Category Archives: Authors

Fan mail!

Dear Author … thank you for writing!

I receive a monthly newsletter from the website Order of Books that is currated by Graeme McGaw. The newsletters, and the website itself for that matter, are filled with a great deal of information about authors, their books, and reading in general. (I strongly recommend that interested readers begin following the website and sign up for this monthly newsletter.)

But this suggestion of Graeme’s in his April newsletter particularly stood out for me. He says:

One thing I also wanted to suggest during this period of time – take a minute to write to your favourite authors and thank them. Thank them for the books they have written, the adventures they have taken you on, and the worlds they have allowed you to escape into.

That’s something we should all be doing in general. I know when I enjoy a book, I take a minute to write to an author and just thank them. Thanks for pouring months and months of your life into this story. Authors have it rough. Not only is it a lot of work, but they’re also putting themselves out there. Think of all those negative reviews an author receives on a book. That sort of thing can be crushing to an author. I know I personally have always wanted to write a book, but don’t think I could deal with the negative reviews.

I also find I have a 100% response ratio from authors too which is really cool. They’ve always taken the time to reply and let me know they appreciate the e-mails etc. and I love that. So yeah, take the time to write to your authors. It will make their day.

This is an idea I’ve always considered advocating because, as an author myself, I know how much a few lines of recognition and thanks can mean when received from an unknown reader who has been touched in some way by something I’ve written. Yes, it’s terrific to hear from friends and family or people I’ve met during my career in books, but it’s quite different when a stranger makes the time and effort to reach out and compliment me. I’m not talking posted reviews here or public messages on social media or even comments on blog posts, but actual private messages, whether they be sent by email or snail mail, something that is meant for the author’s eyes only. That is very special indeed!

In a way, I’ve kind of been complimenting many authors I admire myself in public for these past 5 months through my current Authors-Readers International series on this blog. But even I am now considering writing to a few other authors whose work has really meant a lot to me, just to let them know they have a reader who appreciates what they do.

So during this time of self-isolation, when I know that so many readers are consoling themselves with, and whiling away their time reading a lot of books – as am I! – why not consider sending the authors of those books a message to let them know how much you are enjoying what they write?

It can even be a message as short as the title of this post: Dear Author … thank you for writing! Whatever you write, I can assure you that any author who receives such a message will be thoroughly grateful for your having taken that time to contact them.

Perhaps this is an idea you can share with any younger readers around your house! It’s never too early for readers to learn to appreciate the work favourite authors put into the books they love to read!

And if you can’t find a particular author’s direct contact information online, you can either write to them via their publisher, or check with me. I might have ideas on how to find them.

If you want to do more than just write a letter to help out an author whose work you appreciate, this earlier blog post of mine, How You Can Invest in Authors and Books, gives you 9 other ways you may show your appreciation!

Dedicated Reading … My New TBR List: Part 2

This is a continuation of an earlier blogpost from the summer, Dedicated Reading … My New TBR List: Part 1

Back again with the second half of my to-be-read stack …

 

 

Paul Quarrington is next on my list. An actual mentor to me, Quarrington was the author I worked with when I was enrolled (online) in the Humber School of Creative Writing. He was an award-winning novelist, playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, musician and writing instructor. At the time he died, I discovered he was one month younger than me – he was so accomplished, and here I was, really just starting out, flexing my own creative muscles. I wrote a tribute to Quarrington on my blog. I have paperback copies of seven of his novels, and was going to begin by reading Whale Music (which had also been made into a movie), but then I noticed the hardcover copy of Cigar Box Banjo: Notes on Music and Life that was published posthumously in 2010 by Greystone Books – who I had repped for many years. And, when I opened the book to have a better look, I discovered there is a CD/DVD attached to the back cover containing three songs and two videos by Quarrington … Bonus! So I’ll add that CD to my stack for background music while reading the novel. (I do have a copy of Quarrington‘s final CD, The Songs, but that’s in my CD library on Bequia.)

David Poulsen is an author I first met in 1993 when I was repping for Red Deer College Press and they published his novel Don’t Fence Me In, A Romance of the New West. (I have reminded Dave that we were among the few who remained relatively unscathed after working with publisher Dennis Johnson … Aritha (below) is another of those fortunate “few.”) Poulsen has not only written many books for teens and adults over the decades, but has also been an actor, TV presenter, rock singer, college instructor, high school football coach, bareback rider, rodeo clown – and an award-winning Professional Rodeo Announcer! He has served a number of times as writer-in-residence for various libraries, and is quite capable of encouraging readers, especially that difficult group of reluctant readers – teenage boys! – to get all fired up about reading books. It’s David’s enthusiasm for writing and telling a great story that attracts readers. For this reader, however, it’s also his great sense of humour and humility that comes through. I only have three print books in my library by David Poulsen (one of which is The Cowboy Country Cookbook, co-written with Barb Poulsen and Lauren Hitchner and also published by Red Deer Collge Press), but I have read many of his other titles borrowed from libraries either online as eBooks or in print editions. Here’s a video I found on YouTube about David’s career as a rodeo announcer, so I’ll let him tell you all about himself!

And when I was publishing my second novel, One Woman’s Island, David Poulsen did me the honour of providing a blurb for the back cover!

 

 

Next up is an author who may not be known outside Canada as well as I think he should be. Guy Vanderhaeghe is from Saskatchewan and began publishing after I had moved west, so I certainly knew of him and his writing early on. And his writing is superb! Any new book by Vanderhaeghe is an event, as far as I’m concerned, and worthy of being bought in a hardcover edition to add to my library. Possibly his best-known novel is The Englishman’s Boy, published in 1996. The edition I have was packed up to go with us to Bequia, so was on my shelf there, when a friend came looking for a book to lend to his American friend to read while he sat in Her Majesty’s Prison in Kingstown awaiting a murder trial. (This was a celebrated case at the time, which you may read about here.) My friend took the book and returned it a few weeks later, complete with a hand-written review on an inside page – and a “Censored” stamp from the prison! When I had the opportunity to meet Vanderhaeghe in Banff a number of years later, I took all my books for him to sign, and gave him a copy of this page … His reaction was cautiously amused.

I will be rereading Vanderhaeghe’s second book, My Present Age, published in 1984 and nominated for the Booker Prize that year.

Aritha van Herk should need no introduction! I’ve written about this author before on this blog (a post in which I explain how I know Aritha) and she also recommended the author George Melnyk on my Reading Recommendations blog. She continues to be an inspiration to me, and I’m especially grateful for the confidence she has always had in my ability to do … well, almost anything! Aritha van Herk has also had a longtime connection to two of the other authors I’m listing on these two blog posts: Robert Kroetsch and Rudy Wiebe. This time around, I will be rereading a novel that was published by our mutual friend, Dennis Johnson, when he was the publisher of Red Deer College Press, a book she describes as geografictione, Places Far From Ellesmere.

Another author I met through being his sales rep is Tom Wayman, who published Woodstock Rising, a novel with Dundurn Press in 2009. A long-time teacher at the University of Calgary, Wayman is primarily known as a poet.

And the final author in this list is Rudy Wiebe (previously mentioned above in connection with Aritha van Herk). Weibe taught for many years at the University of Alberta, but I only learned of the author and his work when I began selling books in Calgary in 1978 and realized what an important literary figure he was in the west. I know him best for his books The Temptation of Big Bear (winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1973) and The Mad Trapper, a novel about Albert Johnson who in 1932 became the most notorious criminal in North America, the object of the largest manhunt in RCMP history. (I have a copy of the original M&S edition from 1980 and the re-issue by Red Deer Press in 2003.)

Our own Griz when he was a kitten (he’s now 13 and no longer fits on these shelves …) checking out my Bequia library of books. One of those books by Cormac McCarthy on which Griz is perched is a rare signed edition (rare because McCarthy is known for seldom signing books or doing any promotion) that was very generously given to me by a fellow Canadian sales rep.

Authors-Readers International

Authors-Readers International is the name of a new means of online promotion I have developed to help the many great authors I’ve met, previously promoted, have worked with online, or whose books I’ve published, to reach a wider audience – worldwide, I’m hoping! – and receive more attention for their published books.

I’m going to begin this promotion (which will run as a series of blog posts here on my main blog, reblogged on Reading Recommendations, and shared on social media) with a daily post on individual authors, beginning on
Dec. 1 and ending with Dec. 31. Then any further promotions will be less frequent, maybe one a week. Inclusion of authors promoted here will be by invitation only. I want to present the authors I’ve met in person or who I’ve had a connection with online, but also, and more importantly, authors whose books I have enjoyed reading. I want to share their work with readers around the world and give them as much exposure as I can muster. I’ve already come up with a complete list of authors for the Dec. blog posts and I’ll be contacting these authors all within the next couple of days to explain this new promotion to them and ask if they would like to participate.

But really, this is all about the readers out there, and providing all readers with information on good books and authors who may not have previously been on their radar. The crucial part of this promotion though is in the sharing of blog posts and attracting more readers to pay attention to this information I’m compiling.

Eventually I’d like to include online interviews with the authors, encourage all authors to create their own podcasts and videos about themselves and their writing, and allow them to “give a brief reading” from their books via a podcast or video. Online literary “salons” are also a possibility in the future. (I have a lot of ideas for developing this promotion series, and all ideas have already been approved, I’m happy to say, by Betty Jane Hegerat! I’ve promised her that no dressing up as clowns will be involved.)

I’m up for suggestions from readers, too … What would you like to know/hear about new-to-you authors?

Links will be provided to all published work and author websites. These promotion pieces will be brief, but I’m hoping they will offer enough information to encourage more readers to seek out and read books by authors who I personally recommend.

Dedicated Reading … My New TBR List: Part 1

As some of you may know, I recently moved A LOT of my personal library from Calgary, where it had been stored for a number of years, to my trailer in Ontario. I’ve spent the past few weeks sorting through what arrived, have enjoyed reacquainting with lots of old friends, and tried to figure out how to sort and shelve all the books in this limited space that is my summer home. (That’s part of the fun of book ownership though … being a custodian to all these great books I’ve accumulated over the years – decades, actually – and revisiting with them, remembering why they are important to me and why I am still planning on keeping them.)

I really do have limited space! Even if I were to find another bookshelf it’s doubtful I’d be able to fit it in anywhere … unless I were to move out the pull-out couch in the sunroom. But then, where would overnight guests sleep? So I currently have stacks of books in various places, books that I couldn’t shelve or that are eventually going to be shipped to Bequia (which is another problem … How many more books can I possibly fit on the bookshelves there? None, would be Dennis’s reply).

So, the books I did manage to shelve on the two bookshelves I do have are the real keepers, and mainly signed copies written and published by authors (and publishers) who I know personally, have met, or promoted at some time in my career. The smaller shelving unit I’ve earmarked for Children’s books and Cookbooks on the top shelf, with the rest of the space being dedicated to authors who have not only signed books for me, but who I’ve met, been taught by, or become friends with over the years – and who I also felt to be influential throughout my career in books. These are my mentors and author-heroes. (Not all their books are here though, because there are many authors who have been equally influential but whose books have resided on Bequia for a couple of decades. More on that group of authors and the importance of their books later when I return there in October.) What I’ve done for this first blog post on dedicated reading – because that’s what I’m calling this exercise – is to pull one book written by each of the authors on these shelves, and I plan to these books (alphabetical, according to author’s name) over the next while. Here’s the first stack:

First on the pile and read already is Billy Collins‘s The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems. I met Collins when he was the Calgary Distinguished Writer at University of Calgary and I was on the selection committee. At that time, I bought this and five other books he’d published, and he signed them all. (There are many videos of Collins reading his own poetry posted to YouTube and, if you’ve never read his poetry or heard him read, you’re in for a treat!)

Second is a novel by Jack Hodgins, The Master of Happy Endings. When I was a new bookseller in the late 70s, Hodgins had just published his first books, Spit Delaney’s Island and The Invention of the World. I loved his writing from the very beginning! I met him in Edmonton at a conference (where I also met a couple of other writers listed below) and bought the book I plan to read next. He signed this copy, and I also have a signed copy of Distance, an earlier novel, although I’m not sure now whether I had it with me to be signed at the same time. Hodgins wrote an excellent book on the craft of writing, A Passion for Narrative that has become a standard text book in Canada, and he taught fiction writing at the University of Victoria. One of his students there was Ann Ireland (see below). I have other books by Hodgins in my Bequia library.

Coincidentally, next on the stack is a novel by Ann Ireland! I studied a number of writing courses through Ryerson University (online) with Ireland and she was an excellent teacher, always a great champion of me and my writing as well. We did meet in person a few times in Toronto, at her request, for coffee and to just talk writing and the book business. Unfortunately, Ann Ireland died in Sept. 2018. While I own copies of all her novels, the only one that may be a signed copy is down in Bequia. I’ll have to check that one for a signature. This time around, I’m reading Exile, which was published by Dundurn, a Toronto publisher I repped. I also featured Ann Ireland on my promotion blog, Reading Recommendations.

Next up is another emotional one for me … Robert Kroetsch. It wasn’t until I moved west in ’78 and began work as a bookseller that I learned about a number of very important Western Canadian authors (several of them on this list, in fact), but over the years I discovered what my Eastern Canadian University degree in literature hadn’t taught me – there’s a wealth of great writing that’s been published for decades coming out of the West! Thankfully, I also had the opportunity to meet many of these authors over the decades, and Robert Kroetsch is certainly one of the most memorable. (I first met Kroetsch at that same conference in Edmonton, mentioned above under Hodgins.) I’ve been tearing up in preparation for writing this short piece about the man, so I decided instead to just post what I wrote about him a number of years ago on this blog, when I’d heard he had died in a car crash.

Another of the famous Western Canadian Authors I only heard about after moving to Calgary was Grant MacEwan, and the book I have of his to read is a old tattered edition of Eye Opener Bob (a Calgary classic!), which I suspect may have come to me from the library of publisher, Dennis Johnson (but that’s another story). I do remember hosting MacEwan for signings when I worked at The Guild Gallery in Calgary, and he was extremely popular (especially with the eldery ladies …), having also been the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. Then later, when I worked at Sandpiper Books, his granddaughter came to work with us. While I sold many of MacEwan‘s books at those two bookstores and as sales rep for his publisher, I’m embarrassed to say that this will be the first of those books I’ve read. Looking forward to this slice of Calgary history! I also have a copy of Between the Red and the Rockies.

The next author on my list is still writing and publishing and still in contact with me through Facebook. Alice Major writes poetry, for the most part, and lives in Edmonton where she was the city’s first poet laureate and continues to support other writers and the poetry scene. I have four of Alice Major‘s books, all published by the University of Alberta Press, which I was repping and the reason I first met this author. (Again, I believe I met her first at that Edmonton conference!) Alice also participated in a literary salon I organized in Calgary that was generously sponsored by UAP. I will be reading her collection of poetry, Memory’s Daughter, this time around.

I was just a new bookseller in Calgary the year that Sid Marty published his first book, Men for the Mountains, which proved to be a bestseller in Canada. I know we would have hosted him at The Guild Gallery at the time of that publication, but it wasn’t until decades later, at the Fernie Writers’ Conference, that I got to know Sid Marty much better. He’s a musician – a singer/songwriter – a poet, and writer of some very fine non-fiction. I have a more recent collection of his poetry, The Rider With Good Hands, published by Calgary’s Frontenac House, to read.

To Be Continued … Dedicated Reading … My New TBR List: Part 2

Announcing … a new edition of Country Music Country by Bruce Hunter!

IslandCatEditions is very pleased to announce the release of the 3rd edition of
Country Music Country by Bruce Hunter!

Bruce Hunter’s Country Music Country, “a masterpiece,” says The London Free Press, is back in a third edition in eBook and print with an introduction by literary historian, Shaun Hunter (no relation to the author).

Title Page

These powerful linked stories that read like a novel begin in a prairie Eden amongst the last vestiges of wild grass, cottonwood, and an ancient buffalo jump, bounded by an oil refinery, explosives plant and rail yards. Hunter describes in vivid detail, and often with dark humour, the lives of his four characters. First as adolescents and then as adults, they work dirty jobs. Some move away to Southern Ontario and return home again in the moving title story.

Reading Bruce Hunter’s stories, we come to know this place, too. The way Ogden can shape the fibre of a person, and make him yearn to be someone else. The way it can push a person away and pull her home. The way its landscape is constantly changing, and somehow stays the same. The way Ogden can make a writer sing its sweetness and its shadows as if this place and these lives were country music.
… from the Introduction by Shaun Hunter

Author photo by Lisa Stein

Deafened as an infant and born and raised in Calgary, Bruce Hunter worked as a labourer, equipment operator and landscaper before winning a scholarship to the Banff School of Fine Arts. He then attended York University and graduated with a BFA (Honours) in film and the humanities. After stints teaching at York, Humber College and Banff, he taught in the School of English and Liberal Arts at Seneca College in Toronto for 25 years. The author of six books, including the novel In the Bear’s House (Oolichan Books, 2009), winner of the Canadian Rockies Prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Bruce currently lives in Toronto.

Where to purchase copies of Country Music Country:

Amazon Worldwide – Print and eBook

Chapters/Indigo – eBook

Apple iTunes – eBook

Overdrive – eBook for Libraries

Booksellers and Librarians who would like print copies of the book to resell or for their collection, please email:

susanmtoy (at) gmail.com

How YOU can invest in Authors and Books …

WITHOUT spending any money!

I know, I know … finding the money to support authors by buying their books is not always easy. I have a hard time in that department myself.

However, there are many ways that Readers can help Authors of books they’ve already read and enjoyed. These ideas are every bit as valuable to Authors as actual sales can be – and they will cost you absolutely nothing to do. They just require an investment of your TIME, and your ENTHUSIASM to make things happen. Never underestimate what a READER of books can accomplish when they choose to champion a particular book or an Author.

So, here you go! 10 ways you can invest in Authors and Books without spending any money …

1. Borrow and read books from the library. Rate those books on the library’s system. Request that the library purchase other books by that same author. Encourage your friends to use the library. (And, don’t forget, most libraries are now online and offer eBooks for borrowing.)
NB Authors: Library patrons are the biggest group of buyers of books, so it’s definitely worth it to you to get your books into library systems …

2. Tell your friends whenever you discover a great book or a new Author. Post links to the Author’s website/Facebook page/Goodreads listing in your own social media. This does not need to be a full-blown review of the book, but just a shout-out to your friends that this was a great book. (If you’ve read a book that has really knocked off your reading socks, but you don’t want to write a full-blown review – and I can understand that many Readers don’t want to write reviews of what they read – then consider posting something brief to my new blog, What are you reading?.)

3. And speaking of that … Ask your friends the question, “What are you reading?” to start a conversation about books. Then you can easily slip in about what you’ve been reading. 🙂

4. When your favourite author announces the release of a new book or information about what they’ve been up to lately, do these simple things …
a) “Like” their blog post/status update/Tweet
b) Make a comment – something like: “Congratulations!” or “Can’t wait to read it!”
c) Reblog/share/retweet whatever the author has posted, with the added message to your followers that you are excited about this new book being released and that they may want to check it out, too.
d) Repeat however many number of times that the author posts updates.
(Most authors who use social media will be very aware of your engagement with what they post. You can’t imagine how much of a boost that will give them, knowing someone out there is eagerly awaiting their latest. And you can do all of this without ever seeming like a stalker … 😉 )

5. Become a champion of the author’s books. As I said above, recommend to your local library that they add the author’s books to their collection. You can also mention the author and their books to local bookstores, if the store is not already carrying copies. Don’t badger the store to stock the books, but do ask whether they would consider the possibility. And if there’s another local business that might carry a book because it has a local theme or the author is local then ask that store to consider the same. This idea works well for gift shops in tourist areas. (A friend recently arranged for my books to be sold in a Bequia hotel’s giftshop!)

6. Use Goodreads as a means of keeping track of what you read (and for rating those books), but also enter their giveaways. Then mention those giveaways to your friends by sharing the links on social media. (I have discovered many new-to-me books and authors by entering these Goodreads Giveaways – and I’ve created a number of my own giveaways for my books there, too. I’ve been fortunate in that, as a Reader, I’ve won a lot of books from the site. But I also keep track of titles for all contests entered on my “to-read” list and go through that from time-to-time to see what I may be able to borrow and read now.) Do not discount being a “stat” on Goodreads. I can’t be the only author who checks their stats on that site regularly; it definitely means a lot to me when I see an increase in the number of Readers who have added any of my three published books to their lists – yes, even when someone new simply adds one title to their “to-read” list. That’s yet another reader who has been attracted to what I have written, and that makes my heart sing every time!

7. Recommend to your book club that they consider reading and discussing your favourite Author’s book(s). Invite that author to speak to your club via Skype, if that’s a possibility.

8. Working with that Skype idea of the Author calling in to speak with a group, ask whether your local library or bookstore would be interested in setting up an event such as this. Let them deal directly with the Author on the logistics, but put a bug in their ears about the possibility for such an event. And then, if this idea actually does happen, help the venue to encourage interested Readers to attend!

9. If you write a blog, consider talking about the Author and their books there – even if the blog is not book-or-book-review-related. Interview the Author, or allow them to write a guest post. Your blog readers will thank you for your honesty in telling them about a new Author and a book you’ve enjoyed.

10. Contact the Author privately (usually their websites will offer a way of connecting) and tell them how much you enjoyed their writing and books. It’s one thing to receive a positive public comment from a Reader, but if you make the effort to tell that Author, one-on-one, what you really think about their writing and their books … Well!! I know I’m thrilled whenever anyone takes the time to compliment me! I usually ask that Reader if I may quote them, even anonymously if they so choose, because it’s wonderful to be able to share praise I receive with everyone else. Praise in a private email is so, so much better than in a public review! Because again – it’s honest and heartfelt!

So, all easy-peasy stuff to do that will be an “investment” into the Author and their writing, because it will all help that Author to grow their reader-base and, more importantly, to keep writing!

Just to prove that I practice what I preach here, and have done this for many, many, many years, in fact … Here are the links to the blogs I’ve set up:
Reading Recommendations
reading recommendations reviewed
What are you reading?

And, just yesterday, I reblogged/shared/generally shouted-out the news of the release of a new publication by one of my favourite authors, Tim Baker!

Do it! Do it NOW! And you may begin by liking and sharing this blog post, telling other Readers how they may make a non-monetary investment in their own favourite Authors that will be much appreciated by both Readers and Authors alike!

SPREAD THE LOVE!!
(and on that note, here’s a little earworm for you …)

2017 – My Favourite Blogs and Bloggers!

Out of necessity, I had to cut down drastically on the number of blogs I subscribe to and read – the number of good blogs out there was becoming impossible to keep up with on a daily basis! So I’ve narrowed down my list here to the truly GREAT blogs I continue to follow and read (and comment on and share) on a regular basis. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will notice many familiar names. Some bloggers publish posts more than once a day and others are sporadic. But I can guarantee you will always find something of interest to read on these bloggers’ sites. Do check out each and every one of them and see if you agree with me, and I also hope you find a few new favourites to follow and read. (Sorry to those I didn’t list. There was a point where I had to cut off this list!!)

* Denotes the blogger is also a published author and it would be well worth it to check out what they’ve published!

** Denotes the blogger has promoted me and my books on their blog at some time or another.

**Chris, The Story Reading Ape – *Christopher Graham

**Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life – *Sally Cronin

**WHAT THE HELL – *Kevin Brennan

**A Creative State of Mind – *Tricia Drammeh

**blindoggbooks – *Tim Baker

**Seumas Gallacher – *Seumas Gallacher

**South Branch Scribbler – *Allan Hudson

**Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge – Karen Parker

**theshammuramat – *Felicity Harley

beetleypete – Pete Johnson

Leaving Ourselves Behind – Ginny & Stephen

**Betty Jane Hegerat: Canadian author of literary fiction – *Betty Jane Hegerat

Camino De Tim – *Timothy L. Phillips

*Brian Brennan Writer

Books Unpacked – *Merilyn Simonds

**Matilda Magtree and **The Litter I See Project – Carin Makuz

Paul Butler Novelist – *Paul F. Butler

Seth’s Blog – *Seth Godin

My Peacock Books – Cat Peacock

Marathon Mouth – *Bill Corbett

**Owlish Books – Loes M.

BookMarketingBuzzBlog

Canadian Bookworm

MYSTERIES in PARADISE

2017 – the other Best Books I read this year!

I have already posted a list of some of the authors whose books I read this year and found to be outstanding. You will find that link here.

But I read so many books in 2017, and many were great reads indeed, so I’ve divided the list into two: that first list covered authors I have promoted on my blog,
Reading Recommendations; this second list is everything else.

Because I tend to be an eclectic reader, you will find on this list: old books and newly released books, fiction and non-fiction, children’s picture books, graphic novels, memoir – even a couple of political biographies, and many books about books and reading (because I’ve been researching a series on Reading for my blog). What I have not listed are the classics and cookbooks (yes, I even read cookbooks!) that I read this year. And I read all of these books in eBook and print format, sometimes bought, sometimes gifted copies, some even won through Goodreads Giveaways, or they were from my own personal library, and many more were borrowed from the public library.

All are considered to be 5-star ratings, as far as I’m concerned. The very, very best books of the lot though are marked, along with the author’s name, in bold.

(The links attached to these titles will take you to more information on that specific book. These books are listed in the order I read them. )

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michi

Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon

Judith by Aritha van Herk
(Reread after almost 40 years since it was first released! From Wikipedia: Van Herk’s writing career began with the publication of her M.A. thesis in 1978. Judith, a novel that explores a feisty female protagonist’s experiences in both rural and urban Canadian spaces, was the first winner of the Seal First Novel Award (C$50,000) from McClelland and Stewart, which granted the book international distribution throughout North America and Europe. )

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Between Them by Richard Ford

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Scwartz

The Secret Place by Tana French

Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi

This Fight is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch

American War by Omar El Akkad
(If I were forced to make a selection of the very best book I read this year, this would be it!)

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

The End of Your Life Book Club, Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
(The End of Your Life Book Club is the best non-fiction I read, and it really changed the way I read books and think about my reading, and even about my life.)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley & Kate Berube

The Little Paris Bookshop, The Little French Bistro by Nina George

All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others by Carol Off

The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Arrival: The Story of CanLit by Nick Mount

2017 – Some of my favourite Authors whose books I read this year!

I have read many, many books this year! Some were written by authors I have promoted previously on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, and these books I considered to be outstanding! And, in a few cases, I read more than one book by the same author. So, without further ado, here’s a list of those authors’ names and the titles of their books I read in 2017 …

(The links below will take you to that author’s original promotion on Reading Recommendations.)

Thanks to all Authors for continuing to write so well!

Gail Anderson-DargatzThe Spawning Grounds

Tim Baker24 Minutes (to be published in 2018)

Gail BowenThe Winner’s Circle

Kevin BrennanIn No Particular Order

Sharon ButalaWhere I Live Now

Paul ButlerThe Good Doctor, The Widow’s Fire

Sally CroninSam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Tricia DrammehThe Fifth Circle, Firebound (Spellbringers Book #2)

Seumas GallacherA Few Poetry Stops in a Life’s Journey

Felicity HarleyThe Burning Years

Betty Jane HegeratRunning Toward Home

Allan HudsonShorts Vol. 1

J.F. KaufmannEllida, Once Upon a Night (To be published in 2018)

Ken McGoogan50 Canadians Who Changed the World, Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage

J.P. McLeanThe Betrayal

Antony MillenThe Chain

David A. PoulsenSerpents Rising, Dead Air

Mike RobbinsSuch Little Accident: British Democracy and its Enemies, Three Seasons

Merilyn SimondsGutenberg’s Fingerprint

Mary SmithDonkey Boy and Other Stories

Check out Part 2 of this series here.