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Shelf Talkers: Back to School and Beyond

Let’s face it: the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, of newly laundered gym strips, of paper and pens and binders ushers in the gorgeous Canadian fall season.

But more than anything else, there is the smell of new books.

Is there any better smell than that? Especially at this time of year?

I think not.

And if you disagree, well, you should take that up with one of our panel of independent booksellers.

They’ve weighed in this month with a healthy crop of books for the fall. And, for possibly the first time in this column’s history, two of our booksellers have chosen the same book.


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

The Pick: The School Year Survival Cookbook, by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh

Over the years there have been many cookbooks written on "how to survive during the school year" aimed at young adults heading off on their own, but what about parents needing to get the family back into a routine and dealing with hectic schedules once again? Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh present The School Year Survival Cookbook—healthy recipes and sanity-saving strategies for every family and every meal. With 110 recipes and road-tested strategies parents will find ways to keep event the most chaotic weeks on track. Delicious dinners that transform into hea …

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An Excerpt from Stranglehold, Robert Rotenberg's Latest

Book Cover Stranglehold

About the book: Bestselling author Robert Rotenberg is back with Stranglehold, his most shocking book yet, featuring Detective Ari Greene in the fight of his life. It’s just after Labour Day and the city is kicking back into gear. All eyes are on the hotly contested election for Toronto’s next mayor and crime is the big issue. Greene is no stranger to the worst of what the city has to offer, but even he is unprepared for what happens next when he stumbles upon a horrific homicide...

What a boring Monday , Awotwe Amankwah, courtroom reporter for the Toronto Star, thought as he flipped through the trial list on the centre hall desk at the 361 University Avenue Courthouse. For the last two months there’d been nothing decent to write about thanks to the court’s annual summer break –when all the well-heeled judges were up north at their family cottages. He could barely remember the last time his byline had appeared on the front page. And now the film festival was monopolizing half the ink in the paper with paparazzi crap.

The Star’s new editor, Barclay Church, a British transplant who lived for stories filled with sex and scandal, would have no interest in the handful of run-of-the mill crimes on this court docket: a stabbing; two shootings; a dead body foun …

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Robert Rotenberg on engaging readers, why more men should read fiction and his love of #haiku.

Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg (Simon & Schuster).

Robert Rotenberg is one of Toronto’s top criminal lawyers. He lives in Toronto with his wife, television news producer Vaune Davis, their three children, and their little dog Fudge. Visit him online at and follow him on Twitter as @RobertRotenberg.

Stray Bullets (Simon & Schuster) is Robert Rotenberg’s third intricate mystery set on the streets and in the courtrooms of Toronto.
Read an excerpt on Scribd.


Julie Wilson: We know that The Scotiabank Giller Prize has a huge impact on the sales for the winning title as well as its author's long term career. You're nominated for the prestigious Crime Writers of Canada 2012 Arthur Ellis Award (announced May 31) for your novel The Guilty Plea. The other nominees are William Deverell, Louise Penny, Alan Bradley and Peter Robinson, each of whom has won the award in one of the categories for Best Short Story, Best First Novel or Best Novel. How integral are awards to writers of crime fiction?

Robert Rotenberg: It seems that in the last year or two the Crime Writer's of Canada has started to break through and this year, in particular, the Arthur Ellis Awards appear to be getting a lot of attention. The CBC has gotten involved, newspapers are more on top of it. All good.

I have a theory. The Canad …

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