Shortlist for the 2017 Anniversary Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour award

  • Gary Barwin for Yiddish for Pirates, Random House Canada
  • Amy Jones for We’re All in This Together, McClelland & Stewart.
  • Drew Hayden Taylor for Take Us to Your Chief And Other Stories, Douglas & McIntyre.


May 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Canada Reads 2017 Short-list…March 27th – March 30th

canada reads 2017

The contenders and the books they are defending are: Chantal Kreviazuk defending The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutie, Humble The Poet defending Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis,Tamara Taylor defending Company Town by Madeline Ashby, Candy Palmater defending The Break by Katherena Vermette, and Jody Mitic defending Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji.

The Canada Reads debates take place from March 27 to 30, 2017. This year they will be hosted by Ali Hassan from CBC’s Laugh Out Loud.

March 18, 2017 at 6:06 pm

This March Break bring your children to meet author Sylvia McNicoll!


Some people count their blessings, but dogwalker Stephen Nobel counts mistakes.

Dogwalker extraordinaire Stephen Nobel can get a little anxious, but his habit of counting the mistakes he and everyone else makes calms him. His need to analyze gets kicked into hyperdrive after two crazy events happen in one day at school: the bomb squad blows up a backpack and someone smashes a car into the building.

To make things worse, that someone thinks Stephen can identify them. Stephen receives a threatening text. If he goes to the police, his favourite dogs, Ping and Pong, will get hurt. The pressure mounts when his new best friend, Renée, begs for Stephen’s help. Her brother has been charged with the crimes and she wants to clear his name.

Is it a mistake to give in to dognappers? How can he possibly save everybody? To find out, Stephen will have to count on all of his new friends.



February 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Winter Studio Sale at Blue Heron Books

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It’s a new year and you need new reading material. Luckily, you can still pick up some hot titles at our Winter Studio Sale.

Continuing until January 14th, stop in and pick up books from 30-75% off. All calendars & holiday books are 50% off.




January 5, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Jill Breugem Launches Read Between the Lines

Window Flyer

January 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Signed copies available…

captainThe incredible story of the life and phenomenal career of one of the greatest players ever to wear a Maple Leafs uniform, told through stories and never-before-seen photographs.

Darryl Sittler may well be best remembered for two of the most remarkable performances in the history of the National Hockey League. On February 7, 1976, he scored six goals and added four assists for an NHL record total of ten points in a game. That spring, he joined Maurice Richard in hockey history by recording five goals in one playoff game. He also scored one of the most famous goals in hockey history, the overtime goal against Czechoslovakia to win the 1976 Canada Cup.
Now, #27 looks back at his incredible career and greatest moments on and off the ice. He writes about growing up in St. Jacobs, Ontario, his days in junior hockey with the London Knights, and his rookie year in 1970-71. Also included are his personal reflections on some of his greatest teammates (Lanny McDonald, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull, and Mike Palmateer, to name a few) and his encounters with his greatest rivals (Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Bobby Hull, Brian Trottier, Bobby Clarke, Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, and Larry Robinson). He recounts his childhood hockey heroes (waiting in the cold outside an arena in Kitchener for Bobby Hull’s autograph), his years playing for Philadelphia and Detroit, his induction into the Hall of Fame, and deep devotion to his family. Full of great anecdotes from his personal and professional life, this is an inspiring, revealing book by a revered leader and legend in hockey history

December 10, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Handmade Holiday Sale

Feeling inspired by the Christmas Home Tour?
Wondering where to find locally designed décor and accessories?

photo-1448062920312-78ec18ff7e3cNovember 12th from 12PM-5PM & November 13th from 11AM-4PM, join us to explore some of the items seen in the houses of the home tour. These items, and more, will be available for purchase at Blue Heron Books.

Bring a friend and drop in for a some early holiday shopping, or a special treat for yourself. All our vendors are local and their products are handmade.

November 6, 2016 at 2:23 am

The 2016 Giller Shortlist is Announced

The 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced its shortlist on Monday, September 26, 2016, derived from a longlist of 12 books. The jury read an amazing 161 books submitted by 69 publisher imprints from every region of the country. The longlist was selected by an esteemed five-member jury panel: Canadian writers Lawrence Hill (jury chair), Jeet Heer and Kathleen Winter, English author Samantha Harvey and Scottish novelist Alan Warner.

The shortlist includes:


thienDo Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien

Madeleine Thien’s new novel is breathtaking in scope and ambition even as it is hauntingly intimate. With the ease and skill of a master storyteller, Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations–those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century. With exquisite writing sharpened by a surprising vein of wit and sly humour, Thien has crafted unforgettable characters who are by turns flinty and headstrong, dreamy and tender, foolish and wise.

P.S. This is also Blue Heron Book’s September book club pick!



partywallThe Party Wall by Catherine Leroux

Catherine Leroux’s The Party Wall shifts between and ties together stories about pairs joined in surprising ways. A woman learns that she may not be the biological mother of her own son despite having given birth to him; a brother and sister unite, as their mother dies, to search for their long-lost father; two young sisters take a detour home, unaware of the tragedy that awaits; and a political couple—when the husband accedes to power in a post-apocalyptic future state—is shaken by the revelation of their own shared, if equally unknown, history.

Psst…Watch and listen for more information on a Blue Heron Book event with Catherine in the new year!



Thirteen Ways of Looking fatat a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking,13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.




yiddishYiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin

This outstanding New Face of Fiction is filled with Jewish takes on classic pirate tales–fights, prison escapes, and exploits on the high seas–but it’s also a tender love story, between Moishe and Sarah, and between Aaron and his “shoulder,” Moishe. Rich with puns, colourful language, post-colonial satire and Kabbalistic hijinks, Yiddish for Pirates is also a compelling examination of mortality, memory, identity and persecution from one of this country’s most talented writers.

P.S. You may recognize the name from our Books and Brunch event with Gary last spring. If you haven’t picked up Yiddish for Pirates yet, it is now in paperback!



bestThe Best Kind of People by Zoe Wittall

George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?

With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

The WonderThe Wonder by Emma Donoghue

A magnetic novel written with all the spare and propulsive tension that made ROOM a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels—as a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.

Psst…Emma Donoghue is coming to Wooden Sticks on October 30th. Don’t forget to purchase your tickets and meet the Giller nominee.


October 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Books and Brunch with Kevin Patterson and Steven Price

Our first Books and Brunch of 2016 is on Sunday, October 23. Kevin is the winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Inaugural City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for his debut short fiction collection, Country of Cold. He will be discussing his latest novel, News from the Red Desert. Steven is the winner of the Gerald Lampert Award and the winner of the ReLit Award. His latest novel, By Gaslight, has been nominated as a Giller 2016 Longlist title.

News From The Red Desert by Kevin Patterson

News From the Red Desert begins in late 2001, when everyone believes the war is already won and the Taliban defeated, then leaps late in the severely escalated conflict–into the mess, and death, and confusion. At its heart are the men and women who have come to Afghanistan to seek purpose, and adventure, and danger, by engaging in the most bewitching and treacherous of human pursuits: making war.
It’s the story of Deirdre O’Malley, an American journalist who had been covering municipal politics when the airplanes went into the towers. Now a war correspondent, she has come to love the soldiers she covers and to grieve so hard over their wounds and their deaths she considers herself a member of the mission too. Embedded with Canadian infantry, she can’t ignore the situation on the ground. Her loyalty toward her ex-lover, the American general who has taken command of the theatre, wavers as the war wavers, and the use of torture and the slaughter of civilians is brought to light. Fuelling the tension is a melancholy American supply sergeant who accidentally releases a trove of war porn online that sparks a furious hunt for the person who leaked it. Fearing arrest at any moment, he has stayed on too long in Kandahar for reasons he doesn’t understand himself. Caught up in these currents are the Pakistanis who operate the Green Beans café on the Kandahar Airfield, led by optimist Rami Issay, who wants to lighten his customers’ hearts (and make a success of his business) by running film and chess clubs in the only zone of recreation on the base. But the war intrudes even into the lives of the well-intentioned. In a powerful climax that tests everyone’s loyalty and faith, the essential chaos of violence asserts itself. Love and desire endure, but no-one escapes unscathed.

By Gaslight by Steven Price

London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures — a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price’s By Gaslightis a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

October 7, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Celebration of the Arts…Books and Authors Night September 22, 2016

This year’s Celebration of the Arts Books and Authors event is on Thursday, September 22 at the Uxbridge Music Hall. These four top-notch authors will be showcased.

behrensPeter Behrens was our guest with the release of The O’Brien’s — his first book since winning the Governor General’s Award for The Law of Dreams. In his new novel, Carry Me, we are focusing on that time between the two wars.

“Behrens . . . revitalizes the war epic, substituting grand panoramas with realistic settings and great acts of heroism with small yet powerful acts of compassion . . . ” —Publishers Weekly

An intriguing cast of characters braid this harrowing story together, transporting the reader from a golden Edwardian summer on the Isle of Wight, to London under Zeppelin attack, to Ireland on the brink of its War of Independence, and at last to Germany during the darkening Weimar period.

Brilliantly conceived, deeply researched, and profoundly moving, Carry Me is an unusual love story, an historical epic, and a lucid meditation on Europe’s violent twentieth century.

helmMichael Helm was first in the literary spotlight when his debut novel, The Projectionist was a Giller finalist in 1997. Several books and nominations later, Michael will be joining us to introduce his newest book, After James a genre-bending novel, reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.

A neuroscientist retreats to a secluded cabin in the woods, intending to blow the whistle on a pharmaceutical company and its creativity drug gone wrong. A failed poet is lured to Rome as a “literary detective” to decode the work of a mysterious Internet poet who seems to write about murders with precise knowledge of private details. On the heels of a life crisis, a virologist discovers her identity has been stolen by a conceptual artist in whose work someone always goes missing. After James is an audacious, masterful novel, told in three connected parts, each gesturing toward a type of genre fiction — the gothic horror, the detective novel, and the apocalyptic. As the novel unfolds in great cities, remote regions, and deadly borderlands, it weaves connections both explicit and subtle, pulling us deeper into a greater mystery that has come to define our times. Gorgeously written, alive with intelligence and wit, full of adventure and suspense, After James confirms Michael Helm’s reputation as one of the most electrifying writers of his generation

trudeauAlexandre (Sasha) Trudeau is a documentary journalist and filmmaker. Over the past decade and a half, his films and reports on issues of geopolitical importance have been seen and read by millions of Canadians. He now turns his attention to China with his new work of non-fiction Barbarian Lost, Travels in the New China.

To this day, China remains an enigma. Ancient, complex and fast moving, it defies easy understanding. Ever since he was a boy, Alexandre Trudeau has been fascinated by this great county. Recounting his experiences in the China of recent years, Trudeau visits artists and migrant workers, townspeople and rural farmers. Often accompanied by a young Chinese journalist, Vivien, he explores realities caught in time between the China of our memories and the thrust of progress. The China he seeks out lurks in hints and shadows. It flickers dimly amidst all the glare and noise. The people he encounters along the way give up but small secrets yet each revelation comes as a surprise that jolts us from our preconceived ideas and forces us to challenge our most secure notions.

Barbarian Lost, Trudeau’s first book, is an insightful and witty account of the dynamic changes going on right now in China, as well as a look back into the deeper history of this highly codified society. On the ground with the women and men who make China tick, Trudeau shines new light on the country as only a traveller with his storytelling abilities could.

westoll2Another returning author is Andrew Westoll who last visited Blue Heron with the release of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary. Andrew is an award-winning author, journalist and teacher based in Toronto. A former primatologist-in-training, Andrew traded the real jungle for the concrete one a long time ago, but his experiences with wild animals still inform his work. Most of his writing explores one corner or another of our fraught, curious and ever-evolving relationship with the natural world.

His second book, the national-bestselling The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, is the biography of a family of chimpanzees who were rescued from a research laboratory and retired to an animal sanctuary near Montreal. The Chimps won the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, was a finalist for several other major book awards, and was named a Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail,, Quill and Quire and CTV’s Canada AM.

September 7, 2016 at 12:00 am

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