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Launchpad: Mad Cow, by Alexis Kienlen

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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 Alexis Kienlen's debut novel Mad Cow, the perfect literary fiction debut for a published poet who spends her days working as an agricultural journalist.

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

Mad Cow is a novel about how bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, devastates and nearly destroys a beef ranching family living in rural Alberta in the early 2000s.

Describe your ideal reader.

People who want to le …

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The Recommend: February 2018

Research shows that 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 Carrianne Leung (That Time I Loved You), Sharon Butala (Zara's Dead), Dimitri Nasrallah (The Bleeds), Kim Clark (A One-Handed Novel), and Naben Ruthnum (Find You in the Dark).

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Carrianne Leung picks Catherine Hernandez's Scarborough

Catherine Hernandez's Scarborough is a love letter to the underrepresented folks and communities that are so marginalized that they are often erased in public discourse, let alone in literary fiction. Scarborough tells stories of everyday people in a pocket of a suburb. Through multiple characters across a linear timeline, Hernandez leads us through one year in their lives. These are little stories told through the eyes of children, single mothers and Ms. Hina, a city worker who tries to do these families justice. I admire Hernandez's delicate attention to these characters. They are fully realized, fully fleshed, complicated characters for whom we ache and cheer on. Hernandez reminds that e …

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On Our Radar

"On Our Radar" is a monthly 49th Shelf series featuring books with buzz worth sharing. We bring you links to features and reviews about great new books in a multitude of genres from all around the Internet.

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Book Cover Wild Rose

Wild Rose, by Sharon Butala 

Reviewed by Catherine Ford in the The Calgary Herald: "There is only one word appropriate for Sharon Butala’s latest book: Beautiful. Wild Rose is simply beautiful.

No words of mine can do it justice because reading Wild Rose is a lock on your heart, a catch in your throat and best of all, a glimpse into the lives of our great-grandparents and every other immigrant to a wild and unforgiving land. The CPR may have “opened” the West, but it was those people who came to the end of the line, or close to it, who took the promise of a new life and land and left everything and everybody they knew to be pioneers."

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Do You Think This is Strange?, by Aaron Drake Cully

Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly: "In Cully Drake's outstanding debut, it takes punching the quarterback, getting expelled and being reunited with a lon …

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