And so are the locally-grown spring books!
Book City has them. The authors have them. The publishers have them. The internet has them. Poke around online at Open Book: Toronto—a government funded unbiased guide to Ontario-based book publishers, updated daily with news of new authors, book events, readings and more. You too could be the proud owner of any number of these and other Spring 2012 books, brought to you by the hard-working, marginalized world of the Canadian independent publisher.
So to quickly contextualize this for you, in Canada there are two basic swimming pools for books. There are the multinationals—including Penguin, Random House, McClelland and Stewart—local and independent publishers such as Coach House Books, Pedlar Press, Anvil Press, Insomniac Press, Brick Books, Tightrope Books, Talon Books, Snare Books, and dozens of others nationwide.
Each season these publishers produce no less than four books. They all have websites, covers, content, punctuation, and they all want you to not only know they exist, but buy them, and then tell your friends how much you enjoyed them.
Out of the hundreds of books that came out this spring in Canada, I’ve decided to tell you about four; one novel, a memoir, a book of poetry, and a collection of short stories.
Metal writer, poet, and cultural writer Natalie Zina Walschots is set to release her second book of poetry, DOOM: Love Poems for Supervillains (Insomiac Press), which realizes her nearly four year Odyssey of immersion in the world of supervillain devotion. Illustrated by Coach House Books publicity guru Evan Munday, DOOM “addresses the results of abuses of power and presents a case study on the pathology of villainy.” I’m sure Natalie will be wearing capes for most of the spring and cackling.
Heather Birrel returns to short fiction for the first time in seven years with Mad Hope (Coach House Books). The stories range from a science teacher and former doctor forced to re-examine the role he played in Ceauescu’s Romania after a student makes a shocking request; to women in an online chat group share (and overshare) their anxieties and personal histories; and a story about the chance and mysterious nature of pedestrian encounters and their meaning.
Set in the 1980s in Montreal, political cover-ups, drug dealing, and ending with the tragic massacre, Mount Royal by Basil Papademos (Tightrope Books) is a raunchy, aggressive and dark novel heralded as “a bittersweet romance, a love letter to a time and a place.”
Having a father you barely knew is one thing, but when that father happens to be Irving Layton, arguably Canadians greatest poet of all time, how are you supposed to feel about the city you grew up in, the people you know, and the father you didn’t? Here we are among the Living by Samantha Bernstein (Tightrope Books) is a memoir written in epistolary form, chronicles the honest and heartbreaking examination of a life head on.
So yes citizens, the bookstores might be falling down like dominos, but the industry is still strong.
And if you don’t know, now you know.