> Zed Book Club / What We’re Reading

Britney Spears, unspecified date. Photo: Michelangelo Di Battista/Sony/RCA via Getty Images

> Bookshelf

What We’re Reading

A memoir by Britney Spears, post-apocalyptic fiction from Waubgeshig Rice, rom-coms and thrillers are reviewed by Zed contributors / BY Zed Staff / February 14th, 2024


In February – the no man’s land between winter and spring – a raw and quirky mix of fiction has enticed our critics to cosy up with some books, including The Work Boyfriend, a sweet debut from Toronto author Rebecca Marsden. Also on our list is the fearless story from the Princess of Pop herself, Britney Spears, and haunting historical fiction by award-winning Tananarive Due, set in the infamous Dozier School for Boys in Florida in 1950.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image. 

1The Work Boyfriend By Rebecca Mardon

Home Base: Toronto

Author’s Take: “It’s old-school chicklit, like you’d have read at the beginning of this decade. Think Gemma Townley or Jane Green only edgier because I’m incapable of writing characters who aren’t, at their core, completely messed up.” 

Favourite Line: “The opulence of the packages and what was inside them was not lost on me – big, luxurious packages expertly wrapped by the elves at Holt Renfrew, boxes that contained far too much tissue paper and were filled with exquisite objects made out of cashmere.” 

Review: This rom-com is like a beach read, only sunshine and mojitos are replaced with wind in slushy downtown Toronto streets. Told from the point of view of Kelly, an unhappy publicist in an otherwise glam job at a cable-television conglomerate, the narrative revolves around two lovely men in her life. Rob, her longtime, live-in boyfriend, comes from money – BIG money – and works in finance. He is reliable, loving and (thankfully) very, very calm. Garrett, her work crush, is fun and teasy, seems to get her, but has his own longtime girlfriend (natch). 

“Kels,” to her close pals, is always late, a giveaway that her life is off-kilter. We watch with bemusement and curiosity as Kelly zings her way through scene after scene of “should I?/shouldn’t I?” – liberally lubricated with “drink,” caffeine and occupational hiccups. As she teeters through the Christmas festivities leading up to the New Year’s grand finale, the pressure is on to marry, all oiled up with super formal dinner parties at Rob’s parents’ home, which ends in a giant diamond moment complete with haughty (potential) mother-in-law. 

Mardon (the pen name for Deanna McFadden, executive publishing director at Wattpad Books) writes with sympathy for her young heroine, who is a white-hot mess. While the most entrancing passages are lively, goofy scenes with friends at the office, and family at home, the author’s writing shines in the subplot. She captures, accurately, what it is like growing up with a mother who changes partners rather, um, often, with Kelly and her sister Meghan moving frequently. That heart-wrenching sense of instability underpins her heroine’s indecision. A love letter to a busy partying season, The Work Boyfriend just may seduce you, whether you swoon, cry or laugh. It’s light, sassy, flirty and includes lots of great shoes. – Susan Grimbly


2The Manor House by Gilly Macmillan

Home Base: Bristol, England

Author’s Take: “When I began to think about writing this book, I knew I wanted to explore money as a motive for crime.”

 Favourite Line: “It can’t be that doing such a wonderful thing could have caused him an injury. That wouldn’t be right. Life isn’t that unfair.”

Review: Childhood sweethearts Nicole and Tom hit the jackpot in a lottery and have just finished building a mega-mansion called the Glass Barn, which is all tricked out with the latest tech and the most stylish of furnishings, on a parcel of land purchased from Olly and Sasha, who live next door in the Manor House. When Nicole finds Tom dead in the swimming pool, she runs to Olly and Sasha and their housekeeper, Kitty, who lives in the coach house, for comfort. Then Tom’s best friend, Patrick, shows up to help. Nicole’s dream life turns into a nightmare as the story unfurls, told through alternating points of view. As the characters are introduced and their history is unravelled, it brings chaos and questions instead of answers. The police find themselves with more suspects and loose ends than manpower as they try to determine whether they are looking for a killer, or if Tom just died after bumping his head.

Macmillan, the New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew and The Nanny, is back with another psychological thriller that will make readers question how well they really know their neighbours, their friends and even their spouses. The Manor House and the Glass Barn are central to the twisted plot, and while they sometimes provide refuge, there are complications, too. For example, the walls inside the old Manor House provide the perfect spot to eavesdrop on conversations, but all that new technology in the Glass House backfires when it’s needed the most.

 The power of manipulation, coercion, self-doubt and fear are all at play as the reader discovers Olly and Sasha are not the kind, young couple helping a widow out of her depression, Patrick’s intentions are not honest and that Kitty may not be who she says. My favourite part of this easy-to-read but compelling novel is the plot twist at the end. I dare say you will not see it coming. – Caroline Gdyczynski


3The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

Home Base: Los Angeles, Calif.

Author’s Take: “It is finally time for me to raise my voice and speak out, and my fans deserve to hear it directly from me. No more conspiracy, no more lies — just me owning my past, present and future.” 

Favourite line: “The conservatorship stripped me of my womanhood, made me into a child. I became more of an entity than a person onstage. I had always felt music in my bones and my blood; they stole that from me.”

Review: I’ve never been a big Britney Spears fan, but there was no escape from her memoir, it was just that … in-toxic-ating. Marketed as the star “telling her own story, on her own terms, at last,” The Woman in Me is the first time the multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning pop star has spoken about her career in depth, including the 13-year-long conservatorship that left her under the control of her “reckless, cold” and alcoholic father. It’s a slim, 275-page book, with wide margins and plenty of white space, but it packs a punch. 

By now, Spears’ story is pretty well-known. After a series of psychotic episodes and involuntary hospitalizations in 2008, and amid an intense custody battle for her infant sons, her father petitioned a court for conservatorship, which was granted. For the next 13 years, the star was blocked from choosing her own meals, driving a car and even removing her IUD. Troublingly, while her conservators argued in court the star was too unstable to make decisions for herself, they had her continue a rigorous performing schedule, going on tour and completing a Las Vegas residency. Fans became concerned for the pop icon’s welfare and, following the viral #FreeBritney movement, she successfully fought her father in court and ended the conservatorship in 2021. 

The memoir traces Spears’ life from her under-privileged childhood in Louisiana, through roles as a child star in The All-New Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and well into her teen pop-icon career. The memoir glosses over many of her career-defining moments — the aftermath of the release of her breakout single … Baby One More Time and her 2001 MTV Video Music Awards performance with a live Burmese python get less than a few paragraphs each — but what’s left is a poignant portrait of a sensitive woman’s inner and family life. 

The book often falls back on cliches, and many of the lessons she tries to pull from her experiences seem to fall short of the whirlwind life she describes. But Spears thoughtfully explores the impacts of her early rise to stardom on her own mental health and critiques the double standards at play when she was criticized for reckless behavior in her youth that was ignored in her male contemporaries. You can’t help but feel that, with the release of a memoir in her own words, Spears is free at last. – Hope Mahood


4Moon of the Turning Leaves by Waubgeshig Rice

Home Base: Sudbury, Ont.

Author’s Take: “It gave me the opportunity to reconnect with the characters I’d grown to love many years ago. I was thrilled to be able to imagine their situation and surroundings once again, and determine a new set of stakes for them. It was also a chance to speculate on what the future could hold for this community — and more broadly, my people the Anishinaabek — more than a decade after the end of society as we know it.” 

Favourite line: “Twelve years on, the violence of that time haunted them all in different ways. For the younger ones, it was a ghost story pieced together through fragments. A story tinged not only with horror but with their elders’ shame.”

Review: Waubgeshig Rice returns with a much-anticipated sequel to his 2018 post-apocalyptic thriller, Moon of the Crusted Snow. While the first novel followed a remote Anishnaabe community’s response to a mysterious disaster that causes a permanent blackout at the start of a long winter, the second installment from the author and former CBC journalist from Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound, Ont., branches out to explore what has become of this world. 

Moon of the Turning Leaves delivers an Indigenous twist on a genre well-defined by the likes of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and HBO’s The Last of Us. The book follows the hero of the first novel, Evan, and his now 15-year-old daughter Nangohns as they join a scouting party that sets out from from their northern community to search for their ancestral homeland on the shores of the Great Lakes, and to find out what caused the world to fall into anarchy 12 years earlier. 

In branching out beyond the characters’ settlement, the sequel lacks the tightly-contained narrative structure of the first, but Rice’s writing is more developed and richer, and the novel provides a similar slow-burn suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Much like Moon of the Crusted Snow, Rice elegantly weaves Anishnaabe language and culture into the story (the new protagonist’s name, Nangohns, for example, means “little star” in Anishinaabemowin). The sequel can also be read as a parable of first contact, delving much deeper into the complexities of Indigenous identity than the first. Rice describes how, within a few generations, culture and language can be scrubbed from a community due to the brutal impacts of colonialism, and explores a reversal of those losses and the flourishing of Anishnaabe culture in a younger generation. 

Rice hasn’t ruled out a third installment, but says he wants to take a break from the post-apocalyptic genre and write something comedic. Whatever comes next, Rice is a rising star of Canadian literature whose ascent you don’t want to miss. – H.M.


5The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

Home Base: Los Angeles, Calif.

Author’s Take: “As a novelist, of course, my most comfortable method of storytelling is fiction, so I wanted there to be enough truth in the story, enough actual touchstone, so that they would ring with the memory of what the Dozier School was, without it actually being the Dozier School.” 

Favourite Lines: “Well, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell the rest: there’s no such thing as ghosts. That’s an absolute fact. And even if there were, ghosts would be the last worry on my mind if I were on my way to the Reformatory.”

Review: This powerful new novel by Los Angeles writer Tananarive Due begins in the summer of 1950 outside the fictional town of Gracetown, Fla., where Robert Stephens Jr. and his older sister Gloria live. Their mother has died, and their father – a trade unionist and general rabble rouser – has fled to Chicago to avoid false charges of battery involving a white woman. Robert, who is 12, instinctively steps in to protect his sister from the attentions of their neighbour, Lyle McCormack, the son of the most powerful man in the small town. Robert lands an ineffectual kick on the older boy’s knee and, within hours, he has been sentenced to six months at the Gracetown School for Boys. The segregated facility casts a dark shadow over the town; it’s known as an evil place, where several boys died in a mysterious fire years earlier, and where Boot Hill serves as a final resting place for those who try to escape, or who perish under the yoke of the school’s superintendent, Haddock.

The reformatory is harder for Robert than for most boys. It’s not just his father’s legacy that haunts him (community members use Robert’s incarceration to try to draw his father back to town), but he has the ability to see “haints,” in this case, the spirits of boys who have died at the facility. One strand of the novel follows Robert as he struggles for survival, faced with beatings in the Fun House and the prospect of Boot Hill as he works in the fields or the kitchen, with only his friends, Blue and Redbone, for support.

The other strand of the novel follows Gloria, who is touched with a bit of clairvoyance, as she struggles to free her brother. When everything fails – from an appeal to McCormack’s powerful father to a meeting with an NAACP lawyer – Gloria and her compatriots begin to consider more desperate measures.

The Reformatory is a high-tension, high-stakes read on multiple levels. Based on the real-life Dozier School, which also served as inspiration for Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Nickel Boys, it’s a close examination of a literal hell on earth. Things aren’t much better on the outside, and Due explores the racism of the pre-Civil Rights movement in the American south with a painful clarity. The supernatural elements are never overplayed – you don’t need to be a horror fan to adore The Reformatory – and add to the novel’s epic and timeless feel. It’s a stunning read. – Robert Wiersema


6Penance by Eliza Clark

Home Base: London

Author’s Take: “As I started reading more high-quality true crime, as well as listening to more slightly dubious podcasts that were engaged with a lot of the muddier areas around true crime, my relationship with the genre shifted a lot. I wanted to do something more critical.”

Favourite Line: “Confessions were quick, but the story was messy. There was no doubt they were guilty – but the who, what, why and how of the attack was complicated.”

Review: We live surrounded by true crime. From podcasts to non-fiction books to Netflix miniseries, the “true crime industrial complex” is a dominant force in the media we consume. Along with that force, however, comes a series of ethical questions, which the astute consumer must, somehow, reckon with: what is the value of true crime works? What is their societal cost? How do we accord the real-world nature of these stories – with real victims, and real perpetrators – with their role as entertainment?

As a true crime aficionado, it’s no accident that two of my favourite books of 2023 face these questions head-on. The first of those books is Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions for You, published last winter. The second is Penance, the stunning, twisting new novel from English writer Eliza Clark, who was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists earlier this year.

The novel begins with a crime: in Crow-on-Sea, a crumbling seaside Yorkshire town, 16-year-old Joan Wilson is tortured in a beach chalet for several hours by three classmates. Presumed dead by her attackers, she is “doused in petrol and set on fire.”

The event is horrifying, but largely overlooked: the crime happens on the same night as the Brexit vote, which consumes all the media space for weeks. It is only after it is “discovered” by a true crime podcast that Wilson’s fate receives any attention. Years later, disgraced journalist Alec Z. Carelli moves to the town to research and write an authoritative account. Penance is, it seems, that book.

But it’s not that simple. The novel begins with a disclaimer: a previous edition of Carelli’s book was pulled from the shelves owing to questionable reportage and possible criminal breaches. The disclaimer ends, however, by stating that “despite the controversy attached to this book, we have chosen to republish it in its original form.”

What follows hits the beats one would expect from a true crime account, with Carelli visiting scenes around Crow, interviewing family members of the victim and the perpetrators, quoting from correspondence and online sources. With that disclaimer in mind, however, one begins to see the gaps and the questionable nature of Carelli’s writing, which serves to foreground larger concerns about true crime as a genre. (The transcripts from the fictional podcast I Peed on Your Grace are cringe-inducing and offensive, and will be recognizable to anyone who has spent time in the true-crime podcast world). As the book proceeds, however – and I wouldn’t dream of spoiling what happens – even larger questions around the nature of storytelling and the possibility of truth come into focus.

Clark is a brilliant writer, weaving a compelling fiction that holds the reader’s attention and simultaneously forces them to confront their own complicity. Did I mention this was one of my favourite books of the year? – R.W.


7Scarcity Brain by Michael Easter

Home Base: Las Vegas, Nev.

Author’s Take: “Understanding why we tend to overeat, overbuy, or overscroll can lift some guilt – you’re not a bad or lazy person. Rather, you’re doing what our species has always done. But we’re now on a different playing field.” 

Favourite Lines: “Everyone knows any behavior is fine in moderation. But why do we suck so bad at moderating?”

Review: With Black Friday behind us and the holiday season looming, we are firmly in the season of excess. At some point, most of us will wake to a feeling of amorphous regret: Why did we eat so much? Why did we drink so much? Why did we spend so much? Not only will many of us have these questions, but it won’t be for the first time. The season of excess is the time of regret, as much a tradition as festive cocktails and turkey. And, as we do most years, many of us will wave those questions away, funnel our regret into resolutions, and move on for another year.

But now we live in an age of excess, where most of our desires are a phone call or mouse click away from fulfillment, and that accessibility is ruining our lives. It may be killing us.

We’re victims, as Easter writes in his thought-provoking new book, of evolution. All of our excesses are responses to what he calls the “scarcity loop.” We evolved to seek out and hoard things – initially, food and shelter – that would improve our lives. As conditions have improved and technology has advanced, most of us experience very little primal scarcity (we have jobs, food and a roof over our heads), but the mindset hasn’t gone away. Instead, “it leads us to believe we don’t have enough. We then instinctually fixate on attaining or doing that one thing we think will solve our problem and make us feel whole.”

This isn’t especially new information, but Easter does a powerful job explaining the nature of both the mindset and the scarcity loop, exploring elements as disparate as slot machines in Las Vegas (which are designed to take advantage of the loop) and drug raids in Baghdad. The book itself is breezy and enthralling, and Easter doesn’t stop with an exploration of the problem. Rather, through his experiences at a Benedictine monastery and his conversations with people who have figured out a way to break (or bend) the scarcity loop, he charts a course for those who seek just enough to satisfy, without falling victim to excess. It’s the perfect book for the start of a new year. – R.W.


8Invernoby Cynthia Zarin

Author’s Home Base: New York City

Author’s Take: “For some people, the years between when they learn how to read and, say, leave home, consist of reading. To others, that idea is perplexing.”

Favourite Lines: “Snow is falling down around both of them. A jangle of bells. There is nothing more beautiful, said Frank O’Hara, in a poem whose name she cannot now remember, a poem with long lines, like telephone wires, than the lights turning from red to green on Park Avenue during a snowstorm.”

Review: Inverno is the first novel from Cynthia Zarin, author of An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History, a New Yorker contributor since 1983 and award-winning poet. She also writes children’s books (What Do You See When You Shut Your Eyes?), and so she is similarly invested in (addicted to?) children’s stories and fairy tales. Inverno, Italian for “winter,” throws to the overarching mood of the book – cold, bleak, but magical. 

The story opens, and continually references, the main character Caroline waiting in Central Park for Alastair: as an adult, aching for a tryst, and 30 years earlier, when they were children, and he was hiding from his mother in the woods. Caroline continually tries to connect with Alastair, a thematic play on the supreme fairy tale The Snow Queen. Hans Christian Andersen’s story tells the tale of an evil mirror shattering and, after a piece lodges in a young boy’s heart, he is stolen by the Snow Queen and turned into an icy creature, cut off from warm family affections. Like Caroline with Alastair, Kai’s young companion, Gerda, wants to save him. 

The novella is an ice storm of feeling wrapped in a snowglobe. Emotionally flattened by her early, abusive family life, Caroline yearns for the man she has loved for decades – the one who was once her childhood companion, and also struggled with an unhappy home life. As an adult, he is not necessarily a kind man; an alcoholic, he self-sabotages himself, and by extension, Caroline. Alastair, a journalist, is constantly on the move, while Caroline, a mother of two, marries unhappily twice.

The tale of broken love is strikingly original in style and approach: not remotely conventional in its narration. Zarin’s poetic instinct is front and centre in Inverno, whose  themes – broken telephone lines, knives, mirrors, snow, trapped children  – are interwoven throughout. This book, which enchantingly conveys its message, is one to savour, not rush through. Magnificently crafted sentences take the reader forward and backward in time, through the prism of snow. A perfect read, for a winter’s day; a book to think upon.S.G.

 


THE SCROLL

Three Canadians Authors Shortlisted for the US$150,000 Carol Shields Prize for FictionClaudia Dey, Eleanor Catton and Janika Oza are finalists for the largest cash prize celebrating American and Canadian women writers


Donald Sutherland, 88, to Detail His Journey to Hollywood Fame in Long-Awaited MemoirThe Canuck screen legend's first-ever autobiography will hit Canadian bookshelves on Nov. 12.


Camilla Leads Miniature Book Initiative to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Queen’s Dolls’ HouseThe miniature book collection includes handwritten tomes by Sir Tom Stoppard, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Ben Okri and other well-known authors


2024 Giller Prize: Noah Richler, Kevin Chong and Molly Johnson Among Jury MembersAuthor Noah Richler is chairing the jury for this year's Giller Prize, an award's body his father literary icon Mordecai Richler helped launch in 1994.


Queen Camilla to Offer Weekly Reading Recommendations in New Queen’s Reading Room PodcastThe Queen's Reading Room Podcast will feature Her Majesty's book picks as well as literary discussions with authors and celebrities every week.


2023 Booker Prize: Irish Writer Paul Lynch Wins For Dystopian ‘Prophet Song’Canadian Booker Prize jury chair Esi Edugyan called the novel a "a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave."


Sarah Bernstein’s ‘Study for Obedience’ Wins 2023 Scotiabank Giller PrizeThe author, who gave birth to a daughter 10 days ago, accepted the award remotely from her home in the Scottish Highlands


Governor General’s Literary Awards: Anuja Varghese’s ‘Chrysalis’ Among This Year’s WinnersEach of the 14 writers, illustrators and translators will receive a prize of $25,000


Giller Prize Winner Suzette Mayr Among Finalists Shortlisted for 2023 Governor General’s Literary AwardsThe 14 winners, who will each receive a prize of $25,000, will be announced Nov. 8


Five Authors Shortlisted for This Year’s $100,000 Scotiabank Giller PrizeDionne Irving and Kevin Chong are among the finalists who "probe what it means to be human, to survive, and to be who we are"


Norway’s Jon Fosse Wins Nobel Literature Prize for Giving “Voice to the Unsayable”The author's work has been translated into more than 40 languages, and there have been more than 1,000 different productions of his plays.


Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist Recognizes 12 Authors Who Demonstrate “the Power of Human Imagination”The 2023 longlist includes the prize's 2005 winner David Bergen and debut novelist Deborah Willis. 


Duke and Duchess of Sussex Buy Film Rights to Canadian Author Carley Fortune’s ‘Meet Me at the Lake’Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have purchased the movie rights to the bestselling romantic novel, which was published in May this year.


Booker Prize Longlist ‘Defined by its Freshness’ as Nominees RevealedEsi Edugyan, chair of the 2023 judges, said each of the 13 novels "cast new light on what it means to exist in our time."


Barack Obama Releases His 2023 Summer Reading ListThe list includes the latest novel by Canadian-born New Zealand author Eleanor Catton.


David Suzuki Takes Inspiration From His Own Grandchildren for New Kid’s Book ‘Bompa’s Insect Expedition’The book features Suzuki and two of his grandchildren exploring the insect population in their own backyard.


Milan Kundera, Author of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, Dies at 94Kundera won global accolades for the way he depicted themes and characters that floated between the mundane reality of everyday life and the lofty world of ideas.


Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Dark Genius of American Literature, Dead at 89McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2006 novel 'The Road.'


Remembering the Life and Loves of Literary Bad Boy Martin AmisThe legendary British author has died at 73. His absence will be keenly felt, but Amis leaves behind a book shelf’s worth of novels, including 'London Fields', 'Money' and 'Success', filled with shambolic anti-heroes raising a finger at society. 


Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to Publish Two Books Related to Mental Health and Wellness With Penguin Random House CanadaThe upcoming releases include a wellness book for adults and a picture book for children, which will roll out over the next two years.


Queen Camilla Celebrated Her Love of Books by Having Some Embroidered on Her Coronation GownThe Queen's coronation gown also featured tributes to her children, grandchildren and rescue dogs embroidered into it.


Better Late Than Never: Gabriel Garcia Márquez’s Unpublished Novel Set for Release in 2024'En Agosto Nos Vemos' or 'We'll See Each Other in August' was deemed by the late author's family to be too important to stay hidden


End of an Era: Eleanor Wachtel leaves CBC Radio’s ‘Writers & Company’ After More Than Three Decades on the AirAfter a career interviewing what she describes as the "finest minds in the world," the long-time radio host says she's ready to begin a new chapter.


Canadian Independent Bookstore Day Features Deals, Contests and ReadingsOn Saturday, every book purchased at an indie store qualifies you to enter the Book Lovers Contest, with a chance to win gift cards worth up to $1,000


Translation Project Will Bring Literature From the South Asian Continent to English-Speaking AudiencesThe SALT project aims to translate and publish 40 works by authors from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka


The Book Thief: An Italian Man’s Guilty Plea Ends a Caper That Puzzled the Literary World for YearsFilippo Bernardini’s elaborate phishing scam netted 1,000 unpublished manuscripts by prominent authors including Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan


The Late Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison Is Honoured with an American StampThe Obamas and Oprah Winfrey pay tribute to the writer whose poetic interpretations of the African American experience gained a world-wide audience


Five Canadian Writers Make the Long List for the Inaugural Carol Shields Prize for FictionThe US$150,000 English-language literary award for female and nonbinary writers redresses the inequality of women in the publishing world


The Furry Green Grump is Back in a Sequel to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”Dr. Seuss Enterprises will publish “How the Grinch Lost Christmas!” in September


Chris Hadfield to Publish a Sequel to His Blockbuster Debut, “The Apollo Murders,” on Oct. 10"The Defector” brings the Cold War intrigue from space to Earth as the Soviets and Americans race to develop fighter jets


Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ Continues to Break Worldwide RecordsThe book also seems to have put a dent in the popularity of members of the Royal Family — including the Prince and Princess of Wales.


Prince Harry’s Memoir Breaks U.K. Sales Record On First Day of ReleaseThe publisher of the new memoir, 'Spare", says it had sold 400,000 copies so far across hardback, e-book and audio formats.


Barack Obama’s Favourite Books of 2022The former U.S. president’s 13 titles include Canadians Emily St. John Mandel and Kate Beaton, as well as tomes from Michelle Obama, George Saunders and Jennifer Egan


Here are the 5 Books on Bill Gates’ Holiday Reading ListThe billionaire philanthropist is giving hundreds of copies to little libraries around the world


Sheila Heti and Eli Baxter Among 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award WinnersToronto writer Sheila Heti took home the fiction award for 'Pure Colour,' a novel the GG peer assessment committee called "a work of genius."


Suzette Mayr Wins $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter’The 2022 Giller Prize jury called Mayr's novel "alive and immediate — and eerily contemporary."


Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards: Authors Nicholas Herring, Dan Werb Nab Top PrizesThe Writers' Trust of Canada awards amounted to a combined monetary prize value of $270,000.


Bob Dylan Releases ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song,’ a Book of Essays Dissecting 66 Influential SongsIn his new book, Bob Dylan offers up both critique and historical insight into various musical recordings of the last century by a variety of popular artists.


Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’ Will Be Published in January 2023The long-awaited memoir will tell with "raw unflinching honesty" Prince Harry's journey from "trauma to healing", his publisher said on Thursday.


Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker PrizeKarunatilaka won the prestigious prize on Monday for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.


Canadian Council for the Arts Reveals Governor General’s Literary Awards FinalistsThe finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards spotlight books in both the English and French language, as well as translated works.


New Penguin Random House Award Named After Michelle Obama Will Honour High School WritersMichelle Obama Award for Memoir will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a graduating public school senior based on their autobiographical submission.


French Author Annie Ernaux, 82, Becomes First French Woman to Win Nobel Prize for LiteratureThe author said, of winning, that "I was very surprised ... I never thought it would be on my landscape as a writer."


Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


Prince William “Cannot Forgive” Prince Harry, According to ‘The New Royals’ Author Katie NichollPrince William “just cannot forgive his brother,” according to Katie Nicholl, author of 'The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.'


Five Finalists Announced for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for NonfictionThe winner — to be announced on November 2 — will take home the annual $60,000 prize.


Peter Straub, Bestselling American Horror Writer, Dies at 79Friend and co-author Stephen King has said the author's 1979 book, "Ghost Story," is his favourite horror novel.


Rawi Hage, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Sheila Heti Make the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Long ListThe jury read 138 books to choose 14 titles for the long list, one of which will win the $100,000 prize, one of the richest in Canadian literature


Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


> STAY UP TO DATE

Sign Up for the Weekly Book Club Newsletter