Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book News Vol. 7 No. 47


Some people start the New Year with a fast. We suggest the opposite. Indulge, if only in your passion for fine literature. Don’t miss the first Incite event of 2013. Join us on Wednesday, January 16th for a night of readings from award-winning authors Tim Bowling (five-time Alberta Book Award winner), Tamas Dobozy (Rogers Writers' Trust Award for Fiction 2012) and Candace Savage (Hilary Weston Prize for Non-Fiction 2012).Details:


Candace Savage's A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape was recently announced as one of the shortlisted titles for the 2013 BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, one of the largest non-fiction book prizes in the country. The other shortlisted books are noted here:

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts, an organization mandated to encourage more book reviews by women, has appointed the organization's first resident critic, Montreal poet Sue Sinclair.

Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies has won the Costa best novel award and is eligible for book of the year. The Costa, formerly known as the Whitbread Award, chooses the best books written in the U.K. or Ireland in the past year. Female authors dominated all the categories this year and for the first time, a graphic novel took the biography category.


Ellen Bryan Obed's Twelve Kinds of Ice is a beautiful slim volume about a rural family's experiences as winter arrives and ice forms on fields and backyard rinks. Aimed by the publisher at ages 6 to 9, I believe this book has much wider appeal, since it is bound to revive some nostalgia in older readers as well as raise a sense of wonder in the young ones, writes Bernie Goedhart. For all ages.

Jo Nesbø, Norwegian author of detective novels, has written Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder: Who Cut the Cheese? in his first series for children. Nilly and Lisa solve the mystery of the moon chameleons and alien creatures lurking in Oslo's sewer system. Nesbø is adept at humour and satire, using the Norovision Choral Throwdown (think Norway's equivalent of American Idol) as a crucial plot element, writes Bernie Goedhart. For ages 8 to 12.

Who Could That Be at This Hour? Is the first of a new four-volume Lemony Snicket series: All the Wrong Questions. Snicket, almost 13, is apprenticed to S. Theodora Markson, a none-too-clever investigator hired to recover a statue of the Bombinating Beast and to bring it to its rightful owner. Right from the start, things are not as they appear to be. Age 9 and up.


Salman Rushdie defends his right to call Mo Yan, the literature laureate, a 'patsy'.

Perry Link's argument, Why We Should Criticize Mo Yan can be found in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books.

Anne of Green Gables is one of the 50 most influential novels in China this year, according to the country's national publishers association. Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic tale of turn of the 20th century P.E.I. is still in the running for the top prize.

The proprietor of a Twitter page identifying itself as the official account of Philip Roth could well be Nathan Zuckerman, his alter ego from novels like The Ghost Writer, but “that is not Mr. Roth posting on Twitter,” said a press representative for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which publishes Mr. Roth's books.

A new Norwegian translation of the Bible is one of the top 15 bestsellers in the country, jostling for position with the likes of EL James, Jo Nesbø, Ken Follett and Per Petterson. It has spent more time in the charts than both Fifty Shades of Grey and Justin Bieber's autobiography, says Alison Flood.

Philip Pullman focuses on the craft of storytelling, its rhythms and dramatic timing, in his translation of 'Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm'. The craft of storytelling, and not the deeper mystery of these stories, informs Pullman's new translation of Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, retold with an ear for rhythm and dramatic timing.,0,7292897.story

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's only novel—a great opportunity to revisit it.

Jesse Emspak, a longtime reader of science fiction, has examined how the visions of such writers as Arthur C. Clark and Ray Bradbury, eventually become real.

Michigan's Lake Superior State University has issued its list of "Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" for the 38th year in a row. LSSU releases its list of banished words every New Year's Eve. “Fiscal cliff” topped the 38th annual List of Words to Be Banished. “This phrase received the most nominations this year,” according to Lake Superior State University. The complete list is here:

A seasoned visitor to the World of Sendak was accustomed to hearing its resident magician relate extraordinary events with such fluency and fervency that unless the story involved a German-speaking bat, its mere improbability never seemed a reliable standard by which to assess whether or not it had actually happened.

Author Dennis Lehane is offering a reward for the person who finds his family's beloved missing beagle. Lehane says he'll name a character in his next book after whoever finds Tessa, who disappeared from the family's home in Brookline, Mass., Christmas week.

The World Is Moving Around Me, Dany Laferrière's account of living through the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, will be published in English in early January, 2013. The French account was published in March, 2010.

The Star lists the 100 best-selling books of 2012 here:

Some people travel the US to see the sights and bright lights. Simon Goode, on the other hand, roamed the country to explore the joys of papermaking, typesetting and bookbinding. "The trip was like a holy grail," he said, rhapsodizing over three months traveling on a mission that has helped result in Britain's first ever centre for a craft that is in danger of disappearing: book arts.


In Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child, the long nights' darkness of Alaskan winter brings both fear and comfort, writes Keren Levy. The coming of each spring heralds the loss of the snow child, little by little, but in the last moments of the novel, light and darkness combine in a moment of hope.

Kate Braid's new memoir Journeywoman: Swinging a Hammer in a Man's World recounts her tumultuous love affair with construction work. Here is an excerpt:

In his new book The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? geographer Jared Diamond writes that while there are reasons to be thankful for our modern lifestyles, there are also practical lessons to be gleaned from the traditional societies that still dot the globe.

Jeff VanderMeer writes that even within the wild and tangled menagerie that comprises our literary landscape, Joyce Carol Oates is a startling creature, possessed of a speed and talent that hints at the uncanny. Oates‘s The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares is a virtuoso performance in a tale of teens gone bad, says VanderMeer.

Hallucinations, writes Oliver Sacks, in his new book of the same name, fall into a special category of consciousness in which people see and hear things that are not there. Written with both grace and erudition, Hallucinations taps into the mysteries of the human brain, writes Elaine Kalman Naves.

The famine that killed up to 45 million people remains a taboo subject in China 50 years on. Yang Jisheng's Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao's Great Famine remains banned in China, but its 2008 publication in English serves as a memorial to the lives (at least 36 million, including Yang's father) lost.


Features George Stanley and Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, with Open Mic. Wednesday, January 9th, 7 to 9:30 pm, at The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street Vancouver. 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

Presenting Adrienne Rich,(read by Betsy Warland) Elizabeth Bishop (Martha Roth); Kenneth Rexroth (Dennis Bolen); Anna Akhmatova (Diane Tucker); and a special introduction by his son, Brian Donat, to the poetry readings of British film and theatre actor, Robert Donat. Sunday, January 13 at 3:00pm. Admission by donation. Project Space, 222 East Georgia. For more details, visit


Linda Svendsen reads from her satirical novel Sussex Drive and Rhea Tregebov reads selections from her new poetry collection All Souls'. Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00pm, free. Central Branch, VPL, 350 W. Georgia St. More information at

REadings by Julie Devaney and Gary Geddes. Thursday, January 24 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore at Robson Square. For more information and to register, please visit

Raising awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Sunday, January 27. For events in your area, visit

Author reads from his extensive work. Sunday, January 27 at 7:00pm, free. The Reach, 32388 Veterans Way, Abbotsford. More information at

Author presents her new book The Candy Smash. In Vancouver: Tuesday, January 29 at 7:00pm at West Point Grey United Church. In North Vancouver: Monday, January 28 at 7:00pm at Capilano Branch of North Van District Library. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Harrison author Diane Wild will read from and chat about her debut novel, Forsaken Trust. Wednesday, February 6 at 7:00pm, free. Hope Library, 1005A - 6th Ave., Hope. More information at 604-869-2313.

Meet Brandon Sanderson as he signs the final book in Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series. Thursday, February 14 at 7:00pm. Chapters Metrotown, Burnaby. More information at 604-431-0463.

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

Choose between Timothy Taylor's Stanley Park and Lynn Coady's Mean Boy at this book club in which you can meet the facilitator and fellow alumni, and learn about the book before you read it. Tuesday, February 19 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $10. Cecil Green Park Coach House, 6323 Cecil Green Park Rd., UBC.

Canadian author will read from, and chat about, his latest book, Butterfly Winter. Thursday, February 21 at 10:30am, free. Hope Library, 1005A - 6th Ave., Hope. More information at 604-869-2313.

Readings by Walid Bitar and Missy Marston. Thursday, February 21 at 7:00pm, free. UBC Bookstore at Robson Square. For more informatin and to register, visit

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