Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book News Vol. 6 No. 37


Literati Gala
Join host Bill Richardson and Festival authors for an unforgettable evening. The Literati Gala supports Spreading the Word. Details: Purchase tickets to the Literati Gala here,

School Group Tickets on Sale
School group tickets to Spreading the Word school events are now on sale. If you are a teacher, please sign up for our Spreading the Word Book News. Details here:


Michael Ondaatje - September 21, 2011
Join us for an evening with the Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, as he discusses his novel, The Cat's Table. Details:

Incite, our free reading series is back for the fall! Join us Wednesdays at 7:30pm in the Alice MacKay Room at VPL Central Library. September 28: Daniel Kalla, Ashley Little, Julia McCarthy. November 9: Frances Greenslade. Please visit our website for event details:

An Evening with Anthony Bourdain - 8pm, October 29, 2011
The "bad boy of cuisine" shares stories from Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket and a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF plus you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details:

An Evening with David Sedaris - 8pm, November 5, 2011
Sedaris returns to Vancouver with his latest book and his uniquely sardonic wit. Use the code "writers" when purchasing your ticket and a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to the VIWF plus you will receive a $5 discount per ticket. Details:

Wade Davis - November 10, 2011
An evening with scientist, anthropologist and bestselling author Wade Davis discussing his latest book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest. Details:


Sonnet L’Abbé believes, as Michael Ondaatje insists, that the most truthful looking is often done from the lowliest positions i.e., the cat’s table. The Cat’s Table is a wonderful book, offering all the best pleasures of Ondaatje’s writing. It had me laughing out loud in public as I read, says L’Abbé.

Marina Endicott's new book New Year's Eve was launched in Edmonton on September 8, UNESCO's International Literacy Day. Endicott is one of several authors who have written short titles in accessible language and an easy to read format for adult literacy learners—a result of a partnership between Edmonton's Grass Roots Press and ABC Life Literacy Canada.

Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues begins in Paris, in 1940, to which the remaining members of a German Jazz band have fled. The novel is truly extraordinary in its evocation of time and place, its shimmering jazz vernacular, its pitch-perfect male banter and its period slang. Edugyan never stumbles with her storytelling, writes Arifa Akbar.

In her review, Donna Bailey Nurse adds that it is very difficult to perceive and articulate the twisted skein of emotion that is black experience–and yet that is just what Edugyan manages to do with this brilliantly conceived, gorgeously executed novel.

Michael Bryson writes that Guy Vanderhaeghe's A Good Man continues Vanderhaeghe''s demystification of the Western. The story unfolds with consistent charm and erudition, says Bryson.

Philip Marchand says of Helen Humphrey's The Reinvention of Love “The work is a triumph of lucid, vigorous, suspenseful narrative, a historical fiction that wears the author's knowledge of the past lightly, a convincing study of character that could be set in almost any civilized era.”

Helen Humphreys on why she chose to reconstruct a historical footnote.


Alexander MacLeod has been shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for his Scotiabank Giller Prize–nominated collection, Light Lifting. The award will be presented at the Cork International Short Story Festival later this week.

Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume is a finalist for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for adult literature for A Walk with the Rainy Sisters: In Praise of British Columbia's Places, a collection of essays about the geography of British Columbia. The winner will be announced October 12.

The British Columbia Genealogical Society celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011 with an annual book award to encourage family history research and writing in and about British Columbia. First prize in The BCGS Family History Book Awards went to Bruce McIntyre Watson, for Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1858. There are two additional awards and five honourable mentions.

Jen Currin is the Second Prize winner in the 7th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest--for East Van End Times Army.

And Leslie Vryenhoek is the Third Prize winner in the 7th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest—for Under the Surface.

Saskatchewan author Myrna Dey's debut novel Extensions is the first ever readers' choice nominee for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Bobby Baker's Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me has been chosen the Mind Book of the Year for providing the greatest literary contribution to increasing understanding of mental health issues in the past year. The award is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Previous winners include Hilary Mantel and Studs Terkel.

Rainbow Caterpillar has launched the Rainbow Caterpillar Award for Writing for Children, to support writers who want to write in their mother languages. The Award will go to the best story written by a Canadian citizen or resident in a language other than French or English, but with a Canadian perspective.


US researchers from the University at Buffalo have learned that reading fiction ‘improves empathy'. It is the first empirical finding pointing to reading's fulfilling a fundamental need – the need for social connection. The psychology of fiction is a small but growing area of research, according to U of T professor Keith Oatley.

U.S. president John F. Kennedy openly scorned the notion of vice-president Lyndon Baines Johnson succeeding him in office, according to a book of newly released interviews with his widow. Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, was published Sept. 14, the 50th anniversary of Mr. Kennedy's first year in office.

When Haruki Murakami's 1,000-page trilogy 1Q84 was first published in Japan, it sold an extraordinary 1m copies in two months. Murakami's English-language publishers are anticipating an equal level of interest when 1Q84 is published next month.

Controversy over awards continues. Stella Rimington, the retired spy who is chairing the judges for this year's Man Booker has said: “We were looking for enjoyable books. I think they are readable books”. Among those sidelined were Julian Barnes and Alan Hollinghurst.

HarperCollins has commissioned Joanna Trollope to write a contemporary reworking of Austen's novel, Sense and Sensibility . The pairing is the first in a "major" new series, in which it will team modern authors with Austen's six novels.

UK bookstore chain W H Smith is to drop the shelf label ‘women's fiction' after two customers complained to the chief executive about the condescending practice.

The CBC has announced three new literary prizes: for short stories, poetry and literary nonfiction. More details here:

The short story competition for Canada Writes is underway. Launch your literary career! More details here:


Patrick Lohier writes that We Others, Steven Millhauser's collected short stories are haunting, hilarious, absurd (in the best way), enigmatic and wondrous. Gems dominate, says Lohier.

Morris Gleitzman's Too Small to Fail is both an Australian and universal tale: about the financial crash. Gleitzman is one of the finest examples of a writer who can make humour stem from the things that really matter in life, says Philip Ardagh.

Championed by Hilary Mantel as a work of "rare individuality and distinction", Katie Ward's Girl Reading is composed of seven "chapters", each focusing on a different portrait of a woman reading. Open-ended pieces of writing akin to “scenes”, as Mantel calls them.

Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie is a finalist for the 2011 Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Randy Boyagoda describes the book as the literary equivalent of a wonderful costume drama or summer blockbuster.

Viv Groskop finds Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles to be a racy novel of swords, sandals and Greek love and as entertaining as it is educational.

Sir Richard Burton, the 19th-century explorer famous for unearthing the source of the White Nile, was also a cynical person, jealous of John Speke for upstaging him by 'discovering' Lake Victoria, reveals Tim Jeal's Explorers of the Nile.

The Australian writer Anna Funder follows her Samuel Johnson Prize-winning Stasiland with All That I Am, a novel challenging the frontiers between historical fact and the creative imagination. Rachel Hore says it's a locked-room mystery based on a real-life mystery.

Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers is a smart, compelling novel in the wake of an event much like the Rapture, writes David L. Ulin: a Rapture that may not be the Rapture.,0,6053590.story

Jamie Portman's review focuses on how the survivors cope, rebuild their lives, and gain insight into their own natures.

Arguably, Christopher Hitchens' fifth, and possibly final book, reflects his erudition and his range in both breadth and altitude, writes Bill Keller. He's one of the most stimulating thinkers and entertaining writers we have, even when he provokes, says Keller.

Brothers Dick and Syd Cannings, along with Jim Monger and JoAnne Nelson, have updated Geology of British Columbia, giving readers a greater understanding of what happened along this coast millions of years ago.

Sports journalism offers tight, lucid sentences, and an almost numinous evocation of the sense of excitement, writes Tom Sandborn. That's reflected in Jamie Fitzpatrick's debut novel, You Could Believe in Nothing. The book is brisk, engaging and very moving, says Sandborn.


Vancouver Kidsbooks is hosting a book launch for Kit Pearson's The Whole Truth on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at their store at 3083 West Broadway. Tickets are not required.

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Franklin the Turtle. Enjoy a special storytime reading of Franklin the Dark and meet Franklin the Turtle himself. Saturday, September 17 at 11am. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street.

Mary Gavan, Doreen Giesbrecht, and Helen May tell stories that celebrate Vancouver. Guest author Lynda Gray reads from her book First Nations, 101. Sunday, September 18 at 7pm. Tickets: $6 at the door. St. Mark's Anglican Church, 1805 Larch Street. More information at

Presenting John Barton and Miles Lowry. Monday, September 19 at 7:30pm. Cost: $3. Serious Coffee, 230 Cook Street, Victoria.

Inaugural reading by the Library's seventh Writer in Residence. Tuesday, September 20 at 7:00pm, free.Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Prize-winning playwright and novelist will be reading from his work, with a question period and refreshments to follow. Wednesday, September 21 at 12:30pm, free. Room 7100, W.A.C. Bennett Library, SFU, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby.

Readings by Nikki Reimer and Gail Scott. Wednesday, September 21 at 5:00pm, free. Graham House at Green College, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road. Information at

Award-winning poet reads from her new volume of poetry, Demeter Goes Skydiving. Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm, free. Literature, Social Sciences and Multicultural Services, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St.

Are you the best Vogon poet? Prove it and you may win Earth dollars! Submit your absolutely worst poems to be presented slam style at the VPL/VCON Gala with 501st Legion Stormtroopers. Prizes: $100, $60, $40. Youth prize: $42. Thursday, September 22 at 6:30pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information:

Readings by Linda Besner (The Id Kid) and Matthew J. Trafford (The Divinity Gene). Thursday, September 22 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, Plaza level, 800 Robson Street. More information at

Join author Jen Sookfong Lee for a discussion about her novel The Better Mother. Part book club, part literary reading, the event includes wine, light refreshments and lively discussion. Thursday, September 22 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $20. Christianne's Lyceum, 3696 8th Ave. W. More information is available at Call 604.733.1356 or email to register.

The 8th Annual Kootenay Book Weekend will take place in Nelson B.C. September 23, 24 an 25. The featured books are: Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap; Kathryn Stockett's The Help; Li Cunxin's Mao's Last Dancer, and special guest Ruth Ozeki and her books My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. Further information and registration forms can be found at

The VPL invites you to one of Canada's biggest annual book and magazine festivals. Sunday, September 25 from 11am to 5pm, free. North & South Plaza, Promenade, Alice MacKay room, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. Information at

Meet international award-winning author Louise Penny as she signs the newest book in the Armand Gamache series, A Trick of the Light. Sunday, September 25 at 2:00. Chapters Granville, 2505 Granville Street.

Reading by "Iran's greatest living poet". Also a short performance of traditional Persian music. The event will be conducted in Persian. Sunday, September 25 at 8:00pm. Tickets: $15/$10. Kay Meek Centre, 1700 Mathers Avenue, West Vancouver. Details at


Author will be presenting her new book Caramba and Henry at Vancouver Kidsbooks (3083 W. Broadway), September 26 at 7pm and in South Surrey (Semiahmoo Library Meeting Room, 1815-152nd St. Surrey), September 27 at 4pm. Due to the popularity of these events, everybody must have a ticket. Call (604) 738-5335 or in Surrey (604) 541-9939 for more information.

Meet the author as she signs the third book in The Seven Realms series, The Gray Wolf Throne - a tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice and the heartless hand of fate. Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00pm. Chapters Langley, 20015 Langley By-Pass, Unit 115.

Timothy Taylor reads from his novel, The Blue Light Project. Thursday, September 29 at 2:00pm, free. Dodson Room (302), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC, Vancouver. More information at

Join six brilliant authors as they sign their bestselling Teen novels and have fun with prizes, games, music and more! Saturday, October 1 at 2:00pm. Chapters Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway.

Childhood Under Siege by Joel Bakan. 8:15 pm, Saturday October 1 (doors open 7:30 pm). Vancouver Institute in Lecture Hall No. 2, Woodward Instructional Resources Centre, University of British Columbia.

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