Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book News Vol. 7 No. 44


Holiday Giving

Looking for a special gift for the book-lovers on your list? Look no further! The VWF has gift ideas to bring joy to readers of all persuasions, from gift certificates to a limited edition chapbook. Details:


Trilby Kent's Stones for My Father, a young adult book set during the Anglo-Boer war, has won the $30,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award.

Julie Bruck is the winner of the Governor General's Award for English-language poetry for her book Monkey Ranch. Bruck who now lives in San Francisco, calls Montreal "my favourite place on Earth". Maude Smith Gagnon won for French-language poetry with Un drap. Une place.

Candace Plattor, a Vancouver-based counsellor and blogger for The Vancouver Observer's Psyched blog, has been honoured with two International Book Awards this year. Her book, Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself Workbook, has won in the "Self-Help: Relationships" category, as well as "Health: Psychology/Mental Health."

Teacher/author P.J. Sarah Collins wrote the first draft fourteen years ago. Now the Vancouver children novelist's What Happened to Serenity? has been recognized with the inaugural Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Rawi Hage has won the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction from the Quebec Writers' Federation for his book, Carnival. For a full list of winners, click here:

Nancy Huston has been nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award for a passage from Infrared, her latest novel. The annual contest by Britain's Literary Review draws "attention to the crude, badly written, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel."


More, by I.C. Springman is definitely less when it comes to text, which totals merely 45 words. But, oh, what words, writes Bernie Goedhart! And what illustrations by Brian Lies, who uses acrylic paint, coloured pencils and handmade paper to give us a dramatic concept book centred on an acquisitive magpie who never seems to know when enough is enough, and a small, helpful mouse determined to teach him just that. Ages 2 to 5.

Bernie Goedhart suggests four animal tales for children not yet ready to care for pets: Emily Gravett's Matilda's Cat (for ages 1 to 5); Amy Hest's Charley's (lonely) First Night (ages 2 to 7); Oliver Jeffers' This Moose Belongs to Me; and Matthea Harvey's Cecil, the Pet Glacier. Ages 4 to 8.


Simply Read Books is experimenting with their first book app, Saffy Looks for Rain, free to download on the App Store for one day only–Friday, November 30. This will offer readers the opportunity to explore using apps to access books; Simply Read Books will, in turn, learn whether parents, teachers and librarians will find the apps helpful.

Mo Yan's Nobel nod is a 'catastrophe', says fellow laureate Herta Müller, accusing the Chinese writer of praising the Asian country's tough censorship laws. Mo, the first Chinese writer to win the literature award, has been criticized for compromising his artistic and intellectual independence by being a Communist Party member and vice president of the official writers association.

Probably the most-quoted author after Shakespeare, and certainly the wittiest, Oscar Wilde's elegantly barbed observations are as popular as ever more than a century after his death in November 1900. Some of his most lasting lines can be found here:

As creator of The Hobbit, Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the most successful authors in history. And yet, says Simon Tolkien, the grandfather he remembers seemed to think he had failed. The problem, says Simon, was that the bigger picture Tolkien had wanted the world to know – the complex hinterland of which The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were but a small part–had not been deemed publishable.

The Tolkien estate is asking courts to define the contractual limits on Warner Brothers marketing rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, stating that the original marketing rights only included "tangible property". The estate has charged that Warner Brothers has gone well beyond those rights. HarperCollins, the holder of the English language rights to both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit is also suing Warner Brothers.

Independent publishing house D&M Publishers Inc. has received a 45-day court-ordered extension for its filing of a proposal to creditors. The company will remain under creditor protection until Jan. 4, 2013, and will be accepting investment or purchase offers until Nov. 26. D&M, which includes Douglas & McIntyre and Greystone Books, will continue operations while it restructures.

Wade Davis describes his hero Charles Howard Bury, a man of discretion and decorum, a brilliant writer and an accomplished naturalist, fluent in 27 Asian and European languages.

What made film-maker Judd Apatow want to be funny? Or inspired novelist Stephenie Meyer to create a world of vampires? In My Ideal Bookshelf, more than 100 writers and other cultural figures were asked to share the literary journeys that helped them realize their ambitions and find success. What would be your ideal bookshelf, and why?

"Beheading, believe it or not, was a privilege reserved usually for the aristocracy, for gentlemen and gentlewomen" says Hilary Mantel in an interview on Bring Up the Bodies, historical fiction, Tudor England, and winning the Man Book Prize for Bring Up the Bodies, the first woman to receive the award twice.


Alice Munro gives tantalizing glimpses of her own life in Dear Life, writes Louise Doughty. When Munro won the Man Booker International prize in 2009, many considered it a beatification that was long overdue. This is simply a good writer doing what she loves, says Doughty. Each of the 14 stories in this collection is like a novel-in-miniature.

Kitty Empire writes that Sylvie Simmons's I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen is a masterful biography of Leonard Cohen, revealing a selfish man with irresistible charm: the definitive volume on the guy right at the top of the tower of song, says Empire.

Although he's published nearly 20 books, Sherman Alexie isn't as well known as he should be, writes Dimitri Nasrallah. A strict regionalist when it comes to his imaginary terrain, Alexie writes almost exclusively of Pacific Northwest Native Americans, publishing a dozen collections of poetry and three adult novels. Blasphemy, his fifth collection, offers readers a definitive entry point into the author's imagination, writes Nasrallah.

While Kurt Vonnegut routinely unmasked himself in his fiction, he ultimately wrote at arm's length. In Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, Vonnegut hides behind nothing. "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Vonnegut was exactly what he pretended to be, says Jason Beerman.

It's been a long poetic road; Bernice Lever has now published her 10th book of poetry, Imagining Lives. A natural lyricist and imaginary spinner, Lever's poetry comprises crystalline illustrations of the feelings between humans, writes Dennis Bolen.

Shawn Conner writes that Chris Ware's Building Stories has reignited the book-as-object versus ebook debate. Ware responds with "so-called ebooks are helping to redefine what a real book can be."

Robert Wiersema writes that he didn't just like Justin Cronin's The Passage; he fell head-over-heels for it, delivering in The Passage an apocalyptic vision to rival Stephen King's The Stand.

You'd think a book devoted solely to a decade in the life of Wells, population 245, would have a severely limited market, writes Alexander Varty, but you'd be wrong. Susan Safyan's All Roads Lead to Wells: Stories of the Hippie Days expresses their universality. Some feel very familiar, even if I knew none of those involved, says Varty. It's nicely done, and not just for aging freaks.


Talk and book launch of the author of North Star of Herschel Island: Last of the Canadian Arctic Fur-Trading Ships. Thursday, November 29 at 6:30pm, free. Vancouver Maritime Museum - TK Gallery, 1905 Ogden Avenue. More information at

Author celebrates his birthday and launches two new books: Words, Words, Words and Pinboy. Saturday, December 1 at 8:00pm, free. People's Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver. More information at

Award-winning map historian presents his new volume, British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas, the story of British Columbia in maps from the 1500s to the Vancouver Olympics. Monday, December 3 at 7:00pm, free. Alma VanDusen room, lower level, Central Library, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Bestselling author has just ended her Otherworld series and is ready to wrap up her Vancouver Island-based Darkness Rising Young Adult trilogy. Wednesday, December 5 at 7:00pm, free. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia St.

Reading by internationally-recognized ornithologist and author of The Curse of the Labrador Duck. Will talk about his new book, Attack of the Killer Rhododendrons. Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm, free. Semiahmoo Library, 1815 - 152 152nd Street, Surrey.


Readings by Nyla Matuk, Alix Ohlin and Matthew Tierney. Thursday, December 13 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore at Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Plaza level. More information at

Inspector Ken Burton will discuss his recreation of the historic voyages of the St. Roch and will discuss the challenges facing Canada and the "ice free" northern passage. Also features a launch of Kenneth John Haycock's new book The History of the RCMP Marine Services. Sunday, December 16 at 2:00pm, free. Vancouver Maritime Museum - TK Gallery, 1905 Ogden Avenue. More information at

Features Fiona Lam and Raoul Fernandes, Sunday, December 16, 7-9:30pm, at The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street Vancouver. This will be a special evening. No open mic that night. Suggested donation at the door:
$5. All are welcome. In 2013 Twisted Poets will run the 2nd Wednesday and the 4th Thursday of
every month. More information at

Reading by poet Garry Thomas Morse. Wednesday, December 19 at 12:00 noon. Teck Gallery in SFU's Harbour Centre campus, 515 West Hastings Street. Vancouver.

Talk/reading, Q&A, and book signing by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Saturday, December 22 at 7:00pm, free. Our Town Cafe, 245 E. Broadway.

A lecture series featuring four outstanding women. First lecture will feature Valerie Plame Wilson, a former CIA spy and author of a bestselling autobiography, My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal By the White House, on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:30pm. Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, 777 Homer Street. For complete season details and ticket information, visit

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