If you're ever looking for something extra to feel a bit sad about, I recommend searching back through our archives to find the Spring Literary Festival Guide I posted in February with every expectation that 2020 was going to proceed as planned.
And were there ever plans! For these festivals, and for book launches, and book clubs, and bookstore events, and exciting new releases, and all the usual things that make up a literary year. But by now, we all know what happened next...
We know too, however, the way that so many people rose to the occasion, from booksellers working overtime and learning a whole new trade (online sales! delivery!) to get books into the hands of readers, to festivals and events moving to virtual, and authors designing innovative ways to launch their books, and publishers putting out all the stops to keep those 2020 books coming.
And are we ever glad they did, because in a year of such turmoil, books were one thing we could count on.
Personally, it was the opportunity to continue to promote and celebrate books and authors (and their readers!) here at 49th Shelf that gave me such a sustaining sense of purpose back in the spring—and so I have you all to thank for that. I'd also like to thank Kiley Turner and Craig Riggs, Kate Edwards and the ACP, Adrienne Guthrie and everybody else who works behind the scenes at 49th Shelf so I can just do my thing—it's such a privilege to work on this platform.
Thank you to Canadian authors and publishers too, and especially to the good people who work in publicity whose enthusiasm, friendliness, and love of books makes my job such a pleasure. I'm met almost none of you in real life (we have a very big country!), but I'm lucky to consider so many of you my friends.
Just a reminder that our holiday giveaway is ongoing and it is epic—don't miss your chance to enter to win.
And finally, I wish you so much time to read over the holiday break. We'll be back in 2021 with more books to share.
Kerry (49th Shelf Editor)
PS: Here are a few of my favourite things from our site this year:
- Something Delicious: Peach and Raspberry Clafoutis (from Bisous & Brioche):"Every French cook I know has a basic clafoutis recipe up their sleeve."
- Exploring Sister Bonds, with Brynn Turnbull (The Woman Before Wallis): "The bonds between sisters can be loving, fraught, conflicted, and challenging—often, they’re all four at once."
- David Berry, On Nostalgia: "I learned that when left to my own devices, my nostalgic thoughts tend to turn towards chocolate chip cookies."
- The Abortion Caravan: A Ragtag Army of the Willing: "That coffin was featured in every newspaper story as they went across the country."
- One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, by Anuradha Rao: "This book is needed right now because for too long, depictions and voices of the "environmental movement" have not truly reflected all the world’s environmental heroes. "
- Lean Out: A Conversation with Tara Henley: "I got really curious about why we were, as a culture, experiencing these skyrocketing rates of mental illness. I wanted to know what this was about, and what might be done about it."
- Summer Eats: Kohlrabi Slaw (from County Heirlooms): "I’ve always been impressed that seeds will produce all the food you need to live. It’s miraculous."
- The Chat with Rebecca Thomas: "My father went to the same residential school as Rita Joe. However, unlike Rita Joe, my dad didn’t ever return to his home community. That fracture separated us, his children, from a significant part of who we are."
- Evocative Reads, by Michael Melgaard (Pallbearing): "In my stories, I try to recreate a time and place and mood as honestly as I can. I’m most drawn to story collections that do the same"
- Joanne Schwartz on What Aging Looks Like: "It’s so important for children to see positive images of aging. There are many wonderful books about children and their relationship with grandparents or an elderly friend."