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2014 Man Booker Prize Awarded

October 14, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Narrow road to the deep north
The winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize was revealed on October 14. For the first time, the prize has been open to novelists writing in English regardless of their nationality.

The winner is Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

It was revealed at the ceremony that for the first time, Royal Mail will design a postmark celebrating the winning book.


The other finalists were:

How to be both J by howard jacobson Lives of others To rise again at a decent hour We are all completely beside ourselves

How to be Both by Ali Smith

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Toronto Public Library's Award Winners page lists the Man Booker Prize shortlist and winners dating back to 2007.

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Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2014 Finalists

October 14, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that offers support, scholarships and grants to Canadian writers. They also present ten literary awards in a variety of categories.

The nominees for this year's Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize were announced earlier this month.

All  my puny sorrows All saints Confabulist Girl runner Pastoral

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

All Saints by K.D. Miller

The Confabulist by Steven Galloway
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder
• eBook

Pastoral by André Alexis

The winner will be announced on November 4, 2014.

Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Patrick Modiano

October 9, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

French novelist Patrick Modiano is the recipient of this year's coveted Nobel Prize for Literature. Modiano was born in Paris in 1945. His Belgian mother met his Jewish Italian father during the occupation of Paris. Modiano's works are frequently set in World War II during the Nazi occupation of France and explore themes of memory, loss and identity.

The Swedish Academy stated that they had chosen Modiano "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

Although he has published 30 books, few have been translated into English. This is expected to change given the importance of this award.

"It's weird," Modiano responded when contacted about the prize by his publisher Antoine Gallimard. The author is notoriously low-key, generally avoiding the media despite the popularity of his books in France.

Some of Patrick Modiano's books at Toronto Public Library:


Dans le cafe de la jeunesse perdue Herbes des nuits Lhorizon

Dans le Café de la Jeunesse Perdue: roman

L'Herbe des Nuits: roman

L'Horizon: roman


Night rounds Out of the dark Ring roads

Night Rounds

Out of the Dark

Ring Roads




Governor General's Literary Awards Finalists

October 7, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Governor General's Literary Awards were announced on Tuesday, October 7.

These are the finalists in the adult English fiction category.

Unlike previous years, there are no duplications between the finalists and the Scotiabank Giller Prize nominees announced October 6. How nice to have so much variety!


The back of the turtle Juliet was a surprise My october The opening sky Sweetland

The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King

Juliet was a Surprise by Bill Gaston

My October by Claire Holden Rothman

The Opening Sky by Joan Thomas

Sweetland by Michael Crummey

More about the awards

Elizabeth is Missing: Alzheimer's Disease in Fiction

September 22, 2014 | Viveca | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Elizabeth is MissingIn recognition of World Alzheimer's Day on September 21, here are some notable novels featuring characters affected by Alzheimer's disease, a disease that has touched so many families here in Canada and around the world.  

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey is a gripping mystery with not one, but two gone girls. Maud, a British pensioner, is convinced that her best friend, Elizabeth, is missing. The police, her children, and her caregiver won't listen to her. Even worse, Maud has chilling flashbacks about her sister, Sukey, who vanished 50 years earlier. But here’s the thing: Maud is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Her sleuthing becomes a race against time – she must find Elizabeth and solve the mystery of Sukey's disappearance before her memory slips away for good. Shifting between post-War Britain and the present, this story is told with grace and empathy as it depicts the fierce (and on occasion, fatal) connections that exist between friends, lovers and family. Despite the novel’s unflinching look at the cruelty of Alzheimer’s disease, Maud’s intelligence and dignity shine through in her search for the truth.  You will end up cheering for Maud – right up to the shocking conclusion. Also available in eBook

Other great reads featuring strong characters battling Alzheimer's disease:

Still Alive Hateship friendship courtship loveship marriage Turn of Mind The Memory Artists

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland, a Harvard professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, struggles to maintain her sense of self and her independence. The film based on this novel was screened at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and will be released in 2015. 

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

"The Bear Came Over the Mountain" is a short story from Munro's award-winning collection. Fiona is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and moves into a nursing home. Her husband, Grant, is devastated when Fiona no longer remembers him and begins a relationship with another resident. Away From Her, directed by Sarah Polley, was based on this story and won a Genie for Best Picture. 

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Dr. Jennifer White, a former surgeon suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease, finds herself accused of murdering her best friend, Amanda. 

The Memory Artists by Jeffrey Moore

Noel Buren is a scientist with a neurological condition that gives him near-perfect recall. Along with his group of eccentric friends, he begins his search for a cure for his mother's Alzheimer's disease. This touching story won the Canadian Author's Association Prize for Best Fiction. 

 Related links:

Scotland Forever

September 18, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

A referendum will be held on September 18, 2014 to decide whether Scotland should be an independent country. I don't have any particular opinion about this but I wholeheartedly declare my support of Scottish writers.

These are some of my favourites:

Lin Anderson
Anderson's novels feature forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod working in Glasgow. Her personal life sometimes has an impact on her work as in Driftnet, when MacLeod suspects an injured teenage crime victim is the child she gave up for adoption years earlier.

Picture her dead Final cut Easy kill

Picture Her Dead

Final Cut

Easy Kill
Large Print

Christopher Brookmyre
Primarily known for crime fiction, some of his more recent books have wandered off into science fiction territory. His books are very funny and very violent--if you like that sort of thing. I do.

Attack of the unsinkable rubber ducks Bedlam Flesh wounds

Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
• Large Print



Denise Mina
Denisa Mina burst on to the crime fiction scene in 1988 with Garnethill, the first book in an acclaimed trilogy. Following this she wrote three books about a journalist--Paddy Meehan. Her recent works have been about Alex Morrow, a police officer with family ties to organized crime.

Garnethill Field of blood Still midnight

Garnethill: a Novel of Crime

The Field of Blood
Large Print

Still Midnight
Large Print

Alan Warner
Warner's novels are set in a town referred to as The Port, probably based on Oban, Scotland. He won me over with The Sopranos, a wonderful book about choir girls running amok at a music competition.

Sopranos Stars in the bright sky

The Sopranos
Regular Print #1
Regular Print #2

The Stars in the Bright Sky

Irvine Welsh
Welsh writes in a phonetically transcribed Scottish dialect about the lives of the working class. His best known work is Trainspotting--once called "the best book ever written by a man or a woman". Welsh supports the independence movement.

Bedroom secrets of the master chefs Skagboys Trainspotting

The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs



2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist Announced

September 16, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The longlist for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced on September 16:

All my puny sorrows American innovations Betrayers Ever after of ashwin rao

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

American Innovations by Rivka Galchen

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan

The girl who was Saturday night Moving forward sideways like a crabl My october Paradise and elsewhere

The Girl who was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill

Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo

My October by Claire Holden Rothman

Paradise and Elsewhere: Stories by Kathy Page

Tell frances itani Us conductors Waiting for the man Watch how we walk

Tell by Frances Itani

Us Conductors by Sean Michaels

Waiting for the Man by Arjun Basu

Watch How We Walk by Jennifer LoveGrove

Novels and short story collections are eligible for this prize. This year the prize money awarded has been increased. The winner will receive $100,000 and the 4 finalists each will take home $10,000. This doubles the amount of money given previously and makes it the most lucrative literary prize in Canada.

The winner will be announced on November 10, 2014.

Graham Joyce, 1954-2014

September 15, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Author Graham Joyce died on September 9 after a battle with lymphoma. He was 59. A fantasy writer primarily, his works often contained elements of magic realism leading to comparisons with authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

He was born into a family of coal miners just outside Coventry, England. In his working class community people who used two-syllable words were considered suspicious, he said. He received a B.Ed in 1977 from Bishop Lonsdale College, an MA from the University of Leicester in 1980. He taught creative writing at Nottingham Trent University between 1996 and his death.

Twoc The exchange

Graham Joyce wrote fourteen novels and twenty-six stories. His writing received numerous awards including a World Fantasy Award, multiple British Fantasy Awards, and an O. Henry Prize. His young adult books TWOC and The Exchange were both finalists for Carnegie Medals.

Some of Graham Joyce's books:

Ghost in the electric blue suit Limits of enchantment The silent land Some kind of fairy tale

Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit (alternate title: The Year of the Ladybird)

The Limits of Enchantment

The Silent Land

Some Kind of Fairy Tale
• eAudiobook

Beware of Beavers: 9 Novels about Animal Attacks

September 12, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

American BeaverJeremy McNaughton was snorkling in Nova Scotia recently when he was attacked by a beaver. The beaver bit him badly but McNaughton is on the mend after receiving medical treatment.

To paraphrase Troy McClure from The Simpsons: Don't kid yourself. If a beaver ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!

Although none of these novels features a beaver, each is about an animal attack:

The bear Cujo The flock Jaws Jurassic park


The Bear by Claire Cameron
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
A young girl must fend for herself and protect her little brother after a black bear attacks her parents. The Bear is one of the discussion books on Book Buzz in October.
Claire Cameron will be appearing at Runnymede Branch as part of the Eh List Authors Series.

Cujo by Stephen King
Large Print
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
A beloved family dog becomes a savage killer after contracting rabies.

The Flock by James Robert Smith
The planned redevelopment of a Florida swamp angers its residents--huge, carnivorous, prehistoric birds.

Jaws by Peter Benchley
A Long Island resort town is terrorised by a great white shark. The movie is pretty good too.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Large Print
Dinosaurs cloned from fossilized DNA are the feature attraction at a theme park. Spoiler alert! This does not go well.

Natural selection Rats james herbert Sparrow rock The swarm

Natural Selection by Dave Freeman
A species similar to manta rays has been living peacefully off the coast of California but when the food supply dwindles, a group of researchers in the area starts to look mighty tasty. Mmmm...researchers.

The Rats by James Herbert
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Giant killer rats terrorize London.

Sparrow Rock by Nate Kenyon
Mutated insects make life difficult for high school students who survived a nuclear war.

The Swarm by Frank Schätzing
Humanity is threatened when all marine life, under the influence of a supernatural force, begins a campaign of revenge to avenge ecological abuses.

Beaver photo credit: By Steve from washington, dc, usa (American Beaver) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


2014 Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced

September 9, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist was announced on September 9. David Mitchell whose new book The Bone Clocks was considered a front-runner, is surprisingly not on the list of finalists. Two Americans--Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler--are both in contention. It is the first year that the prize has been open to writers from the United States.

How to be both J by howard jacobson Lives of others

How to be Both by Ali Smith

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

Narrow road to the deep north To rise again at a decent hour We are all completely beside ourselves

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

The winner will be announced on October 14.

Toronto Public Library's Award Winners page lists the Man Booker Prize shortlist and winners dating back to 2007.

Related post:

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