Friday, September 30, 2011


Portalndia is a hilarious series that was on IFC. I know people like this...or more worrisome; I might be like this!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kate Beaton Comic Girl!

Kate Beaton is setting the publishing world on fire. She is the cover girl of this month's Quill and Quire. Her long awaited first graphic novel Hark a Vagrant releases this month and it has already gone back to print. Her website gets over 1.2 million hits a month. Chris Oliveros, publisher of drawn and Quarterly, says he hasn't seen this much buzz about a book in 15 years. It's a hoot!

Friday, September 23, 2011

On the Road Again

As a publishers’ sales rep I spend a lot of time in my car driving to libraries and bookstores, or just the office. In January someone gave me a gift of The Room on CD, and since then I’ve become hooked on listening to books in my car. Now, getting caught in traffic on the QEW is much less aggravating.

The Toronto Public Library has a wonderful selection of books on CD. When it comes to listening to books, fiction works best, and one of my recent favourites was The Help. It is performed like a play, with different actresses taking on the voices of various characters. (I think I developed a slight southern drawl during the week I spent listening to this). A surprise hit for me was a spiritual book called, The Shack. It’s a story about a man who spends a weekend at a shack where he meets and talks with God. I also got very involved in all the Jackson Brody literary mysteries by Kate Atkinson. They’re very dark, but Atkinson is a beautiful writer who is very good at creating characters with a lot of depth. Start with Case Histories and you won’t be able to stop until you’ve listened to all four books in the series.

Unfortunately, non-fiction doesn’t work as well on CD, but the exception is biography because it’s usually got a strong narrative like fiction. I was surprised that I enjoyed My Life by Keith Richards as much as I did – even though I still think the guy’s a jerk. It's read by Johnny Depp, Keith Richards and a British actor. However, my favourite biography on CD is When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub, a Hollywood producer who started in the music business managing John Denver. He also has some great stories about working with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and many contemporary and actors like George Clooney. With a distinct Bronx accent, Weintraub reads his own story for the audio, and it’s an entertaining, funny and poignant tale of a very interesting and full life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roslyn Schwartz on the Creation of the Vole Brothers

OwlKids will be coming out this Fall with The Vole Brothers. The Vole Brothers are the antithesis of Schwartz' very successful Mole Sisters...they get into all kinds of situations that those sweet Mole Sisters do not. From School Library Journal: "Publishers, you would do well to emulate this. Please make sure to stick around for “the editorial process”. It is fantastic!"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Castle: Heat Rises

Season 3 of Castle ended with a shocking cliffhanger, but the long wait is finally over- Season 4 starts again tonight! Woo-hoo!Because I'm a fan, I'm celebrating the return of my favourite Monday night show with a giveaway.

Hyperion Books publishes the books of 'Richard Castle'. Yes, that's right, the ones featured in the TV show! Heat Wave, which introduced the character of Nikki Heat, came out in 2009. Naked Heat came out in 2010. Heat Rises, the third book in the series has just gone on sale. Fans of the show will definitely want to pick up this companion book, because you KNOW it will be referenced in the show this season (they always are)!

One lucky blog reader is going to get the prize pack depicted to the left- a hardcover copy of each of the three books in the series, along with an ALA READ poster featuring Nathan Fillion the (Canadian) actor who plays writer Richard Castle on the show. Don't worry- you won't be getting the poster tacked up on my cubbie wall (I'm not parting with THAT one). The winner will get a fresh, still-in-the-package READ poster.

“Richard Castle proves as adept at writing thrillers as he is at solving crimes. HEAT rises to the occasion.” –Dennis Lehane, bestselling author

So, if you are a librarian (in Canada) and interested in winning this prize, please send an e-mail to with the subject Castle Contest.

I'll collect names until September 30th at 9:00 a.m. EST and then notify the winner. Good luck!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Unshelved is a hilarious website that does comic strips all about the library trade. I am sure you find yourself and your some of your patrons in a few of these strips!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Little Yellow Bottle

The Little Yellow Bottle from Second Story Press is a powerful book that deals with a very difficult subject...the impact of land mines on children. The book is told in a non-sentimental yet poignant manner. CM gave it 3 out of 4 stars and had this to say: "Christine Delezenne echoes Delaunois's authenticity with images,that at times,are both dark and disturbing. She does not shy away from illustrating the reality of war, but honours children of war by bringing to life its true scope."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Mindfulness Day

Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner take a few moments today to be mindful...and breathe!

Friday, September 9, 2011

National Reading Summit on You Tube

The National Reading Campaign has announced the dates for their third summit May 2nd-5th in Vancouver. They have also launched their own You Tube Channel. On this channel you will see Terry Fallis speak about what "Reading Means To Me".

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Get Published!

On September 17th, The Canadian Children's Book Centre will be hosting a seminar on how to get published. The panel will include Barbara Reid, Margie Wolfe (publisher of Second Story Press) as well as others...including yours truly! For more information you can contact Dawn Todd at or click here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Awards News! 2011 Man Booker Shortlist & 2011 Scotiabank Giller

Two major awards lists have been announced today!

The 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Shortlist

The six books, selected from the longlist of 13, are as follows:

  1. Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Random House Canada)

  2. Carol Birch Jamrach’s Menagerie (HarperCollins Canada)

  3. Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (House of Anansi Press)

  4. Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Thomas Allen)

  5. Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (House of Anansi Press)

  6. A.D. Miller Snowdrops (HarperCollins Canada)

The winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on Tuesday October 18.

The 2011 Scotiabank Giller Longlist

The jury selected 16 titles out of 143 books – a record-setting number of submissions – put forward by 55 publishers from every region of Canada. And for the first time ever, the longlist includes a Reader's Choice nomination:

  1. THE FREE WORLD by David Bezmozgis (HarperCollins Canada)

  2. THE MEAGRE TARMAC by Clarke Blaise (Biblioasis)

  3. THE BEGGAR'S GARDEN by Michael Christie (HarperCollins Canada)

  4. THE ANTAGONIST by Lynn Coady (House of Anansi Press)

  5. THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt (House of Anansi Press)

  6. HALF-BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan for her novel (Thomas Allen Publishers)

  7. THE LITTLE SHADOWS by Marina Endicott (Doubleday Canada)

  8. BETTER LIVING THROUGH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES by Zsuzsi Gartner (Hamish Hamilton)

  9. SOLITARIA by Genni Gunn (Signature Editions)

  10. INTO THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY by Pauline Holdstock (HarperCollins Canada)

  11. A WORLD ELSEWHERE by Wayne Johnston for his novel (Knopf Canada)

  12. THE RETURN by Dany Laferrière for his novel (translation, David Homel) (Douglas & McIntyre)

  13. MONOCEROS by Suzette Mayr (Coach House Books)

  14. THE CAT’S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje (McClelland & Stewart)

  15. A GOOD MAN by Guy Vanderhaeghe (McClelland & Stewart)

  16. TOUCH by Alexi Zentner (Knopf Canada)

  17. EXTENSIONS* by Myrna Dey (NeWest Press) *Reader’s Choice

The shortlist will be announced at a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday, October 4th.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The History and Future of the Book...Again

I was picking my son up from the airport the other day, when I was talking to another person also waiting for her son. She asked me what I did and I said I sold books...she laughed and said "aren't books dead?". There has been a great deal of ink spilt this past year on the future of the book. Russell Smith's piece in the Globe speaks to this person's amazement that people still buy books in their traditional format. On a much more positive note is Ann Patchett's piece in the NYT about how wonderful bookstores much that she is planning to open her own bookstore.
And finally Lev Grossman wrote a very cool history of the book "From Scroll to Screen" also from the NYT.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Don't Want to be a Pea!

Hugo (the Hippo) and Bella (the Bird) are best friends, but when they are invited to a costume party they can't agree on what outfits to wear. Hugo wants to wear a princess costume and tries to convince Bella to dress up like a pea, but she refuses. Bella offers several alternative ideas for matching costumes, such as a mermaid and a rock, but Hugo is offended. He does not look like a rock!

Eventually the two friends come up with an innovative solution and have a wonderful time at the party. I don't want to be a pea! is a warm and funny story about the give and take of friendship. The book is illustrated with simple, brightly coloured pictures and it would be great for reading aloud at storytime.