Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last-Minute Christmas Ideas, Part 2

In the "yes, these are books I worked on and love to bits so I want you to love them, too" category, I'm going to talk about books I've worked on as an editor. I've often mentioned that I work at ECW Press as an editor, which is my day job when I'm not writing books (which, considering I haven't written one since 2010, means I MUST be doing something else!). What sort of wonders do I get to work on? Well, let me show you! I work on both fiction and non-fiction. These are some of the fiction books I had the pleasure of working on in 2012.

I've already talked about this book at length, but I'll mention it again. Husk is the Great Canadian Zombie Novel by Canadian Corey Redekop. It's a book told from the point of view of the zombie, and it's laugh-out-loud hilarious and deeply poignant and sad at other points. While being completely bizarro in the middle. It's one of my favourite books of the year, and I can't recommend it enough. If you love the horror and humanity of The Walking Dead, but the bizarre humour of Community or Parks and Recreation, then this is the book for you. Order here in Canada, or here in the U.S.

Last year I had the pleasure of publishing Allison Baggio's debut novel, Girl in Shades (set in 1985, about a pre-teen obsessed with Corey Hart who deals with some really serious issues in her home life) and this year she immediately followed that beautiful book with a follow-up collection of short stories, In the Body. I love working with Allison, and these stories run the gamut from strange to heartbreaking to funny, all about our personal hang-ups with our body, both physical and mental. Some of these stories will punch you in the gut, others will leave you satisfied, and all are hopeful. In a world where people tend to lean to novels over short stories, I urge you to try out this collection. You won't be disappointed. You can order here in Canada, or here in the U.S.

A year ago, as I was threatening to be buried under a looming pile of manuscripts, someone brought one of them to my attention and I opened it and began reading. About 60 pages in, I had to leave the office because I was about to burst into tears. "How is she going to continue the story after THAT?!" I thought to myself. But I composed myself (I wasn't the only editor who thought we needed a designated crying room in that office!) and came back and finished it. I invited the author in, loved her immediately, and signed up the book. This could best be described as "women's fiction" (I still haven't figured out if that term is derogatory, but it's the label slapped on it) about a woman named Nicky who at first has problems conceiving a child, then miraculously does so, only for tragedy to strike. When she and her husband deal with the consequences in very different ways, Nicky must learn to find new meaning in her life by travelling far away — to Kenya — where she discovers a world that makes her own look almost insignificant. A raw, powerful debut novel, author Heather A. Clark is a true talent (and a marketing powerhouse!) who has driven this book to the bestseller lists and continues to promote it. I've actually attended two different book clubs who read this book (one of those was with Heather) and it was so much fun listening to the women react to this book. It's a beautiful book, and that scene still makes me cry, seven readthroughs later. Order it here in the US, and here in Canada.

And last, another of my absolute favourite reads in the past five years is Christopher Meades' The Last Hiccup. His previous book, his debut novel The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark, had me laughing right from the opening chapter, and The Last Hiccup is even better. Set in 1930s Russia, this is the story of Vlad, who, on his eighth birthday, leans forward to blow out his candles, and begins hiccuping. And... doesn't stop. We follow the weird and wonderful life of this strange boy whose hiccups at first plague him, and then, as one by one the people around him abandon him because of his affliction, become his only true friends. I love this book. The reviews have been phenomenal, and I hope you check it out. (Oh, and Chris? I Googled the book and a pic of Ryan Gosling popped up. So... I'm going to need you to start every email from this point on with "Hey girl...".) ;) Order the book here in the U.S. and here in Canada.

And those are my fiction books for the year!


Corey said...

The Gosling pic was likely because of me: http://shelf-monkey.blogspot.ca/2012/04/last-hiccup-first-rave.html

Christopher Meades said...

Corey obviously hasn't seen the three separate Ryan Gosling fan appreciation sites that I run....

Blam said...

I had no idea that our AliBags was a writer, let alone a published author. Unless I found this out and forgot, which is entirely possible. Or unless I have made a totally spurious connection between AliBags' handle and this Allison Baggio and I just followed the Twitter feed of somebody with whom I possess absolutely no connection of any kind.

Nikki Stafford said...

Blam: Why yes, in fact, you are entirely incorrect! Hahaha... I can't believe I've known both our AliBags and Allison as long as I have and NEVER put that together. But no, they are actually two different people. Who'd have thunk?

Blam said...

Ha! Now I'm a mixture of grateful and curious why Ms. Baggio has followed me on Twitter in return. I can't even get family members to do that, although it's possible that I just need to hint a bit harder (or at all).

Spurious Connection is, out of penance, my new band name.