Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book News Vol. 5 No. 48


Special Event

Gary Shteyngart
Tickets are still available for Gary Shteyngart on November 21. The 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,

In a recent Granta interview, Gary Shteyngart was asked: Do you see yourself in a certain 'tradition' – national, ethnic, comic, tragic? Shteyngart's response: "I am definitely America's tragicomic national ethnic."


Dianne Warren's Cool Water has won the 2010 Governor General's Award for Fiction and Alan Casey's Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada, the Award for Non-fiction. Both authors are from Saskatchewan. Richmond B.C. school librarian Wendy Phillips has won the Children's Literature award for Fishtailing (a book for teens).

Eleven of this year's 14 recipients were honoured for the first time.

The shortlist for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction has been announced.

Saskatoon author Arthur Slade's The Hunchback Assignments is the winner of this year's $25,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award. Manitoba's Colleen Sydor's Timmerman Was Here, won the $20,000 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. A complete list of award-winners is here:

National Book Awards were presented Wednesday and include Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, for fiction.

The shortlist for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize includes six titles for those aged 6 and under and six for those aged 7 to 14.

Fifteen Canadian authors' books, including Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean and Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood, are among the 162-book long list for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

British historian Diarmaid MacCulloch is the 2010 winner of the $75,000 Cundill Prize, McGill University's non-fiction historical literature honour, for A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.

The Costa book prize shortlist has been announced, even with a shortage of biographies.


Adam Gopnik comments on why we care (and should) about the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Marsha Lederman interviews Robert Wiersema about the backstory to Bedtime Stories. Wiersema writes his books in longhand in notebooks with a fountain pen, even when books like Bedtime Stories are over 500 pages.

The Guardian claims the Internet is saving literary magazines. One result: it makes the short story an essential art form again.

Yiyun Li writes about her hero Michel de Montaigne who, she says, looked at everything with curiosity, and tried to make sense of everything he studied – for the benefit of his readers.

Robert McCrum argues that Jonathan Franzen, Tony Blair and Ken Follett—indeed all modern books—are guilty of crimes against brevity.

In her introduction to The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story Anne Enright answers the question she posed earlier on why the Irish excel at short stories.

Ian Tyson's autobiography The Long Trail: My Life in the West, and Charles Foran's Mordecai: The Life & Times, about the late Mordecai Richler raise questions about the ethics of art, writes Crawford Kilian.

Good news for those who worry about their bad memories for faces: superior reading skills may be to blame.

Have publishers lost interest in serious books? Ask biographer Victoria Glendinning.

The Star's publishing reporter Vit Wagner outlines the five things learned or confirmed during Canada's fall book award season.


Ian McGillis writes that Johanna Skibsrud's The Sentimentalists is not only a coup for small presses, but for unapologetically challenging fiction.

The Star adds that the scarcity of copies of The Sentimentalists is a boon to eBook sales. The book is Kobo's top-selling title in Canada.

In its commemoration of Remembrance Day, CBC News created a photo essay in which Scott Chantler describes how and why he created the book, Two Generals.

Armistead Maupin reunites scattered "Tales of the City" characters in San Francisco after decades apart, with Mary Ann in Autumn. Maupin's quirky yet engaging characters still speak to him, writes David L. Ulin.,0,7389603.story

Joseph Salvatore says that Mary Ann's is a tale of long-lost friends and unrealized dreams.

Google Books offers an excerpt.

Martin Morrow writes that Dinaw Mengestu is one of the hottest new writers in the U.S. In his second book, How to Read the Air, the Ethiopian-American writer offers a unique take on the road novel.

Carolyn Kellogg describes Mengestu's book as an intimate account of the narrator's immigrant parents' journey in the U.S.,0,5178482.story

"What a pleasure to read this smart, warm novel about getting older -- not getting decrepit or sick or depressed, but just getting older, with all the perspective such maturity can endow" writes Ron Charles about Gish Jen's World and Town.

Jane Smiley's review of Rose Tremain's Compass informs us that this is a Gothic novel, not the historical fiction she frequently writes. A maestro, says Smiley.

After a hospital stay that was longer than anticipated, Hilary Mantel wrote up her hospital diary—and reminds us that the visitor's idea of hospital is different from the patient's. reprints the Barnes & Noble review on Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia, calling the book "the genius Siberian travelogue you should not miss".

Jeff Parker notes that Frazier makes the case that the book's genre is tripartite: travel story, slave narrative, picaresque.

Joanne Briscoe calls Lloyd Jones' Hand Me Down World, an extraordinary book, a story of a nameless "woman whose history, emotions and responses are foggily obscure, and yet we will follow her to the end, hopelessly in the thrall of her overriding motive: to be with her abducted child".

Stream of consciousness, experimentation, sharp satirical riffs on the day's events, Mark Twain was doing all of the above in a book meant to be published only after he had been dead 100 years. Shelley Fisher Fishkin describes the work as "simple, direct, unpretentious...moving and eloquent." Stay tuned for the next installments.

David Evans describes Mavis Gallant's The Cost of Living as "an exquisite collection".

John Barber finds Sandra Birdsell's Waiting for Joe to be "100-per-cent genuine, bone-chilling Canadiana".

Hadley Freeman interviews Curtis Sittenfeld, whose American Wife Freeman describes as "easily one of the best books written so far this century".

Here is an extract:

Tracy Sherlock describes Richard B. Wright's Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard as a delightful foray into 17th C. England; she was hooked.


The sci-fi book under discussion this month is Poul Anderson's A Midsummer's Tempest. Thursday, November 18 at 7:00pm. The Grind & Gallery, 4124 Main Street. More information at

Presentation and slide show by the author of A Wilderness Dweller's Cookbook: The Best Bread in the World and Other Recipes. Thursday, November 18 at 7:00pm, free. Capilano Branch Library, 3045 Highland Blvd., North Vancouver. More information at 604-987-4471.

Author Valen Watson reads and discusses her new novel. Friday, November 19 at 7:30pm, free. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive. For more information, phone 604-253-6442.

Visible Verse's 10th anniversary celebration and festival. November 19-20, 2010. Pacific Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street. For complete program details, visit

Authors include Stanley Coren, Martin Fletcher, Myla Goldberg, Daniel Kalla, Gary Shteyngart, and Eleanor Wachtel. November 20-25, 2010. Jewish Community Centre, 950 W. 41st Ave. More information at

Get intimate with the hearts and words of Tightrope Books authors, Myna Wallin and Leanne Averbach, and MC Dennis Bolen! Sunday, November 21 at 7:00pm, free. The Jazz Cellar (3611 West Broadway).

Join tattoo artist and television star of LA Ink, as she signs copies of her new book The Tattoo Chronicles. Monday, November 22 at 7:00pm. Chapters Robson, 788 Robson Street.

Memewar Arts and Publishing Society presents readings by Ashok Mathur, Glen Lowry, and Ayumi Goto. Tuesday, November 23 at 6:30pm, free. Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St. More information at

An author luncheon, reading, and book signing with Arthur Black. Thursday, November 25 at 11:00am. West Point Grey United Church, 4595 W. 8th. More information at 604-224-4388.

Author of Rumble Seat: A Victorian Childhood Remembered, tells the story her childhood growing up in the Victoria suburb of Esquimalt in the 1920s. Thursday, November 25 at 7:00pm, free. Capilano Branch Library, 3045 Highland Blvd. More information at 604-987-4471.

Readings by Judy Halebsky and Sandy Shreve. Thursday, November 25 at 7:30pm, free. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive.


Join Daniela Elza, Peter Morin, Shannon Rayne, and Kim Clark for a reading. Monday November 29 at 6:30pm, free. The Red Room Grill, 75 Front Street 1, Nanaimo. More information at

Come celebrate the launch of the Winter 2010 issue of Island Writer with readings from our published authors. Wednesday December 1 at 6:30pm. Oaklands Community Centre, 2827 Belmont Avenue (near Hillside Ave), Victoria. For further details see

Join Bibiana Tomasic and Sandy Shreve reading from their latest works at Vancouver's newest independent bookstore. Wednesday, December 8 at 7:00pm. Sitka Books & Art, 2025 West 4th Avenue. More information at 604-734-2025 or

No comments:

Post a Comment