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Publishers’ Picks: Fiction
For Read Alberta’s annual holiday gift recommendation lists, we asked Alberta book publishers what books they recommend! Whether you are looking for stocking stuffers, the perfect gift for that person who has everything (everyone needs a new book), or maybe looking to adopt a new tradition (we recommend Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic tradition of gifting books on Christmas Eve!), our Publishers’ Picks holiday lists will give you plenty of titles to choose from!
The first of three holiday gift lists to be shared throughout December, Publishers’ Picks: Fiction, includes Alberta-published graphic novels, comic collections, fast-paced novels, and thought-provoking short stories that Alberta publishers can’t stop raving about!
Remember: Shop early and shop local this holiday season! You can find a list of Alberta independent bookstores here.
ALBERTA COMICS: HOME
Ed. Alexander Finbow, Shea Proulx, Emily Pomeroy
A 224-page comics anthology celebrating the comic creators connected to Alberta, featuring 43 short comic stories and cartoons inspired by the theme ‘home’. Within the pages, you will find a curious mix of pathos, optimism, humour, hope, and reflections on all the different things ‘home’ really means.
PAWNS AND PHANTOMS
By Misha Handman
Framed for a crime he did not commit, Todd Malcolm has to rely on an eclectic collection of friends and allies to clear his name and untangle a plot of blackmail and murder. Dive into this fast-paced noir mystery!
Pawns and Phantoms: An Everland Mystery
Published: Aug 18, 2022 by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
THE KIDS’ SHORT STORY ADVENT CALENDAR
Ed. Michael Hingston
The Kids’ Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of 25 individually bound booklets with cover art by South African illustrator Fran Labuschagne. It includes stories from some of the very best writers around, including:
- Kenneth Oppel (Inkling)
- Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Peter Rabbit)
- Terry Pratchett (Discworld)
- Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee)
- Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming)
The Kids’ Short Story Advent Calendar
Published: October 2021 by Hingston & Olsen Publishing
MIDNIGHT STORM MOONLESS SKY
By Alexander Soop
Blackfoot storyteller Alexander Soop plunges us into a shocking well of imagination in his debut collection of short stories, Midnight Storm Moonless Sky. From hauntings on the Highway of Tears to fearful gatherings of ghosts and the sorrows of racism, Soop combines the social anxieties of Indigenous life with spellbinding flights and frights of speculative fiction.
GOING TO BEAUTIFUL
By Anthony Bidulka
International chef Jake Hardy has it all. Celebrity, thriving career, plenty of friends, a happy family, and a faithful dog. Until one day when a tragic accident tears it all apart. Struggling to recover, Hardy finds himself in a strange new world—a snow-swept prairie town that time forgot—a place where nothing makes sense.
NINE DASH LINE
By Emily Saso
Inspired by the history of the territory debates in the South China Sea, Nine Dash Line is a thrilling novel about Jess, a US Navy intelligence officer, who washes up on the shore of Mischief Reef. Zi Shan, an exile from the Communist Party of China, is tasked with turning the reef into an island by dredging sand from the ocean floor, but when Jess washes up on the shore, everything turns to chaos.
BOGART CREEK: VOLUME 3
By Derek Evernden
Bogart Creek: Volume 3 collects the latest and funniest of Derek Evernden’s single-panel comics of absurd and dark humour. If life scares the hell out of you one minute and cracks you up the next, you’ll feel right at home in Bogart Creek.
SISTERS OF THE NORTH
By Emily Kirkham
Sisters of the North is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility through the lens of two impoverished sisters facing life in a Northern BC oil town similar to Fort McMurray.
By Brian Kennedy
Returning to his hometown in rural Quebec because of his mother’s illness, a middle-aged man reflects on a childhood spent playing hockey on the town pond. Peppered with facts about the development of the pond hockey movement, Pond Hockey reflects on a childhood spent on skates.
BLOOD RED SUMMER
By Wayne Arthurson
While investigating an apparent overdose of a young Native man in the inner city, Métis journalist Leo Desroches gets caught in the middle of a billion-dollar conflict between the local mining companies and a murderous Native street gang. To escape this struggle alive, Leo must face his demons and fears.
Shop early and shop local!
WHY I’M HERE
By Jill Frayne
While helping fifteen-year-old Gale with her anxiety attacks, Helen, a counsellor in the Yukon, soon realizes that Gale’s distress at being separated from her little sister too closely parallels a calamity from her past. This tragic similarity leaves Helen uneasy about her profession and her ability to help her clients. Jill Frayne’s Why I’m Here is a great novel about the worth of young peoples’ lives and the effect that positive adult feedback and mentoring can have on them.
WE HAVE NEVER LIVED ON EARTH
By Kasia Van Schaik
Kasia Van Schaik’s debut short story collection follows the journey of Charlotte Ferrier, a child of divorce raised by a single mother in a small town in British Columbia after moving from South Africa. The stories traverse the most intimate, violent, and transforming moments of female experience in a world threatened by the ecological crisis.
NOT THE APOCALYPSE I WAS HOPING FOR
By Leslie Greentree
Not the Apocalypse I Was Hoping For is a dazzling collection of fourteen short stories from Alberta author Leslie Greentree. Compelling, dark, and darkly funny, each story explores how we locate, create, and avoid meaning in our lives. Satirical, tender, political, and personal, these stories take on the social collective, death, the political battleground, and the search for existential happiness.
By Misha Handman
Basil Stark isn’t the man he once was. A reformed pirate and private detective, he walks the line between criminal and hero, living in the corners of what was once the island of Neverland, its magic slowly fading into the new world of the 1950s. But when a routine missing-persons case turns into a murder investigation, Basil finds himself pulled into a tale of organized crime, murder, unstitched shadows, and dangerous espionage. With only a handful of fellow outcasts and a stubborn determination to bring a killer to justice, will he survive the many people who want him dead?
Published: August 05, 2019 by Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing
By Darcy Tamayose
Shortlisted for the Writers’ Trust Atwood Gibson Prize for Fiction, Dary Tamayose’s tale of ghosts and longing in southern Alberta is a collection of fantastical stories linked by a complex mingling of language and culture. Readers will be left with a deep understanding of grief and what it makes of us.
By Rebecca Romney
Projections is an anthology of sci-fi stories that in some way predicted life in the present day. Edited and introduced by renowned rare-book dealer Rebecca Romney, these pieces are gathered from across the genre’s rich, diverse history. Collectively, they help illuminate both past and present alike.
Published: Sept 20, 2020 by Hingston & Olsen Publishing
WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND
By W.O. Mitchell
Freehand Books’ edition of W.O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind commemorates the 75th anniversary of the book’s publication, bringing together the complete and unabridged version of the text with 8 full-color paintings and 32 black-and-white illustrations by renowned artist William Kurelek. Admirers of W.O. Mitchell will cherish this edition, and a new generation of readers will discover this brilliant, timeless novel for the first time.
FIVE STALKS OF GRAIN
By Adrian Lysenko, Illustrated by Ivanka Theodosia Galadza
This haunting and powerful graphic novel follows two children, Nadia and Taras, as they attempt to survive the Holodomor, the terror-famine that claimed millions of lives in Soviet Ukraine. Historical fiction at its finest, the book is powerfully written and beautifully illustrated.
Published: Nov 15, 2022 by University of Calgary Press
LETTERS TO SINGAPORE
By Kell Kaur
Growing up in Singapore, Simran always knew what was expected of her: to learn how to be a good mother and wife. The only problem? Simran has no interest in any of this. After a close escape (almost at the altar!), Simran earns a reprieve to attend the University of Calgary in Canada. Letters exchanged back home to her mother, sister, and friends reveal that no matter which path women take— traditional or independent— life is fraught with conflict, hilarity, and peril.
OLYA AND OLENA ESCAPE THE INVADERS
By Olya Illichov and Maddy Shyba, Illustrated by Diana Bezukh
Olya and Olena Escape the Invaders is about two young Ukrainian ballet students who escape the Russian invasion and begin a frightful journey. They must find safety with only simple instructions from their teacher: “Run away through the city and forest, then take a train far away from the explosions.” How will they escape the invaders? What will they do without their parents at their side?