Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book News Vol. 7 No. 51


Incite: Mind-altering, metamorphic, twice-monthly!

Join us on Wednesday, February 13 for an evening filled with non-fiction, featuring Globe and Mail journalist Sandra Martin and Zac Unger. Details:

Presented in partnership with Vancouver Public Library, sponsored by the Vancouver Public Library Foundation and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.


Sally Armstrong in conversation with Kathryn Gretsinger
The Vancouver Writers Fest presents its first special event of 2013, an evening with award-winning Canadian author, journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong. Armstrong is the author of three previous books, Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan, The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan's Women. Her new book is Ascent of Women.

7:30 pm, Monday, March 25
St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church
Burrard at Nelson


This year our popular single malt tasting A Dram Come True moves to a new venue! Join us at Hycroft, the elegant Shaughnessy mansion, for an evening of great fun and good spirits. Enjoy the superb, complex flavours of a variety of rare and distinguished single malts, a premium silent auction, Cuban cigars and great company. A Dram Comes True is a fundraiser for the Writers Fest. Event details:


PuSh Festival January 15–February 3

Contemporary Legend Theater's acclaimed production of King Lear fuses traditional Peking Opera with Shakespeare's classic tale of great power and cruel deception.

PuSh is offering a special discount for Book News subscribers-use the code "Bard" to receive $5 off Tickets. Tickets at Tickets Tonight,


Margaret Atwood has received the CBA Lifetime Achievement Award. Her acceptance speech is here:

Ten authors, nine countries, seven different languages: Marilynne Robinson and Montreal-based Josip Novakovich are two of the ten authors shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize 2013. The list includes books in French, German, Hebrew and Kannada.

Jeet Thayil is the first Indian winner of the DSC prize for South Asian literature ($50,000 (£32,000)), for his debut novel, Narcopolis.

Hilary Mantel has won the Costa Book of the Year award for Bring Up the Bodies, which comes with a cheque for £30,000 ($47,250).

Goldsmiths College, in association with the New Statesman, has just launched a new £10,000 prize. The new fiction prize will go to a book that celebrates the spirit of invention and characterizes the genre at its most surprising. There can never be too many literary prizes, writes Blake Morrison.

Howard Curtis has won the Marsh award for children's literature in translation for Fabio Geda's In the Sea There Are Crocodiles, a true story of an Afghan child asylum-seeker.

Canadian writer Jon Klassen's This Is Not My Hat received the Randolph Caldecott Medal for outstanding illustration. Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan won the John Newbery Medal for the outstanding children's book of 2012. The Newbery and Caldecott awards are the top honours for American children's literature.

The Canada Reads 2013 contenders are listed here:


In Judith Viorst's Lulu Walks the Dogs, Lulu is ornery. When she tells her parents that she desperately, absolutely must have this super special thing that costs a lot of money, her parents tell her they can't afford it; she'll just have to earn the money herself. Lulu learns that teamwork sometimes works out well for all concerned. For ages 7 to 9.

Shelley Tanaka's Nobody Knows focuses on the lives of 12-year-old Akira and his three siblings, whom Akira must care for after their mother abandons them. Although Akira is the focus of the novel, Tanaka depicts each of the children as distinct individuals. The story emphasizes the challenges of living in impoverished circumstances and the difficulty in escaping from them. Grades 5 and up. Ages 10 and up.

The chapters in The Taming by Eric Walters and Teresa Toten alternate between two young narrators: Katie, raised by a single mother in a low-income environment, and Evan, a recent transfer who has been kicked out of private school for unspecified reasons. Instead of spiralling into a one-track drama, The Taming takes a more relatable approach to serious issues. For ages 14+.


Monday marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Though the work was not famous during her lifetime, there have been so many novels, films and adaptations, it's impossible to count them, writes Sheila Heti.

A rare letter from Jane Austen about Pride and Prejudice has gone on display. The letter to Austen's sister Cassandra speaks of Austen's excitement at receiving her copy of the three-volume book from her publisher on 27 January. "I want to tell you I have got my own darling child from London."

Two new biographies of Sylvia Plath resurrect the debate of culpability, accompanying the dual 50th anniversaries of the publication of The Bell Jar and Plath's death: American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson and Mad Girl's Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson.

Charles Foran writes that "these are dog days in the book business, some pronouncing them end days as well. The problem is not that there are no good stories to tell about CanLit. Rather, there are too many." All of this industry bloodletting has not affected the consumers of books. The current upheaval disguises something essential, and more hopeful," adds Foran.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has won the rights to stage Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell novels. Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, explains how the characters in her historical novels were 'fighting to be off the page' and into three dimensions since she began writing about them.

Shakespeare's sonnets, Martin Luther King's 1963 speech "I have a dream", Francis Crick and James Watson's research paper describing the double helical nature of DNA, have all been spelled out in DNA by Cambridge scientists to demonstrate the vast potential of genetic storage.

Stephen King has entranced millions with tales of dread, but his latest work makes an unexpected charge into the national debate on gun violence. Guns, King's passionate 25-page essay, was published last week on Amazon's online Kindle store, price 99 cents, with proceeds to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Iowa Supreme Court has given protections against libel lawsuits to Internet publishers but not to average citizens. The ruling extends free-speech protections enjoyed by newspapers and broadcasters, but the court declined to extend those rights to individual social media users.

A new J.D. Salinger film and biography offer an unprecedented look into Salinger's mysterious life. The Private War of J.D. Salinger, an oral biography by author David Shields and filmmaker-screenwriter Shane Salerno will draw upon interviews with Salinger's friends and colleagues and investigate "the cost" of war and of art. Salinger was reportedly deeply scarred by his service during World War II. Salinger died in 2010, age 91.

The deadline for the 9th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest has been extended to March 1, 2013, 11:59pm PST! For your chance at literary fame and fortune, information on how the contest works and contest details is here:


Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child is based on a Russian fairy tale. Alaskan darkness is sometimes reversed in this tale of enchantment, so entwined with the appearance of the child, writes Keren Levy. In the last moments of the novel, light and darkness combine in a moment of hope.

Elizabeth Day interviews novelist and publisher Dave Eggers on writing, politics, the state of the States, and his latest novel, A Hologram for a King, situated in Saudi Arabia. "We tend to look everywhere but the mirror," says Eggers.

Louse Erdrich's National Book Award-winning The Round House is both a morality tale and a compelling suspense story, writes Tracy Sherlock. The story weaves in native legends, history and harsh reality, suspense, a violent crime, as well as the challenges and intricacy of the native justice system.

Tom Cox writes that Sherman Alexie's Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories are quietly addictive, mordantly witty and sometimes heartbreaking. His short stories are no more "Native American" than, say, Daniel Woodrell's are "hillbilly" novels, says Cox. They're just his way in to write about life, death and growing up in a unique voice as mordantly witty as it is downtrodden.

Diana Athill finds William Dalrymple''s Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan a perceptive account of the arrogance and folly of the first British invasion of Afghanistan. This book would be compulsive reading even if it were not a uniquely valuable history, which it is, writes Athill, because Dalrymple has uncovered sources never used before.

Tracy Chevalier's The Last Runaway is set in pre-Civil War Ohio. Honor Bright, a modest Quaker woman who emigrates from Britain to the United States, finds her in-laws are abolitionists who refuse to break the law to help anyone on the run. Honor, however, becomes involved in the Underground Railroad. A fast-paced, satisfying read, says Heather Leighton.

Ron Charles writes about Lynn Coady's exploration of the cross-currents of male friendship in The Antagonist. How ill-fitting those intimacies feel years later, says Charles. Continuing Coady's epistolary structure, Charles writes "What particularly held me and made me parcel out the last few pages is the vein of spiritual angst that runs through your whole novel."


Mancini will talk about his new book on poetry reviews in Canada called You Must Work Harder. Thursday, January 31 at 7:00pm, free. Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre,SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the
Arts, 149 W Hasting St. More information at

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.

Part of the Children's Arts Festival, author shares his best-selling book Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and other musical stories. Monday, February 11 at various times. Tickets: $10. Richmond Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond. More information at

Meet Brandon Sanderson as he signs the final book in Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light. 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

Features Kim Clark (Nanaimo) and Kempton Dexter plus Open Mic. Wednesday, February 13, 7-9:30pm, at The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver. Suggested donation at the door: $5. All are welcome. More information at


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

Fourth annual festival featuring John Belshaw, Kevin Chong, Pauline Holdstock, Nancy Richler and many others. February 22-24, 2013. Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa, Galiano Island. For complete details, visit

Oliver Jeffers, author/illustrator of This Moose Belongs to Me, to speak at the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable's annual Author/Illustrator Breakfast February 23 at the University Golf Club. Early bird rates end January 31. For registration and information, go to

Features Susan Steudel and Chelsea Comeau plus Open Mic. Thursday, February 28, 7-9:30pm, at The Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main Street, Vancouver. Suggested donation at the door: $5. All are welcome. More information at

Join Wayde Compton, Joanne Arnott, and Michael Turner with Renee Sarojini Saklikar as they discuss and read from their work. Thursday, March 7 at 7:00pm, free. Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre,SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W Hasting St. More information at

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