A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Books from Random House of Canada Ltd.

I had a sneak peak at some new books from Random House of Canada Ltd. and these are my favourites:

See the list on Amazon’s Listmania

1.  Ossuaries by Dionne Brand (poetry)
“Dionne Brand’s mesmerizing new collection of poems is about human zoos; bones, culture, the fabric of our times.”
Brand is awesome, I’m sure to love this one.

2.  Book of Mercy by Leonard Cohen (poetry)
“Leonard Cohen’s classic book of contemporary psalms is repackaged. As lovely as the first publication 25 years ago.”
It’s a beautiful package.

3.  Tea Time for the Traditionally Built: Book 10 by Alexander Mccall Smith
“The 10th Precious Ramotswe novel is as adorable as the first.”
Precious is precious. I love this series.

4.  The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
“Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this bestselling tale of a family haunted by the past - and perhaps more - has received ecstatic reviews around the world: Waters is exceptional!”
I really, really liked Fingersmith and have been meaning to read more Sarah Waters. This is it!

5.  Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health by Rick Smith
“How the toxic soup of our lives is killing us.”
Do I need a book to tell me this? No, but it would be interesting to know how to better navigate the world.

6.  Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail
“Good food grown in small spaces.”
I have herbs on the balcony and am ready for more.

7.  Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd
“A heart-in-mouth conspiracy novel about the fragility of social identity, the corruption at the heart of big busunderbelly of the everyday city.”
A dark, twisted book with quirks that are sure to be my style.

8.  The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman
“Kaufman can’t be missed.”
All My Friends Are Superheroes is a brilliant book. I must read this one.

9.  Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
“Angels are big this year. A book to watch.”
Monique’s prediction: angels, oil an religion. We’ll be as fascinated by these things in 2010 as we were by vampires in 2009.

10.  The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag: A novel by Alan Bradley
“Flavia is back.”
For Sweetness at the bottom of the pie, this young detective is by to thrill me with her fascination of poisons.

11.  Dahanu Road: A novel by Anosh Irani
“Anosh is dark humored but one of my favs.”
Gawd, I love him.

12.  Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
Life of Pi guy gets every stranger with taxidermy in this novel. Yes, please.

13.  Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath
“Nobody likes change but a wet baby—and even then.”
From Made to Stick comes Switch. I won’t switch. I’ll stick.

14.  I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali
“The internationally bestselling true story of the remarkable ten-year-old Yemeni girl who dared to defy her country’s most archaic traditions byfighting for a divorce.”
This story just seems unbelievable!

15.  Boom! by Mark Haddon (young adult)
“I’ll have whatever Mark’s having. Love his work.”
Positioned for young adults, I think this will be a killer hit with adults too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Shen Yun Coming to Vancouver in March

imageThe New York-based Shen Yun is coming to Vancouver at the end of March. The show is an amazing revival of China’s five-millennial-old artistic traditions that thrived before decades of suppression by the Chinese communist state. It is presented by two non-profit local organizations, NTDTV and Falun Dafa Association.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre from March 25 – 28, 2010.

$39, $59, $79, $109, $139

Online: http://www.ticketmaster.ca/shenyun
Ticketmaster: 604-280-4444
Presenter Hotline: 1-800-683-0191


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Operabot by Vancouver Opera

Vancouver Opera ran a contest a couple of months ago called Operabot. The Operabot contest invited animation students from North America to produce a 30-second to 4-minute short on any of the Vancouver Opera’s upcoming operas. There are 15 submissions on the Vancouver Opera’s YouTube group that are spectacular.


Here’s one of my favourites.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Olfactory Buzz: Scent Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Scent Marketing vs. Social Media via Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley on 10/30/09

The other day, Ad Age’s CMO Strategy Section ran a column by Harald Vogt on scent marketing. Vogt may not be entirely impartial on the topic – he is the founder and chief marketer of the Scent Marketing Institute – but he makes some good points when he questions why so few marketers employ olfactory marketing strategies [...]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book Review: Fat of the Land by Langdon Cook

When Langdon Cook’s book came across my desk, I immediately wondered why James and I hadn’t written this book. But now that Langdon beat us to it, I’m happy to simply tell you that Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager is a fascinating look at how foraging for your food can be shocking to your friends but also deeply satisfying.

Langdon Cook was a senior book editor at Amazon.com until 2004 when he fled corporate life and shacked up in a little cabin in the woods. Fat of the Land is about how he lived off the grid and foraged for food.

  • Free-diving in icy Puget Sound in hopes of spearing a snaggletooth lingcod.
  • Picking mushrooms.
  • Fly-fishing for sea-run trout.
  • Collect stinging nettles.

The prose is a mix of literary humour and travel writing. The chapters are divided up by the seasons and each features some type of foraging for wild edibles and ends with a recipe. The first chapter I read was on crab catching.

James and I regularly go crab catching. And by crab catching, I do not mean with a trap, I mean with a wet suit and cooler. James is the catcher and I’m the keeper. He swims out and dives down for the crabs. When he has more than he can hold in his hands, we meet in the shallow water. I wade out with the cooler, he puts the crabs in, and I snuggle them in ice and then wait for the next two.

Catching Crabs at Cate's Park

In BC, you can keep 4 crabs per license and they have to be 6.5 inches across the carapace (don’t quote me on that, get the ruler) and male.

Catching Crabs at Cate's Park

Various friends have come with us to participate in the catching. They enjoy the eating and, if they are fast learners and get the hang of spotting the crabs in the sand, then they also enjoy the catching. It’s tricky. I can spot the crabs but I can’t hold my breath or dive down in a controlled way. I float like a cork.

After we have our limit, there are two options. Cook them on the beach. Or take them home and cook them on the stove. Either is acceptable.

Catching Crabs at Cate's Park


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre Wins The Giller

imageThe winner of this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize, the most coveted Canadian fiction award, was announced last night in Toronto. And the winner is ... Linden MacIntyre.

The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre is a story of crimes and cover-up in a Cape Breton Catholic church.

Scotiabank Giller Prize news announcement

Of the winning book, the jury remarked:

“The Bishop’s Man centres on a sensitive topic - the sexual abuses perpetrated by Catholic priests on the innocent children in their care. Father Duncan, the first person narrator, has been his bishop’s dutiful enforcer, employed to check the excesses of priests and, crucially, to suppress the evidence. But as events veer out of control, he is forced into painful self-knowledge as family, community and friendship are torn apart under the strain of suspicion, obsession and guilt. A brave novel, conceived and written with impressive delicacy and understanding.” 

See Amazon’s Giller Prize page where the books are available for purchase.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Amazon and Wal-mart Price Wars

New Yorker, Nov 9, 2009)

Price wars typically hurt the retailers involved, and often times their suppliers, especially if the cost cutting is shared by the two parties. The Amazon and Wal-Mart recent decision to deeply discount a key group of titles just seems like a race to the bottom. What are they really trying to achieve with this? The suggestion in the New Yorker article is that deeply discounting a select group of things brings people to the store, and then you can sell them more stuff once they’re there. This has been the Wal-Mart model for years. Appear to be “the lowest price is the law” (on a lot of things) and you get people there for the discount, but once they’re there, they aren’t going to price compare, they’ll just purchase the non-discounted products as well.

What the two companies appear to be fighting over is a selection of bestsellers, but James Surowiecki argues that it’s really customers.

So you might wonder why Wal-Mart recently decided to start its own price war, taking on Amazon in the online book market. Wal-Mart began by marking down the prices of ten best-sellers—including the new Stephen King and the upcoming Sarah Palin—to ten bucks. When Amazon, predictably, matched that price, Wal-Mart went to nine dollars, and, when Amazon matched again, Wal-Mart went to $8.99, at which point Amazon rested. (Target, too, jumped in, leading Wal-Mart to drop to $8.98.) Since wholesale book prices are traditionally around fifty per cent off the cover price, and these books are now marked down sixty per cent or more, Amazon and Wal-Mart are surely losing money every time they sell one of the discounted titles. The more they sell, the less they make. That doesn’t sound like good business.

Not good business, if you’re involved in selling books and you’re not Amazon or Wal-Mart. For the two behemoths, they’re only taking a hit on about 10 titles and the impact on revenue is minimal, if they can bring in other sales. The price war is also worth the publicity. Wal-Mart certainly wasn’t top of mind yesterday but I’m thinking about them today. (Nasty thoughts, but thoughts nonetheless.)

Read the full article: New Yorker, Nov 9, 2009)