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Go Deeper Into the Big Books of 2015

How many of the year's most celebrated books have you read? 

It's easy to be overwhelmed by literary awards season, with a different shortlist announced every week, so that it's even easier to miss what's so great about these lists: the incredible books they bring attention to. This year in particular, jurors have made such surprising and exciting choices.

We've highlighted many of these books and authors on 49th Shelf, and we're pleased to share these highlights below: links that will take you deeper into the big books that Canadian readers have been celebrating in 2015.


Book Cover Fifteen Dogs

Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the 2015 Toronto Book Awards, a finalist for the 2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Trevor Corkum recently interviewed Alexis as part of his new 49th Shelf series, "The Chat." 


Book Cover Arvida

Arvida, by Samuel Archibald

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Don't miss Archibald's interview on "The Chat."


Book Cover Crime Wave

John Paizs' Crime Wave, by Jonathan Ball

Winner of the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2015 Manitoba Book Awards

Learn more about Crime Wave in Paul Corupe's Talking History Piece, "The Unkindest Cut."


Book Cover Boundary Problems

Boundary Problems, by Greg Bechtel

Winner of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta Trade Fiction Book Award for 2015

Read "The Concept of a Photon," an excerpt from Boundary Problems.


Book Cover A Siege of Bitterns

A Siege of Bitterns, by Steve Burrows

Winner of the Best First Novel Prize at the 2015 Arthur Ellis Awards, shortlisted for the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

Check out Steve Burrows' terrific guest post, "Birds and Books: The Stuff of Life." 


Book Cover How You Were Born

How You Were Born, by Kate Cayley

Winner of the Trillium Book Award, a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction

Don't miss Kate Cayley's 2011 interview with Julie Wilson about making the jump from stage to page


Book Cover Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome

Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, by Megan Gail Coles

Winner of the BMO Winterset Award, shortlisted for the John and Margaret Savage First Book Award, Atlantic Book Awards

Check out Megan Gail Coles partaking in our roundtable, The State of the Short Story in 2015.


Book Cover Starting from Scratch

Starting from Scratch, by Sarah Elton and Jeff Kulak

Shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Nonfiction

Sarah Elton's piece on the history of Canadian farmers' markets appeared in our Talking History series last fall, and in 2013, she talked with Julie Wilson about how analysis and storytelling can go hand in hand.


Book Cover Dolphin SOS

Dolphin SOS, illustrated by Julie Flett, written by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki

Shortlisted for the Marilyn Baililie Picture Book Award, winner of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize

Don't miss our amazing interview with Julie Flett on her own work and on the exciting things happening in First Nations literature today. 


Book Cover Stowaways

Stowaways, by Ariel Gordon

Winner of Manitoba Book Award, Lansdowne Prize for Poetry

Ariel Gordon shared the story behind the how-to poems in her book in this guest post, which also includes the text of her poem, "How to Write a Poem." 


Book Cover His Whole Life

His Whole Life, by Elizabeth Hay

Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Hay's list from 2011, Six Books I'm Rereading, reveals a wealth of literary treasures waiting to be (re?)discovered. 


Book Cover The Winter Family

The Winter Family, by Clifford Jackman

Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction

We love Jackman's humdinger of a historical fiction list, putting his own book in excellent company.


Book Cover What We Hide

What We Hide, by Marthe Jocelyn

A finalist for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award

In 2013, we had Marthe Jocelyn and her picture book collaborator (and daughter!) Nell Jocelyn interview each other about their creative process. 


Book Cover All the Broken Things

All the Broken Things, by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

A finalist for the Toronto Book Award

We love this post by Kuitenbrouwer that asks, "Does the mythic proceed from the lived experience or does lived experience drive myth?" 


Book Cover Getting to Yum

Getting to Yum: The Seven Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters, by Karen Le Billon

A finalist for the 2015 Taste Canada Awards

Julie Wilson talked to Karen Le Billon in 2012 about turning picky eaters into healthy eaters.


Book Cover Forest Prairie Edge

Forest Prairie Edge, by Merle Massie

Winner of a 2015 Saskatchewan Book Award

In a guest post, Massie explains how her book reconsiders our sense of Saskatchewan as a geographical location.


Book Cover Asbestos Heights

Book Cover Asbestos Heights

Asbestos Heights, by David McGimpsey

A finalist for the 2015 Quebec Writers' Federation Awards

McGimpsey's work was included on the League of Canadian Poets' Food and Poetry list, which we published earlier this year: "McGimpsey definitely has cornered the poetic supermarket in terms of poems about food and pop culture." 


Book Cover Us Conductors

Us Conductors, by Sean Michaels

Won that little prize called the Giller in 2014, and in 2015 was a finalist for the Amazon First Novel Award

Read his guest post for us on New York City nightlife in the 1920s and '30s—and automats! 


Book Cover Detachment

Detachment: An Adoption Memoir, by Maurice Mierau

Winner of a 2015 Manitoba Book Award and the 2015 Alberta Book Publishing Award for Trade Non-fiction

Check out Mierau's piece for us on Family, Adoption and Memoir.


Book Cover Red Jacket

Red Jacket, by Pamela Mordecai

A finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

We really love Pamela Mordecai's recommended reading list, Novels of the Caribbean


Book Cover Sanaaq

Sanaaq: An Inuit Novel, by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk

Winner of Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher at the 2015 Manitoba Book Awards

Read an excerpt from Sanaaq on our blog.


Book Cover Daydreams of Angels

Daydreams of Angels, by Heather O'Neill

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Quebec Writers Federation Award, nominated for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award.

In his new series, Trevor Corkum asks O'Neill some excellent questions about her latest book.


Book Cover The Pull of the Moon

The Pull of the Moon, by Julie Paul

Winner of the 2015 City of Victoria Book Prize

Now is the perfect time of year to check out Paul's recommended reading list on autumns and falls. 


Between Gods

Between Gods, by Alison Pick

Winner of a 2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Award, nominated for the 2015 OLA Evergreen Award and the BC National Award for Non-Fiction

Pick's list of recommended memoirs offers rich and compelling reading suggestions


Book Cover What I Want to Tell

What I Want to Tell Goes Like This, by Matt Rader

Nominated for the 2015 Frank O'Connor Short Story Award

Late last year, Sean Cranbury spoke to Rader about his collection.


Book Cover Based on a True Story

Based on a True Story, by Elizabeth Renzetti

Shortlisted for the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

In June 2014, Renzetti told us about an idyllic "Red Letter Day."


Book Cover Pedal

Pedal, by Chelsea Rooney

A finalist for the 2015 Amazon First Novel Award

Rooney's list of books on sexuality and gender offers great reading suggestions, and is an excellent read in itself. 


Book Cover Playing With Matches

Playing With Matches, by Suri Rosen

Winner of a 2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Award

Check out her guest post on writing YA and making the possible...possible! 


Book Cover Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way, by Blair Stonechild

Buffy Sainte-Marie is winner of the 2015 Polaris Music Prize

In 2012, we interviewed Sainte-Marie's official biographer, Blair Stonechild, about his book and its fascinating subject.


Book Cover Martin John

Martin John, by Anakana Schofield

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Schofield spoke with Trevor Corkum for "The Chat," and we also have a real affinity for her 2012 list of "Books that Made Me Turn Off the Vacuum.


Book Cover Gatherings

Gatherings: Bringing People Together With Food, by Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal

A finalist for the 2015 Taste Canada Awards

Last year we featured an excerpt from Gatherings, "Hosting a Successful Open House." 


Family Meals, by Michael Smith

Winner of the 2015 Taste Canada Awards

We were pleased to feature a recipe from Family Meals on our blog, "Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew.


Book Cover The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

A finalist for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award

In 2012, Julie Wilson interviewed Spires about what was next as she concluded her Binky the Space Cat series. Nice to know it's all turned out so well! 


Book Cover Giving Up

Giving Up, by Mike Steeves

A finalist for a 2015 Quebec Writers Federation Award

We loved Steeves' Giving Up and/or Coming Of Age reading list from earlier this year.