Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book News Vol. 7 No. 5




At the next Incite on March 7, Steven Price, Julie Bruck, and W. H. New read from their new poetry collections, Omens in the Year of the Ox, Monkey Ranch, and YVR. Details: Also appearing at Incite in the next few months are Linden MacIntyre, Will Ferguson, Anakana Schofield, Richard Stursberg, John Boyne, Yasuko Thanh and Buffy Cran, among others.

Richard Ford
Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Richard Ford appears with his latest novel, Canada. This will be Mr Ford’s first appearance in Canada with this new book. Details:


Frederick Forsyth has won the Diamond Dagger lifetime achievement award. The Day of the Jackal author was honoured for settting 'a new standard of research-based authenticity' in thrillers and a lifetime's achievement in crime writing.

The Moth, a New York City-based group dedicated to the art of storytelling, is among the 15 organizations in 6 countries to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Leadership from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Ontario Library Association has included Frances Greenslade's Shelter on the 10-book shortlist for its 2012 Evergreen Awards.

Véronique Olmi's Beside the Sea has won the Scott Moncrieff prize for best translation from French.

Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson is Britain's new Children's Laureate, as of last June.

The 2012 selection for the Toronto Public Library's city-wide book club this April (One Book: Toronto) is Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig. The novel was published in 2008 by Coach House Books and shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award.

The Globe Book Club invited readers to vote for their favourite of five fiction and five nonfiction titles. Marina Nemat's Prisoner of Tehran captured 35% of the vote and becomes the subject of the next round of book-club discussions.

Biographies of Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and of Pierre Trudeau are two of five nominees for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. The winner of the prize will be announced in April.


The first line of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi did it for me, writes Harriet. As soon as I started I couldn't stop reading. "It keeps you wondering about how it will end."

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green, is a tour de force, writes Monique Polak. Readers could not ask for a more delightful narrator, says Polak.

My daughter–already drafting her own glowing review of the book for her school paper–will propose Augusta Scattergood's Glory Be to our mother-daughter book club. I encourage you to read the book with your own children, writes Anne Chudobiak.

Frances Greenslade's Shelter is a beating heart of a book, writes Patricia Hluchy, alive with fierce imagination, acute descriptions of the natural world, a shelter motif, a sure hand with narrative, and intersections between First Nations characters and Maggie's family.

R.J. Palacio's Wonder recounts a year in the life of August, a 10-year-old boy with severe facial abnormalities, as he navigates school for the first time. Intending it to be "a kids' book foremost", it's being hailed as a "crossover classic".

In an interview with Killian Fox about his new work Hope: A Tragedy, Shalom Auslander discusses the inspiration behind his new novel about a man who discovers Anne Frank living in his attic, adding: "Part of the job is frightening yourself."


A recent snapshot of national reading habits shows that Canadians continue to be avid readers, whether they're consuming print books or e-books. The National Reading Campaign offers a one-week peek into the country's appetite for books.

Saltspring Island is launching Words Without Borders, its first literary festival, February 24-26. Marsha Lederman writes that the population of 10,000 supports five independent bookstores, and includes many writers (Brian Brett, Ronald Wright, Kathy Page, Kevin Patterson and Derek Lundy among them).

A clay statue of Northrup Frye, glancing thoughtfully in the distance with a book perched on his lap, is a work in progress. The finished bronze statue will be officially unveiled July 14, when Frye would have marked his 100th birthday.

The Columbia Journalism Review focuses on the impact of the Internet on cartooning.

Talk-show host and comedian Stephen Colbert plans to rally readers 'round the flagpole. Grand Central Publishing will publish Colbert's children's book, "I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)" on May 8.

There is a newly digitized collection of love letters between the Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, now online.

In an interview with Hugh Muir, Maya Angelou, described as the sage of black America, talks about growing old (‘not for sissies') and American political leadership.

During the Bosnian war, men and women risked their lives to rescue irreplaceable Islamic manuscripts, safeguarding more than 10,000 unique, hand-written antique books and documents held in the 16th century Gazi Husrav Beg Library.

Last year, two books were sent to a prisoner in Alabama: Mountains Beyond Mountains (Dr. Farmer's work in Haiti) and Slavery by Another Name, (about post-slavery peonage). The prison allowed delivery of the first book, but banned the second as too provocative.,0,1840614.column

One of the questions addressed by a recent issue of The New York Review of Books is: do E-books bring us closer to the printed word?

The memoirs of American author William Wharton are to be published for the first time in English, along with his complete works, beginning this summer. Scott Pack described the war memoir as "one of the finest" he has read.

The task: judge a competition of artists, between the ages of 13 and 16, to design a cover for a new edition of Lord of the Flies, with Judy Golding (daughter) and designers, the judges.The competition produced stunning results.

Mystery shrouds an old greeting card found in a dog-eared copy of Plato's Republic, in Toronto's Agincourt District Library. Handwritten in Spanish, the card is addressed from Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges and appears to carry his signature and a cartoon doodle.

One week later: mystery solved. The found greeting card belonging to Jorge Luis Borges was a hoax. "As those who have read Borges know, he delighted in blurring the line between fact and fiction."The signature, however, is authentic.

A few months ago, Patti Larsen, a writer of young adult paranormal fiction, took advantage of a new program at that allows authors to give away electronic versions of their books online for a few days.

One day, Veronica Gaylie brushed shoulders with Trevor Linden in economy class. Her response was to write an airborne ode to the greatest Canuck who ever lived.

Growing up, Colm Tóibín was haunted by the stories of previous generations. In New Ways to Kill Your Mother, he explores the relationships–inspiring, rivalrous, Oedipal–between authors and their parents, from WB Yeats to VS Naipaul.

Teju Cole considers Michael Ondaatje his hero. 'Here's a celebrated writer who can't stop taking risks on the page,' writes Cole. "His ambiguities are quiet and precise. I want to be like that when I grow up."

Although it was translated into 15 languages across Europe, no British publisher would touch Véronique Olmi's novel about a woman who kills her children. Now, the French novella Beside the Sea has been transformed into a monologue for the stage.

Children's literature by Jill Biden, Carol Geithner, Calista Gingrich and the re-publication of a book by Lynne Cheney: could this be an election year?


Indian Horse distills much of what Richard Wagamese has been writing about for his whole career, writes Jane Smiley, both more bitter and more moving than he has managed in the past. He is a master of empathy, says Smiley.

When I stumbled across a story last year about a North Korean intelligence officer, I assumed it to be part of a memoir by a North Korean, writes Barbara Demick. Instead, the Orphan Masters' Son was written by the American novelist, Adam Johnson.

The situation in Burma hasn't looked so hopeful since the country's independence was won from Britain, says Karen Connelly. One of the achievements in The Lady and the Peacock is Popham's descriptions of Suu Kyi's capacity to weather the junta's many attacks.

The late Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska saw great inhumanity in 20th century Europe, expressing insights in her distinctive free verse, writes Charles McNulty. In her Nobel lecture she held up as the source of her inspiration the words "I don't know.",0,4916530.story

In three books about Downton Abbey, writers take you behind the scenes of the hit show, around the grounds of the real British estate and into the lives of domestic servants, writes Kathy Blumenstock.

Imagine Robert Louis Stevenson meets Holden Caulfield meets Ayn Rand, and you'll have some idea of the tenor of Sara Levine's Treasure Island!!!, writes Martin Levin. A girl's own self-helpless book, and a wackily original tale, with a serious undercurrent.

Laura Miller writes that Raymond Bonner's Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong involves a rigged law-enforcement/judicial system, and a team of dedicated legal crusaders. A genuine whodunit, page-turner and tale of redemption: and it's all true, says Miller.

A few months after he was diagnosed with ALS, Tony Judt agreed to record for publication a series of conversations with fellow historian Timothy Snyder. Thinking the Twentieth Century is an intellectual feast, learned, lucid, challenging and accessible, writes Glenn C. Altschuler.


Hear author Marusya Bociurkiw read from her new book Feeling Canadian: Television, Nationalism and Affect and join in the discussion. Thursday, February 23 at 7:30pm, free. Rhizome Cafe, 317 E. Broadway.

Third annual literary festival featuring George Bowering, Patrick Friesen, Susan Juby, Rhea Tregebov and many others. February 24-26, 2012. Galiano Island. More information at

Panel discussions, author talks, and workshops on constructing plot, writing for social media, and writing for children. Saturday, February 25 at 11am, free. Surrey Public Library City Centre, 103350 University Drive, Surrey. More information at

The German thriller Crime by Ferdinand von Schirach will be discussed. Saturday, February 25 at 4:00pm. Free but please register at Alliance Francaise, 6161 Cambie Street, Vancouver. Details can be downloaded here:

A talk and launch of the author's newest novel, The Secret Keepers. Sunday, February 26 at 2:00pm. Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall Street, Vancouver. More information at

A reading of Paul Seesequasis' Tobacco Wars and excerpts from freshly created writings will be shared by Paul Seesequasis and the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast. Monday, February 27 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $18/$15/$14. The Vancity Culture Lab, 1895 Venables Street. More information at

Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace, is coming to the CBC Studio One Book Club on Monday February 27! Her new historical novel tells the epic story of Catherine the Great's improbable rise to power as seen through the ever-watchful eyes of a servant. The story is told in dazzling detail, impeccably researched, awash with the scandals and secrets of the Russian Imperial court. Win free tickets at

Lipsmacker youth slam featuring Robert Lashley. Monday, February 27 at 8:00pm. Cost: $6/$3. Cafe Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive. More information at

Capilano Creative Writing presents a reading by the Toronto-based novelist. Thursday, March 1 at 11:30am, free. Library 321, Capilano University, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver. More information at

Kerrisdale branch hosts an open poetry slam in honour of Freedom to Read Week. Participate as a poet, judge or listen. For ages 13-18. Thursday, March 1 at 6:30pm, free. Kerrisdale branch, 2112 42nd Ave. W. For more information, phone 604-665-3974.

Join award-winning author Ivan E. Coyote for an evening of local talent as she hosts the results of a seniors' writing workshop. Thursday, March 1 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3603.

Reading by Kyo Maclear, the author of The Letter Opener and Virginia Wolf. Thursday, March 1 at 7:00pm, free. SB301, Emily Carr University, 1399 Johnston Street. More information at

2012 Canada Reads winner Carmen Aguirre discusses her memoir Something Fierce. Thursday, March 1 at 7:00pm. Cost: $20 (includes refreshments). Christianne's Lyceum, 3696 W. 8th Ave. To reserve your space call 604.733.1356 or email More information at

Paul Seesequasis, Alex Jacobs, and Janet Rogers read from their new works. Thursday, March 1 at 8:00pm. Pay what you can or by donation. Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway. More information at


Author launches his latest book, The Sacred Headwaters. Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $15/$12/$10. SFU Woodward Centre of the Arts. For more information, email

Readings by Robert Majzels and Erin Mouré. Wednesday, March 7 at 5:00pm. Graham House, UBC Green College, 6201 Cecil Green Park Road. More information at

Readings by Sean Johnston (The Ditch Was Lit Like This) and Anne Simpson (Is). Thursday, March 8 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore/Library at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street. More information at

The author signs her debut novel Shatter Me. Saturday, March 10 at 2:00pm. Chapters Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby. More information at 604-431-0463.

Local poets read poems by, and tell stories about, Irving Layton. Lineup includes Adrienne Drobnies, Heidi Greco, Sandy Shreve, Russell Thornton and others. Sunday, March 11 at 3:00pm. Project Space, 222 East Georgia Street. More information at

Celebrate the author's launch of her first full-length book of poetry, "the weight of dew". Sunday, March 11 at 5:30pm. The Railway Club (in the private back room bar), 579 Dunsmuir Street. Author reading and books for sale.

Explore fiction with Bob Friedland, poetry with Manolis Aligizakis, and autobiographical fiction with Ben Nuttall-Smith. Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00pm, free. Meeting room, level 3, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street. More information at 604-331-3691.

Meet the author of the novel Daaku, the story of an Indo-Canadian gangster growing up in the streets of Surrey. Ranj will talk about his writing and answer questions from the audience. Thursday, March 15 at 6:00pm, free. South Hill branch, 6076 Fraser Street. More information at 604-665-3965.

Reading by guest author Betsy Warland. Thursday, March 15 at 7:00pm, free. Rhizome Cafe, 317 East Broadway, Vancouver. More information at

An evening of Canadian poetry with Ruth Roach Pierson, Rhona McAdam and Edward Blodgett. Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kay rooms, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St.

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