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Tag: Reading

New Releases: March 2015

by Dan
March 03, 2015

This month we have new novels from New York Times bestselling authors Olen Steinhauer and Steve Berry, as well nonfiction from Robin Givhan, the editors of O, The Oprah Magazine, and much, much more:  

FICTION

LITERARY

The Lost Child

Caryl Phillips
ISBN 9780374191375 | $29.99 hardcover

In the tradition of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and J. M. Coetzee's Foe, the award-winning novelist Caryl Phillips revisits Emily Brontë's masterpiece Wuthering Heights as a lyrical tale of orphans and outcasts, absence and hope. A sweeping novel spanning generations, The Lost Child tells the story of young Heathcliff's life before Mr. Earnshaw brought him home to his family; the Brontë sisters and their wayward brother, Branwell; Monica, whose father forces her to choose between her family and the foreigner she loves; and a boy's disappearance into the wildness of the moors and the brother he leaves behind. 

"Caryl Phillips is in a league with Toni Morrison and V. S. Naipaul"—Booklist (starred review)

"Gorgeously crafted and emotionally shattering."—Kirkus (starred review)

"The book reverberates with pain and dislocation more gothic than any howling ghost."—Publishers Weekly

Available March 10


The Last Flight of Poxl West

Daniel Torday

ISBN 9781250051684 | $29.99 hardcover

Poxl West fled the Nazis' onslaught in Czechoslovakia. He escaped their clutches again in Holland. He pulled Londoners from the Blitz's rubble. He wooed intoxicating, unconventional beauties. He rained fire on Germany from his RAF bomber.

Poxl is something of an idol to his teenage nephew, Elijah Goldstein, who reveres him as a brave, singular, Jewish war hero. Poxl fills Eli's head with electric accounts of his adventures and romances, as he collects the best episodes from his storied life into a memoir. But as Eli delves deeper into Poxl's history, he begins to see that the life of the fearless superman he's adored has been much darker than he let on, and filled with unimaginable loss from which he may have not recovered.

"A richly layered, beautifully told and somehow lovable story about war, revenge and loss."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"I myself had the great pleasure of reading an advanced copy and I loved it. The final scene…what an ending! I still think about it."—The Millions

Available March 17


THRILLERS

All the Old Knives

Olen Steinhauer

ISBN 9781250045423 | $27.99 hardcover

New York Times bestselling espionage master Olen Steinhauer delivers an intimate, taut thriller about two ex-coworkers—ex-spies and ex-lovers—reuniting one last time. 

Six years ago in Vienna, terrorists took over a hundred hostages, and the rescue attempt went terribly wrong. The CIA's Vienna station was witness to this tragedy, gathering intel from its sources during those tense hours, assimilating facts from the ground and from an agent on the inside. Then it all went wrong, and now the nagging question has to be asked: Had their agent been compromised, and how?

"A compelling spy story that takes place at a restaurant table… it delivers intrigue, suspense, and a heart-stopping finale."—Booklist (starred review)  

"It's an understatement to say that nothing is as it seems, but even readers well-versed in espionage fiction will be pleasantly surprised by Steinhauer's plot twists and double backs."—Kirkus  Reviews (starred review)

"This genre-bending spy novel takes Hitchcockian suspense to new heights."Library Journal (starred review)

"Steinhauer is a very fine writer and an excellent observer of human nature, shrewd about the pleasures and perils of spying."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Available March 10


The Patriot Threat

Steve Berry

ISBN 9781250056238 | $32.50 hardcover

Cotton Malone, once a member of an elite intelligence division within the Justice Department known as the Magellan Billet, is now retired and owns an old bookshop in Denmark. But when his former-boss, Stephanie Nelle, asks him to track a rogue North Korean who may have acquired some top secret Treasury Department files—the kind that could bring the United States to its knees—Malone is vaulted into a harrowing twenty-four hour chase that begins on the canals in Venice and ends in the remote highlands of Croatia. 

This riveting, non-stop adventure is trademark Steve Berry—90% historical fact, 10% exciting speculation-a provocative thriller posing a dangerous question: What if the Federal income tax is illegal? 

"Another page-turning thriller blending history, speculation and fast-paced action."—Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of political conspiracy fiction will find plenty to like."—Publishers Weekly

Available March 31


HISTORICAL

The Cavendon Women

Barbara Taylor Bradford

ISBN 9781250032386 | $32.50 hardcover

The stunning sequel to Barbara Taylor Bradford's Cavendon Hall follows the Inghams' and the Swanns' journey from a family weekend in the summer of 1926 through to the devastation of the Wall Street crash of 1929. It all begins on a summer weekend in July of 1926 when, for the first time in years, the earl has planned a family weekend. As the family members come together, secrets, problems, joys, and sorrows are revealed.

 

 

"The power and emotion of Bradford’s novel comes through on every page. There is just enough historical detail to evoke the era and add the color readers savor, but it is the remarkable characters readers will carry in their hearts."—RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)

Available March 24


CONTEMPORARY

The Wednesday Group

Sylvia True

ISBN 9781250051882 | $18.50 paperback

An unputdownable debut novel about five women who meet in therapy to discuss the trials of being married to sex addicts.

Gail. Hannah. Bridget. Lizzy. Flavia. Each is about to find out that she is not alone… As these women share never-before-uttered secrets and bond over painful truths, they work on coming to terms with their husbands' addictions and developing healthy boundaries for themselves. Meanwhile, their outside lives become more and more intertwined, until, finally, a series of events forces each woman to face her own denial, betrayal and uncertain future head-on.

"A complex and captivating look at what it’s like to be married to a sex addict."Kirkus Reviews

Available March 24


NONFICTION

HISTORY

The Battle of Versailles

The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History

Robin Givhan

ISBN 9781250052902 | $32.50 hardcover

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a vivid account of one of the most important moments in fashion: the 1973 runway event at Versailles, where America emerged the dominant force in style.

Conceived as a fundraiser for the restoration of King Louis XIV's palace, the world's elite gathered in Versailles' grand theater to view a fashion extravaganza of the best that French and American designers had to offer, while being entertained by Liza Minnelli and Josephine Baker. What they saw would forever alter the history of fashion.

"Readers need not be fashion mavens to enjoy this entertaining episode of history, enhanced by Givhan’s effortless ability to illustrate the models and designers... who changed how we dress."Kirkus Reviews 

"Givhan paints a captivating portrait of the ethos of the era, from race riots and the Kerner Report to a "cultural... fascination with black identity" and glamorous nights at the disco, with juicy tales about arrogant designers acting out."—Publishers Weekly

Available March 10


ESSAYS

Shallow, Selfish, and Self-Absorbed

Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids

Edited by Meghan Daum

ISBN 9781250052933

Sixteen literary luminaries on the controversal subject of being childless by choice, collected in one fascinating anthology.

Curated by writer Meghan Daum, this collection makes a smart and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path to a happy, productive life, and takes our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. In this book, that shadowy faction known as the childless-by-choice comes out into the light.

 

"A courageous defense of childlessness and a necessary corrective to the Cult of Mommy"—Kirkus Reviews

"Contrary to the title, none of the 16 essays in this absorbing collection reflect particularly selfish or shallow motivations for childlessness."—Publishers Weekly

Available March 31


MEMOIR

Unforgettable

A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime

Scott Simon

ISBN 9781250061133 | $28.99 hardcover

A moving memoir about NPR host Scott Simon's connection to his mother, inspired by the popular tweets he shared during her death. 

When NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon began tweeting from his mother's hospital room in July 2013, he didn't know that his missives would soon spread well beyond his 1.2 million followers. Squeezing the magnitude of his final days with her into 140-character updates, Simon's evocative and moving meditations spread virally. 

Inspired by those famous tweets, Unforgettable is Simon's deeply affecting, heart-wrenching memoir. His mother was a glamorous woman of the Mad Men era who worked in nightclubs, modelled, dated mobsters and movie stars, and was a brave single parent. Simon's memories are laced with her humour and strength, giving voice to the experience we all have of confronting our parents' deaths. 

"A charming tribute to a remarkable woman and the bond between mother and son."—Kirkus Reviews

"[Simon] takes his quirky, devoted, gracious mother on her own terms, and his work shimmers as a touching tribute."—Publishers Weekly

Available March 31


INSPIRATION

Friendship Is... 

500 Reasons to Appreciate Friends

Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling

ISBN 9781452136578 | $16.95 paperback

A big welcome at the airport, wearing the same outfit by accident, letting you show off, coming to the rescue, and so much more! From Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar, famed illustrators and the authors of Happiness Is…, this adorable gift book illustrates the very best things about friendship. 

Available Now


O's Little Book of Happiness

The Editors of O, The Oprah Magazine

ISBN 9781250068569 | $19.95 hardcover

A collection of thoughtful and affecting writing on happiness—the first in a series of inspirational books from O, The Oprah Magazine.

A sprightly dose of practical and insightful inspiration, a sprinkling of feel-good science, and a bounty of joyful stories by great writers, O's Little Book of Happiness features some of the best writing to have appeared in O, the Oprah Magazine over its fifteen year history. 

 

Available March 31


Humour

Are You Dissing Me?

What Animals Really Think

Simon Winheld

ISBN 9781452138442 | $15.95 hardcover

A hippo worries that her MFA is totally useless. A cardinal has roommate problems. A hummingbird is eager to join a social network. A bush baby teeters on the edge (You wanna throw down?!) Here for the first time are the innermost thoughts of our furry and feathered friends, who-it is finally revealed-humorously share the same anxieties, frustrations, and preoccupations as we do. 

Available March 10


DESIGN

Lost 

Lost and Found Pet Posters from Around the World

Ian Phillips

ISBN 9781616893965 | $22.95 paperback

Despite all the visual distractions of the digital age, one low-tech form of mass communication remains as popular as ever: the lost pet poster. Stapled to telephone poles and bulletin boards in cities and suburbs worldwide, these often hastily made signs are quirky combinations of hand-drawn illustration, emotional longing, and surprisingly offbeat humour. For more than a decade, artist and animal lover Ian Phillips collected lost and found pet posters from around the world.

Available March 10


An Interview with Ella Leya Author of The Orphan Sky

by Alisha
Author Q & A + Fiction / February 10, 2015

My first literary discovery of the 2015 was the novel The Orphan Sky published by Sourcebooks. This beautiful novel filled with music and folk tales tells the story of a young piano prodigy stuck in the realities of Soviet country.

What does it mean to live in one of the Soviet Republics, being torn between official propaganda and traditional believes? How does that feel to be raised as a devoted young pioneer not having access to the world outside of regime? Where does the freedom live—inside or outside the human soul?

An exceptionally talented musician, singer and composer Ella Leya is trying to find the answers to these and many other difficult questions in her debut novel. This partially autobiographical book is about passion and love, truth and lies, about loss and pain.

Ella Leya kindly agreed to answer my questions about her book, music and her childhood in the remote Azerbaijan.

Dear Ella, congratulations on your first published book and fantastic literary debut. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

You are a professional musician—singer, composer and performer. You have released more than ten highly successful CDs. How did you come to writing a book? What moved you, what inspired you to write a novel?

The pain of loss. At first, I escaped into music and poetry, completing, arranging, and recording the songs my son and I had written during those endless nights in the hospitals. But the music process is illusive and impulsive. I needed a stronger drug—something more cerebral—that would get me away from my reality and force me to relive my past, again and again, amending it, searching for answers.

"Music seemed to flow out of the painting. Piano arpeggios in scarlet layers. Violin pizzicatos in gold and silver brushstrokes. A dark D minor progression of chords sweeping by, trailed by a velvety soft harmony in white. Flutes spilling nostalgic blues and violets into the ever-changing palette of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto no 3."this is a quote from the first chapter of your novel The Orphan Sky. When I started reading the book, this incredibly poetic language, these wonderful metaphors immediately caught my attention. It seemed to me you were able to see people, their feelings—all the world around you through music. Is this true?

I caught a bug of poetic metaphors from my beloved Russian poets from the beginning of the twentieth century—Anna Akhmatova, Nikolai Gumilev, Osip Mandelstam. Their poetry of passions and senses, expressed through the imagery of nature, has taught me to see and hear the world through Renoir’s palette of harmony and Caravaggio’s orderly dissonance, through Chopin’s nostalgia and Rachmaninoff’s fatalism, through a contagious pulse of Azerbaijani mugham and a bewitching spontaneity of Lady Day.

How long did it take you to write the novel? Did you have to rewrite the whole pages before moving on? Can you please describe the process of working on the novel?

Three and a half years. I had to write and rewrite down to every word before moving on, then go back and do it over and over again. I was writing the book on one breath. Knowing how capricious and fickle a muse can be, I was afraid to let her slip away. Hours reserved for work turned into days and months. For me, the creative process is like my favourite chocolate. I can’t stop eating it until it’s all finished.

How did you come up with the title?

The Orphan Sky title is a brainchild of my publisher. My own—original title— was 'Maiden Tower.'

The novel takes place in your home city Baku. There are fantastic descriptions of the city—the reader envisions the old narrow cobblestone streets, beautiful mosaic walls, feels the magic atmosphere of Isheri SheherOld Town and smells the odours of "hot and creamy" air. The central role in the book plays the real medieval tower called Maiden Tower and old legends about a princess and her love drown in the Caspian Sea. You also mention Gargoyle Castle, Villa Annelise, Gevharaga Mosque, Taza Bazaar. Are these all real historical places in Baku?

All these places are intimately linked with the history of Baku, but some of them are real only in my imagination. Villa Annelise is a symbol of Baku’s ‘golden age’—the oil boom at the beginning of the twentieth century—when nouveau riche oil barons turned provincial Baku into a Paris of the East. They built magnificent palaces throughout the city in many architectural styles—classical, baroque, Venetian Gothic, French Rococo, Italian Renaissance. I designed Villa Annelise out of the architectural, artistic, and historical motifs of those palaces. After the revolution, Villa Annelise turns into a Gargoyle Castle, symbolizing the period of communism and oppression. Gevharaga Mosque is the reimagined image of the Blue Mosque that stood next to my childhood home. Taza Bazaar is a replica of Nasimi Bazaar where my mom took me with her on Sundays.

I guess, the name of your leading character, Ella Badalbeili is not just a random name either? Does this name have a story behind?

As a child, my sister had a friend—Badalbeili. The sound of her name seemed so melodious and theatrical. Later on, I learned that the name Badalbeili belonged to the dynasty that had given Azerbaijan many wonderful musicians, among them Afrasiyab Badalbeili. He wrote the first Azerbaijani national ballet 'Maiden Tower.' So the choice of name for my leading character was natural.

The life of your heroine Leila is turned upside down at the moment when she enters the green door and hears the voice of Liza Minnelli, a “voice of dark velvet”. Was there a “green door” in your life, a person or event that had the greatest impact on your future?

My mother, Jane Golik, had the greatest impact on my life choices. A free-spirited artist—a quality she had been hiding all her life behind a strict, uncompromising exterior—she challenged me to strive for the skies and never give up. My mother took me to my first classical piano concert at the Baku Philharmonic Hall, making me fall in love with Chopin. That was my green door to the world of classical music. The “green door” event described in the book is autobiographical. There was a small music shop with the green door that opened across the street from my school. The rumour had it that the owner was a drug dealer, or a sorcerer, or an American spy. Despite the warnings, or maybe because of them, I went into the shop. The charismatic shop owner, a poster of glamorous Liza Minnelli, her voice dripping with my mother’s hidden nostalgia for places faraway and unknown… Well, I was hooked.

I am fascinated by the female characters in the novel. The stories of Leila, Leila’s mother, Aunt Zeinab, Almaz, Professor Sultan-Zade are incredibly powerful. You describe their world as "the kingdom of crooked mirrors". Why are none of these women happy?

How can these extraordinary women be happy in the male-dominated, communist-subjugated society of lies and censorship? They try. Leila’s mother and professor Sultan-zade realize their ambitions by breaking the stigma of the patriarchal culture and becoming successful career women; Aunty Zeinab is a craftswoman who continues a tradition of the ancient Azerbaijani theater; Leila’s best friend Almaz—and her replica Almaz-the-Doll—is a symbol of Azerbaijani female beauty; Leila is a national musical treasure. But they all have to pay for their successes, dreams, ambitions, originality with their broken hearts and tragic destinies.

Although the story is set in late 70s, the realistic main plot magically intertwines with fairy tales and legends of the old Azerbaijan. This makes the novel deep, sophisticated, multidimensional. The characters, their feeling and emotions become almost palpable. How did the traditional Azeri epos influence your soul? Do you think the new millennia kids need to learn these ancient tales?

Of course. And not only kids. The adults would benefit from visiting the world of the ancient tales as well. After all, the literary folklore possesses the same magical powers as music—to penetrate the barriers of cultures, times and accumulated cynicism, and to reach those remote corners of our souls we had lost the connection with. Every legend, myth, fairy tale, proverb is a small treasure chest with the numerous hidden messages of emotional wisdom and humanity. As a child, I always kept a book of fairy tales from around the world under my pillow. In some ways, I continue seeing the reality through the simple but multi-layered truths of the traditional folklore of the East. So I had woven my favorite legends, tales and sayings into the fabric of my book, letting them mirror the storylines of my characters and expand their emotional presence.

The realities of Soviet eraPioneer and Komsomol organizations, red flags and Lenin monuments everywhere, the ban on religious practices—were deeply rooted in everyday activities and affected people’s life style. How did these two different images of Azerbaijan co-exist in the young mind of your heroine and in your mind?

Both images have become the integral halves of my personality. The exotic, fairy-like soul of ancient Baku turned me into an eternal romantic—musician and poet. The Soviet ideology (a form of the religious extremism) and a subsequent escape and liberation left me with a deep mark of cynicism. Both my heroine Leila and I are destined to live with this dual inheritance, having to choose between the voice of the heart and the need for survival.

Not too many people in the world have heard anything about Azerbaijan. Thank to your novel, from the little spot on the world map, in the middle of nowhere it stands up as a real country, where people live and die, love and suffer. Your novel finds a perfect place on a book shelf along with the best works of writers-immigrants, whose unique background and experience offer the American reader a valuable insightful glimpse into what life is like outside of America. What makes talented people like you, Alexandar Hemon, Khaled Hosseini, Jumpa Lahiri, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Kseniya Melnik to mentally go back in time and space and write about their native land?

Nostalgia for the long gone places, times and people has always been a powerful source of inspiration for the artists. And the gene of nostalgia is quite resilient in us, immigrants, until the second generation. As soon as I arrived in America, I, like a lizard, dropped my past in exchange for new language, culture, and lifestyle so I could adopt and adjust to my new home country as soon as possible. A few years later, I successfully merged into the mainstream, speaking and even thinking in English, being able to communicate my feeling and views. And then I realized how much my American friends and my artistic collaborators were captivated and inspired by my Russian/Azeri humor, music, and culture—something that had never ceased to exist inside me. The immigrants bring their unknown worlds to America. This is their contribution to the society. And we, the artists, are endowed and blessed with the task to introduce our native lands through out art.

You were born and raised in Azerbaijan and immigrated as an adult. How did you like it in US? Was it easy for you to adjust? How do you perceive yourself within American culture now? Is there anything you don’t like and will never be able to accept?

I had begun adjusting to American culture long before I came to the US, learning English language from jazz recording, playing and singing with the Western jazz musicians, entertaining American ambassador in Moscow. So the process of tuning up to America went quickly and smoothly. Less than two months upon our arrival in Virginia, I toured with my own jazz orchestra Selah and taught voice at the university. America is where I belong. America is where I can be myself. Is she perfect? Of course not, but it is still much better than the rest of the world. Well, except for Canada, maybe. One thing I could never get used to in America—deserted streets, no pedestrians, passing cars.

After all these years, are you more American or Azerbaijani ? Is there anything in your Azerbaijani character that you value the most?

I am American now, more so since I’ve been living in London for the last couple of years. But I continue to appreciate the emotional aesthetics of the East. As for my 'Azerbaijani' character, I value the closeness of my family and the sense of loyalty the most.

Do you ever feel nostalgic about your childhood in Soviet Azerbaijan? Did you ever go back there after the Soviet Union fell apart and the ancient country returned on its own historical path?

Working on this book, I had satisfied to some extend the nostalgia for the times and the places of my childhood. I would love to visit my homeland. But as it usually happens with a favorite treat, I’ve been travelling around the world, leaving a visit to Azerbaijan for dessert.

If I ask you to describe your native Azerbaijan in only one sentence, what would that be?

The land of sun and fire at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, East and West, surrounded by the austere Caucasus Mountains and washed by the warm Caspian Sea—an Azeri fairytale of my childhood.

There is some autobiographical detail in the novel, but it’s still a work of fiction. Did you ever think of writing a memoir?

I had finished my memoir before I started working on The Orphan Sky. Will I ever publish it? Time will tell.

I know that this novel was not your first writing experience and that you used to write short stories before. What are they about? Do you plan to publish your stories?

Some of my short stories had found their way into the narrative of The Orphan Sky; others have metamorphosed into the lyrics of my songs. The songs’ titles—‘Irresistible Lies,’ ‘I Don’t Know Why,’ ‘Femme Fatale,’ ‘Touch’n Go Game’—pretty much reveal the themes of those short stories.

Your novel is devoted to your son Sergey. Because of leukaemia, this little soul passed away in the age of nine. "Sergey - your dreams continue... ", says the epigraph. What did your son dream about? Which of his dreams do you still have to accomplish?

My son Sergey dreamed of being alive and being creative. The Orphan Sky, all our music, the future books—it is all Sergey; I only push the keys.

I wouldn't have had the pleasure to meet you if not your book. And still, first of all you are a musician. It wouldn't be right if I wouldn't ask you about music. What is music for you?

My profession and leisure. Language of communication with interesting creative people. Music is a divine gift that takes me beyond human understanding and allows me to be alone with myself without being lonely.

Your music is a magical blend, an intoxicating cocktail of melodies of your Azerbaijani soul, European classical music and American jazz. It's a very unique combination. Do you think your music is niche, elitist or you believe everyone is able to appreciate it? What is your audience?

Once upon a time in my youth I prided myself with the fact that my music was complicated, intellectual and appealed to an elite, niche audience. Now I think differently. Good, sincere music has the capability to bypass any intellect and strike into the heart of a listener. So my goal in creating music is to stay true to my own instincts rather than to tailor it to the taste of the audience.

What’s your favourite piece of music of all time? Which musical composition astounded you, shocked you, and had the greatest impact on you? What kind of music do you listen to when you are upset? When you are happy?

Sad or happy, I don’t listen to music. I play it. And sing. Billie Holiday’s 'Body and Soul,' Nina Simon’s 'Strange Fruit,' Ballade #1 by Chopin, Sonata Pathetique by Beethoven, Piano Concerto #20 by Mozart, Piano Concerto # 3 by Rachmaninoff. This is the soundtrack of my book. These are the pieces that continue to amaze, shock and inspire me.

How do you spend your time when you’re not writing books or composing music?

I walk the streets of London for hours; hang out at my favourite Wallace Collection surrounded by art; attend ballet performances; go to the movies; visit Paris on Wednesdays; cook for my family… do all those normal things that all normal people do.

Ella, I appreciate this opportunity to talk to you. Thank you for your time. I wish lots of success for you and for your book.


New Releases: February 2015 Highlights

by Dan
Art & Photography + Fiction + History + News + Psychology & Self-Help / January 21, 2015

February brings new books from Kristin Hannah, X-Files star David Duchovny, Jeffrey Archer, Scott McCloud, Richard Price (writing Harry Brandt), and more... Here are some of the highlights available from Raincoast Books next month..

FICTION

HISTORICAL

★ ★ FEBRUARY 2015 INDIE NEXT #1 PICK! ★ ★

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an epic novel of love and war, spanning from the 1940s to the present day, and the secret lives of those who live in a small French town.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France.

"This moving, emotional tribute to the brave women who fought behind enemy lines during the war is bound to gain the already immensely popular Hannah an even wider audience."—Booklist (starred review)

Available February 3


HUMOUROUS

Holy Cow

A Modern-Day Dairy Tale

David Duchovny

A rollicking, globe-trotting adventure with a twist: a four-legged heroine you won't soon forget.

Elsie Bovary is a cow, and a pretty happy one at that-her long, lazy days are spent eating, napping, and chatting with her best friend, Mallory. One night, Elsie and Mallory sneak out of their pasture; but while Mallory is interested in flirting with the neighbouring bulls, Elsie finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer's family gathered around a bright Box God-and what the Box God reveals about something called an "industrial meatfarm" shakes Elsie's understanding of her world to its core...

"Between the book’s sly humor, gently humanist (animalist?) message and wry illustrations by Natalya Balnova, this is a pseudo–children's book that smart adults should greatly enjoy."—Kirkus Reviews(starred review)

 


Available February 3


THRILLERS

Last Days of the Condor

James Grady

The Condor returns in this sequel to James Grady's bestselling Six Days of the Condor and Shadow of the Condor

Last Days of the Condor is the bullet-paced, ticking clock saga of America on the edge of our most startling spy world revolution since 9/11. Set in the savage streets and Kafkaesque corridors of Washington, DC, shot through with sex and suspense, with secret agent tradecraft and full-speed action, with hunters and the hunted, Last Days of the Condor is a breakneck saga of America's secrets from muckraking investigative reporter and author James Grady.

"Grady's anti-heroic spy returns in fine form in an up-to-the-minute novel to which the author, a former Washington investigator, brings plenty of insider knowledge."—Kirkus  Reviews

Available February 17


The Whites

Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt

The Whites is the electrifying debut of a new master of American crime fiction, Harry Brandt—the pen name of novelist Richard Price.

Richard Price, one of America’s most gifted novelists, has always written brilliantly about cops, criminals, and New York City. Now, writing as Harry Brandt, he is poised to win a huge following among all those who hunger for first-rate crime fiction.

 


  

"Price (Lush Life) is one whale of a storyteller by any name, as evinced by the debut of his new brand—okay, Brandt—a gripping, gritty, Greek tragedy of cops, killers, and the sometimes-blurry line between them."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"a strong contender for best crime novel of 2015."—Booklist (starred review)

In the wake of rage and sorrow, ordinary people respond by going crazy and screwing up. In this far-from-ordinary novel, Price/Brandt explores the hows and whys. Fasten your seat belt."—Kirkus Reviews 

Available February 17


SUSPENSE

Mightier Than the Sword

Jeffrey Archer

The next breathtaking installment in Jeffrey Archer's New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling Clifton Chronicles series carries the Clifton family into the late 1960s.

Jeffrey Archer's compelling Clifton Chronicles continue in this, his most accomplished novel to date. With all the trademark twists and turns that have made him one of the world's most popular authors, the spellbinding story of the Clifton and the Barrington families continues.

 

Available February 24


FANTASY

A Darker Shade of Magic

V. E. Schwab

Prepare to be dazzled by a world of parallel Londons—where magic thrives, starves, or lies forgotten, and where power can destroy just as quickly as it can create.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, with one mad king—George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered—and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to the throne. White London—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now....

"Confident prose and marvelous touches—a chameleon coat, a scarlet river of magic, a piratical antiheroine—bring exuberant life to an exhilarating adventure among the worlds."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine."Kirkus Reviews

Available February 24


GRAPHICA

The Sculptor

Scott McCloud

The long-awaited magnum opus from comics superstar Scott McCloud: a spellbinding adult urban fable about a wish, a deal with Death, the price of art, and the value of life.

David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the eleventh hour isn't making it any easier! 

"Drawn in sharp, sure-handed lines that jump from intimate blocks of wry but poignant interactions with other characters to dramatically realized city scenery, McCloud's epic generates magic and makes an early play for graphic novel of the year."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The fluidity of McCloud’s visual narrative carries us along with a sweep impossible to duplicate in prose, and, through to its climax, the story’s commitment to its harsh, inevitable, but ultimately sublime outcome qualifies this as a work of stunning, timeless graphic literature."Booklist (starred review)

Available February 3


NONFICTION

HISTORY

A Kim Jong-Il Production

The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power

Paul Fischer

The Orphan Master’s Son meets Argo in the extraordinary true story of Kim Jong-Il’s 1978 kidnapping of the golden couple of South Korean cinema, the movies they made, and their escape.

A nonfiction thriller packed with tension, passion, and politics, author Paul Fischer's A Kim Jong-Il Production offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea's history that helps explain how it became the hermetically sealed, intensely stage-managed country it remains today.

"A meticulously detailed feat of rare footage inside the DPRK’s propaganda machinery."Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Fischer’s entertaining narrative paints an arresting portrait of a North Korean 'theater state,' forced to enact the demented script of a sociopathic tyrant."—Publishers Weekly

Available February 3


RELIGION

Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery

Six Holy Objects That Tell the Remarkable Story of the Gospels

David Gibson and Michael McKinley

A companion book to CNN’s six-night, six-hour primetime television series that takes viewers on a forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible.

Finding Jesus explores six major artefacts, including the Shroud of Turin, the True Cross, and John the Baptist, that give us the most direct evidence about the life and world of Jesus. The book and attendant CNN series provide a dramatic way to retell "the greatest story ever told" while introducing a broad audience to the history, the latest controversies, and newest forensic science involved in sorting out facts from the fiction of would-be forgers and deceivers.

Available February 24


SELF-HELP

The Fear Cure 

Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul

Lissa Rankin, M.D.

Not many people in the medical world are talking about how being afraid can make us sick—but the truth is that fear, left untreated, becomes a serious risk factor for conditions from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. Now Lissa Rankin, M.D., explains why we need to heal ourselves from the fear that puts our health at risk and robs our lives of joy—and shows us how fear can ultimately cure us by opening our eyes to all that needs healing in our lives.

Available February 24


Soul Shifts

Transformative Wisdom for Creating a Life of Authentic Awakening, Emotional Freedom & Practical Spirituality

Barbara De Angelis

Soul Shifts is the ground-breaking new book from New York Times best-selling author and renowned transformational teacher Barbara De Angelis, Ph.D. Now, in her most powerful offering yet—and the culmination of her life's work—Dr. De Angelis offers a practical handbook for awakening, and a brilliant re-envisioning of the journey of personal and spiritual transformation that will inspire and enlighten long-time seekers as well as new arrivals to the path of growth.

Available February 24


Goddesses Never Age 

The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Though we talk about wanting to "age gracefully," the truth is that when it comes to getting older, we're programmed to dread an inevitable decline: in our health, our looks, our sexual relationships, even the pleasure we take in living life. But as Christiane Northrup, M.D., shows us in this profoundly empowering book, we have it in us to make growing older an entirely different experience, for both our bodies and our souls. In chapters that blend personal stories and practical exercises with the latest research on health and ageing, Dr. Northrup lays out the principles of ageless living, from rejecting processed foods to releasing stuck emotions, from embracing our sensuality to connecting deeply with our Divine Source.

Available February 24


ART & PHOTOGRAPHY

life.love.beauty

Keegan Allen

A rich visual and literary tour of the international star's personal experiences, observations, travels, passions and aspirations.

Keegan Allen is currently known to fans of the ABC Family hit television series, Pretty Little Liars. He has also appeared in numerous independent films and made his New York Stage debut in the acclaimed MCC production of Small Engine Repair. Keegan was given his first camera at age nine, and began a lifelong study and pursuit of photography. life.love.beauty is a selection of photographs taken since his childhood. 

Available February 3


104 Things to Paint

In the spirit of the bestseller 642 Things to Draw, this guided painting book is filled with fun ideas that will have artists of all skill levels reaching for their paintbrushes. Covering everything from the straightforward (a color wheel) to the curiously quirky (a hot mess)—and with extra-thick textured pages that make it easy to paint directly inside the book—this is the perfect inspirational on-the-go art studio for beginning and seasoned painters alike.

 

Available February 17


New Releases: January 2015 Highlights

by Dan
Fiction + Politics + Psychology & Self-Help / January 06, 2015

Happy New Year! Here are some of the best new books available from Raincoast in January 2015...

FICTION

HISTORICAL

★ ★ JANUARY 2015 INDIE NEXT PICK! ★ ★

The Magician's Lie

Greer Macallister

Will a magician ever reveal her secrets-even when her life is at stake? 

The Amazing Arden is the most notorious female illusionist of her day, renowned for sawing a man in half. One night, with policeman Virgil Holt in the audience, she swaps her saw for a fire ax. A new trick or an all-too-real murder? When a dead body is discovered, the answer seems clear. But under Holt's interrogation, what Arden's story reveals is both unbelievable and spellbinding. Even handcuffed and alone, she is far from powerless. During one eerie night, Holt must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free...and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.

"This well-paced, evocative, and adventurous historical novel from Macallister, a poet and short story writer, chronicles the career of America’s preeminent female stage illusionist at the turn of the 20th century, who, as the Amazing Arden, created the lurid, controversial stage act known as the Halved Man."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Available Now


FANTASY

The Just City 

Jo Walton

From the acclaimed, award-winning author of Among Others and My Real Children, a tale of gods and humans, and the surprising things they have to learn from one another.

Created as an experiment by the time-travelling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future—all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past. Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives—the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself—asking all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.

"The award-winning Walton has written a remarkable novel of ideas that demands—and repays—careful reading. It is itself an exercise in philosophy that often, courtesy of Socrates, critically examines Plato’s ideas. If this sounds abstruse, it sometimes is, but the plot is always accessible and the world building and characterization are superb. In the end, the novel more than does justice to the idea of the Just City."—Booklist (starred review)

Available January 13


★ JANUARY 2015 INDIE NEXT PICK! ★ 

The Unquiet Dead 

Ausma Zehanat Khan

Ausma Zehanat Khan's haunting debut follows detectives Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty as they investigate the death of a man who may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre.

Despite their differences, Detective Rachel Getty trusts her boss, Esa Khattak, implicitly. But she's still uneasy at Khattak's tight-lipped secrecy when he asks her to look into Christopher Drayton's death. Drayton's apparently accidental fall from a cliff doesn't seem to warrant a police investigation, particularly not from Rachel and Khattak's team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But when she learns that Drayton may have been living under an assumed name, Rachel begins to understand why Khattak is tip-toeing around this case—could Drayton be a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995?

"This whodunit is layered into events as recent as the Maher Arar affair or Toronto’s fears of “homegrown” urban terrorists. Khan, who holds a Ph.D. in international human-rights law, knows her subject, knows her hometown, and knows how to keep the suspense building. This is a writer to watch."—Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

"Khan’s stunning debut is a poignant, elegantly written mystery laced with complex characters who force readers to join them in dealing with ugly truths."—Kirkus Reviews

Available January 13


LITERARY

Outline

Rachel Cusk

A luminous, powerful novel that establishes Rachel Cusk as one of the finest writers in the English language.

Rachel Cusk's Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and stark, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves: their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss.
  

"To my mind Outline succeeds powerfully. Among other things, it gets a great variety of human beings down on to the page with both immediacy and depth; an elemental pleasure that makes the book as gripping to read as a thriller."—James Lasdun, The Guardian

“Outline is a poised and cerebral novel that has little in the way of straightforward plot yet is transfixing in its unruffled awareness of the ways we love and leave each other, and of what it means to listen to other people."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times 

"These 10 remarkable conversations, told with immense control, focus a sharp eye on how we discuss family and our lives."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Available January 13


The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac

Sharma Shields

A dark, fantastical, multi-generational tale about a family whose patriarch is consumed by the hunt for the mythical, elusive sasquatch he encountered in his youth.

Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with "Mr. Krantz," a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him. Boldy imaginative, The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.

"Imagine a mashup of Moby-Dick and Kakfa’s Metamorphosis (with a hearty dash of Twin Peaks thrown in), and you’ll begin to get an idea of what Shields' ambitious tale of disenchantment sets out to do."—Kirkus Reviews

"This debut novel chronicles the life of a man obsessed by a childhood encounter with the mythical creature, which may be related to the disappearance of his mother. Just shut up – you had me at 'sasquatch.'”—Mark Medley, The Globe and Mail

Available January 27


CONTEMPORARY WOMEN

First Frost

Sarah Addison Allen

Featuring characters from her beloved novel, Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen's new novel picks up ten years after that eventful summer when Claire Waverly's wild half-sister Sydney returned to Bascom and Claire met her now-husband Tyler. Things have settled down and Claire finds she has slipped back into a place of tightly sequestered sameness. It's comfortable. She likes it. But when her father Russell shows up he brings with him information that Claire doesn't want to hear and that will challenge everything she thought she knew about herself. Filled with Sarah Addison Allen's characteristic magic and warmth, this novel will reveal how the people who come into your life may not be the ones you expect, but they're there for a reason. And they don't change your one true voice, they make it louder.

"Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again, and in returning to the Waverley household, the winsomely wise Allen demonstrates that sometimes it’s necessary to embrace the magic to find out what’s real in life and in one’s own heart."—Booklist (starred review)

"Allen has written a beautiful, lyrical story, complete with genuine characters whose depth reflects Allen’s skill as a writer. Allen’s fans will be eagerly awaiting her next."Publishers Weekly 

"Richly drawn characters with dilemmas everyone can relate to make this book shine above everything similar."—RT Book Reviews 

Available January 20


 

NONFICTION

 

POLITICAL SCIENCE

Rebalancing Society 

Radical Renewal Beyond Left, Right, and Center

Henry Mintzberg

Our world is out of balance, says Henry Mintzberg, and the consequences are proving fateful: the degradation of our environment, the demise of our democracies, and the denigration of ourselves, with greed having been raised to some sort of high calling. But we can set things right.

Mintzberg argues that a healthy society is built on three balanced pillars: a public sector of respected governments, a private sector of responsible enterprises, and what he calls a plural sector of robust voluntary associations (nonprofits, NGOs,etc.). Communism collapsed because the public sector was overbearing—balance triumphed in 1989, not capitalism. But that misunderstanding has led to the private sector becoming overbearing in many countries, especially the United States, and this imbalance is wreaking havoc.

Available Now


HEALTH & FITNESS

7 Minutes to Fit

50 Anytime, Anywhere Interval Workouts

Brett Klika

There's a reason why searching Google for the New York Times article "The Scientific 7-Minute Workout" yields nearly 100 million results: we all want an exercise routine that's quick, efficient, and delivers powerful results. In 7 Minutes to Fit, the scientific study's co-author presents 50 all-new high-intensity interval circuits that only require a chair and a timer. 

Available January 14


PSYCHOLOGY

The Man Who Couldn't Stop 

OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought

David Adam

David Adam, an editor at Nature and an accomplished science writer, has suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder for twenty years, and The Man Who Couldn’t Stop is his unflinchingly honest attempt to understand the condition and his experiences.

Drawing on the latest research on the brain, as well as historical accounts of patients and their treatments, this is a book that will challenge the way you think about what is normal and what is mental illness. Told with fierce clarity, humour, and urgent lyricism, this extraordinary book is both the haunting story of a personal nightmare and a fascinating doorway into the darkest corners of our minds.

"Well-researched, witty, honest and irreverent, Adam’s account proves as irresistible as his subject."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In a wide-reaching discussion that spans the spectrum of obsession, Nature editor David Adam strikes an impressive balance between humor and poignancy, and between entertaining and informing."—Publishers Weekly

Available January 20


BUSINESS

The Age of Cryptocurrency

How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order

Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey

Bitcoin pops up in headlines and fuels endless media debate. You can apparently use it to buy anything from coffee to cars, yet few people seem to truly understand what it is. This raises the question: Why should anyone care about bitcoin?

In The Age of Cryptocurrency, Wall Street journalists Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey deliver the definitive answer to this question. Cybermoney is poised to launch a revolution, one that could reinvent traditional financial and social structures. But bitcoin, the most famous of the cybermonies, carries a reputation for instability, wild fluctuation, and illicit business. Vigna and Casey demystify cryptocurrency-its origins, its function, and what you need to know to navigate a cyber-economy. 

"While many readers understandably have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept of non-government-backed currency, journalists Casey (Che’s Afterlife) and Vigna, who blog about cryptocurrency at the Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat blog, here use their considerable expertise to make the Bitcoin phenomenon accessible."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Available January 27


MIND, BODY & SPIRIT

Angels of Love

How to Find and Keep the Perfect Relationship

Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue

Gain confidence, clarity, and courage with the help of the angels. In this practical reference guide, you'll learn how to heal your heart and open it to all forms of love: self-love, spiritual love, healing love, friendship love, and romantic love. You'll discover how to develop a healthy relationship with yourself and others, built upon mutual respect and support. For those looking to manifest a romantic relationship, Angels of Love gives practical tips for how and where to find the right partner.

Available January 14


FOOD & DRINK

New German Cooking

Recipes for Classics Revisited

Jeremy Nolen and Jessica Nolen with Drew Lazor

Bright flavours. Fresh and healthful. These are not words we typically associate with German cuisine. But this beautifully packaged cookbook is not quite traditional. Featuring 100 recipes for familiar food re-envisioned to reflect the way we eat now, German Cooking Now celebrates fresh vegetables, grains, herbs, and spices as obsessively as it does pork, pretzels, and beer. Chefs Jeremy and Jessica Nolen share recipes from their family table, inspired by their travels in Germany. Slow-braised meats, home-made pickles and preserves, hand-cut noodles, and vegetables every which way-the recipes in German Cooking Now are entirely true to their roots, yet utterly unique. 

Available January 27


My Favourite Book of 2014, Chelsea Newcombe

by Chelsea
Kids / December 09, 2014

It was easy to choose my favourite book of 2014. I looked back over all of the books I encountered and thought, “Which one stuck with me? Who made me care enough to lose sleep?” Without a doubt it's Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign¸ inspired by her personal experience with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Growing up, I devoured a steady diet of The Babysitter’s Club, Martin’s blockbuster paperback series now synonymous with the ‘90s. But even though I read every single one in numbered order with an almost religious fanaticism, they might as well have been magazines for the lack of an impression that the stories or characters had on me. Fast-forward 20 years later and I’m reading Ann M. Martin’s writing again, but this time to a much different effect. Rain Reign made me laugh and cry, feel worried for and proud of our heroine Rose, and hug my dog a couple of times.

Rose is very unique; she’s obsessed with prime numbers and homonyms, a side effect of her high-functioning autism, which in turn makes school, friendships and her relationship with her father fraught with stress. Her uncle Weldon and adopted mutt Rain are the bright spots in her world. Rose’s dad found Rain behind the neighborhood bar, wandering lost without a collar with owners nowhere to be found (although he didn’t put much effort into the search); girl and dog are inseparable until a hurricane blows in, Rain becomes lost, and Rose has to challenge her core beliefs about right and wrong to get her dog back home. 


My Favourite Book of 2014, Larisa Sviridova

by Alisha
December 03, 2014

If you are invited to someone’s house for the first time do you ever catch yourself picking through your host’s bookshelves and subconsciously judging their taste based on the selection of books on those shelves? I’ve done it! Even though reading preferences cannot be the only criteria for understanding someone, they could certainly tell you a lot about a person.

I enjoy asking people about the books they’ve read, reread or never finished reading. So does Pamela Paul, the editor of The New York Times Book Review. This is why I didn’t hesitate to buy the collection of interviews conducted and compiled by Pamela Paul in the beautiful hardcover edition By the Book, published by Henry Holt & Co in 2014. This book includes interviews with sixty-five interesting personalities such as writers David Mitchell, Jhumpa Lahiri, J.K.Rowling, John Grisham, Khaled Hosseini, John Irving, actors such as Emma Thompson or Arnold Schwarzenegger, and singers like Sting. It is fascinating to learn their reading preferences, their likes and dislikes, and the books which have had the greatest impact on them as individuals and professionals.

I learned that Jane Eyre remains a favorite literary character for Amy Tan; that of all the people in the world, Malcolm Gladwell would prefer to meet Shakespeare’s wife; that Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland had the greatest impact on Joyce Carol Oates; that James McBride has never read “the great Russian writers”; that the first and last horror book Dan Brown has ever opened was The Exorcist and that Sting is absolutely ignorant of self-help books. Oh! And Nicholson Baker likes reading diaries.

Even a devoted reader might have a few titles which they consider as “guilty pleasures” or a book, which would be just so alien, that it feels like they don’t belong to one’s shelf. Imagine writers have those too!

You will feel better if you know that there are books everybody is supposed to like, but the writers didn’t; or books everyone had read in the childhood but famous people did not. And of course, some celebrities might also have secrets: “Nothing can be compared to the excitement of a forbidden book”, admits Isabel Allende, who “discovered the irresistible mixture of eroticism and fantasy reading One Thousand and One Nights inside a closet with a flashlight”.

I wasn’t familiar with all the writers in this collection, even less so with the books they talk about. Needless to say, I now have a long to-read list and I can’t wait until my next visit to the library.


New Releases: December 2014 Highlights

by Dan
Art & Photography + Fiction + Food & Drink + Reference / November 27, 2014

Thoughts may already be turning to Christmas, but here are a few of next month's new releases from Raincoast Books: 

FICTION

Another Night, Another Day

Sarah Rayner

Three people, each crying out for help.

There's Karen, about to lose her father; Abby, whose son has autism and needs constant care, and Michael, a family man on the verge of bankruptcy. As each sinks under the strain, they're brought together at Moreland's Clinic.

From the international bestselling author, Sarah Rayner, Another Night, Another Day is the emotional story of a group of strangers who come together to heal, creating lifelong friendships along the way.

 

 

Available December 23


Saving Grace

Jane Green

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tempting Fate comes a powerful and riveting novel about a woman whose life begins to unravel in the face of infidelity and addiction.

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted's rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. 

Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.

 

Available December 30


 

NONFICTION

TRAVEL

Paris in Love

Nichole Robertson

A pair of scarlet-rimmed coffee cups, two glasses of Bordeaux, light glowing rosily from a street lamp, a bouquet of bright red flowers-Nichole Robertson's follow-up to the beloved Paris in Color captures the hidden corners and secret moments that make Paris the most romantic city in the world. A love letter in rouge to the City of Light, Paris in Love is the perfect valentine for anyone who adores Paris!

 

Available December 2


PHOTOGRAPHY

Melting Away 

Images of the Arctic and Antarctic

Camille Seaman

For ten years Camille Seaman has documented the rapidly changing landscapes of Earth's polar regions. As an expedition photographer aboard small ships in the Arctic and Antarctic, she has chronicled the accelerating effects of global warming on the jagged face of nearly fifty thousand icebergs. Through Seaman's lens, each towering chunk of ice takes on a distinct personality, giving her work the feel of majestic portraiture. 

Available December 2


TECHNOLOGY

Pogue's Basics

Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You) for Simplifying the Technology in Your Life

David Pogue

Did you know that can you scroll a Web page just by tapping the space bar? How do you recover photos you've deleted by accident? What can you do if your cell phone's battery is dead by dinnertime each day?

When it comes to technology, there's no driver's ed class or government-issued pamphlet covering the essentials. Somehow, you're just supposed to know how to use your phone, tablet, computer, camera, Web browser, e-mail, and social networks. Luckily, award-winning tech expert David Pogue comes to the rescue with Pogue's Basics, a book that will change your relationship with all of the technology in your life.

Available December 9


FOOD & DRINK

New in Paperback

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution

Kris Carr and Chad Sarno

In Crazy Sexy Kitchen, the woman who made prevention hot is now making it delicious! In her new book, New York Times best-selling author Kris Carr gives us a Veggie Manifesto for gourmands and novices alike, and it's filled with inspiration, education, and cooking tips-plus more than 150 nourishing, nosh-worthy recipes. 

 

Available December 9


New Releases: November 2014 Highlights

by Dan
Design & Typography + Fiction + Film + Health & Wellness + Travel / November 07, 2014

I refuse to discuss Christmas yet, so here are just some of the new (non-festive) books available this month from Raincoast Books! 

FICTION

The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu

With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author.

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

Available November 11


THRILLERS

Sons of Anarchy: Bratva

Christopher Golden

With half of the club recently released from Stockton State Penitentiary, and the Galindo drug cartel bringing down heat at every turn, the MC already has its hands full. Yet Jax Teller the V.P. of SAMCRO has another problem to deal with. He just learned that his Irish half-sister Trinity has been in the U.S. for months entangled with Russian BRATVA gangsters. Now that she's abruptly gone missing, he's sure the brewing mafia war is connected to her disappearance. Jax heads to Nevada with Chibs and Opie to search for her and seek revenge. Trinity may be half-Irish, but she's also half-Teller and where Teller's go, trouble follows.

Available November 11


Betrayed

A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel

Lisa Scottoline

Judy Carrier finds herself at a crossroads in her life. Her best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has just become partner and is about to become a bride, leaving Judy vaguely out of sorts. To make matters worse, she is shocked to discover that her beloved Aunt Vicky has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She races to her aunt's side, and so does Judy's mother, only to find that her aunt is dealing with the sudden death of a friend who had been helping her through chemo. The friend, Emelia Juarez, was an undocumented worker at a local farm, but her death doesn't look natural at all, to Judy. Judy begins to investigate, following a path that leads her into an underground world far more dangerous than she ever imagined. 

Available November 25


NONFICTION

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

Fully Alive

Discovering What Matters Most

Timothy Shriver

As chairman of Special Olympics, Timothy P. Shriver has dedicated his life to the world's most forgotten minority—people with intellectual disabilities. And in a time when we are all more rudderless than ever, when we've lost our sense of what's ultimately important, when we hunger for stability but get only uncertainty, he has looked to them for guidance. Fully Alive chronicles Shriver's discovery of a radically different, and inspiring, way of life. We see straight into the lives of those who seem powerless but who have turned that into a power of their own, and through them learn that we are all totally vulnerable and totally valuable at the same time.

Available November 11


DESIGN

Beautiful Users

Designing for People

Edited by Ellen Lupton

In the mid-twentieth century, Henry Dreyfuss—widely considered the father of industrial design—pioneered a user-centered approach to design that focuses on studying people's behaviours and attitudes as a key first step in developing successful products. In the intervening years, user-centered design has expanded to undertake the needs of differently abled users and global populations as well as the design of complex systems and services. Beautiful Users explores the changing relationship between designers and users and considers a range of design methodologies and practices, from user research to hacking, open source, and the maker culture.

Available November 18


ESSAYS

The Unspeakable

And Other Subjects of Discussion

Meghan Daum

In her celebrated 2001 collection, My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum offered a bold, witty, defining account of the artistic ambitions, financial anxieties, and mixed emotions of her generation. The Unspeakable is an equally bold and witty, but also a sadder and wiser, report from early middle age.

Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with a warm humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron, Daum dissects our culture's most dangerous illusions, blind spots, and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through it all, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete.

Available November 18


Men 

Notes from an Ongoing Investigation

Laura Kipnis

It's no secret that men often behave in confusing ways, but in recent years we've witnessed so many spectacular public displays of male excess-disgraced politicians, erotically desperate professors, fallen sports heroes-that we're left to wonder whether something has come unwired in the collective male psyche.

In the essays collected here, Kipnis revisits the archetypes of wayward masculinity that have captured her imagination over the years: the scumbag, the con man, the lothario, the obsessive, cheaters, gropers, self-deceivers, and many others.

Available November 18


FOOD & DRINK

Bar Tartine

Techniques and Recipes

Cortney Burns and Nick Balla with Jan Newberry

Bar Tartine—co-founded by Tartine Bakery's Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt—is obsessed over by locals and visitors, critics and chefs. Helmed by Nick Balla and Cortney Burns, it draws on time-honoured processes, and a core that runs through the cuisines of Central Europe, Japan, and Scandinavia to deliver a range of dishes from soups to salads, to shared plates and sweets. With more than 150 photographs, this highly anticipated cookbook is a true original.

Available November 25


HEALTH & FITNESS

Make Your Own Rules Diet 

Tara Stiles

In Make Your Own Rules Diet, Tara Stiles introduces readers to easy and fun ways to bring yoga, meditation, and healthy food into their lives. As the designer and face of Reebok's first yoga lifestyle line, author of Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga, and the founder of Strala—the movement-based system that ignites freedom, known for its laid-back and unpretentious vibe—Tara has long been a proponent of creating a tension-free healthy life by tapping into the unique needs of her clients. In this new book, she teaches readers how to apply this inward-looking philosophy to themselves.

Available October 15


HUMOUR

Texts From Jane Eyre

And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

Mallory Ortberg

Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O'Hara to Jessica Wakefield. Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mash-up that brings the characters from your favourite books into the twenty-first century.

 

 

Available Now


MUSIC

Mark Motherbaugh: Myopia 

Adam Lerner

Mark Mothersbaugh is a legendary figure for fans of both street art and music culture. Co-founder of the seminal New Wave band DEVO, he was a prolific visual artist before the band's inception moving seamlessly between multiple mediums creating bold, cartoonish, strangely disturbed works of pop surrealism that playfully explore the relationship between technology and individuality. In the most comprehensive presentation of his work to date, Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia features a lifetime of his creative inventions from the beginning of his artistic career in the 1970s to his most recent work.

Available Now


Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression

75 Years of the Finest in Jazz

Richard Havers

Published for Blue Note's seventy-fifth anniversary, this landmark volume is the first official illustrated story of the legendary jazz label, from 1939 roots to its renaissance today. Featuring classic album artwork, unseen contact sheets, rare ephemera from the Blue Note Archives, commentary from some of the biggest names in jazz today, and feature reviews of seventy-five key albums, this is the definitive book on the legendary label.

 

Available November 14


POPULAR CULTURE

A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey

Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes

Jessica Fellowes; foreword by Julian Fellowes

This gorgeous book explores the seasonal events and celebrations of the great estate—including house parties, debutantes, the London Season, yearly trips to Scotland, the sporting season, and, of course, the cherished rituals of Christmas. Jessica Fellowes and the creative team behind Downton Abbey invite us to peer through the prism of the house as we learn more about the lives of our favorite characters, the actors who play them, and those who bring this exquisite world to real life.

Available Now


Inside HBO's Game of Thrones #2

Seasons 3 & 4

C.A. Taylor

Each episode of HBO's Game of Thrones draws millions of obsessed viewers who revel in the shocking plot twists, award-winning performances, and gorgeously rendered fantasy world. This official companion book reveals what it takes to translate George R. R. Martin's bestselling series into a wildly popular television series. With unprecedented scope and depth, it showcases hundreds of unpublished set photos, visual effects art, and production and costume designs, plus insights from key actors and crew members that capture the best scripted and unscripted moments from Seasons 3 and 4.

Available November 11


TRAVEL

 

The World

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has taken the highlights from the world's best guidebooks and put them together into one 960-page whopper to create the ultimate guide to Earth.

This user-friendly A-Z gives a flavour of each country in the world, including a map, travel highlights, info on where to go and how to get around, as well as some quirkier details to bring each place to life. In Lonely Planet's trademark blue-spine format, this is the ultimate planning resource. From now on, every traveller's journey should start here…

 

Available Now


New Releases: September 2014 Highlights

by Dan
Art & Photography + Fiction + Psychology & Self-Help / September 08, 2014

This month's releases include new books from Oprah Winfrey, New York Times bestselling authors Iris Johansen and Archer Mayor, as well as Toronto CooksPetcam, and more...

FICTION

MYSTERY & THRILLERS

The Perfect Witness

Iris Johansen

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an explosive new thriller...

When Teresa Casali was young she discovered she had a strange gift: the ability to read people’s memories. But the gift seemed more like a curse as her mob boss father used her as a secret weapon to gain the upper hand in his world of corruption and violence. Exposed by her own family to the darkest impulses of mankind, Teresa is alone and unprotected. She realizes that if she is to survive, she has to run...

 

Available September 30


Proof Positive

A Joe Gunther Novel

Archer Mayor

Ben Kendall was a troubled man. Coming back from Vietnam with PTSD and scars that no one else could see, he hid away from the world, filling his house with an ever-increasing amount of stuff, until finally, the piles collapsed and he was found dead, crushed beneath his own belongings. But what at first glance looks to be a tragic accidental death of a hoarder, may be something much more-and much deadlier. Ben's cousin, medical examiner Beverly Hillstrom, unsettled by the circumstances of his death, alerts Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team...

Available September 30


ROMANCE

Son of No One 

Sherrilyn Kenyon

In Son of No One, next in the blockbuster The Dark-Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, it's not easy being life's own personal joke, but Josette Landry has made an unstable peace with the beast. Completely down on her luck, Josette takes a job with a local paranormal group as a photographer and camerawoman. Yeah, they're even crazier than she is. The only paranormal thing she believes in is the miracle that keeps her rusted-out hoopty running. But when something truly evil is released into the world, they are forced to call in reinforcements.

 

Available September 2


SCIENCE FICTION

Good House

Peyton Marshall

A bighearted dystopian novel about the corrosive effects of fear and the redemptive power of love.

From the far reaches of the D'Haran Empire, Bishop Hannis Arc and the ancient Emperor Sulachan lead a vast horde of Shun-Tuk and other depraved "half-people" into the Empire's heart, raising an army of the dead in order to threaten the world of the living. Meanwhile, far from home, Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell must defend themselves and their followers from a series of terrifying threats, despite a magical sickness that depletes their strength and which, if not cured, will take their lives… sooner rather than later.

Available September 30


NONFICTION

FOOD & DRINK

Huckleberry

Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From Our Kitchen

Zoe Nathan with Laurel Almerinda and Josh Loeb

"Everything in generosity" is the motto of Zoe Nathan, the big-hearted baker behind Santa Monica's favourite neighbourhood bakery and breakfast spot, Huckleberry Bakery & Café. This irresistible cookbook collects more than 115 recipes and more than 150 colour photographs, including how-to sequences for mastering basics such as flaky dough and lining a cake pan. Huckleberry's recipes span from sweet (rustic cakes, muffins, and scones) to savory (hot cereals, biscuits, and quiche). True to the spirit of Los Angeles, these recipes feature whole-grain flours, sesame and flax seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, natural sugars, and gluten-free and vegan options—and they always lead with deliciousness. 

Available September 9


Toronto Cooks 

100 Signature Recipes from the City's Best Restaurants

Edited by Amy Rosen

There has never been a more exciting time to eat in Toronto. While always known for its vibrant and varied food scene, over the past few years the city has been experiencing a culinary explosion. Innovative, globally minded, locally focused restaurants have been cropping up all over town as Toronto evolves into one of the world's greatest places to eat. Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from the City's Best Restaurants captures this evolution specifically with the home cook in mind. 

Available September 30

 


HEALTH

On Immunity

An Inoculation

Eula Biss

Why do we fear vaccines? A provocative examination by Eula Biss, the author of Notes from No Man's Land, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

In this bold, fascinating book, Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, and the world, both historically and in the present moment. She extends a conversation with other mothers to meditations on Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is a moving account of how we are all interconnected-our bodies and our fates.

Available September 30


SELF-HELP & INSPIRATION

What I Know of Sure

Oprah Winfrey

The inspirational wisdom Oprah Winfrey shares in her monthly O, The Oprah Magazine column updated, curated, and collected for the first time in a beautiful keepsake book.

After film critic Gene Siskel asked her, "What do you know for sure?" Oprah Winfrey began writing the "What I Know For Sure" column in O, The Oprah Magazine. Saying that the question offered her a way to take "stock of her life," Oprah has penned one column a month over the last fourteen years.

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful book packed with insight and revelation.

Available September 2


Happiness Is...

500 Things To Be Happy About

Swerling Lisa and Lazar Ralph

From Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling, illustrators and the authors of Me Without You, this adorable gift book illustrates 500 things to be happy about. Happiness is... an unexpected bouquet, cheese, fixing something, a good high-five, and so much more! The charming, make-you-smile illustrations hit just the right note—not too sappy, not too sweet—and remind us that there are dozens of things to be happy about every day. 

Available September 2


Daily Love

Growing into Grace

Mastin Kipp

In Daily Love, Mastin shares some of his personal stories of darkness and light, embracing them all as part of his journey to becoming who he really is. He also speaks of various spiritual leaders who have influenced his life, such as Joseph Campbell, Caroline Myss, Tony Robbins, George Lucas, Oprah, his parents and Jenna (his girlfriend). Through detailed accounts of various spiritual principles introduced by these teachers, Mastin shares how his inspirations and mentors have helped to guide him to success and self-discovery. With the signature voice of TheDailyLove.com and Mastin's youthful and engaging spirit, readers gain a new perspective on what it means to be spiritual for the next generation.

Available September 9


Empower Yourself

Miranda Kerr

Following the overwhelming response to Treasure Yourself, Miranda Kerr continues to explore similar themes in her latest title, providing insight on what she believes it means for young, modern women to be empowered in all areas of life and how this can be achieved. For Miranda, one of the most powerful tools to facilitate change, both in her own life, and in the lives of others, is the use of positive affirmations. Here, she has written over 250 personal affirmations that can be used to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, harmonious relationships, fulfilling career, and happiness.
 

Available September 9


E-Cubed

Nine More Energy Experiments That Prove Manifesting Magic and Miracles Is Your Full-Time Gig

Pam Grout

E-Squared, the international hit sensation described by one reader as "The Secret on crack," provided the training wheels, the baby steps, to "really getting it" that thoughts create reality.

In E-Cubed, Pam Grout takes you higher and deeper into the quantum field, where you'll prove that blessings and miracles are natural and that joy is only a thought away.

 

Available September 9


BIOGRAPHY

You Might Remember Me 

The Life and Times of Phil Hartman

Mike Thomas

The revealing and at times harrowing biography of beloved comedian and actor, Phil Hartman. 

Both joyous tribute and serious biography, Mike Thomas' You Might Remember Me is a celebration of Phil Hartman's multi-faceted career and an exhaustively reported, warts-and-all examination of his often intriguing and sometimes complicated life—a powerful, humour-filled and disquieting portrait of a man who was loved by many, admired by millions and taken from them far too early.

Available September 23


ART & DESIGN

Collage 

Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform

Danielle Krysa

Collage has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity during the twenty-first century, resulting in an explosion of creativity. This showcase of cutting-edge contemporary art from across the globe features galleries of collage by 30 practitioners, from the surreal landscapes of Beth Hoeckel to Fabien Souche's humourous appropriations of pop culture. This collection is visual inspiration for art lovers and an appreciation of the transformation of old into new.

Available September 16


The Art of Box Trolls 

Phil Brotherton

LAIKA, the studio behind the hit films Coraline and ParaNorman, introduces audiences to a new breed of family: the Boxtrolls, a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they've built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. The Art of The Boxtrolls features the amazingly detailed artwork that went into this film's creation, including character sketches, puppets, textiles, set dressing, and 3-D printed facial models, alongside the story of the film's development.

Available September 23


STYLE

Worn Stories 

Emily Spivack

Everyone has a memoir in miniature in at least one piece of clothing. In Worn Stories, Emily Spivack has collected over sixty of these clothing-inspired narratives from cultural figures and talented storytellers. First-person accounts range from the everyday to the extraordinary, such as artist Marina Abramovic on the boots she wore to walk the Great Wall of China; musician Rosanne Cash on the purple shirt that belonged to her father; and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley on the Girl Scout sash that informed her business acumen.

Available Now


PHOTOGRAPHY

Petcam 

The World Through the Lens of Our Four-Legged Friends

Chris Keeney

How does the world look from the point of view of our dogs and cats—or our chickens and goats? Petcam, by photographer Chris Keeney, author of Pinhole Cameras, presents a collection of striking and amusing images created by an international roster of animal photographers. With small, lightweight cameras attached to their collars and cowbells, they document what they see as they go about their daily routines—lounging under parked cars, scaling rooftops, jumping fences, relaxing in a neighbor's tall grass. 

Available September 2


Nocturne

Creatures of the Night

Traer Scott

In Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, celebrated animal photographer Traer Scott takes the viewer on a journey through nighttime in the animal kingdom, revealing some of nature's most elusive creatures. Bats, big cats, flying squirrels, tarantula, owls, kangaroo mice, giant moths, sloth, several species of snakes, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach are only a few of the animals illuminated in these lushly detailed portraits. 

Available September 2


Guest Post: Cory Doctorow for Freedom to Read Week

by Dan
Guest Blogger + YA Fiction / February 24, 2013

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

 
To mark this year's Freedom to Read Week, which starts today, we asked author Cory Doctorow to contribute a guest post on libraries and technology.
 
 

Libraries, Hackspaces and E-waste: how libraries can be the hub of a young maker revolution

Every discussion of libraries in the age of austerity always includes at least one blowhard who opines, "What do we need libraries for? We've got the Internet now!"

Facepalm.

The problem is that Mr. Blowhard has confused a library with a book depository. Now, those are useful, too, but a library isn't just (or even necessarily) a place where you go to get books for free. Public libraries have always been places where skilled information professionals assisted the general public with the eternal quest to understand the world. Historically, librarians have sat at the coalface between the entire universe of published material and patrons, choosing books with at least a colorable claim to credibility, carefully cataloging and shelving them, and then assisting patrons in understanding how to synthesize the material contained therein.

Libraries have also served as community hubs, places where the curious, the scholarly, and the intellectually excitable could gather in the company of one another, surrounded by untold information-wealth, presided over by skilled information professionals who could lend technical assistance where needed. My own life has included many protracted stints in libraries — for example, I dropped out of high-school when I was 14 took myself to Toronto's Metro Reference Library and literally walked into the shelves at random, selected the first volume that aroused my curiosity, read it until it suggested another line of interest, then chased that one up. When I found the newspaper microfilm, I was blown away, and spent a week just pulling out reels at random and reading newspapers from the decades and centuries before, making notes and chasing them up with books. We have a name for this behavior today, of course: "browsing the Web." It was clunkier before the Web went digital, but it was every bit as exciting.

(Eventually my parents figured out I wasn't going to school, and after the ensuing confrontations, I ended up at a most excellent independent/alternative school, but that's another story)

Later, I worked as a page at North York Public Library's central branch, in the Business and Urban Affairs department. Working at a library is an unparalleled opportunity to witness the full range of human curiosity, from excited students working on school assignments together to wild-eyed entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams to careful senior citizens researching where to invest their personal savings to supplement their pensions (and lots more besides). All these people were using the library as a place, a resource, and a community. Because that's what libraries are.

And we've never needed that more than we need it today. We've run out of places. What used to be public squares and parks are now malls. Places that used to welcome kids now prohibit them (in England, where I live, some smart-aleck invented a device called "the mosquito," which plays a shrill tone only audible to young ears, used to drive children away from semi-public spaces like the benches in front of stores).

What's more, we're *drowning* in information. Pre-Internet librarianship was like pre-Internet newspaper publishing: "select, then publish." That is, all the unfiltered items are presented to a gatekeeper, who selects the best of them, and puts them in front of the rest of the world. Now we live in a "publish, then select" world: everyone can reach everything, all the time, and the job of experts is to collect and annotate that material, to help others navigate its worth and truthfulness.

That is to say that society has never needed its librarians, and its libraries, more. The major life-skill of the information age is information literacy, and no one's better at that than librarians. It's what they train for. It's what they live for.

But there's another gang of information-literate people out there, a gang who are a natural ally of libraries and librarians: the maker movement. Clustered in co-operative workshops called "makerspaces" or "hack(er)spaces," makers build physical stuff. They make robots, flying drones, 3D printers (and 3D printed stuff), jewelry, tools, printing presses, clothes, medieval armor... Whatever takes their fancy. Making in the 21st century has moved out of the individual workshop and gone networked. Today's tinkerer work in vast, distributed communities where information sharing is the norm, where the ethics and practices of the free/open source software movement has gone physical. Such hackspaces play a prominent role in my own fiction (thanks, no doubt, to the neighborly presence to the London Hackspace, which is directly over my own office in Hackney). In my new novel,

Homeland (the sequel to 2008's Little Brother), my protagonist Marcus discovers the tools of personal and social revolution through his friends at Noisebridge, a real-world makerspace in San Francisco.

At first blush, the connection between makers and libraries might be hard to see. But one of the impacts of building your own computing devices (a drone, a 3D printer, and a robot are just specialized computers in fancy cases) is that it forces you to confront the architecture and systems that underlie your own information consumption. Savvy librarians will know that our access to networked information is mediated by dozens of invisible sources, from the unaccountable search algorithms that determine our starting (and often, ending) points, to the equally unaccountable censoring network "filters" that arbitrarily block whole swathes of the Internet, to underlying hardware and operating system constraints and choices that make certain kinds of information easy to consume, and other kinds nearly impossible.

In the automobile age, everyone was expected to know the fundamentals of how their cars worked. Even if you paid someone else to change your oil, it would take an act of will to attain adulthood in the USA without learning a bit about the mechanics underpinning the signal invention of your era. There were just too many ways that a car could go wrong, and too many ways that your life revolved around cars to rely on the rest of the world to understand them for you.

Now we live in the computer age, and if we thought we relied on cars, we hadn't seen anything. Some people spend so much time in their cars that it's like they live in them. But you literally do live inside a computer -- a modern house, car, or institutional building is just a giant computer you put your body into. And modern hearing aids, pacemakers, and prostheses are computers you put inside your body.

Every part of our lives have been permeated by computers, and these computers have the power to peer into our private lives, to compromise our finances, to shape our political beliefs, to disrupt our families, and to destroy our workplaces. That is, if computers don't serve us, they can (and do) destroy us.

But for people who master networked computers and make them into honest servants, computers deliver incredible dividends. A UK study compared similar families, some with access to the net and others without, and found that the families with net access had better education, were more civically engaged, more politically informed, had better jobs and income, were more socially mobile  even their health and nutrition was better. If computers are on your side, they elevate every single thing we use to measure quality of life.

So we need to master computers  to master the systems of information, so that we can master information itself.

That's where makers come in. One of the curious aspects of computers is that they evolve so quickly that they rapidly become obsolete. That means that our communities are drowning in "e-waste," often sent to developing nations where children labor in horrific conditions to turn them back into materials to be reintroduced into the manufacturing stream.

What if, instead of shipping our communities' "dead" computers to China to be dipped in acid by unprotected children, we brought them to our libraries. What if we enlisted our makers to run workshops at the libraries, workshops where the patrons who come to the library to use the limited computers there were taught to build their own PCs, install GNU/Linux on them, and *bring them home*? People who say that it's dumb to turn libraries into book-lined Internet cafes are right.

Internet at the library should be the gateway drug for building a PC of your own, from parts, learning firsthand how computers work, what operating systems are capable of, and what locked-down devices and networks take away from their users.

Making a PC isn't hard, especially when you get the parts for free. The easiest way to get good at stuff is to make mistakes ("to double your success rate, triple your failure rate"). The best mechanic I know learned his trade by buying $100 junkers on Craigslist and destroying one after another until he got good (then: *excellent*) at it. When you're building PCs out of literal garbage, you can do no wrong. Your failures just end up back in the same dumpster they were headed for in the first place.

Look, we've got more computer junk than we know what to do with and a generation of kids whose "information literacy" extends to learning PowerPoint and being lectured about plagiarizing from Wikipedia and putting too much information on Facebook. The invisible, crucial infrastructure of our century is treated as the province of wizards and industrialists, and hermetically sealed, with no user-serviceable parts inside.

Damn right libraries shouldn't be book-lined Internet cafes. They should be book-lined, computer-filled information-dojos where communities come together to teach each other black-belt information literacy, where initiates work alongside noviates to show them how to master the tools of the networked age from the bare metal up.

My young adult novels always feature kids who build their own tools, in part because the coolest, most curious kids I know are already doing this. But it's also because this is a hobby that's available to anyone. The information is online, free. The raw materials aren't just free, they're worth *less than nothing*, a liability and a nuisance to be rid of. And the dividends are stupendous. Only through understanding the tools of information can we master them, and only by mastering them can we use them to make our lives better, rather than destroying them.

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow will be at the Lillian H. Smith Library in Toronto on March 1, 2013 at 7:00pm (doors open at 6pm). 


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