Bella's Bookshelves

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores North American Giveaway

Posted by in books

I’ve posted about this hilarious book before, compiled by writer and bookseller Jen Campbell, and it’s finally just been released in North America! Jen’s generously offered to send a lucky winner a signed copy all the way from England. Thinking about Christmas yet? This book will make the perfect gift for a bookseller friend or any booklover who’s spent time browsing in a bookshop. Customer: Have you read every single book in here? Bookseller: No, I can’t say I have. Customer: Well, you’re not very good at your job, are you? A simple…read more


Giving Over to the Reader in You

Posted by in books, bookshops

There are tons of book people, and we have different reading habits, prefer different types of books and reading locations and formats, have diverse ways of organizing our books, and differently prioritize the way we live our love of books (some are collectors before readers, for instance, but are still readers). However, one thing I’ve found is that for the most part, we harbour not only a love of books and reading but also a weakness for accumulating more than we can read. And we often see this as a bad…read more


What Good Fiction Looks Like

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Sorry if you thought this was going to be one of my serious opinion pieces. But really, every time I write a review I tell you what good fiction looks like, don’t I? So just for fun — because I’m really struggling with writing reviews right now and that frightens me — you guys want to see what’s on my tbr pile, not including the many books I’ve actually bought and haven’t read? These are all the books waiting to be read and reviewed right now, sent to me by…read more


Seen Reading

Posted by in authors, books

This is not a review. Not yet. I only just went to bed with the book (I badly wanted to tweet last night that I was taking Julie Wilson to bed but my computer was already off), and I haven’t finished it. I just wanted to call your attention, you book lovers, you readers, to a book I think is very cool. You may have already heard of it. You may have already seen my reaction to it, even. It’s called Seen Reading, and it’s by Julie Wilson. I’ve included…read more


There and Back Again

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I’ve been there and back again for twenty-eight years, since the story was first read to me in grade three, under a large tree in the Alliston, ON, St. James cemetery beside my elementary school. Mrs. Henderson read from a giant hardcover plastic-covered library book, illustrated by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, the copy of which I years later inherited when the book was discarded and my mom worked at the library, and which I promptly, lamentably, lost at a friend’s house. The Hobbit has been the single-most influential book in…read more


Books to Buy or Ask For This Christmas

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This post is a little late, considering there’s only two weeks now till Christmas, but it’s not so time-consuming to pick out a book or four (and what’s easier to wrap than books?), and you should still be able to order online in time for Christmas at some places (many publishers, like Anansi, are selling directly, and offering nice discounts!)…or ask for these fantastic books on your wish list. Alternatively, you can ask for a gift certificate to spend at your local bookstore (preferably independent! My sister did this last…read more


Why Endorsements Don’t Sell Me A Book

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Whenever I’m receiving at the bookstore, I check out almost every book. I take note of the design first and then read the covers, and if I’m interested I often flip through the text to sample the writing. Today I was perusing a copy of Margaret George’s Elizabeth I, a new release by Penguin (under their Viking imprint) (note: there was nothing I could see indicated on the box or invoice telling us to hold back the book, and I did check, though Penguin’s site shows a release date of…read more


I See You: 37 Books I Have Known

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For many of us, the exceptional reading experience is kind of like knowing a person in the biblical sense. You could also say it’s like seeing a person, the way they do in the (fantastic) movie Avatar. Or like namaste, meaning several things but here meaning, I honour the Spirit in you which is also in me. Something like that. If we’re paying attention, we become one with a very good book, which is perhaps partly why we feel reluctant to finish or part with it, why we sometimes feel…read more


On Guilt and Reading

Posted by in books, reading

I know I’m not alone in saying I often feel guilty about the embarrassingly large amount of books I own and have not read. In particular, as a booklover and book blogger, I feel like a fraud. Though I am reading, I’m not reading as much as I’d like to—or feel I should. I want to read more mainly because there are so many great books to be read but also because I do feel I’m disappointing people when I don’t read—publishers, customers, friends, family—all those who recommend books and…read more


No Time Wasted: First Book Purchases of the New Year

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While I have a ridiculously long wish list (see sidebar), I was able to decide what to buy today with the gift certificate I got for Christmas. Terry Fallis’s Best-Laid Plans was obviously not an option: it had to be bought. I can’t not read this book, since I think it’s going to win Canada Reads 2011 (call it a hunch), and having read Nikolski before it was even chosen for CR and having correctly predicted its win, I feel I need to keep up the trend here. Plus I…read more


Weighing In On Canada Reads 2011 Contenders and Defenders

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As if you didn’t already know: Canada Reads 2011 announced their five contenders and defenders today! Follow the link I just gave you for more on each book and panelist. Up for debate are Terry Fallis’s The Best-Laid Plans (Ali Velshi), Ami McKay’s The Birth House (Debbie Travis), Angie Abdou’s The Bone Cage (Georges Laraque), Jeff Lamire’s Essex County (Sara Quin), and Carol Shields’s Unless (Lorne Cardinal). I was close: I think when I predicted the five I was off by one. Maybe. I can’t remember anymore. Fallis’s book is…read more


Rushdie Writes Magic

Posted by in authors, books

I don’t know if you guys read and like Salman Rushdie, but I’m a fan. My absolute favourite is Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which I read way back in university for the first time, but I also loved his short stories East, West, which I read aloud to my ex. We laughed, I remember. I’m big on magic realism in fiction, or just plain magic and enchantment, and I really appreciate Rushdie’s sense of humour and wit. I remember enjoying Imaginary Homelands, a collection of essays and reviews,…read more