Friday, March 1, 2013

Some reading suggestions, poetry workshops and other bookish things

Photo by Moriza courtesy of Flickr
(Creative Commons)

Several recent book reviews have appeared in the local blogosphere, along with news from Ottawa's literary scene.  Here are some posts that caught my eye.

Interesting Reads

Maria from I Believe in Story reviews The Beaver Manifesto by Glynnis Hood.  This 130-page natural history book provides an interesting look at one of Canada's national symbols.  "Beavers are the great comeback story, a keystone species that survived ice ages, major droughts, the fur trade, urbanization and near extinction," reads a synopsis. "Their ability to create and maintain aquatic habitats has endeared them to conservationists, but puts the beavers at odds with urban and industrial expansion."

Rob Mclennan interviews Ottawa native and now Montreal-resident Andrew Szymanski, who wrote the collection of short stories The Barista and I.  According to the book blurb: "In these stories,  a man recruits a sexual companion to chase his lost lover across the globe; a recent graduate remembers with bitter nostalgia his formative years; a man and woman contend with their own neuroses and anxieties in trying to pick each other up." (See the Montreal Gazette review of the book here).

Novels for Young Adults

Fire Star Books reviews Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.  The plot revolves around Clay Jannon, a San Francisco Web-designer who ends up working in a bookstore due to the Great Recession.  "But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests," explains a summary of the book. "The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on."

Jessica of Read My Breath Away reviews Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.  The novel tells the story of a 14-year-old girl sent to the Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.  While learning how to dance, dress and engage in proper etiquette, they also study how to kill, escape and espionage.

Emilie's Book World looks forward to two young adult novels that will soon be released. The second book, The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston that will be published on May 14, caught my attention with this teaser: "She's been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky…But now that she's been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last."

Local Literary News

The blog Pesbo has details on poetry workshops at the Ottawa Public Library, with the first one taking place on March 2, as well as information on the Irving Layton Symposium that will occur at the University of Ottawa in the beginning of May.

Above / Ground Press reports that Ottawa poet William Hawkins has been inducted into the VERSeOttawa Hall of Honour, along with Greg "Ritalin" Frankson.

A new blog called chicklit chicas went online in January, while Ciara from Lost at Midnight Reviews confirms that she has organized a book club for readers of young adult novels.

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