Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2008

Great to see a couple of PGC titles made the list!

Black Flies
by Shannon Burke (Soft Skull Press, $19.50 pb)
A Rookie Paramedic in New York City is overwhelmed by the horrors of his job in this arresting, confrontational novel, informed by Burke's five years experience on city ambulances.

School on Heart's Content Road
by Carolyn Chute (Atlantic Monthly, $31.00 cl)
In Chute's first novel in nearly 10 years, disparate characters cluster around an off-the-grid communal settlement.

Available at your favourite local bookstore or at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Deceptively Simple Book With a Powerful Message About Bullying

“Otoshi's picture book about a bully stands out for its deceptive simplicity and its message of inclusion.”
-Shelf Awareness
One by Kathryn Otoshi

Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.

“The use of colors and numbers gives the story a much needed universality, and there is a visceral power in the “strength-in-numbers” gambit… Otoshi cleverly offers a way to talk to very young children about the subject of bullying, even as she helps put their imaginations to work about solutions.”
-Booklist, starred review

"The text is very simple, but meaningful, and the moral is subtly told. This is an offering with great potential for use with very young readers."-School Library Journal (December)

One by Kathryn Otoshi
$22.00 Cloth

Available at your favourite local bookstore

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Music Book of 2008 has arrived!

"I called myself Joe Strummer because I can only play all six strings at once, or none at all." --Joe Strummer from The Clash

The Clash were a band like no other. Part of the original wave of British punk bands to emerge in the 1970s, their incendiary gigs, intelligent song writing, and definitive style caught the spirit of the times and made them a worldwide phenomenon. Rolling Stone magazine declared London Calling one of the greatest albums of all time.

The Clash, in partnership with Atlantic Books, have released a spectacular biography. Yes, it is big and it is hot pink, and yes it is filled with amazing unseen archival photography, tour posters and artwork.

What makes this book unique and engaging is the narration by each of the band members. In a conversationalist tone, each member recounts their childhood, their early influences, and their beginnings in the music industry.

What follows is a personal and honest account of life on the road, in the studio, on stage, and at home as each band member tells their story in their own words.

The Clash
Edited by Atlantic Books
9781843547884 * $49.95 Cloth * In stores now

To purchase go to your favourite local bookstore or click here:

Monday, July 7, 2008

A freakishly charming tale of star-crossed, would-be step-sibling love in a family of failed bodybuilders in suburban Los Angeles

William Miller-- confirmed mamma's boy and weak eyed vegetarian in a family of bodybuilders-- learns at a tender age what amounts to the Cartesian dictum for bodybuilders everywhere: no pain, no gain. I hurt, therefore I am--words he learns to live by in the wake of his mother's death. When his father remarries a relentlessly kind grief counselor, Will is completely, utterly and irrevocably captivated by his new step-sister, Lulu.

"My life began again the moment I met Louisa Trudeau. Without Lulu, I might never have existed again, might never have known the smell of a gauze bandage or felt the delicate winking of an eyelash against my cheek... All I wanted to do was look at her. She was Mr. Potatohead beautiful. Nothing fit right. But somehow this girl in the yellow socks, with the small nose, and the big ears, and the gap-toothed smile achieved a certain harmony, a beauty greater than the sum of its parts...She was like nothing or no one I had ever imagined. Never had I been so completely and unexpectedly disarmed by a stranger."

It is with this first meeting that Will's obsession is born, and Lulu quickly becomes the center of his universe. But as Lulu's behavior becomes increasingly erratic and inexplicably cruel, Will's sense of identity begins to founder. Faced with the knowledge that he can never hold the key to Lulu's heart, Will only clings harder to her, until his unwanted affection drives Lulu into a pattern of self-destruction which follows her into adolescence.

Lulu's departure to college, marks for Will the beginning of a personal odyssey which includes a crash course in western philosophy, a series of epic bad dates, and the enduring friendship of a poultry-obsessed former Soviet wrestler turned free-market capitalist, with whom he establishes Hot Dog Heaven on the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

Working nights as a producer at the college station, Will catches a break one night when the overnight host eats bad razor clams, forcing Will to take the mic without warning, where his performance catches the ear of the program director. In a world made of meat, a world where the corporeal is everything, and identity is measured in mounds of flesh and striated muscle, Will finally discovers his strength in the disembodied voice of his late-night radio persona.But when Lulu self-destructs, William is drawn back into her life, and ultimately discovers that Lulu was never who he believed her to be.

All About Lulu is an absolute must-read. Funny, wise, and heartbreaking, Evison's story is an agonizingly honest reminder of the heart fluttering, gut wrenching pangs of adolescent longing and desire.

Paper 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 320 pgs. ISBN: 1-59376-196-1 List: $16.50 07/1/2008
Soft Skull Press

"All About Lulu is an exhilarating, wholly original and brave novel about obsession, love and becoming. With Will Miller Evison has created a thoroughly modern protagonist steeped in Dickensian complexity, pure yet conflicted, lost yet driven to find truth in the dysfunctional American abyss."- James P. Othmer, author of The Futurist

"All About Lulu is a novel of tremendous energy and heartbreaking, hilarious insight, a novel with a heart of gold. In a manner that is both breathless and effortless, Evison reminds us of life's beautiful oddity. A remarkable debut." - Brad Listi, author of Attention Deficit Disorder

"All About Lulu is a fascinating meditation on growing up and growing inward, a wry portrait of the American family in all its excessive, dysfunctional, heartbreaking purity."- Josh Emmons, author of The Loss of Leon Meed

"Evison keeps all kinds of balls up in the air, seemingly without effort. All About Lulu is the happiest sad story around, a meditation on the meaning of family, and how we fit amongst the people we love and misunderstand."- Greg Downs, author of Spit Baths

To purchase go to your favourite local bookstore
To order from Amazon online Click Here
To order from Chapters online Click Here

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A raw and unforgettable portrait of life in Arctic Alaska.

Beginning with his parents’ migration to the wilderness of Arctic Alaska and extending to contemporary struggles between subsistence living and sport hunting, Shopping for Porcupine provides an illuminating, unforgettable account of life in the far north.

Memories of an imaginary source of childhood surfeit; a grown man’s appreciation for his young daughter’s unfettered understanding of language; enlightened meditations on the permanence, severity, and grandeur of nature; and finally, elegiac warnings and stirring calls to action—taken together, these essays provide a revealing portrait of the author of the bestselling novel Ordinary Wolves, and of the land he so deeply loves.

Through it all we hear the voice of a true artist. The prose slows and rifles, then leapfrogs and pauses the passage of time, in a landscape unlike any other. Moving, alarming, and utterly beautiful, this collection will further establish Seth Kantner as one of the most original writers in America today.

This book features the largest published collection of Kantner's photography to date.

978-1-57131-301-1 * Milkweed Editions * $28.00 Hardcover

Praise, praise, praise...

"Shopping For Porcupine brings the searing honesty, lyric style, and raw emotional power we've come to anticipate from this home-grown Alaska prodigy." Nick Jans (author of The Last Light Breaking)

"One of the most beautiful books you'll ever read--truthful, raw, and lovely. The photographs make the sparse arctic Alaskan landscape monumentally visible and profound, while Kantner's writing imparts heroic dignity to the lives around him. From a childhood spent in a time when 'Frostbite was a way of life' to an adulthood fiercely lived, the tale of this man's life is original and funny, vivid and touching." Jonis Agee (author of The River Wife)

With Ordinary Wolves, Seth Kantner came streaking up out of the Arctic tundra like a blazing meteor in reverse. If it isn't the best novel to come out of Alaska so far, I don't know what is. Now, with his new collection of autobiographical vignettes and photographs, we get a closer look at the unique upbringing that informs that fine work. He brings us into the wildest scenes as only someone of this place can do. For all the popularity of the recent best sellers and hit movies about Alaska, Shopping for Porcupine comes from a place you haven't seen yet and can hardly imagine." Dan O'Neill (author of The Firecracker Boys)

See Kantner's stunning photographs and find links to his writing at

Monday, May 26, 2008

Black Flies graces the cover of this week's New York Times Sunday Book Review

Novelist Shannon Burke earned stunning reviews for his debut book, Safelight, and now he returns with the same minimalist intensity in this arresting follow-up.

Black Flies is the story of paramedic Ollie Cross and his first year on the job in mid-'90s New York. It is a ground's eye view of life on the streets: the shoot-outs, the bad cops, unhinged medics, the hopeless patients, the dark humor in bizarre circumstances, and one medic's struggle to balance his desire to help against his own growing callousness.

It is the story of lives that hang in the balance, and of a single job with a misdiagnosed newborn that sends Cross and his partner into a life-changing struggle between good and evil.

Already garnering praise, Black Flies graces this week's cover of the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Hailed as "searing and morally resonant", Liesl Schillinger embraces and applauds the powerful and gritty realism that marks Burke's work.

An excerpt from the New York Times Review:

"Be warned:... many of the most vivid scenes in "Black Flies" make for harrowing reading. Visceral and mercilessly detailed, they are not included for sensational purposes — not as an E.R. version of "war porn." Instead, Burke uses them as shock treatment for the conscience, like the paddles that resuscitate a 12-year-old girl who has been electrocuted. "It was the most eerie, unnatural thing I’d ever witnessed,"says the medic who saves her. "I watched death recede from her." For anyone who has flirted with fashionable jadedness or suffered disappointments that led to a sullen fascination with the darker side of human experience, Burke blows apart the pose."

978-1-59376-191-2 * Soft Skull Press * $16.50 Paper

Further praise...

"[R]aw and fascinating...Burke is a poet of trauma, and his expert, macabre portrayal takes its toll on the reader just as the job takes its toll on Cross." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

To purchase go to your favourite local bookstore
To order from Amazon online Click Here
To order from Chapters online Click Here

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The New Leisure Class?

Andrew Blechman’s first book, the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Pigeons, was a charming look at the much-maligned bird and the quirky subcultures that flock to it. In Leisureville, Blechman investigates another subculture, but one with more significant consequences.

Blechman delves into life in the senior utopia, offering a hilarious first-hand report on all its peculiarities, from ersatz nostalgia and golf-cart mania to manufactured history and the residents’ surprisingly active sex life.

He traces the history of the trend, and travels to Arizona to show what has happened to the pioneering utopias after decades of segregation. Blechman investigates the government of these “instant” cities, attends a builder’s conference, speaks with housing experts, and examines the implications of millions of Americans dropping out of society to live under legal segregation.

A fascinating blend of serious history, social criticism, and hilarious, engaging reportage, Leisureville couldn’t come at a better time!

978-0-87113-981-8 * Grove Press * $27.50 Cloth


“Andrew Blechman’s account of the rampant unreality that has become the normal condition of life in Florida’s child-free retirement ghettos is fascinating. The generation that enjoyed the greatest economic boom in the history of the world is going out with a bang—the sound of society blowing up in our faces. Blechman has a laser eye for the tragicomic absurdities of all the fun, games, and wild sex in theme-park senior villages where Oz-like control is exercised by the developer and his minions. His mordant report from a strange land is consistently interesting.”—James Howard Kunstler

Leisureville is like the science fiction of Kurt Vonnegut—except that it is reality. What a great country!”—AndrĂ©s Duany, author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Million Dollar Mischa

Mischa Barton, the former O.C. actress, was photographed last week on the set of her current movie, The Homecoming, holding a copy of Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band, and the Basement Tape by Sid Griffin. It was published last October by Jawbone Press.

Will the recent film I'm Not There along with this star sighting launch the book the same way Posh Spice launched Skinny Bitch to the top of the bestseller lists?

While it may be a boost to sales, Bob Dylan is likely not as big a draw as fad dieting and Posh Spice. We're just happy to see Hollywood stars set examples as avid readers!

Million Dollar Bash by Sid Griffin * Jawbone Press
978-1-906002-05-3 * $21.50 Paper * In stores

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How Not To Date - Perfect Anti-Valentine's Day Gift

This hilarious little book covers all the basics:

*How not to date a cheater
*What not to state in a personal ad
*The escalating levels of crazy
*Bad pickup lines
*How not to date a porn star
*And much, much more

Judy McGuire provides a story (either a personal one or from the hundreds submitted to her advice blog) for almost every possible bad date scenario you can think of - from the downright silly to the well.. disgusting, nasty, creepy, and ridiculous.

An excerpt on hygiene:
"Ned had messy bleach blond hair, giant bright blue eyes, and the air of a lost puppy . . . . Unfortunately, Ned was also so hygiene-impaired that I regularly made him leave his shoes out on the fire escape when he came for sleepover visits. Ned was a vegan and fancied himself an anarchist punk rocker. Translation: He got all sanctimonious if I dared to eat meat in front of him, and believe me, I dared. Because leather was off limits, he wore vinyl pants instead. Do you have any idea how gnarly sweaty vinyl smells? No? I'll do you a favor and spare you the description."

What a perfect anti-valentine's day gift!

978-1-57061-532-0 * $18.50 paper * Sasquatch Books

Available at fine bookstores everywhere.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New in Paperback - The Pakistani Bride

Bapsi Sidhwa is one of Pakistan’s finest writers

This, her first—and arguably best—novel, is finally available after being out of print since 1983

Prescient and provocative in its assesment of the plight of women in tribal society in Pakistan, the first of Bapsi Sidhwa's novels is a story of marriage and commitment, of the conflict between adherence to tradition and the indomitable force of a woman's spirit.

978-1-57131-063-7 * $15.50 Paper * Milkweed Editions

Available at your favourite local bookstore or click here