The 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Longlist

This morning, the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction longlist was announced. This is a big year for the prestigious award, which celebrates “the finest in fiction,” as it is the first time that authors across the globe can be nominated. In previous years, the award was exclusively for novels written by citizens of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be chaired by AC Grayling, who says of the longlist:

“There’s a lot of perceptiveness and wisdom in these books, some of them are quite moving and all of them are very difficult to put down once you get into them – a feature of just how richly textured they are and what great stories they tell.”

It is an exceptional selection of books, but I am most excited to see Us by David Nicholls, author of the 2009  hit One Day, featured. I was lucky enough to read the manuscript of Us earlier in the summer and highly recommend picking it up in October, when it will finally be available in Canada. Through one family’s trip across Europe, Us explores the familial roles individuals play: as husbands and wives; as parents and children; as one “me” in a group of “we”. A difficult topic, but Nicholls reveals the complexities of marriage and family in a tender and compassionatealbeit at times, funnyway. It is a must-read.

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The Strain: How Scary Is Too Scary?

This week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read is The Strain, the first book in an apocalyptic vampire trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. But trust us, these aren’t your average vampires! These two talented artists and authors have  joined forces to boldly reinvent the vampire novel with this brilliant, blood-chilling, and unputdownable series.

The TV adaptation, which premiered on Sunday night on FX Canada, stays true to the nightmarish thriller, as does the TV Tie-In edition of the book, which displays a worm (yes, worm) coming out of an eye (yes, eyeball). Unfortunately for the creative directors at FX, the same image was used as their marketing artwork on transit advertising and billboards across North America and was met with some backlash. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the public was offended of the artwork, complaining to company execs via email, letters and Twitter. FX has since promised to take it down.

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Bookmarks: July 11th

For those of you savvy readers who were following us last year, you may remember Bookmarks, a weekly feature where we rounded up the top five bookish articles, photos and links from the inter-webs each week. This week, there was SO MUCH to talk about that we decided to bring Bookmarks back, and trust meit’s better than ever. See below for what’s new and exciting in the literary world!

Too busy? Bookmark each link and save them for later!

1. NEW HARRY POTTER!

It’s no surprise that the quick glimpse into the lives of our favourite wizards earns the first spot in our Bookmarks post. This week, J.K. Rowling published a short story on the Pottermore website, in which Harry Potter attends the Quidditch World Cup with his family. The piece is written from the perspective of the gossip columnist that all HP Fans love to hate, Rita Skeeter of the Daily Prophet, and even gives some insight into some of our other favourite characters from Hogwarts.

When the piece was first released on Tuesday morning, the Pottermore website crashed due to the amount of traffic, but you should be safe to read it now.

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2. Erika Johansen wants female protagonists of all shapes and sizes.

Erika Johansen, author of The Queen of the Tearling (one of my favourite new books this summer) wrote a fantastic article on Buzzfeed Books about “Why We Need ‘Ugly’ Heroines”. In it, she stresses the importance of realistic female protagonists in literature. TLDR? Here are some important takeaways:

Queen of the TearlingBooks have the power to combat the idea of appearance as defining currency. Books can show us that admirable and interesting women come in all shapes and sizes.

Real women, even if they aren’t queens, have real problems: jobs to do; bills to pay; families to raise; domestic and sexual violence to worry about; sexism to combat; and sometimes racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry as well. When the average adult heroine pushes these real problems aside in favor of worrying about how to live happily ever after with her prince, I don’t find her admirable, nor do I find her a good role model.

There are all kinds of women out there; many of us contribute to society, and many of us go unnoticed in a crowd. But we are still worth writing about, still worth publishing…and still waiting to see ourselves on the cover of that fantasy novel.

Read the full article here.

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