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> Read and Recommended

The Books We Love

When you're searching for your next great read, make sure you check our list first / BY Nathalie Atkinson / October 24th, 2020


To take the guesswork out of your next selection, here are the books Zoomer editors and writers have read, loved and given their stamp of approval.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image. 

>The Darkest Eveningby Ann Cleeves

Home base: Whitley Bay, England

Author’s Take: “It’s a midwinter country-house murder mystery but I hope it has a contemporary flavour too.”

Favourite Line: “They stood for a moment looking at each other, while Juliet wondered how she could tactfully ask Vera to take off her boots.”

Review: Much as I love the Vera TV series starring Brenda Blethyn, I always come back to the original DCI Vera Stanhope novels (thankfully, by the time each adaptation airs I’ve usually forgotten whodunit). Partly it’s because the palette of landscapes of her Northumberland territory is such a range – from faded seaside towns and post-industrial areas to remote, almost feudal, rural communities. And now we get a classic country house murder. When I spoke with Ann Cleeves last year about her new series, she hinted that the next Vera would be much closer to home.

How close? Vera not only stumbles on the case (a baby in a vehicle abandoned in a blizzard), but the nearest house happens to be Brockburn, the Stanhope family estate. Naturally, when the young mother’s body is eventually found in the snow, the big house becomes key to the investigation. Once stately, the manor and family fortunes have both seen better days, but that doesn’t stop the distant and estranged extended Stanhope clan and their posh housekeeper from recoiling at the large and shabby investigator. They treat her (and her penchant for bacon stottie with brown sauce) like an interloper, and with barely disguised disdain.

Cleeves is always evocative about her home region in her prose, but The Darkest Evening was more gorgeously written than usual, between the weather’s bone-chilling damp, the cross-class observations, and the snow churned by mysterious tire tracks. (Her descriptions of the formidable winter storm and its aftermath had a touch of good friend’s Louise Penny’s near-magical realism, I thought.) And I liked her caustic little digs at the idea of cozy Sunday night programs and prestige TV like Downton Abbey.

All the while Vera’s catching glimpses of her childhood, and we learn more about the loner through her memories: the strained relationship with her late father Hector (black sheep of this well-to-do family); how she was an awkward overweight teenager; and how she felt like a misfit next to her elegant mother. Every Vera novel may be about the DCI, but not every case is (nor should it be), but I welcomed this more overtly personal story as a chance to explore the disheveled DCI’s past. As our favourite frumpy DCI might say: “Stick the kettle on, pet, and settle in.” – Nathalie Atkinson


>We Two Alone by Jack Wang

Home base:  Ithaca, New York

Author’s take: “The stories are set all over the world….and explore the many ways that Chinese have come to and sought belonging in the West.”

Favourite line: “These weren’t the colours he might have wished for, certainly not the maroon and single white V of the Millionaires, but a uniform was a uniform, and this one fit surprisingly well, as if it were meant for him.”

Review: Wang, who is from Vancouver, lives and teaches writing at college in upstate New York, and his debut story collection hopscotches across eras, continents and experiences to reflect facets of the Chinese diaspora and immigrant culture. As the stories slowly move closer to the present day, they gain momentum and link up to form a large and powerful narrative arc. In mid-century there’s a fictionalized take on Feng-Shan Ho, the real-life Chinese consul-general in Vienna during Hitler’s reign who wrote exit visas for Jewish Austrians at the time of Kristallnacht; in South Africa, under Apartheid, a Chinese family attempts to move into a non-segregated neighbourhood.

The striking hockey story “The Valkyries” sets the tone for the collection. It almost reads like a riff or riposte to Roch Carrier’s beloved The Hockey Sweater, one that makes the political tale of children and rival team allegiances seem safe, and almost quaintly charming, and ups the stakes. Just as Carrier wrote about tensions between francophones and anglophones, Wang’s story is nominally about hockey, but at heart it’s about the way immigration practices emasculated Asian men and how pop culture perpetuates effeminate and desexualized portrayals. (Also like The Hockey Sweater, the mother figure is a driving force here – except she’s deceased.)

Sixteen-year-old Nelson is an orphaned hockey hopeful who works in a Chinese laundry in Vancouver in the early 1920s. It’s the early days of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and when he’s rejected from the local junior league tryouts, the coach plainly explains why: his race is likely to provoke violence from his white teammates off the ice, which would disrupt locker-room culture. By disguising himself, Nelson finds a way to join another credible team — it just happens to be in the fledging women’s league. The challenge of yearning for acceptance without assimilating or sacrificing cultural heritage carries through. The final story, in which Leonard, a world-weary actor, struggles to find meaningful work in an industry that stills casts Asian-Americans in demeaning stereotypical and racist roles, resonates as much as the one set a century ago. Maybe more. – Nathalie Atkinson


>Shadowplayby Joseph O’Connor

Home base: Dublin, Ireland

Author’s Take: “A complicated love affair featuring Dracula creator Bram Stoker.”

Favourite Line: “Some nights, she is a wall of dust moving slowly across Piccadilly, causing passers-by to marvel and to rub at their clothes; others, she is a tolling from St. Mary le Strand that exhumes a long-buried memory of broken love.”

Review: Shadowplay grew out of a BBC radio play about the friendship between writer Bram Stoker and his employer, the actor and theatre owner Henry Irving. The novel expands the story to include Ellen Terry, at the time the highest-paid actress in England (and legendary beauty). Her presence helps form a sort of bizarre love triangle – or square, if you count Stoker’s long-suffering wife Florence.

The story spans decades, from his marriage and transition from amateur Dublin theatre critic to general manger of Irving’s Lyceum in the West End, through his struggle as a failed writer to his impoverished twilight years in a nursing home. (Dracula was a flop in Stoker’s day and only became a cultural phenomenon and financial success a decade after the author’s 1912 death, thanks to a silent film called Nosferatu and the copyright diligence of his widow.)

It takes a few chapters to fall in with the novel’s particular rhythm. The prose is gleaming and lyrical, but O’Connor mischievously layers a send-up of Gothic tropes within his earnest exploration of love – and the nature of creativity, ambition and failure. Once you settle in, however, the smell of greasepaint and tallow candles mingle seamlessly with the extant letters, diary entries, and musings of theatre ghost Mina and the slippery notion of a second self.

The latter comes through in the detailed portrait of the acting craft and milieu: in some descriptive passages I felt as dazzled as the audience must have been with Irving’s state-of-the-art illusions. (He experimented with the latest technologies to create legendary special effects.) Likewise, in the Jack the Ripper period, the gripping atmosphere of fear and morbid fascination during Stoker’s episodes of sleeplessness as he wandered the city permeate the pages like sulphurous London smog. There are playful Easter eggs that acknowledge Stoker’s greatest creation (a stagehand named Harker, for example), but the suggestion of how much of Irving’s personality was borrowed to create Count Dracula and what homoerotic elements came from the writer’s own repressed sexuality are more subtle, and poetic.

O’Connor’s novel was published in North America over the summer, but knowing it was a spooky literary gothic, I saved it for the dark autumn days. Once started, I was torn between greedily devouring and slowly savouring it to make the many virtuoso passages last. – Nathalie Atkinson


>All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

Home Base: Knowlton, Quebec

Author’s Take: “It’s about the relationships between fathers and sons, it’s about trust and what happens when that trust is betrayed, and all of the fractures that happen in intimate relationships.”

Favourite Line: “Life can be cruel, as you know. But it can also be kind. Filled with wonders. You need to remember that.”

Review

For his 16th case, Sûreté du Québec homicide detective Armand Gamache temporarily leaves the village of Three Pines behind for an even more picturesque locale: Paris in the fall. He and Reine-Marie are at their modest pied-à-terre in the City of Light to visit their two adult children and await the arrival of a new grandchild. Gamache is outside his jurisdiction investigating the attempted murder of his godfather Stephen (a billionaire, natch). While gingerly working around his suspicious Parisian counterpart, leads about venture capitalists, corporate malfeasance and a shadowy cabal mean he landmark-hops from the Rodin Museum gardens and posh George V hotel to the bunker-like National Archives. It’s the sort of global intrigue more typical of Dan Brown’s Professor Robert Langdon than Chief Inspector Gamache, but even if the plot sometimes strains credulity, Penny keeps it grounded with her signature rich characterization of the principals. As ties to his godfather are tested, for example, Gamache is working to restore a strained relationship with his son Daniel, and there’s self-doubt behind the quiet moral authority of his usual instincts.

Readers might miss the extended cast of the village and the familiar comforts of home, but all the racing around the Marais, grand Haussmann apartments, and stops at the Lutetia, the renowned art deco hotel on the Left Bank, is welcome escapism. (The hotel’s history, both as a location commandeered by Occupation forces to house Nazi officers during the Second World War and later as meeting place for displaced survivors, is also brought to bear in the story.) And just like in Three Pines, everyone’s constantly eating: cutting into the layers of raspberry cream and rose macaron of Pierre Hermé’s signature pink Ispahan cake; tearing into homemade pain au citron just out of the oven; or picking up fresh croissants from Gamache’s favourite patisserie. Taste (and in another clever detail, scent) help make this installment an armchair travel thriller that engages the senses as well as the soul. — Nathalie Atkinson


>The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Home Base: Sydney, Australia

Author’s Take: “I wanted to write about long friendships and how they are sustained, or not … to write a book about aging that wasn’t about the past.”

Favourite Line: “Artistic poverty was romantic when you were thirty. It was after fifty that people began despising you for it.”

Review

I am having one of those runs where every book I read is good. Particularly the ones about close relations gathering at an idyllic but claustrophobic setting – Lake Life, Lion’s Den, The House on Fripp Island – where the inescapable togetherness forces them to confront years of festering resentments. At the risk of jinxing my winning streak: The Weekend is the best of them. Jude, Adele, and Wendy, three women in their 70s, reunite over Christmas to dispose of the contents of their recently deceased fourth friend’s beach house.

I felt the pent-up frustration gurgling up from the first page, and immediately you’re inside this intimate friendship circle in all its brutal, irritable and flawed glory. It’s familiar, this way that long-time friends, like family, settle almost against their will into a dynamic of proscribed roles. As they inevitably hash out their differences – because there’s nothing quite like an old friend to tell it like it is – it’s refreshingly unsentimental. The creak and ache of aging bodies and their fragility, for example, is just a reality to be borne. Or the way one of them lives with the constant stress and indignity of precarious finances on a limited pension could have been mawkish, but it’s handled with pragmatism instead of melodrama. Each woman gets a wonderful scene that offers a glimpse of the essential woman she is, a reminder that for all the years and vulnerabilities, she’s still there. The only treacle is the elderly deaf dog Finn and, by the end, even he seems resolved to carry on.—N.A.

 


>The Ghost in the Houseby Sara O’Leary

Home Base: Montreal

Author’s Take: “I think I may have been inspired by the liberties [Kate Atkinson] takes with reality in Life After Life and also its companion book, A God in Ruins.”

Favourite Line: “I have never been able to shed the memory of my mother surrounded by the bouquets that were delivered to the house after Dad died. Crying and saying, ‘If only we could eat lilies.’”

Review: Fans of the wonderful Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson outing Truly, Madly, Deeply will immediately have an idea where this novella is headed: Fay suddenly wakes up one day and finds herself tethered to her Vancouver home, unable to pick up a piece of toast or even smell flowers, perpetually wearing a string of black pearls and her husband’s rumpled white Oxford shirt. O’Leary, also a children’s book author (Maud and Grand-Maud) and screenwriter, gives us a spare, enchanting story about gradually letting go.

 

The structure is elliptical, as she moves through rooms or notices objects that trigger memories. I was completely absorbed, especially during Fay’s awakening to the fact that things aren’t quite the same. We’re privy to her rueful interior monologue as she’s processing her petty (and spot-on) judgments about her altered surroundings. Her beloved red velvet sofa has been replaced by something beige – in fact everything is the colour of a tasteful and bland smudge.

 

Next comes her dismay at the realization that her husband Alec has moved on and she’s now an unwelcome guest in her own home. A slew of tiny mischievous poltergeist disruptions aimed at the new lady of the house ensue. (I mean, wouldn’t you?) And she’s trying to suffuse a 13-year-old girl with the will to live even as she’s sitting vigil and grieving for her life. You feel her loneliness acutely and the way it’s resolved is (forgive the pun) haunting. Disquieting and apt for these housebound times. —Nathalie Atkinson


>The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Home Base: Adelaide, Australia

Thomas Keneally’s take: “There will not be this year a more original novel published. I just know it,” says the author of Schindler’s List.

Favourite Line: “I used to think it was the other way around, that the misshapen words of the past were clumsy drafts of what they would become; that the words formed on our tongues, in our time were true and complete. But everything that comes after that first utterance is a corruption.”

Review: This historical novel is nominally about how the word ‘bondmaid’ (denoting an enslaved woman) was stolen from the Oxford English Dictionary, but really it’s about how words are precious repositories of meaning, and they can fall short.

In the late 1880s Esme is being raised by her father at the Scriptorium, where he works alongside lexicographer James Murray assembling the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. By paying attention to the word ‘slips’ they find unimportant and discard, she soon notices that the team of scholars and compositors—all men—are compiling a record that reflects their world.

Even as a child, she sees how any words that define women (and that have no male counterpart) tend to be “used to judge or contain.” And she’s aware of their gender and class bias. Words without other textual sources, for example, are omitted and ignore the oral traditions of the illiterate. The uneducated Mabel, a hawker of sticks at the local market, is effectively rendered invisible and is lost to history.

Against a background of suffrage campaigns and through the Great War, Esme begins a parallel repository by collecting and preserving words from the women who gut fish or cut cloth or clean the public toilets. (Of these ‘the morbs’ – a sadness that comes and goes and is a particular burden of women – is especially lovely and poignant.) Hopefully a sequel will further Williams’ excavation of gender and class and extend into race as well. In the meantime, by going into words and turning them inside out to reveal the worlds they contain, I’ll probably think more carefully about the ones I choose myself. —Nathalie Atkinson


>Rabbit Foot Billby Helen Humphreys

Home base: Kingston, Ontario

Authors take: “I liked this idea of trying to save yourself from trauma — which is kind of what the book is about.”

Favourite line: “I can’t explain this feeling of running after Bill under the long, blue prairie sky. It is like he is leading me out of darkness, out of a loneliness I don’t even know I have.”

Review: Based on a true story of a murder that happened in the Saskatchewan town of Canwood in 1947, Humphreys grabs you from the first page with the tender story of a friendship between two misfits: 12-year-old Leonard Flint and Rabbit Foot Bill, a taciturn hermit who lives in a bunker-like cave dug out of a hill on the outskirts of town and does odd jobs in addition to selling the lucky feet from rabbits he snares in the surrounding fields.

Leonard is a social outcast who gets beat up by the other boys because, as one of the girls in his class explains, he’s new and small for his age. In the first pages, Leonard witnesses Bill’s violent crime. His only friend in the world is swiftly tried and jailed; the only tangible mementos of their relationship are the six rabbit feet given to him by Bill.

In the aftermath and for many years later, even after he becomes a psychiatrist because he wants to help people like Bill, Leonard struggles to understand why the man meant so much to him and why he committed such a terrible crime.

Humphreys reveals the answer slowly, as Leonard seeks the key to the friendship through therapy sessions with an understanding colleague. The author paints a heart-rending picture of the notorious Weyburn Mental Hospital in Saskatchewan, where Leonard gets a job right out of university after a professor convinces him it would be good for his career to be part of its cutting-edge experimental approaches to mental health. Meanwhile Leonard wonders what he is doing there after he is roped into research, taking LSD with other doctors to gain insight into schizophrenia, and witnessing experiments on some of the 1,800 patients.

After he is reunited with Bill, the story builds to a stunning climax that includes a couple of surprising twists and a happy, but bittersweet, ending. — Kim Honey


>Beach Read by Emily Henry

Home base: Cincinnati, Ohio

Authors take: “It’s about a disillusioned romance author and a literary fiction writer who make a deal to swap genres for the summer.”

Favourite line: “Mom’s first diagnosis taught me that love was an escape rope, but it was her second diagnosis that taught me love could be a life vest when you were drowning.”

Review: I’m a sucker for any summer book with a pool or beach on the cover and Beach Read explains why. It’s meta, in that it plays out satisfying romantic tropes even as the characters discuss and dissect them. Their meet-cute and subsequent misunderstandings, for example, are straight out of Pride and Prejudice — only it’s between an esteemed Franzen-esque literary fiction writer named Gus and January, a bestselling writer of so-called chick lit. (Naturally, they embody the tension between high-brow and genre novels.)

Revelations about her parents’ idyllic marriage after her father’s unexpected death undermine everything January held true — including the unwavering belief in happily-ever-after that has fuelled her career. So, newly single and cash-strapped, she retreats to the Michigan holiday town where her father secretly kept a cottage (and secret life) to work through writer’s block while the clock ticks on her next novel deadline. Her self-deprecating inner monologue may be peppered with glib pop-culture references, but that’s balanced by a poignant second plot about how much you can ever know your parents.

Gus and January’s banter — about everything from the best venue for a good first-date montage to sexism in the literary canon — gets all the beats right, and the way Henry teases out the chemistry between the pair is seriously sexy, even when they’re arguing about how female writers are considered lesser-than and get relegated to ‘the second shelf’ for writing about relationships and the interior lives of women. (Paging Alice Munro!) Smart, funny, and moving — as irresistible as watching your favourite 1990s rom-com for the nth time. — Nathalie Atkinson


>The Girl From Widow Hillsby Megan Miranda

Home base: North Carolina

Author’s Take: “One of the themes I’m very interested in is whether you can ever become somebody new or if the past ultimately catches up with you.”

Favourite Line: “The case made all of us, and then it unmade us.”

Review: Arden Maynor has been running from her past ever since she made national headlines as a living miracle. When she was six, Arden was sleepwalking in a torrential downpour when she was swept into a system of underground pipes in the small town of Widow Hills, Ky. As the search continued into its third day, a passerby named Sean Coleman found her clinging to a grate, and the whole town rejoiced. Her mother wrote a book, and they eventually moved from the town to escape the media attention that was renewed as each anniversary passed.

The book opens as Arden — who has changed her name to Olivia Meyer and works at a hospital as a health-care manager — receives a box of her estranged mother’s meagre belongings in the mail after discovering she had died seven months earlier of a drug overdose, and the body has just been identified. A dark chapter of her life is closed for good — or so Arden thinks until she starts sleepwalking again and stumbles over a body in the yard of her rural home in the middle of the night. It is none other than Coleman, the man who rescued her 20 years before.

Miranda’s masterful psychological thriller is full of twists and turns, and what seem like red herrings all swim in one direction to a chilling climax. That’s the reason The Girl from Widow Hills is on the bestseller lists and why the author’s previous book, The Last House Guest, was an instant bestseller, too. Creepy, menacing and fast-paced, Miranda keeps the reader guessing “Whodunit?” — Kim Honey


>Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh

Home base: London

Author’s take: “It’s kind of a road trip novel. It’s kind of a pregnancy novel. It’s full of old hotels, strange doctors, uncanny landscapes and longing.”

Favourite line: “The white-ticket women would never accept me. It was lonely to feel like that, a true loneliness. I wanted someone to be happy for me. There was not one person who would be.”

Review: What if women can’t have it all? In this strange unnamed state, the minute girls get their periods, they are dressed in their finest and driven to a government lottery station, where they draw either a white ticket — which consigns them to life as a mother — or a blue ticket, like Calla, which means they get a career. “Blue ticket: I was not motherly,” Calla thinks. “It had been judged that it wasn’t for me by someone who knew better than I did.”

As with any blue-or-white decision, there is a grey area. And therein lies the twisted tale about a sinister patriarchal society and its subjugation of a woman’s free will and self-determination.

Calla gets an IUD, a bottle of water, a sandwich and a compass; in a bizarre initiation ritual, she is told to set out alone, on foot, for “anywhere but here.”

Once she gets to a city, she decides on a career as a chemist in a lab. Like all blue tickets, she is monitored at weekly appointments by Dr. A, who probes every inch of her body and every crevice of her mind.

There’s lots of hard partying and sexual liaisons, some with a violent bent, but the men Calla meets eventually pair off with white tickets and settle down to raise children. And when those men venture out with the baby in prams, strangers bow and scrape like they gave birth themselves and proffer money and gifts.

When Calla ditches the IUD and gets pregnant, Dr. A gives her two choices: have an abortion or run. She decides to head for the border, where the neighbouring country doesn’t care if you have children and a career. A wild road trip ensues that has much to say about motherhood and the deep divide between haves and have-nots. It is both heart-warming and heart-rending, with a surprise twist at the end that will haunt you for days. — Kim Honey


>Midnight Atlantaby Thomas Mullen

Home base: Atlanta

Stephen King’s take: “A brilliant blending of crime, mystery and American history.”

Favourite line: “They criminalized your body first and expected your mind to follow.”

Review: Unabashedly racist cops, media bias, racial inequities, police brutality — Midnight Atlanta is a historical mystery novel. (Really.) The third instalment in Mullen’s acclaimed Darktown series follows Atlanta’s segregated police force through changing times. It’s now 1956, and a young Black man is on trial, accused of the rape of a white woman. The Black daily newspaper’s editor-in-chief runs a controversial editorial exposing the truth and is shot dead. Now Smith, a Black combat veteran and ex-cop-turned-reporter, is investigating how it’s all tangled up in the segregationist politics of a new housing development that will raze the city’s historically Black neighbourhood.

Although Mullen’s fictional newspaper milieu and characters are invented, the urgency of real events throbs in the background and becomes integral to the story. Tensions are rising in the community due to the ongoing bus boycott in nearby Montgomery, where young Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. is agitating for change. Look magazine has just published the now-infamous confession of the white men acquitted of the brutal murder of innocent Black teenager Emmett Till. In the midst of this tumult, the murderers’ brazen admission shocks some and emboldens others. What became a defining moment of post-war American history gives Mullen the opportunity to explore white news bias, the relationship between police and media and the role of the Black press during the Civil Rights movement up close and personally. Smith’s frenemy Joe McInnis, for example, is the lone white sergeant in the Black precinct. And as he navigates the tricky racial politics of the Jim Crow South, he’s a character study in the evolution and shortcomings of white ally-ship. It’s a historical mystery novel, but Midnight Atlanta is also about what’s happening this very minute. — Nathalie Atkinson


>Blacktop Wastelandby S.A. Cosby

Home base: Southeastern Virginia
Lee Child’s take: “Sensationally good—new, fresh, real, authentic, twisty, with characters and dilemmas that will break your heart.”
Favourite line: “The bass from the sound system in a nearby Chevelle was hitting him in his chest so hard, it felt like someone was performing CPR on him.”
Review: The buzz book of the season opens with a breathless drag race between classic muscle cars. Mechanic Beauregard (Bug) Montage, a former getaway-car driver, is hustling for some cash using the unassuming but souped-up Duster inherited from his criminal father, who’s long gone. That’s not all his daddy left him. Bug likewise lives to be behind the wheel. He also loves his family. And while he’s worked hard to move on from a life of crime, he also loves the adrenaline rush. While struggling to keep his precarious but legit garage business, let alone pay for one kid’s dental work and another’s college tuition, he’s barely treading water until an old associate comes along with an easy pay day on a foolproof job. (Famous last words.)
Although the car chase sequences had me reaching for my seat belt, the diamond heist is almost the least of it. That’s not where the novel’s interest lies – at the complicated crossroads of crime and survival. This Southern noir is set in 2012, under a Black president but in a rural Black America where Confederate flags still proudly wave. Cosby calls the area a blacktop wasteland haunted by the phantoms of the past, and the ghosts he explores are many: love, abandonment, racism and the legacy of intergenerational poverty. It’s an intense, thrilling and often violent read and almost unrelentingly grim. But it throbs with hard truths about the impossible choices made for a better life. — Nathalie Atkinson


THE SCROLL

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Five Authors Shortlisted for This Year’s $100,000 Scotiabank Giller PrizeDionne Irving and Kevin Chong are among the finalists who "probe what it means to be human, to survive, and to be who we are"


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Duke and Duchess of Sussex Buy Film Rights to Canadian Author Carley Fortune’s ‘Meet Me at the Lake’Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have purchased the movie rights to the bestselling romantic novel, which was published in May this year.


Booker Prize Longlist ‘Defined by its Freshness’ as Nominees RevealedEsi Edugyan, chair of the 2023 judges, said each of the 13 novels "cast new light on what it means to exist in our time."


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Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to Publish Two Books Related to Mental Health and Wellness With Penguin Random House CanadaThe upcoming releases include a wellness book for adults and a picture book for children, which will roll out over the next two years.


Queen Camilla Celebrated Her Love of Books by Having Some Embroidered on Her Coronation GownThe Queen's coronation gown also featured tributes to her children, grandchildren and rescue dogs embroidered into it.


Better Late Than Never: Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s Unpublished Novel Set for Release in 2024'En Agosto Nos Vemos' or 'We'll See Each Other in August' was deemed by the late author's family to be too important to stay hidden


End of an Era: Eleanor Wachtel leaves CBC Radio’s ‘Writers & Company’ After More Than Three Decades on the AirAfter a career interviewing what she describes as the "finest minds in the world," the long-time radio host says she's ready to begin a new chapter.


Canadian Independent Bookstore Day Features Deals, Contests and ReadingsOn Saturday, every book purchased at an indie store qualifies you to enter the Book Lovers Contest, with a chance to win gift cards worth up to $1,000


Translation Project Will Bring Literature From the South Asian Continent to English-Speaking AudiencesThe SALT project aims to translate and publish 40 works by authors from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka


The Book Thief: An Italian Man’s Guilty Plea Ends a Caper That Puzzled the Literary World for YearsFilippo Bernardini’s elaborate phishing scam netted 1,000 unpublished manuscripts by prominent authors including Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan


The Late Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Is Honoured with an American StampThe Obamas and Oprah Winfrey pay tribute to the writer whose poetic interpretations of the African American experience gained a world-wide audience


Five Canadian Writers Make the Long List for the Inaugural Carol Shields Prize for FictionThe US$150,000 English-language literary award for female and nonbinary writers redresses the inequality of women in the publishing world


The Furry Green Grump is Back in a Sequel to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”Dr. Seuss Enterprises will publish “How the Grinch Lost Christmas!” in September


Chris Hadfield to Publish a Sequel to His Blockbuster Debut, “The Apollo Murders,” on Oct. 10"The Defector” brings the Cold War intrigue from space to Earth as the Soviets and Americans race to develop fighter jets


Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ Continues to Break Worldwide RecordsThe book also seems to have put a dent in the popularity of members of the Royal Family — including the Prince and Princess of Wales.


Prince Harry’s Memoir Breaks U.K. Sales Record On First Day of ReleaseThe publisher of the new memoir, 'Spare", says it had sold 400,000 copies so far across hardback, e-book and audio formats.


Barack Obama’s Favourite Books of 2022The former U.S. president’s 13 titles include Canadians Emily St. John Mandel and Kate Beaton, as well as tomes from Michelle Obama, George Saunders and Jennifer Egan


Here are the 5 Books on Bill Gates’ Holiday Reading ListThe billionaire philanthropist is giving hundreds of copies to little libraries around the world


Sheila Heti and Eli Baxter Among 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award WinnersToronto writer Sheila Heti took home the fiction award for 'Pure Colour,' a novel the GG peer assessment committee called "a work of genius."


Suzette Mayr Wins $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter’The 2022 Giller Prize jury called Mayr's novel "alive and immediate — and eerily contemporary."


Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards: Authors Nicholas Herring, Dan Werb Nab Top PrizesThe Writers' Trust of Canada awards amounted to a combined monetary prize value of $270,000.


Bob Dylan Releases ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song,’ a Book of Essays Dissecting 66 Influential SongsIn his new book, Bob Dylan offers up both critique and historical insight into various musical recordings of the last century by a variety of popular artists.


Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’ Will Be Published in January 2023The long-awaited memoir will tell with "raw unflinching honesty" Prince Harry's journey from "trauma to healing", his publisher said on Thursday.


Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker PrizeKarunatilaka won the prestigious prize on Monday for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.


Canadian Council for the Arts Reveals Governor General’s Literary Awards FinalistsThe finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards spotlight books in both the English and French language, as well as translated works.


New Penguin Random House Award Named After Michelle Obama Will Honour High School WritersMichelle Obama Award for Memoir will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a graduating public school senior based on their autobiographical submission.


French Author Annie Ernaux, 82, Becomes First French Woman to Win Nobel Prize for LiteratureThe author said, of winning, that "I was very surprised ... I never thought it would be on my landscape as a writer."


Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


Prince William “Cannot Forgive” Prince Harry, According to ‘The New Royals’ Author Katie NichollPrince William “just cannot forgive his brother,” according to Katie Nicholl, author of 'The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.'


Five Finalists Announced for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for NonfictionThe winner — to be announced on November 2 — will take home the annual $60,000 prize.


Peter Straub, Bestselling American Horror Writer, Dies at 79Friend and co-author Stephen King has said the author's 1979 book, "Ghost Story," is his favourite horror novel.


Rawi Hage, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Sheila Heti Make the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Long ListThe jury read 138 books to choose 14 titles for the long list, one of which will win the $100,000 prize, one of the richest in Canadian literature


Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


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