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All stories relating to Hollywood

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Book links roundup: Lost Katherine Mansfield story found, Kate Beaton’s world view, and more

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Book links roundup: Catch Oscar’s Flying Books, Judy Blume’s Hollywood crush, and more

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Weekend reading from St. Joseph Media

From the latest film festival news to trendsetting fashions, here are the week’s top stories from around the St. Joseph Media offices:

Toronto Life: Up to the minute celebrity and industry news from the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

Fashion Magazine: Montreal Fashion Week Diary: with Barilà, and Anastasia Lomonova

Canadian Family: One mom’s tips for weight-loss success

Ottawa Magazine: Q&A with Wallis Giunta, opera singer and the face of McCaffrey Haute Couture

Where Canada: Canada’s national parks

20 Minute Supper Club: Nine after-school snacks they’ll love

Wedding Bells: Engagement ring picks For Hollywood’s fashion trendsetters

Torontoist: Full TIFF 2011 coverage


Fall preview 2011: Canadian fiction

In the July/August issue, Q&Q looks ahead at the fall season’s biggest books.


One of the most anticipated releases of the fall season is surely the new novel from internationally acclaimed author Michael Ondaatje, his first since 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award winner Divisadero. Set in the early 1950s, The Cat’s Table (McClelland & Stewart, $32 cl., Sept.) tells the story of an 11-year-old boy crossing the Indian Ocean on a liner bound for England, and the mysterious prisoner shackled on board. • Also from M&S is Guy Vanderhaeghe’s first novel in eight years. Set in the late 19th-century Canadian and American West, A Good Man ($32.99 cl., Sept.) is the third book in a loose trilogy that also includes The Last Crossing (2003) and The Englishman’s Boy, which won the 1996 Governor General’s Literary Award. • A third GG winner has a new novel out this season: David Gilmour, who won in 2005 for his previous novel, A Perfect Night to Go to China. Gilmour returns with The Perfect Order of Things (Thomas Allen Publishers, $26.95 cl., Sept.), the story of a man who revisits traumatic and life-changing incidents from his past.

Marina Endicott follows up her Scotiabank Giller Prize–shortlisted 2008 novel Good to a Fault with The Little Shadows (Doubleday Canada, $32.95 cl., Sept.), about three sisters who become vaudeville singers following the death of their father. • Acclaimed novelist Helen Humphreys returns with an historical novel set in France during the Napoleonic period. The Reinvention of Love (HarperCollins Canada, $29.99 cl., Sept.) is about a French journalist whose affair with Victor Hugo’s wife causes a scandal (as it might be expected to do).

Brian Francis’s debut novel, Fruit, was a runner-up in the 2009 edition of CBC’s battle of the books, Canada Reads. His second novel, Natural Order (Doubleday Canada, $29.95 cl., Aug.), tells the story of a mother who is forced to confront the secrets she has kept about her son when her carefully constructed life is overturned by a startling revelation. • Kevin Chong returns to fiction with his first novel in a decade. Beauty Plus Pity (Arsenal Pulp Press, $17.95 pa., Sept.) follows an Asian-Canadian slacker in Vancouver whose incipient modelling career is derailed by the death of his father and the sudden departure of his fiancée.

Requiem (HarperCollins Canada, $32.95 cl., Sept.), the third novel from Frances Itani, is about a Japanese-Canadian who embarks upon a cross-country journey of discovery following the death of his wife. • Anita Rau Badami follows her best-selling novels Tamarind Mem and The Hero’s Walk with Tell It to the Trees (Knopf Canada, $32 cl., Sept.), about the Dharma family – the authoritarian Vikram, the gourmand Suman, and the old storyteller Akka. When the Dharmas’ tenant, Anu, turns up dead on their doorstep, the family’s long-buried secrets begin to boil over. • Gayla Reid returns with her first novel since 2002’s Closer Apart. Set during the Spanish Civil War, Come from Afar (Cormorant Books, $32 cl., Aug.) tells the story of an Australian nurse who falls into a relationship with a Canadian soldier from the International Brigade.

Haitian expat Dany Laferrière is back with his third novel in translation in three years. The Return (Douglas & McIntyre, $22.95 pa., Aug.) tells the story of a 23-year-old Haitian named Dany who flees Baby Doc Duvalier’s repressive regime and relocates to Montreal. Thirty-three years later, Dany learns of his father’s death in New York City, and plots a return to his native country. David Homel translates. • Another Montreal resident, poet Sina Queyras, has a novel out this fall, the author’s first. Autobiography of Childhood (Coach House Books, $20.95 pa., Oct.) is about one day in the lives of five siblings haunted by the death of a brother years before. • Infrared (McArthur & Company, $29.95 cl., Sept.), the new novel by Nancy Huston, is about a photographer who travels to Tuscany with her father and stepmother. Employing internal dialogues with the photographer’s mental doppelgänger, Huston opens up her hero for exposure and provides an intimate picture of her interior life.

CanLit mainstay David Helwig returns with a novella, his first since 2007’s Smuggling Donkeys. Killing McGee (Oberon, $38.95 cl., $18.95 pa., Oct.) tells the story of a professor’s dual obsessions with the assassination of D’Arcy McGee and the disappearance of one of his students. • Toronto-based poet Dani Couture returns with her first novel, a surreal and iconoclastic take on that perennial CanLit staple: the family drama. Algoma (Invisible Publishing, $19.95 pa., Oct.) tells the story of a family attempting to cope with the aftermath of a young child falling through the ice and drowning. • Shari Lapeña also has a novel about a perennial CanLit concern: raising money to allow one time to write poetry. Happiness Economics (Brindle & Glass, $19.95 pa., Sept.) tells the story of a stalled poet who takes a job writing advertising copy to start a poetry foundation.

Jamaican-born novelist, poet, and non-fiction author Olive Senior returns to long-form fiction with Dancing Lessons (Cormorant, $22 pa., Aug.), about a woman looking back on her life after a hurricane destroys her home. • Memoirist Frances Greenslade (A Pilgrim in Ireland, By the Secret Ladder) has a debut novel out this August. Shelter (Random House Canada, $29.95 cl.) is a coming of age story about two sisters searching for their mother, who abandoned them after their father was killed in a logging accident.

Not one, but two novels this season extend the burgeoning CanLit focus on towns that have been/are about to be flooded (after Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists, Anne Michaels’ The Winter Vault, and Michael V. Smith’s Progress). Tristan Hughes’s Eye Lake (Coach House, $19.95 pa., Oct.) is about the town of Crooked River, Ontario. Named for a river that was diverted to make way for a mine, the town harbours secrets that surface when the river reclaims its original course. • And in September, Goose Lane Editions will publish Riel Nason’s The Town that Drowned ($19.95 pa.), about the suspicions, secrets, and emotions that flare up when the township of Haverton is scheduled to be flooded to allow for the construction of a massive dam.

Edward Riche follows up his Thomas Head Raddall Award winner The Nine Planets with Easy to Like (House of Anansi Press, $29.95 cl., Sept.), a satire about a screenwriter and oenophile who dreams of travelling to Paris, but is trapped in Canada by an expired passport and a growing Hollywood scandal. Relocating to Toronto, he bluffs his way into the upper echelons of the CBC. • Former president and CEO of Penguin Canada, David Davidar was forced out of his position under a cloud of scandal after accusations of sexual harassment. Davidar’s new novel, Ithaca (M&S, $29.99 cl., Oct.), is, perhaps not coincidentally, about the rise and fall of a publishing star.

Canadian literary icon Michel Tremblay returns with a new novel, the first in a trilogy. Set in 1913, Crossing the Continent (Talonbooks, $18.95 pa., Oct.) takes the author’s characters out of Quebec for the first time, to tell the backstory of the people who populate his Chroniques du Plateau-Mont-Royal series. Long-time Tremblay collaborator Sheila Fischman translates.

A resident of St. John’s, Newfoundland, lately one of the most fertile spots for Canadian writing, Michelle Butler Hallett crafts genre-busting stories and novels that frequently experiment with gender and perspective. Her new novel, Deluded Your Sailors (Creative Book Publishing, $21.95 pa., Sept.), focuses on the culture industry from the perspective of Nichole Wright, who makes a discovery that puts a government-funded tourism project in jeopardy, and a shape-shifting minister named Elias Winslow. • Another Newfoundland native, Kate Story, has a novel out with Creative this season. The follow-up to 2008’s Blasted, Wrecked Upon This Shore ($21.95 pa., Sept.) tells the story of Pearl Lewis, an emotionally damaged, charismatic woman who is seen at different stages in her life.

In 1972, Christina Parr returns to her hometown of Parr’s Landing, a place she fled years earlier. The dirty secret of Parr’s Landing? A 300-year-old vampire resides in the caves of the remote mining town. Christina learns why she should have stayed away in Michael Rowe’s Enter, Night (ChiZine Publications, $17.95 pa., Oct.). • English literature professor Janey Erlickson struggles to make headway in her academic career while caring for a tyrannical toddler in Sue Sorensen’s comic novel A Large Harmonium (Coteau Books, $21 pa., Sept.). • Paul Brenner, a Vancouver lawyer, dines with his son, Daniel, one Friday evening. The next day, Brenner receives word that his son has been murdered. Hold Me Now (Freehand Books, $21.95 pa., Oct.), the first novel from Stephen Gauer, examines a father’s grief and a lawyer’s faith in the legal system.


Anyone who has ever wondered what might transpire if the author of Bigfoot’s autobiography were to illustrate a story collection by Canada’s reigning postmodern ironist can stop wondering. October sees the publication of Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People (Random House Canada, $24 cl.), the first collaboration between author Douglas Coupland and well-known illustrator Graham Roumieu.

D.W. Wilson currently lives in London, England, but is a native of B.C.’s Kootenay Valley. The winner of the inaugural Man Booker Prize Scholarship from the University of East Anglia, Wilson’s debut collection, Once You Break a Knuckle (Hamish Hamilton Canada, $32 cl., Sept.), is a suite of stories about good people doing bad things.

Novelist Anne DeGrace has her first collection of short stories on tap for September. Flying with Amelia (McArthur & Company, $29.95 cl.) spans the 20th century and crosses vast swathes of territory. Wireless telegraphy, German POWs in Manitoba, the Great Depression, and the FLQ crisis all crop up in her stories. • David Whitton’s story “Twilight of the Gods” was included in the 2010 sci-fi anthology Darwin’s Bastards. The story also appears in Whitton’s first solo collection, The Reverse Cowgirl (Freehand, $21.95 pa., Oct.), which sports the most sexually suggestive title for a collection of CanLit stories since Pasha Malla’s The Withdrawal Method.

Toronto writer Rebecca Rosenblum follows up her Metcalf-Rooke Award–winning debut collection Once (a Q&Q book of the year for 2009) with The Big Dream (Biblioasis, $19.95 pa., Sept.), a collection of linked stories about the lives of workers at Dream, Inc., a lifestyle-magazine publisher. • The Maladjusted (Thistledown Press, $18.95 pa., Sept.), Toronto writer Derek Hayes’ debut collection, focuses on people who run afoul of the dictates of polite society. • Also from Thistledown, Britt Holmström’s Leaving Berlin ($18.95 pa., Sept.) examines contemporary women in both Canadian and European settings.

The fine print: Q&Q’s fall preview covers books published between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have appeared in previous previews do not appear here.

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Books of the Year 2010: Non-fiction

There’s no formula for choosing the books of the year. Some break ground, some tackle familiar themes with new energy. Some represent the best work from established authors, some introduce us to important new voices. And some are simply in-house favourites we feel deserve a little more attention. Here are the non-fiction books that made the most impact in 2010. (more…)

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Daily book biz round-up: new Oprah pick coming; money for Ontario textbooks?; and more

Today’s book news:

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Daily book biz round-up: Lansens on 24; iPad bolsters piracy; and more

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Fear of poetry waning, and the Globe opens the Bök on lipograms

The Huffington Post has taught Quillblog a new word. “Metrophobia” is not an aversion to riding the Paris subway or to well-coiffed men; it refers to a fear of poetry. And apparently, this affliction is on the decline in America. Kim Rosen writes that after a few generations in which the American public retreated from poetry, the tide seems to be turning:

Finally, it seems, we are rising from the sick-bed of Metrophobia, and returning to poetry. Signs of health begin to accrue. Hundreds of thousands of teens throughout the U.S. choose to learn classical and modern poems by heart and practice together for Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation competition. Slam, jam, Def, Hip Hop and rap poets tell it like it is on TV, YouTube, radio waves, and the stages of basement coffeehouses and national theaters. A major Hollywood release of the 2009 holiday season, Invictus, is about Nelson Mandela and how he was saved by a poem. Even our own president is reported to turn to Urdu poetry for sustenance.

Granted, this is still nowhere near the popular acceptance poetry enjoys in the Middle East – where Rosen points out that the most popular television show, an American Idol-style poetry competition called The Million’s Poet, has become such a sensation that it launched a television station exclusively devoted to poetry – but it’s an encouraging sign nonetheless.

Here in Canada, metrophobia has not seemed to affect the sales of Christian Bök’s experimental poem Euonia, which Coach House Books re-released at the end of last year in an expanded edition. In The Globe and Mail, resident logophile Warren Clemens uses the reissue of Bök’s volume as an opportunity to examine the literary tradition of employing lipograms in writing:

Bök, inspired by earlier writers who operated with severe, self-imposed formal restraints, set himself the challenge of using only one of the vowels in each chapter. Pieces from which certain letters are excluded are called lipograms, which has nothing to do with the great Chinese poet Li Po but derives from the Greek lipogrammatis (lacking a letter), blending leipein (leave) and gramma (letter).

Wordsmith Robert Hendrickson, a fount of information on the subject, says the first creator of lipograms was the Greek lyric poet Lasus in 548 BC, but the text that really knocked everyone’s socks off was Odyssey of Tryphiodorus, a Greek work containing 26 books, each of which left out one letter from A to Z. In 1969, French author Georges Perec wrote La Disparition (translated by Gilbert Adair as A Void), which contained no “e” in the text. Ernest Vincent Wright had achieved the same result in his 1939 book, Gadsby: Champion of Youth.

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Bookmarks: Superhero Bill Cosby, scary Margaret Atwood, and the Poet of Swinging Suicides

Sundry links from around the Web:

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My year of writing a trendy book for the masses

If you were planning to write a My Year of Doing Something Singularly Weird or Stupid or Virtuous memoir, you better get those pitches in soon. The LA Times claims the trend is soon to be played out:

They’re not professional pranksters, exactly, but the authors of what might be called gimmick books — memoirs with premises so high-concept they could come from Hollywood pitch meetings: This year, I will take all of my instruction from self-help gurus. Or, this month, I will be radically honest with everyone I meet. Or, today I will try to behave exactly like George Washington, genteel bow, Dudley Do-Right walk and all.

The last few years have also seen many green-themed gimmick books, including Colin Beavan’s new No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process. Gimmicky or not, some have been fabulously successful, and as it gets harder to break into print, the category remains one that publishers invest in.

The article goes on to explore the king of the gimmick genre, A.J. Jacobs. The title of his next book is The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment. He spent 2004 on a quest to become the smartest man, and 2007 taking the Bible literally.

Scott Timberg posits that these stunt books may be the result of the industry’s earlier slew of poor-me suckfest memoirs, the more harrowing the childhood the better. Timberg quotes industry observer Sara Nelson:

“Poor Frank McCourt wouldn’t get published today, I’d bet.” says Nelson, “The dreary Irish childhood recounted in Angela’s Ashes, from 1996, “was pretty horrific, but in an old-fashioned way. Readers have been desensitized to that.”

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Book Pictures

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Hall of Honourers

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Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Eva Stachniak poses with a copy of her book, Empress of the Night

Tea and snacks inspired by Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Rimma Burashko with author Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak talks to the audience about the best and worst of Catherine the Great's favourites

Eva Stachniak smiles as she signs a copy of Empress of the Night for a fan

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