A Brand New Breed (of Books)

A Brand New Breed (of Books)

Imagine listening to Maggie deVries’ Rabbit Ears in Vancouver’s downtown east side, among the runaways, addicts, and women of the street she portrays. Or any David Adams Richards book while walking the shore of the broad Miramichi. Or canoeing north of Yellowknife in the company of Liz Hay’s Late Nights on Air. Now imagine a story written to take you to a specific place, where what you see and hear and smell dives you deep, deep, deep into the words. That’s ambient literature.

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The Word Made Flesh

The Word Made Flesh

In the photograph, the woman is naked except for manly black brogues and argyle socks held up by leather sock suspenders. She sits splay-legged on a stool. An antiquarian book the size of a ledger is propped open between her legs. With one hand, she turns a page. In the other she holds a long feathered quill. Her eyes are closed in ecstasy and her head tips back as she dips the pen deep into her wide open mouth.

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How to Disappear/Save a Book

How to Disappear/Save a Book

Madeleine Thien’s Giller- and GG-winning novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is set partly in China in the culturally turbulent years after the Second World War. Two sisters, Swirl and Big Mother Knife, are story-tellers who travel the country performing story cycles. “Stories, even in times like these, were a refuge, a passport, everywhere.”

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Why a blog?

Because sometimes the world moves too fast for books.

Because it feels good to be part of the conversation.

As I wrote Gutenberg’s Fingerprint, I thought a lot about books, what they are, what they mean, why I love them, how they are changing and how they are becoming what they started out to be. The brain doesn’t turn off when an editor says “Stop!” so in Books UnPacked, these thoughts spool on, exploring the past and future of books, and the actual books I’m unwrapping to read.

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