Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book News Vol. 9 No. 40


Thomas King Podcast
Thomas King's appearance at the 2014 Festival was a highlight and received rave reviews. Listen to a recording of his sold out solo event here,

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 memberships.

Festivals Around Town

PuSh Festival January 20-February 8

PuSh presents groundbreaking work in the live performing arts, featuring artists from around the world. Local theatre innovators Alex Lazaridis Ferguson and Steven Hill have formed a new company, Fight with a Stick, which makes its debut at PuSh with Steppenwolf. Inspired by Herman Hesse's 1927 novel of self-reflection and transformation, Steppenwolf has been specially staged for the Russian Hall. The audience is seated before a bank of mirrors: somewhere within the reflection, a story begins.

February 4–8
Russian Hall


Richard Flanagan, winner of this year's Booker Prize, has also been awarded Australia's Prime Minister's Literary Award for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. What's even more interesting, however, is what he's doing with his $40,000 prize money: donating it to an Indigenous literacy charity.

The longlist for the $25,000 RBC Taylor Prize, recognizing excellence in Canadian literary non-fiction, has been announced.


What were the best books of 2014 for children? Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's This One Summer makes the top of Quill and Quire's list. Mariko appeared at this year's Vancouver Writers Fest.


This week, Patrick Modiano accepted the Nobel Prize in literature. You can read a summary of his speech, and click on a link to the full text, here:

A long-lost Dylan Thomas notebook is heading home to Wales. Swansea University bought the book, containing "drafts of some of Thomas's most challenging poems," in a recent auction.

Many of this year's most exciting novels have been "distinctly un-novelistic, featuring protagonists who share many biographical details (and sometime names) with the authors, and substituting the messiness of experience for conventional plots. Such ‘novels from life'…reflect the authors' exasperation with fictional artifice." What does this mean for the future of fiction?

The New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books list is an end-of-year favourite for readers and book professionals alike. Laura Miller recently went through two decades' worth of the list and discovered "how the most anxiety-inducing of year-end books lists has reflected the changing publishing landscape."

George Orwell may have died 65 years ago, but interest in the man "is accelerating and expanding practically daily". "His phrases are on our lips, his ideas are in our heads, his warnings have come true. How did this happen?"

Writers in the UK are rejoicing! A high court judge has ruled against the embargo that prevents books from being sent to prisoners. The ruling as been hailed as "the halting of an iniquitous and draconian ban" and a "rare victory for common sense."

An unpublished work by Raymond Chandler has been discovered in the Library of Congress. The Princess and the Pedlar, a comic opera, was found almost 100 years after it was initially registered!

What does it mean to "find your voice" as a writer? Sometimes being original isn't as great as it sounds. "For most folks, if you're going to be successful, it's best to find that your own voice is similar to the voice of someone on the prescribed list of folks who found a good voice before you."

Should bookstore and libraries be integrated? "Integrating bookstores into libraries would help both survive, particularly in underserved communities."

#Readwomen2014 was the year's most talked-about literary hashtag, introducing many readers to great writing by women. But where do we go from here?


The Holiday Season is upon us, and so, best-of-2014 book lists proliferate! In this one, five designers pick their favourite covers of the year.

If you're asking Saint Nick for books this year, look no further than this list for great ideas! Here they are, the best stocking-filler books of 2014!

And one more: The Globe and Mail's "75 book ideas for Christmas, for everyone on your list (and we mean everyone)." That includes explorers, aspiring chefs, kids, shutterbugs, art lovers, design junkies, green thumbs, fashionistas and more!

John Ralston Saul's latest book, The Comeback, is "a must-read for all Canadians." It is an examination of Canada's relationship with its aboriginal peoples, and the justice that must be restored to them.

Marcello Di Cintio's Song of the Caged Bird: Words as Resistance in Palestine is a book that examines the role of literature in Palestinian society. It chronicles a month in which the author served as a creative non-fiction instructor in a Palestinian village near Ramallah.

Emily St. John Mandel wrote her fourth novel, Station Eleven, as "a love letter in the form of a requiem." She's interviewed here.

If you didn't get a chance to check out Bruce Cockburn at his special event for this year's Writers Fest, here's the Globe and Mail's review. "This is not your standard rock and roll memoir," Cockburn writes in the opening. His words are "the accumulations of an intricate and self-aware man."

Sarah Waters also attended this year's Writers Fest. Her novel, The Paying Guests, is "an exploration of illicit love, marriage and class in post-First World War London." In this interview, she takes us on a tour of the London Library in St. James Square (and her own life!)


starring Bob Kingdom and directed by Anthony Hopkins. The Cultch presents the farewell tour of this legendary hit production, specially conceived as one of the flagship performances for the centenary celebrations of Dylan Thomas. Playing now until December 21. Information at Tickets from $19.

Join author and environmental commentator Ben Parfitt as he celebrates his wife and fellow author Alicia Priest's first book. Thursday, December 11 at 7:00pm, free. Central branch, VPL, 350 W. Georgia Street.

Author Cathy Ace signs her latest mystery novel. Saturday, December 13 at 1:00pm. Black Bond Books, Haney Place Mall, Maple Ridge. More information at 604-463-8624.

Hosts Ariadne Sawyer MA and Russell Dior Benederio. Features Rosario Arias, Jaz Gill, Marzeah Wahidi, Anita Aguirre Nieveras, Una Bruhns. Saturday, December 13 at 1:00pm. Britannia branch, VPL, 1661 Napier.

Join singer-songwriter as she reads from her newest children's book, Music is for Everyone! Sunday, December 14 at 2:00pm. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St., Vancouver. More informatin at

Featuring Sonja Grgar and Franci Louann. Host: Renee Saklikar. Sunday, December 14 at 3:00pm. Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia Street, New Westminster.

A literary/comedy show where funny people read from the worst books they can find. Hosted by Sara Bynoe, featuring: Travis Dudfield, Jeff Gladstone, David C. Jones, and Tara Travis. Sunday, December 14 at 7:30pm. Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main Street, Vancouver.

Author Mark Zuehlke offers an insightful, informative journey back to February and March 1945 when our nation's soldiers launched one of the Second World War's most important offensives in his new book Forgotten Victory: First
Canadian Army and the Cruel Winter of 1944-45. Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00pm. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Branch, 350 W. Georgia St., Vancouver. More information at

Author Melia McClure reads from her novel The Delphi Room. Tuesday, December 16 at 8:00pm. La Fontana Caffe, 101-3701 East Hastings, Burnaby.

Jacqueline Turner and Changming Yuan are the featured poets. Wednesday, December 17 at 12:00 noon, free. SFU Harbour Centre's Teck Gallery, 515 W Hastings St. For more information visit

Poetic Justice special holiday event-all open mic with host, Candice James, Poet Laureate of New Westminster. Sunday, December 21 at 3:00pm. Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia Street, New Westminster.

Another qualifying slam to make the youth slam playoffs in March or 2015. Monday, December 22 at 8:00pm. Cost: $4/$6-$10. Cafe Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial.

Poetic Justice special holiday all open mic session with host, Sho Wiley. Sunday, December 28 at 3:00pm. Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia Street, New Westminster.


local debut author Kristi Charish launches her new book Owl and the Japanese Circus. Monday, January 19 at 7:00pm. Central branch, 350 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver. More information at 604-331-3603.

Featuring award winning B.C. authors and illustrators with guest speaker Kit Pearson winner of the 2014 Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence. A wine and cheese event on January 21 from 7-9pm at Creekside Community Centre. Free to Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable members and students. More information at

Naomi Waken, Nanaimo's first Poet Laureate, shares her latest novel, Some Sort of Life. Wednesday, January 28 at 7:00pm. Welsh Hall, West Vancouver Memorial Library.

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