Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book News Vol. 5 No. 43


Festival News
Tickets are on sale for the 23rd Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival. For up-to-the-moment Festival information please visit our website:, or pick up a copy of the Festival program guide at various Lower Mainland locations including Book Warehouse locations, Chapters, Sitka Books and Art, Vancouver Public Library branches and on Granville Island at Blackberry Books. In North Vancouver, check out 32 Books.

There are some fabulous events for students as this year's Festival that still have room for a class or two, including an event with Kenneth Oppel, You can get more information on school events with the best availability here,

The Vancouver International Writers Festival presents Literati, a gala fundraising dinner in support of Spreading the Word, the educational program of the Vancouver International Writers Festival. Literati is presented by Scotia Private Client Group. Join Literati host Bill Richardson and many of the 2010 Festival authors for an evening of festivity, food and literary laughs, and performances by Rebecca Jenkins, Joel Bakan and Ballet BC dancers. Complete details here,

Check out our new Festival video, Forward it to friends who are curious about the Festival experience!

Virtual Festival
The latest recording in our recently launched series of archived events from Festivals-past features Lisa Moore reading from her novel February, the story of a fictional Newfoundland family affected by a real-life tragedy.

Special Events

Stuart McLean
Stuart McLean talks with Hal Wake about his new book The Vinyl Café Notebooks, a collection of wonderfully eclectic essays selected from 15 years of his CBC radio program. Please join us for a rare, intimate evening with one of Canada's best loved storytellers. Details here,

Sara Gruen
The Vancouver International Writers Festival and Random House Canada present the author of Water for Elephants reading from her new book Ape House. Details here,

Sandra Kasturi calls Sara Gruen's Ape House "an entertaining drama of human-animal relations."

Gary Shteyngart
Vancouver International Writers Festival and the Cherie Smith JCGV Jewish Book Festival present the author of Super Sad True Love Story in conversation with Eleanor Wachtel. Details here,

The following authors are among those appearing at the Festival in October or participating in special events in the fall.

Morgan Entrekin, president of Grove/Atlantic, calls Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn "the Vietnam novel of our generation".

Sandra Kasturi writes that Rebecca James' Beautiful Malice is technically a young adult novel – a kind of teen romance/suspense/revenge thriller – but with enough "grown-up" content to recommend it to adults.

Joel Yanofsky says that in To the End of the Land David Grossman "maps the Israeli soul."

Margaret Cannon describes Chevy Stevens' Still Missing as "a very impressive debut".

Matt Baker writes that those acquainted with Richard Van Camp's earlier work will find familiar themes and subjects in The Moon of Letting Go.

Judi Salltman's 2003 interview with Van Camp continues to offer insights into his storytelling.

In her review of The Worst Thing She Ever Did, Dory Cerny writes that "Alice Kuipers' talent lies in creating believable teenaged characters."

Robert Wiersema writes that The Master of Happy Endings demonstrates the deft skills readers have come to expect from author Jack Hodgins.

Wendy Banks comments that, as the title—Waiting for Joe—hints, Sandra Birdsell's novel flirts with a bleak, contemporary Prairie absurdism. Televangelists notwithstanding, God might not have anything special in mind for any of us.

Anosh Irani's Dahanu Road prompts two key questions: What turns the persecuted into the oppressor? And what makes a person finally stand up against community norms? seattlepi’s reviewer states: "On the surface this is a deceptively simple book, but you will discover there are secrets..."

The Globe & Mail describes the book as "a multigenerational saga set where the fates of two families are dangerously intertwined."


Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Spanish-speaking world, won the Nobel Prize for Literature today.

Yiyun Li has been named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow for her dramatizing the myriad effects of late-twentieth-century China's sweeping social changes in a deeply moving, yet quietly understated, style of storytelling.

Seamus Heaney has won the £10k Forward poetry prize for Human Chain, a collection of poems inspired by Heaney's experiences after a stroke.

George Bowering's The Box is one of four books shortlisted for the 2010 Vancouver Book Award. Other shortlisted books include Visions of British Columbia by art curator Bruce Grenville and editor/author Scott Steedman. The winner will be presented with a cash prize of $2,000 by the Mayor at City Hall on October 19.

Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn has been shortlisted for The 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

The Alberta Theatre Projects has awarded Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes, the Bob Edwards Award. The award recognizes a literary figure who has demonstrated outstanding curiosity and respect for freedom of expression.

Canada Reads, the popular CBC Radio book debate, is taking a new approach to choosing books for 2011—asking Canadians to nominate the best books of the past decade. Only Canadian novels published in the last 10 years are eligible.


When the Nobel Prize in literature was announced, the choice may be—if the last two years are any indication—a confounding one. David L. Ulin Book Critic at the LA Times examines the question: How do you quantify the best book when reading is such a subjective activity?,0,6284604.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+latimes/entertainment+(Entertainment+News)

Key Porter Books has closed its Toronto office; the majority of its Toronto staff have been laid off. Harold Fenn names the extreme challenge of publishing in Canada.

One of Ford Madox Ford's great gifts to readers is the p.99 challenge. "Open the book to page 99 and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."

Chuck Davis has announced that he needs help in finishing a massive history of Vancouver, the city he has chronicled all his adult life.

We need decadent novels (think Wilde, Baudelaire Huysman), but there aren't any, argues the Guardian. Where did the decadent novel go? asks John Lucas.

Anna Porter gives us a word-portrait of Eva Gustafsson, Stieg Larsson's life partner and reminds us that Sweden isn't 'advanced' in all matters, especially recognizing common-law marriage. But there will be more books and there already exist Stieg Larsson Walks.

Salman Rushdie, speaking recently in Edmonton, says that there has never been a more dangerous time for artists who challenge official historical, political and religious doctrine in the world.

Rushdie has written Luka and the Fire of Life, a novel for teenagers, which is to be published this week.

Read detective novels to learn about foreign countries? Slate suggests that reading James Church's Detective O series will help one understand why North Koreans don't defect in greater numbers.

Philip Roth ruminates on God, his penchant for imagined hells, the nature of imagination and the origins of his stories in a conversation with David L. Ulin of the LA Times.,0,5694780.story

Nemesis, a tale of a polio outbreak in wartime New Jersey is vintage Philip Roth, says Edward Docx.

The amount of time children spend reading books for enjoyment decreases as they use cellphones and other mobile technology, but e-books might just bring them back to literature.

And Other Stories is an imaginative new publishing initiative using reading groups to choose what it will publish. How to avoid the problem of publishing by committee is yet to be determined.


Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary is David Sedaris' first work of fiction since his 1994 debut collection Barrel Fever. The book features illustrations by Ian Falconer, well known for his children's picture books about a pig named Olivia.

Here are two extracts:

David Bergen's The Matter with Morris, a novel of a father unhinged by his soldier son's loss in Afghanistan, has been longlisted for the Giller Prize.

Carlos Fuentes says that Fontaine is the true heir to José Donoso, generally regarded as the finest novelist in Chile. Fontaine's La Vida Doble is a remarkable novel that resists the moral high ground, writes David Gallagher.

All the stories in Colm Tóibín's new collection, The Empty Family, are suffused with loneliness, longing and regret. But, says Thomas Jones, there's an extraordinary restrained steeliness to the storytelling.

Lawrence Martin continues to plan to publish Harperland: The Politics of Control despite PMO accusations of bias.


Special reading and conversation with Gerard Beirne. Thursday, October 7 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. For more information phone 604-822-6453.

Author launches her first book of poetry, Night Gears. Also a reading by Ben Hart and live music by Lisa O'Neill. Thursday, October 7 at 7:00pm. Montmartre Cafe, 4362 Main Street.

Award-winning entrepreneur Cathrine Ann reads from Beautiful Buttons: A Memoir of Survival and Triumph. Thursday, October 7 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Canadian printmaker and book illustrator Raymond Verdaguer will talk about prints and book illustrations done in the media of copper plates, woodcuts and linocuts. Thursday, October 7 at 7:00pm, free. Oakridge Public Library, southeast corner of Oakridge Shopping Centre; free parking.

Join CBC Radio’s Grant Lawrence for the launch of his debut book Adventures In Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nude Potluck and Other Stories from Desolation Sound ($26.95, Harbour Publishing) at the Museum of Vancouver (1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver) on Thursday, October 7th at 7:00 pm. This free event will be held in the MOV Studio with musical performances from Jill Barber and Said the Whale. A cash bar will be available. For more information regarding Grant’s book launch in Vancouver, please call the Museum of Vancouver at 604.736.4431.

Pacific Arbour Speaker Series presents the author of Arrival City, a new book analyzing the rise of mega-cities in a vastly changing world. Thursday, October 7 at 7:30pm. Tickets $15/$12 and are available at or 604-990-7810. Kay Meek Centre, 1700 Mathers Ave., West Vancouver.

Author of Pinch Me: A Long Walk from the Prairies, invites you to walk with her as she tells about her prairie childhood. Tuesday, October 12 at 6:00pm. Free but registration required. Firehall Branch, 1455 West 10th Avenue. For more information please contact Firehall Branch at 604-665-3970.

An evening of poetry and prose with the Cross-Border Pollination team. Wednesday, October 13 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen room, Central Branch, VPL, 350 West Georgia Street.

Readings by Steven Heighton and Ian Williams. Thursday, October 14 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. For more information, phone 604-822-6453.

Irvin Ungar, Proprietor, Historicana Books, Burlingame, California will speak about the making of this sacred text in Limited, Deluxe and Premier editions. Thursday, October 14 at 7:00pm, free. Pulp Fiction Books, 2422 Main Street (Main & Broadway).

33 used and antiquarian booksellers from B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and California. Friday, October 15, 3pm-9pm Saturday, October 16, 10am-5pm Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Meet bestelling author R.A. Salvatore as he signs Gauntlgrym, the first book in the the brand new Drizzt trilogy, Neverwinter. Saturday, October 16 at 12:00pm, free. Chapters Robson and Howe, 788 Robson Street. More information at 604-682-4066.

Book signing by the author of Amanda in Arabia, The Perfume Flask. Saturday, October 16 at 1:00pm, free. Black Bond Books, 5251 Ladner Trunk Road, Ladner.

A Mother Tongue Publishing night with novelist Gurjinder Basran (Everything Was Good-bye), poets Daniela Elza (4poets) and Mona Fertig (The Unsettled). Music and song by Peter Haase (Liverpool Pete). Saturday, October 16 at &;00pm, free. Cafe Montmartre, 3941 Main Street.

CV2 Magazine will be hosting a poetry reading featuring Billeh Nickerson, Bren Simmers, Donato Mancini, and Elizabeth Bachinsky will share the stage. Saturday, October 16 at 8:00pm, free. W2 Storyeum, 151 Cordova St. W.


Luncheon, reading and book signing with the author of A Chip Off the Old Black. Thursday, October 21 at 11:00am. Preregistration required. West Point Grey United Church, 4595 8th Ave. W. More information at 604-224-4388.

Author launches his second edition of the Great Walks of Vancouver. Thursday, October 21 at 7:00pm, free. Silk Purse, 1570 Argyle Ave., West Vancouver. For more information, phone 604-925-7292.

Tightrope Books presents the Vancouver launch for The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010, edited by Lorna Crozier and Series Editor Molly Peacock. Saturday, October 23 at 4:00pm. The Agro Café, 1363 Railspur Alley, Granville Island. More information at

Join the bestselling author of House Calls by Dogsled as he shares more hair-raising medical emergencies in Cold Land, Warm Hearts: More Memories of an Arctic Medical Outpost. Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00pm, free. Meeting Room, Level 3, Central Library
350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact VPL - Popular Reading Library at 604-331-3691.

Keith Billington will be signing books. Saturday, October 30 at 1:30pm. Black Bond Books, Royal City Centre (102 -610 Sixth Street, New Westminster). For more information please contact 604-528-6226.

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