Articles by Dan
Congratulations to Raincoast author Adam Lewis Schroeder whose debut novel THE EMPRESS OF ASIA is a finalist for 30th annual First Novel Award, a prestigious Canadian literary award that recognizes the outstanding achievement of a first-time novelist.
The six nominees for the 2006 First Novel Award, listed alphabetically by author, are:
- "The Law of Dreams" by Peter Behrens, House of Anansi Press
- "The Uninvited Guest" by John Degen, Nightwood Editions
- "Stolen" by Annette Lapointe, Anvil Press
- "Lullabies for Little Criminals" by Heather O'Neill, Harper Collins
- "Certainty" by Madeleine Thien, McClelland & Stewart
Previous winners include Michael Ondaatje, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, Colin McAdam and Joseph Boyden.
June 19, 2007
I had the pleasure of meeting Clare Clark, author of THE NATURE OF MONSTERS, in Toronto a couple of weeks ago when she was in town for a reading at The Booked! Festival and so I was very happy to see that her devilishly good new novel garnered a great review in The New York Times this weekend:
In "The Nature of Monsters," Clark again shows an impressive ability to combine historical accuracy with vivid language and a strong plot, confirming her claim to a place in historical city-lit by returning to London for a tale of mystery, skulduggery and (in what seems set to become a hallmark of her work) intensely described physical sensation--As a storyteller, Clark is endowed with verve and intelligence, but her larger gift, dazzlingly in evidence throughout both her fine novels, lies in the originality of her imagination. She gives us a world that feels alive and intense, magnificently raw.
Furthermore, James Macgowan profiled Clare Clark for the Ottawa Citizen on Sunday:
Clark, who just turned 40, studied history at Cambridge, and must have taken her studying seriously, for she doesn't just describe life in 1719 London, she reconstructs it, smelly detail by smelly detail, until the dirt, the odour, and the brutish streets lift themselves off the page and practically squat down next to you.
And Joseph at The Book Design Review Blog has posted about the terrific cover design for the book!
Here's a quick summary, of recent reviews and interviews:
The Guardian (United Kingdom)
St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
The Winnipeg Free Press
The Jane Day Reader (this review also ran in The Winnipeg Free Press review)
June 04, 2007
Peggy Lee Morgan's son Billy Ray was diagnosed with both Downs Syndrome and autism. Her book, PARENTING YOUR COMPLEX CHILD, draws on her 35 years of experience working with special-needs children and their families, as well as her personal experience with parenting the multiply disabled Billy Ray.
Peggy Lou skirts around no issue - from traveling, aggressive behaviour, and visitations to restaurants, we see that she and Billy Ray have, like many of us, faced some difficult moments as well as triumphant ones. But their triumph is getting a handle on expectations, getting organized and creating a life that works for both Billy Ray and herself. Peggy Lou is both realistic and positive.
LEAF through the first dozen pages of Londoner Clare Clark's richly disturbing second novel, and the following conclusions are inevitable.
First, that the former historian has a dark but orderly brain.
Second, that she is utterly unafraid.
The review originally appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on Sunday.
PS - Clare is reading at the Booked! Festival in Toronto on Sunday June 10th at 12pm in the Speigeltent located at Harbourfront with Gil Adamson, author of THE OUTLANDER (Anansi Press). It would be great to see you there! : )
It's a fabulous discussion, but be warned, there is a lot of talk of insect sex and weird parasites. Ewww....!
May 18, 2007
On the Tyee Books website, Sam Macklin has taken a look at some of the new, lovingly packaged collections of classic comic strips from Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly. Sam reviews PEANUTS VOLUME 6, KRAZY & IGNATZ 1937-1938, POPEYE VOLUME 1, WALT AND SKEEZIX: 1921 & 1922 and MOOMIN BOOK ONE:
All of these works share a vague mood that could be described as "adorable melancholy," something that seems like a fading echo from a gentler and (in some ways) more tolerant age.
The New York Times took its own unique look at classic comic strip reprints with D & Q cartoonist Joe Matt back in January and, needless to say, all these books are all great. They're beautiful editions for collectors that respect the craft of creators, but they're also wonderful introductions to these classics for a new generation of readers. I know everyone at Raincoast is looking forward to the POGO collection that Fantagraphics are publishing in September.
May 17, 2007
Loaded with images spanning a century of fashion design, the book is not only a document of the evolution of culture and fashion. It also serves as a visual timeline of illustration techniques, materials, and styles wherein the forms of each successive decade seem to be a reaction to the one that preceded it.... Though if aliens found the book they'd surely be convinced that our planet was populated entirely by thin, elegant, well-dressed women, and two or three dorky-looking guys with really neat haircuts.
And fashionistas, keep an eye out for Laurence King's book on contemporary footwear design NEW SHOES by Sue Huey and Rebecca Proctor, published in June.
Set in early 18th-century London, Clare Clark's The Nature of Monsters is a masterful tale of gothic suspense--In an age of growing intolerance, Clark's novel will leave readers wondering what methods we use to create monsters today. What we perpetuate in the name of science now has far greater potential to inflict damage on both our species and the world around us. Greater knowledge does not naturally lead to increased compassion. Readers will quickly appreciate that the worst monsters are hidden in plain sight...
"In this acute study of human nature, pride and greed, Clark once again mines the underbelly of London for her treasure: innocence, men and monsters."
May 14, 2007
Stephanie Dickison, Toronto journalist, dedicated researcher, tester, taster, and prolific blogger reviews Brian Tracy's essential EAT THAT FROG (now revised and updated) on her consumer advice blog THE KNACK:
In this age of getting our information on the net and receiving a ton of emails that can seemingly demand our immediate attention, Tracy's voice was one of utter calm and soothing tones.
I really needed the reminders and will make sure to revisit them the next time I open my email to over 200 messages or have 4 pieces due on the same day--And now that I have followed his 21 ways (almost all of them--it'll take awhile to get back in the habit) to get more done in less time, I am off to mail this book to my friend and write notes of comfort to the others.
(Note to self: must order a copy of this book....)
Recent Books by Brian Tracy:
(NB the paperback edition of Time Power is available!)