Monday, January 30, 2012

The Weekend in Review(s)

Seems it's not just Suitable Precautions that got a little love this weekend. We also had a review of David Hickey in the Malahat; a review of Ray Robertson in the Winnipeg Free Press; and two more U.K. reviews for Alex MacLeod (one in the Independent, and another in the Irish Times). The latter, following in The Economist's punny wake--how could we forget "Of Moose and Men"?--is called "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer." It's also quite good ... "a heavyweight in the making" is a pun we're happy to see again.

Anyhow, here are the pull quotes. Today's challenge: can you guess who's who?

"Subtle, smooth, and genuine."
"_____ is one of those writers whose work appears effortless only because they’re paddling like the devil under the surface."
"Stark as Springsteen’s Nebraska."
"Free to create ripples in the mind of the reader."
"For all his erudition, ____ is aware intellect sometimes pales, and fails ... learned, clear-sighted and occasionally funny."

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Whimsy, darkness, comedy, fear"

Well it's been a quiet couple of days here at the Manse, with Dan at the Translation Fair in Montreal, but as of this afternoon we're able sign off with good news: Jim Bartley is doing a story-by-story run-down on Suitable Precautions in this Saturday's Globe. Take a look and find out exactly what about Laura Boudreau he thinks is "barbed and arresting," "familiar but irresistable," or (my personal favourite), "fl[ying] on snarky energy."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Light Lifting an ALA Notable Book for 2012

The Notable Books Council, a group of readers' advisory experts within a division of the American Library Association, has selected Alexander MacLeod's Light Lifting as one of twelve notable fiction titles for 2012. They write that MacLeod's stories "explore the limits of physical and emotional endurance in muscular prose." Other selectees include Julian Barnes and William Trevor(!), and their press release can found online here. Congratulations to Alex! More info about the NBC below.

Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of about 25 very good, very readable and, at times, very important fiction, nonfiction and poetry books for the adult reader. A book may be selected for inclusion on the Notable Books List if it possesses exceptional literary merit; expands the horizons of human knowledge; makes a specialized body of knowledge accessible to the non-specialist; has the potential to contribute significantly to the solution of a contemporary problem; and/or presents a unique concept.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Of moose and men"

As some of you may know, Alexander MacLeod's Light Lifting was recently published in the U.K. by our friends at Jonathan Cape. This afternoon we're happy to report that Alex's UK edition was reviewed--warmly? glowingly? ecstatically?--by The Economist. Here's a taste of what they had to say:

"A good novel woos its readers, tantalises them with glimpses of flesh and gradually lures them into a world from which they later emerge changed. Short stories, by contrast, rely on instant attraction and immediate gratification. If they are good they leave one hungry for the next encounter. More often, though, they leave the reader slightly jarred, looking for greater fulfilment.

Alexander MacLeod does not. His brilliant debut collection, “Light Lifting”, is engrossing, thrilling and ultimately satisfying; each story has the weight of a novel. The young Canadian writer is already winning plaudits in his own country. He can expect acclaim far beyond."

You can read the rest of the review online here.

The Women's Post on The Big Dream

Afternoon's greetings from Emeryville, which today looks much like the Arctic (if the Artic had suburbs--?). Snowy bluster bluster freeze. Dan, brave soul, has ventured forth into the cold to fetch a wandering poet, while Chris and I get to remain warm at work, secure and safe ... and, er, while I get to tell you about the latest review of Rebecca's book, which was published yesterday by The Women's Post. Sarah Mahmood is an intern there and took the opportunity to write about the stories she likes best. Check it out, if such is your fancy--and also, kudos to the WP for encouraging its journalism interns to review fiction titles! We need more of that in the world. More reviews, less snow. A motto for February, perhaps? Hmm.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"The quietest kind of brilliant"

Good morning, Biblioworld! What better way to wake up than with a happy bit of criticism? Alex Boyd, whose Least Important Man is readying itself for the press has we speak, has a few insights to share about his colleague David Hickey on Northern Poetry Review. Check it out! Open Air Bindery is David's second collection with Biblioasis, and à mon avis one of 2011's brightest jewels (poetry-wise, and to continue the gemology metaphors). It's lovely to see it under glass once more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"A little gem"

A happy note to kick off a snowy weekend: keep an eye out for Rebecca Rosenblum in this Saturday's Globe and Mail. Diana Brydon's review of the Big Dream is Top Notch! "The overlap of characters and accretion of detail between stories is like office gossip," she writes: "Rosenblum is an elegant stylist and spiky humorist; her language is precise, her ear for dialogue almost faultless. Her characters are alone or lonely, frail stoics who may hope for rescue but certainly don’t expect it. I found myself yearning for more connection, less deprivation on their behalf, and wasn’t sure if their plight was part of her uncompromising world view, or a consequence of working at Dream Inc. I suspect both. This is the way the world is now, she seems to be saying. Stop dreaming. Wake up."

Be sure to check out the rest of the review tomorrow in the paper.


There's white on the ground for the first time in weeks here at the Bibliomanse, but it seems there's more than snow squalling on the horizon. Yes, that's right: the poets are on the move! Howling at Argo Books, we'll have Mr. Zach Wells (Montreal, Jan. 16); sighing before The Single Onion, we have Sir Joshua Trotter (Calgary, Jan. 19); and finally, brewing before the Grad Club in Kingston on Jan. 23, we have Mr. Wells once more. Take note: an iamb keeps the season's griefs away! So if you're nearby, go on out, then come on in, shake the snow from your feet (ha ha), and have a listen.

Monday, January 09, 2012

A little wonder (post-Epiphany)

For those of you not up on your liturgical calendar, yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany. Three wise men, a baby Jesu, a donkey, a revelation of divine splendour ... and some lost camels, if you're T.S. Eliot. If you're Yeats? It's that uncontrollably mystery on the bestial floor. And if you're a parenting journal in Austin, Texas, well, it's David Hickey's A Very Small Something, which was strongly recommended by Parent Wise editor Kim Pletichka. "This whimsical tale," she writes, "told in lilting poetic form, harkens back to stories written a generation or more ago. The poetry itself is beautiful, trumped only by the fantastic tale it tells ... A lovely story for both preschoolers and early elementary children—and parents looking for stories filled with wonder."

Now Olive Bezzlebee might not be as wise or as grizzled as Melchior, or Balthazar, or that other one, but she did go out chasing a small bright something in the sky—and so "wonder" is exactly the right word for her journey. A very small something indeed! May good things and gumballs manifest to everyone in 2012.

The Wall Street Journal, and plain ol' Wall Street

Douglas Glover, whose new book of essays on writing Biblioasis is proud to be publishing this spring, was roundly praised in the Wall Street Journal this morning. "A master of narrative structure"? You bet. For Darin Strauss's paean (and a nifty metaphor about boulders), take a look.

(And, um, speaking of Wall Street, Wage Slave co-author Mark Kingwell was interviewed last week by Aid Netherlands. Here's a taster: "I was especially upset about the police crackdown because of the cavalier way in which ‘health and safety concerns’ became a blanket justification for police action. The books in the OWS library ... were tossed in garbage containers. In a strange way, this blithe trashing of books was worse than setting fire to them. For this neo-liberal police state, books are not even dangerous or important enough to burn. A depressing thought.")

Friday, January 06, 2012

Biblioasis Hits the Canadian Bookshelf

Congratulations to Anakana Schofield and Alex Boyd, whose forthcoming books were given special mention in Canadian Bookshelf's Most Anticipated preview for 2012. If you're up for a little Malarky (or, um, if you've ever felt like The Least Important Man), you should check it out.

Five Reasons Why Most Self-Help Books are Bullsh*t

Anyone watching Strombo last night? You know, that beguiling fellow, Clooney-esque good looks, uncipherable last name? Well if you were, you might have seen this: Ray Robertson telling the CBC-TV waves why most self-help books ain't gonna help you do squat. Try Montaigne, he says. And, well, why not?

(Sorry. Couldn't resist. But seriously, watch the clip. It's great.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Resource Links Praises A Very Small Something

Calling it " an engaging story with crisp rhymes and brilliant illustrations ... a concord of colour" Resource Links recommends our late 2011 publication of David Hickey's and Alexander Griggs-Burr's marvellous children's book A Very Small Something. Who loves bubblegum? It seems just about everyone under eighty.

For more information about the book please check out the website.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Lucky Bruce on WSHU Public Radio

Last but not least! Tune in for a lovely little feature on Bruce Jay Friedman that aired last week on WSHU out of Connecticut: "Friedman tempers hot remarks with humor (often hilarious), and affection for friends and foes alike ... refreshingly candid ... never mere dish."

(Two Thousand and) Eleven Days in Review

Well this morning the Bibliomanse flings wide its gates once again--or, rather, we're now open for business after a whole week off. A week! How is it so much can happen in 11 days? Review-wise, Ray Robertson was featured on That Shakespearean Rag ("The Three Stooges or Voltaire," Dec. 22), and interview-wise, David Hickey talks to Elan Paulson on The Rusty Toque (Dec. 23); Biblioasis furthered its global blog invasion with appearances on The Story Prize Blog by Cathy Stonehouse (Dec. 29) and Alexander MacLeod (Dec. 31); and last but not least, our authors continued to be highlighted in best-of lists both at home and abroad. The Irish Times recommended Light Lifting for readers in 2012, and Clark Blaise's The Meagre Tarmac was tenderly mentioned by Philip Marchand (National Post), Ian McGillis (Montreal Gazette), and Quentin Mills-Fenn (Uptown) in their years-in-review. ("You know it's going to be a stellar year for fiction when Clark Blaise publishes something," QMF writes: damn straight it was!) Amanda Jernigan's Groundwork appeared (officially) on NPR's best 100 Poetry Books of 2011, with a paragraph praising her "daunting formal skill," "emotional intensity," and "light, perfecting touch"; and last (but certainly not least), our very own Laura Boudreau came in fourth (fourth!) in the National Post's Readers' Choices survey. That makes her the second Biblioasis author to have beat out Ondaatje's The Cat's Table in recent weeks. (Suitable Precautions may also be topping the import lists in Switzerland, but that's another story.)

So! That was the break. Keep tuned for more news, and an annum faustum to you all!