Nova Scotia Books Start Here

We’ve had a very busy weekend in Halifax, starting with the highly successful #BooksStartHere event that Atlantic Books Today held at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic last Thursday. The idea behind the event was to emphasize the cultural importance of books produced locally. It was great to see so many regional publishers represented, including the Valley’s own Gaspereau Press ¶ Printers & Publishers and Conundrum Press – Canada. Then we spent three days at the Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association biannual Book Fair, where we met with sales reps from a number of different publishers and saw the forthcoming lists for new summer titles. Happy to be back in the Valley now, though – we’ve got tons of exciting projects in the works. Stay tuned!

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Which Roald Dahl character are you?

I got Matilda. :) Thanks to Clara for sharing this one with us.

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The Legend of Vera Nabokov: Why Writers Pine for a Do-It-All Spouse

“There are some men I know who are teaching and writing who are single fathers. But not many. Most of them have these great, devoted wives, some version of Vera Nabokov. Writers all need Vera.”

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The 27th Letter

” Punctuation wrangles language, and language wrangles back: sometimes bucking, sometimes coming quietly along, nuzzling the halter slipped over its head. Commas alight like birds, in patterns I cannot predict and yet find beautiful, the way one lets me catch my breath, offering it—my own breath—to me like a gift, the way another’s absence takes it away. And when periods come, they come like the death of one once loved, far away: sudden and mournful and then gone from the mind, to be remembered again and again, each time as terrible as the first. Things end. This fact is impossible and all around, reading Levis, his poems that are really only very beautiful lists of what he has loved. Dot, dot, dot. And, and, and.”

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Timeline Photos

Happy Family Literacy Day! Created in 1999, this is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. Taking time every day to read or do a learning activity with children is crucial to a child’s development. Even just fifteen minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically, and can help a parent improve their skills as well. Regan Alford, founder of Kaelyn’s Book Club, will be dropping by for a pop-up reading session in the bookshop today at 3pm, hope to see you there! More information at

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The Ideal Marriage, According to Novels - The New Yorker

“In literature, the desire to find an equal, and the belief that love in its ideal form should comprise a meeting of minds as well as bodies, appears to be a much greater psychological driver for women than it is for men. (…) More interesting, perhaps, than an argument about the merits and demerits of each conception of love is the simple fact that, if literature is any indication, men and women so often conceive of love differently, and that, even in the face of so much social change over the past two centuries, this difference is still very much in evidence.”

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Meet the Canada Reads 2016 contenders

The Canada Reads shortlist has been announced, and what a great list of books it is! However, not to be a bummer – but just a friendly reminder that this (essentially wonderful) literary initiative is privately sponsored by Chapters-Indigo. The corporate conglomerate receives advance notice of the shortlist, are able to stock accordingly, and will almost certainly be selling these books at a deep discount. When you’re deciding where to pick up the titles, try to bear in mind that it’s the independent shops who fostered these authors before they were famous, and it’s the independents who will keep stocking and promoting their books long after the glamour and awards shows are done. If anyone should be paying for this kind of cultural programming on the CBC, perhaps it should be the Department of Canadian Heritage, Book Division, or the Canada Council for the Arts. Support Canadian literature by supporting the ones who care more about reading and cultural literacy and less about the bottom..

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An ode to traditional art of the printer’s trade

Chilly, blustery weather getting you down? Remember that the best antidote to the winter blahs is getting out of your house and participating in public events. Here’s a suggestion: TONIGHT at 7pm at the KCIC, join us for the first Authors@Acadia event of 2016. Andrew Steeves, co-founder and operator of Gaspereau Press ¶ Printers & Publishers will be presenting his latest book, “Smokeproofs”, a collection of essays about a life in publishing and print culture in Nova Scotia. A fine selection of Gaspereau Press books will available for purchase following the event for those who are interested.

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Scholastic pulls criticized book on Washington slave

A controversial children’s book about George Washington’s enslaved chef Hercules and his daughter Delia baking him a birthday cake has been pulled from distribution by publisher Scholastic. The publishing industry is constantly embroiled in complex political and historical issues, and a case like this is a prime moment to reflect on the relationship between books, education, commerce, and social responsibility. Thoughts? Further reading: Kirkus review: Author Ramin Ganeshram’s guest blog post for the Children’s Book Council: Statements from Scholastic:

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Iconic Author Margaret Atwood on Abortion, Twitter, and Predicting Everything We're Doing Wrong...

“Not everyone is going to like your work, and if they do, you’re doing something wrong.”

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One Hundred Sixty-Eight Hours and One Second

“During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, looters set fire to the library at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad, destroying its entire collection of 70,000 books. Artist Wafaa Bilal’s installation of blank white books serves as a reminder of the loss — and of new possibilities. With the support of backers, the blank books will be replaced by educational texts from the university’s wishlist, an act of solidarity in rebuilding a part of this important cultural institution.”

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The Box of Delights Bookshop

It happened! We are pleased to announce that Adam Deutsch is the 1,001st person to like our Facebook page, and henceforth the lucky winner of this beautiful illustrated copy of “Tales from The Arabian Nights”. The original work is titled “One Thousand and One Nights” (Arabic: كِتَاب أَلْف لَيْلَة وَلَيْلَة kitāb ʾalf layla wa-layla); it is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. This particular edition is translated by Andrew Lang with lavish illustrations and colour plates by Edmund Dulac. Congratulations to Adam, and thank you to everyone who has followed our page over the last few years. We’re looking forward to sharing more news from the bookshop and the wonderfully wide world of books with you in 2016 and beyond!

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Canadian Indies Report Strong 2015

Reports of our deaths were greatly exaggerated. (Many thanks to Jon DeCoste for sending this article our way!)

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How a Mother-Daughter Translation Team Makes it Work

“We recently sat down for a conversation in which we reflected on aspects of our collaborative process, some of the lessons we have learned working together, the crucial importance of earl grey tea to our craft, linguistic retaliation at dawn, and the benefits of using instant messaging as a buffer against the dangers of a more analogic discussion. What follows is an edited version of our exchange.”

1 likes, 1 comments4 weeks ago

This is your child's brain on reading -

“A large body of research has shown that children who are exposed to books at a young age go on to do better on a wide variety of measures (…) They have better vocabulary, higher literacy, pay attention and concentrate better, and are better prepared to go into kindergarten.”

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Reinvention of Wolfville book shop sparks speaker series on women in business

“The store was founded by Hilary Sircom in 1976 and then sold to Mitzi DeWolfe in 1991. So, in 2016, you can thank these two women for 40 years of Main Street bookselling.” Thanks to Wendy Donovan for spearheading the Mud Creek Rotary Club’s “Entrepreneurs Among Us” speaker series for local women in business, and to Wendy Elliott for the article. Here’s to the next 40 years! :)

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11 Grammar Rules That Make No Sense

“When you first learn the rules for English grammar in elementary school, you find there a lot of don’ts (…) but as you become a more sophisticated writer (and reader), you realize that many of these so-called ‘rules’ are really more like guidelines, and are better ignored.”

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The New York Public Library just unleashed 180,000 free images. We can't stop looking at them.

“[B]otanical illustrations, ancient texts, historical maps—including the incredible Green Book collection of travel guides for African American travelers in the mid-1900s (…) more than 40,000 stereoscopes, Berenice Abbott’s amazing documentation of New York City in the 1930s, and Lewis Hines’ photos of Ellis Island immigrants, as well as the letters of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, among other political figures.” Thanks to Ryan O’Hearn for pointing this one out to us!

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What Exactly Does An Editor Do? The Role Has Changed Over Time

“Not only did [Max Perkins] change the course of the American literary river, but he changed what editors do by becoming their best friends, their money lenders, their marriage counselors, their psychoanalysts.”

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Timeline Photos

That’s good advice.

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