is not just a coming-of-age romp, but a loving exploration of young womanhood, of the ways we carry our pasts and identities with us wherever we go, and the deep friendships we accumulate and lose along the way. So often, women, and especially women of colour, in their 20s are dismissed in popular culture, and Granados provides us with the exact opposite experience. Isa is authentic, wry, sad, thoughtful, and joyful, as full a human as a reader could ever want."

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Sean Michaels on NYC Nightlife in the 1920s–30s

In this guest post for 49th Shelf, Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors—which Anthony Marra calls "an immigrant tale, an epic, a spy intrigue, a prison confession, an inventor's manual, a creation myth, an obituary ... and an achingly resonant love story," makes us nostalgic for 1920s–30s New York City—and for bars and clubs that took the idea of "entertaining" to a level rarely witnessed today.

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Us Conductors is a book about science and spies, Soviet Russia and its desolate Siberian taiga. It's a book about that strange musical instrument, the theremin, singing through the air. But it's also a book about New York in one of its most exciting eras: the five boroughs in the Roaring 1920s, when the jazz age filled the clubs and speakeasies with splendid, eclectic thrill.

The protagonist is Lev Sergeyvich Termen, a Russian scientist. He is brilliant but reserved. Yet at night he goes dancing, swinging through the dancehalls with his beautiful sweetheart, a violinist called Clara.

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Researching Us Conductors, one of my biggest revelations was the l …

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