Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy 10th! David Worsley on Once and Thought You Were Dead

The Biblioasis titles that first worked for me were by Rebecca Rosenblum and Terry Griggs. Once and Thought You Were Dead had a younger urban focus and a lighter touch that I think are still a bit underrepresented in Canadian fiction. There's not a hell of a lot of mystery to getting introductory readers interested in a book. They need to see even a bit of themselves in it, and find something to identify with. It doesn't hurt when talent wins out in the process. With that in mind, Random House has apparently let Terry's book, Rogues Wedding, go out of print. It would look great in a Biblioasis reprint series.

- David Worsley, Words Worth Books 

30% Off All Used Books in February @ Biblioasis Bookstore

To say thanks for having recently voted us Windsor's 1# Bookstore in the Windsor Independent's annual Windy Indy awards for 2014, we're going to be holding a 30% off sale on all used books in the shop. If you're a diehard book addict and have had your eye on something for awhile, or if you're new to the shop and are looking to check us out for the first time, it's the perfect opportunity to browse and pick up some real gems at a steal. The sale includes rare books as well, but excludes 1$ books and used special orders.  Whether you're looking for fiction, philosophy, history,  religion, poetry, children's books, reference books, art books, biography or music, we've got something for everyone. Thanks again for the love, Windsor, and see you in February!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Powell actually cuts into you, leaves a mark": Michael Dennis Loves Inheritance

Michael Dennis, one of Canada's most ardent and prolific poetry bloggers, is head-over-heels with Kerry-Lee Powell's Inheritance, which he says "could be the best book of poems I've read since my own father died." He calls the book "a scourging, searing swat of emotional intensity" and expresses great admiration for the way Kerry-Lee  "mines the internal conflict" of her family legacy and "makes it public". 
Kerry-Lee Powell uses her personal history like a spring board. Watch as she jack-knives into your thoughts. These poems stay with you. The jack-knife in this case isn't the dive. Powell actually cuts into you, leaves a mark.

Inheritance was also chosen by Carmine Starnino as one of his "Top 10 Canadian Poetry Books of the Year" on the Vehicule Blog, a list which also includes fellow Biblioasis poet Catherine Chandler's excellent Glad and Sorry Seasons, which we released last spring. Sina Queyras also included Inheritance as one of her three favourite debuts in her 2014 poetry round-up over at Lemon Hound.

And if all that doesn't convince you to pick up a copy, head over to Verse Daily where today's featured poem is Kerry-Lee's "The Girls Who Work at the Makeup Counter," excerpted from Inheritance.

More (and More) Praise for Kathy Page

Now that we've had a few moments to recover from the inundation of year-end lists that closed out 2014, here's a brief recap of some nice things that were said about Kathy Page's Alphabet as we were on the cusp of ringing in 2015.

- Over at Salon's "What to Read Awards: Top critics choose the best books of 2014" feature, Laurie Muchnick, a fiction editor of Kirkus Reviews and the president of the National Book Critics Circle, was asked "What book sits outside your list, but has either been overlooked or deserves more attention? Something you really liked deserving of an extra look?" Guess what she chose?:
One book that I would like to have seen get more attention is Alphabet by Kathy Page, from the small Canadian press Biblioasis. It’s a sort of Clockwork Orange update: A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend volunteers for a special program designed to reprogram criminals by making them face their crimes head-on, but he’s not prepared for the humiliation involved.

-  And at The Boston Globe, the amazing Liberty Hardy of RiverRun Bookstore (who also kindly included Biblioasis as the only Canadian Press in her BookRiot "Must-Read Books from Indie Presses" round-up) chose Alphabet as her Pick of the Week for the week of December 13th.

- Moving on to The Brooklyn Paper, Jess Pane, bookseller at one of our most beloved Indies, Greenlight Bookstore, championed Alphabet as her favourite book of the year: 
This is my favorite book of the year. Kathy Page puts you inside the head of Simon. He’s in jail and doesn’t understand his rage. He’s murdered his girlfriend. He learns the alphabet and begins writing anonymous letters to women. He pretends to be someone else — someone who loves art — until someone figures him out and asks him for the truth, and it all unravels. This book is about identity, the prison system, and how to love yourself when you’ve been beaten down.
 - And last but not least, if you still have a moment to spare, I swear you'll not regret dropping in at The Rumpus for Leland Cheuk's fantastic and appreciative dual review of Alphabet and Paradise and Elsewhere. Here's a taste:
Studies have shown that reading literary fiction increases a reader’s ability to empathize. In her first books to be published in the U.S., Giller Prize-nominated British author Kathy Page puts that theory to a rigorous test. Would you like to spend 300 pages in the mind of a murderer? How about fourteen stories replete with the vengeful whispers from those vanquished by the injustices of globalization? In both the novel Alphabet and the story collection Paradise and Elsewhere, Page demonstrates that she is a master provocateur, unafraid to ask unpleasant questions about contemporary society...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Second Printing of Local Sensation & National Bestseller From The Vault Due to Arrive Later This Week

That's right, the second printing of the bestselling local photo-history From The Vault, one of Windsor and Essex County's most sought-after holiday gift items this past December, is due to arrive back from the printers later this week. 

The response on this book, both locally and nationally, was unprecedented for us here at Biblioasis: within the course of less than six weeks, we sold through the entirety of the 7,000 copies that made up the first printing, making it not only a bestseller locally, but nationally. We received special orders from as far as the Western States, the UK, and even Australia. From The Vault was covered by The Windsor Star, CBC News, CTV News, and various other prominent media outlets, and was sold-out at local bookstores and retailers within the first couple weeks of December. 

The book, which retails for 39.95$ + tax, will be available for sale in Biblioasis Bookstore and online as of Friday, January 29th, and will be available throughout Windsor and the county in multiple traditional and non-traditional retailers as of February 1st. To reserve a copy at Biblioasis Bookstore, or for more info, including where you can locate a copy in a retailer near you, give us as call at 519-968-2206 or send us an email at

Let's make it 7,000 more, Windsorites! 

CNQ's Website Gets a Makeover

Canadian Notes and Queries' online presence has just gotten a whole lot prettier.

A new redesigned website has been launched for the feisty literary print tri-annual, featuring select articles from back issues, exclusive online content, and pithy blog posts regularly updated by editor Alex Good. We've also renewed our commitments to the Twittersphere. To keep up with some of the most lively and combative discussions on contemporary Canadian lit and culture, follow us here

And as an aside to all you subscribers: be on the lookout for CNQ 92, which will shipped and hitting the newsstands in the 2nd or 3rd week of February. It's a doozy of an issue, with pieces by Stephen Henighan on Mavis Gallant's cross-dressing Romanian mother, Jennifer Franssen on a Latin renaissance in East Scarborough, Patricia Robertson on writing the necessary, Alex Good on the long, long shadow of CanLit's golden generation, JC Sutcliffe on translations of Inuit and Innu fiction, Kasper Hartman on the golden age of indie video games, and much more. If you haven't subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? Save on the trip and the price of the newsstand and receive an exclusive collectible with each issue! 

“[CNQ]…may be the best literary journal in the land.” — John Fraser, National Post

Michael Dirda Praises The Pebble Chance in The Washington Post

"What draws a reader to a particular book?" asks Michael Dirda, over at The Washington Post. "A friend’s recommendation? A sign inscribed “Best Sellers” over a table in a bookstore? A review? For serious readers, it can be something hard to put into words, something highly subjective."

In the case of Marius Kociejowski's The Pebble Chance, Dirda confesses that even prior to the time of reading "there were several tugs on my attention, starting with the word “feuilletons.”" 
He elaborates:
Not often seen in English, this French word, associated with newspapers, might be translated in various ways: columns, trifles, “casuals” or even essays. That inimitable humorist S.J. Perelman used to refer to his comic pieces as “feuilletons.” Second, this Biblioasis paperback is slightly taller than most trade paperbacks, and its front and back covers are folded back on themselves to create dust-jacket flaps, a design feature common to European books. The Pebble Chance is consequently elegant in appearance and a pleasure to handle. Third, the author photograph of Kociejowski, with his handsome Slavic face and prematurely gray hair, makes him look like a Central European poet, a Zbigniew Herbert or Czeslaw Milosz.
And as for The Pebble Chance's content? Once he was drawn in, Dirda discovered a work whose virtues were equal to his initial intrigue, and found much to admire:
The Pebble Chance links together a meditation on Bernini’s sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, Kociejowski’s “continuing poetic silence,” the Italian game of bocce, and the place of skill and chance in artistic creation. It is a little tour-de-force, and...proffers the reader equal measures of autobiography, insight and quirky charm.

A rave stand-alone review of this sui genesis collection of literary essays in one of America's leading papers. Read the full review here.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Colette Maitland and Cynthia Flood on 2014 ReLit Short Fiction Shortlist

Great news: two Biblioasis short story collections, Cynthia Flood's Red Girl Rat Boy and Colette Maitland's Keeping The Peace, have been shortlisted for the 2014 ReLit Prize. The ReLit, whose mandate is "Ideas, Not Money," celebrates yearly the best new work published by Canada's indies, and The Globe and Mail has called it “The country’s pre-eminent literary prize recognizing independent presses." This year, the ReLit has mixed things up by eliminating longlists in favour of long shortlists. The shortlists are broken down by novels, poetry, and short fiction. 

Red Girl Rat Boy was also included in The National Post's recent roundup, "2014 Things of 2014: 20 Books Plus 3 Comics," where it was distinguished as one of their top three short story collections of the year. 

Best of luck to Cynthia and Colette and all the nominees! 

Happy 10th! Marilyn Gear Pilling on Robyn Sarah's Little Eurekas

Robyn Sarah’s Little Eurekas is a book that has meant a good deal to me. I open it regularly and for a variety of reasons. From it, I may gain inspiration or add to my knowledge of specific poets or read about one or another of a wide variety of topics that pertain to poetry. Or I may want to enter a world where poetry is taken seriously and filtered through the sensibility of a writer and critic whose work I greatly admire. At times I open the book just to be in her company for an hour or two. This is a work that enlightens, entertains, surprises, and communicates the beauty, depth and necessity of poetry.

- Marilyn Gear Pilling