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Holiday Gift List: Lit Lovers

If the impending dread of having to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list is drowning out the cheer of the holiday season, don’t worry! Whether you have a detailed list of family members, friends, and coworkers to buy gifts for, or only a few remaining stragglers that are causing you to wrack your brain for the best gift idea, the Read Alberta team has compiled holiday gift recommendation lists that will help you find the perfect book to gift everyone on your list.

First up is the LIT LOVERS list. This list is brimming with reflective poetry, stunning graphic novels, diverse anthologies, and binge-worthy fiction for the readers in your life that love literature of all genres, themes, and lengths.

Don’t forget: The book industry in Alberta and across North America is facing supply chain issues that are impacting the availability of books. If you can’t find the exact title you are looking for, #GoBeyondTheGiftGuide and ask your local independent bookseller for a recommendation instead.

Prairie Chicken Dance Tour
by Dawn Dumont

Perfect for the person who loves a good belly laugh

A hastily-assembled group of replacement dancers heads off to Europe on a performance tour meant to showcase Indigenous culture. Mishaps, mayhem, and hilarity ensues. Dawn Dumont brings her signature razor-sharp wit and impeccable comedic timing to this hilarious, warm, and wildly entertaining novel.

The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour

Dawn Dumont (CA)

Published: Sep 27, 2021 by Freehand Books
ISBN: 9781988298870

The River Troll
by Rich Théroux

Perfect for the person who loves unique love stories

Featuring black-and-white paintings by Rich Théroux, founder of Rumble House in Calgary, this unique and surrealistic young adult novel follows a nameless protagonist as he wanders a little and ponders quite a lot on a long walk along a river looking for a reason to keep on living. He meets up with a troll and a few other all-night ghouls as he drifts along, searching for purpose.

The River Troll: A Story About Love

Rich Théroux (CA)

Published: Sep 01, 2021 by Durvile Publications
ISBN: 9781988824772

Seasons Between Us
edited by Susan Forest and Lucas Law

Perfect for the person whose favourite holiday movie is “A Christmas Carol”

Travel with twenty-three speculative fiction authors through the different seasons of life to capture the memories, identities, and moments of stepping through the portal of change. This anthology will answer the questions: What is a life well-lived? What decisions will you make to have a meaningful life? What kind of stories will you leave behind?

Seasons Between Us: Tales of Identities and Memories

Vanessa Cardui (CA), Tyler Keevil (CA), Rich Larson (CA)

Published: Aug 08, 2021 by Laksa Media Groups Inc.
ISBN: 9781988140179

edited by Rebecca Romney

Perfect for the person who is wary of the future

Climate change. A global pandemic. The new faces of fascism. By just about any metric, we are living through times that no one will soon forget. Who could have seen it coming? Science-fiction writers, that’s who. Edited and introduced by renowned rare-book dealer Rebecca Romney, Projections is a deluxe box-set anthology of sci-fi stories that in some way predicted life in the present day.

Cover of Projections


Rebecca Romney

Published: Sept 20, 2020 by Hingston & Olsen Publishing
ISBN: 9781777185503

On Foot to Canterbury
by Ken Haigh

Perfect for the person who takes a walk to clear their mind

A finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, On Foot to Canterbury is part travelogue, part memoir, part literary history, and all heart! Setting off on foot from Winchester, Ken Haigh hikes across southern England, retracing a traditional route that medieval pilgrims followed. Walking in honour of his father, a staunch Anglican who passed away before they could begin their trip together, Haigh wonders: Is there a place in the modern secular world for pilgrimage?

On Foot to Canterbury: A Son’s Pilgrimage

Ken Haigh (CA)

Published: Sep 16, 2021 by The University of Alberta Press
ISBN: 9781772125450

by Anna Marie Sewell

Perfect for the person who jumps in with two feet

In Anna Marie Sewell’s Humane, an unlicensed PI, Hazel Lesage, helps a family find out who killed their daughter, Nell, because, however much has changed in Amiskwaciy, the problem of poor Indigenous women and girls being expendable hasn’t. Nobody else is going to help the Augusts, so Hazel takes the case. What follows will force Hazel and her family to confront the question of what it means to be Human, and what it matters to be Humane.


Anna Marie Sewell (CA)

Published: Nov 02, 2020 by Stonehouse Publishing
ISBN: 9781988754246

A Connecticut Gumshoe in King Arthur’s Court
by Randy McCharles

Perfect for the person that loves a cozy mystery

In the first book in the “Sam Sparrow” series, the magician Merlin magicks Sam Sparrow away from Hartford Connecticut to work cases in King Arthur’s Court. Although Sam was a lousy cop, and is an even worse private eye, this may be just what he needs to address his trust issues while at the same time proving himself worthy of his elusive idol, Sam Spade.

Cover of A Connecticut Gumshoe in King Arthur's Court

A Connecticut Gumshoe in King Arthur’s Court

Randy McCharles (CA)

Published: Dec 15, 2020 by Tyche Books
ISBN: 9781989407295


The Response of Weeds
by Bertrand Bickersteth

Perfect for the person who inspires you to think deeper

Bertrand Bickersteth’s debut poetry collection explores what it means to be Black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical. Through rousing and evocative poems, The Response of Weeds offers a much-needed window on often overlooked contributions to the province’s character and provides personal perspectives on the question of Black identity on the prairies.

Response of Weeds, The: A Misplacement of Black Poetry on the Prairies

Bertrand Bickersteth (CA)

Published: Apr 01, 2020 by NeWest Press
ISBN: 9781988732794

Pass Me By: Electric Vice
by Kyle Simmers and Ryan Danny Owen

Perfect for the person who wants to relive their youth

Set in 1973, a chance encounter with the captivating androgynous singer of the pulse-pounding glam rock band ELECTRIC VICE, pulls Ed into a world of mascara, weathered leather, platform heels and neon. A queer love story set in the outrageous world of 1970s glam rock, this graphic novel is an inverted coming of age story about understanding queer identity and what happens to the stories you never tell.

Electric Vice

Kyle Simmers (CA), Ryan Danny Owen

Published: Oct 19, 2021 by Renegade Arts Entertainment
ISBN: 9781988903859

Beyond the Gallery
edited by Ana Ruiz Aguirre and Liuba Gonzalez de Armas

Perfect for the art theory buff  

Beyond the Gallery is the second instalment of the “Beyond” series by Laberinto Press. This multilingual and multi-genre anthology showcases emerging and established talents within the Hispanic-Canadian community, featuring a broad range of writings on visual culture by writers, artists, and cultural workers.

Cover of Beyond the Gallery - geometric pattern with mustard yellow, tomato red, sky blue, peach and maroon colour blocksBeyond the Gallery: An Anthology of Visual Encounters

Ana Ruiz Aguirre (CA)  Liuba Gonzalez de Armas  (CA)

Published: Oct 10, 2021 by Laberinto Press
ISBN: 9781777085919

Gone Viking II
by Bill Arnott

Perfect for the armchair traveller

With an inquisitive eye, poetic prose, and a comedian’s take on nearly everything, Bill Arnott explores the world with insight and humour. Join this award-winning author for another travel saga, voyaging across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania by foot, bus, train, boat, and a couple of questionable planes.

Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries

Bill Arnott (CA)

Published: Nov 05, 2021 by RMB | Rocky Mountain Books
ISBN: 9781771605434

A God in Chains
by Matthew Hughes

Perfect for the person who binged Game of Thrones

Set in a future world of wizards and walled cities, Matthew Hughes’ speculative fiction novel A God in Chains follows  a man who calls himself Farouche, after a character from legend, but his reality is that his memories and identity were stolen from him by a secret enemy. Possessed of a soldier’s skills, he hires on with a merchant and begins to build a life. But his efforts to discover his past reveal a dark prospect: Was he a participant in a notorious massacre of innocents?

Cover of A God in ChainsA God in Chains

Matthew Hughes (CA)

Published: July 22, 2019 by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
ISBN: 9781770532038

by Amy Leblanc

Perfect for the person you trust with a secret

In Snowton, Alberta, secrets flourish like the crocuses in spring. When Louise Till lets herself into a neighbour’s home using a surreptitiously copied key, she discovers more than she ever wanted to know about her small town and herself. Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist award winner Amy Leblanc brings her knowledge and love of Alberta to this novel.


Amy LeBlanc (CA)

Published: Jun 15, 2021 by University of Calgary Press
ISBN: 9781773851396