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Launchpad: The Wild Heavens, by Sarah Louise Butler

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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 and great insight 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 The Wild Heavens, by Sarah Louise Butler, which Richard Van Camp says "is wonderfully crafted—each page is a catch of the breath, each chapter a crush of unfolding magic. This novel is why we read. I wanted to begin again as soon as I finished the last line.”

*****

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

On a winter morning in the BC Interior, a woman steps out of her cabin to find an impossible set of tracks laid out in the snow. Her subsequent journey leads her de …

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Launchpad: Gold Rush, by Claire Caldwell

Launchpad Logo

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 Gold Rush, Claire Caldwell's follow-up to the acclaimed collection Invasive Species. John Irving writes, "Claire Caldwell is an environmental doomsayer, but she’s also a comedic, antic storyteller, and she’s great at dark endings. Wilderness women are her storytellers; they speak with the melancholy of country music."

*****

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

Gold Rush explores what it means to be a woman in the wilderness, from the …

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Becoming Wild

Book Cover Becoming Wild

Throughout August, we're exploring themes of wildness and wilderness, into which Nikki van Schyndel's book, Becoming Wild: Living the Primitive Life on a West Coast Island, is a perfect fit. van Schyndel is not your typical survivalist. She is a contemporary, urban young woman who threw off modern comforts to spend 19 months in a remote rainforest with her housecat and a virtual stranger. Set in the Broughton Archipelago, a maze of isolated islands near northern Vancouver Island, Becoming Wild is a story of survival in the pristine wilderness. Sometimes predator and sometimes prey, 29-year-old Nikki and her companion, Micah, fend off the harsh weather, hungry wildlife, threat of starvation and the endless perils of this rugged raincoast. To survive, Nikki must rely on her knowledge of BC's coastal flora and fauna, and the ancient techniques of hunting and gathering. In this excerpt, she faces the practical and spiritual ramifications of having to trap a bear. 

*****

On our 196th day I saw a big, healthy bear rolling rocks on the beach a hundred yards from the trap. I rowed closer until Gribley eased up to the shoreline. I sat quietly admiring her beauty in the downpour, listening to her munch the tiny crabs she had uncovered.

The bear’s black fur shone with a dark …

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