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PQL Holiday Gift Guide 2020

The holidays are certainly starting early this year. During the first week of November, I caught sight of my first Christmas light display of the year, and I’ve been hearing from friends and acquaintances that trees and decorations are already up and spreading homey joy. For myself, this early holiday cheer isn’t a bad thing. With all of us social distancing, staying home and minimizing contact with friends and family, we have to find pleasure in other ways. Sparking nostalgia for happy times past feels pretty good this year, and it’s a harmless mood booster to boot!

I’ve also heard from a lot of people that they’re already looking to finish up their holiday shopping much earlier than usual. They’re wisely looking to avoid crowds and lockdowns and postal delays, which might potentially impede their gift giving. So if you’d like to be one of those calm and organized shoppers, but still have gifts to buy for a few tricky readers on your list, we have your PQL Holiday Gift Guide right handy!

For the Novel-Loving Philosopher…


Charlene Elsby’s Affect is a novel unlike any other. A hyperrational graduate students interprets love, death, time and distance through a philosophical lens. Logic and Aristotelian concepts crop up—as do corpses—with somewhat disturbing frequency). It’s both brilliant and bonkers and makes for an entertaining and enlightening read.

[Buy this book »]


For the Feminist Poetry Fan…


The Blue Moth of Morning by P.C. Vandall is a smart and sassy collection of poems that subverts clichés, embraces absurdities and reveals honest emotions. It is full of wit and wordplay as well as double entendres and wink-and-nudge jokes that will make you chuckle even as you realize their truth.

[Buy this book »]


For the Empathetic Social Justice Reader…


Ed Seaward’s Fair tackles the difficult subject of one of North America’s most vulnerable populations: the homeless. In this debut novel, a young homeless man named Eyan finds friendship, and maybe hope, on the streets of Los Angeles in the form of an erudite and tragic figure known as ‘the professor’. As the professor introduces Eyan to the epic angelic war in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Eyan falls prey to the machinations of a malevolent gang of thugs. It is a story about hope, consequences, and the struggle to survive in an indifferent and violent world.

[Buy this book »]


For the Glamorous Old Hollywood Type…


Mary Pickford, Queen of the Silent Film Era is George A. Walker’s visual biography of the silent film star who became known as ‘Queen of the Movies’. Told through a series of wood engravings and title cards not unlike the silent films of old, the images in this book paint a portrait of a pioneering woman whose groundbreaking contributions to the motion picture industry paved the way to our modern conception of the movies. This book is an informative and beautiful piece of art in and of itself.

[Buy this book »]


For the Adventure Aficionado…


There’s nothing like a good heist to get the blood pumping! Nick Tooke’s debut novel, The Ballad of Samuel Hewitt, starts off with a daring horse theft and keeps the adventure alive with boxcar bums, a travelling circus, ruthless enemies, and a boy who goes a great distance to discover the meaning of home and family. Set in British Columbia’s interior during the Great Depression, this historical coming-of-age novel is action packed.

[Buy this book »]


For the Literary Sportsperson…


Calling all environmental appreciators, outdoor sportspeople and avid anglers! Robert Reid and Wesley W Bates have created a beautiful love letter to the sport of fly fishing with Casting into Mystery. This collection of essays, enlivened by a series of beautiful wood engravings, provides an encompassing appreciation of the sport of fly fishing, from the calm serenity of the environment to the thrill of the big catch to the appreciative and literary and musical odes dedicated to the sport.

[Buy this book »]


For the Political Junkie Who Likes a Laugh…


There’s no denying that the past four years have given plenty of fodder for American political satire. George A. Walker has cleverly entered the ring with this edition of The Hunting of the Snark, the classic nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll. Walker’s illustrations introduce a modern political spin, with the hapless crew recast to include President Donald Trump and his cronies. This book offers a hilarious way to memorialize the baffling political climate as well as a sharp new take on an old, familiar poem.

[Buy this book »]


For the Curious Writer-in-Training…


Have you ever wondered how a poem comes to be? In Jeffery Donaldson’s Viaticum, we are treated to a glimpse of a poet’s process. These ‘proto poems’ represent an exploration of big questions, such as life and death, language, time, science and religion. This book pairs especially well with Donaldson’s Fluke Print, in which several of the proto poems are fully realized in their final poetic form.

[Buy Viaticum »]

[Buy Fluke Print »]


For the Darkly Comic Darling…


Dim-witted thieves, serial killing shape shifters and deluded touring musicians are just some of the amusing characters to be found in Daniel Bryant’s debut story collection, Rerouted. Filled with supernatural creatures and otherworldly events, these stories are linked by the mysterious Benny Tak as well as a darkly comic vision that explores unexpected detours what happens when things get weird.

[Buy this book »]


For Someone Who Just Wants to Read a Good Short Story, Please…


If you just want a good, gimmick-free book to gift, look no further than Frances Boyle’s Seeking Shade. Spanning a variety of genres and styles, these stories explore the traumas, challenges and consequences of nuanced, fallible and very human characters. Thematically, many of the stories have to do with the ways we communicate our stories through art, whether it be dance, drama, literature or visual art. It’s a lovely, wide-ranging collection that is sure to please.

[Buy this book »]


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Thanks for checking out our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide. We hope we’ve given you lots of great ideas to make your holiday season bright. Who knows–perhaps you found a present you want for yourself!

Happy Holidays,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 20 Nov 2020

Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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Happy Friday, Quill fans! Enjoy a wonderful

Cheers,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 13 Nov 2020

Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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Thanks for stopping by to check in on our best bookish links this week. Good luck to you on this Friday the 13th!

Cheers,

Steph


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New Look, Same Great Taste … Ahem … Reads, and Other News for November at PQL

The world certainly looks different now than it did a few years ago. Heck, it looks different than it did a few months ago! And while change can be difficult and unnerving and fraught with all kinds of pesky decision making (we need only look to our neighbours to the south for proof), it’s a chance to take stock of what you’ve got, to keep what works and improve what doesn’t. It’s also a great opportunity for creativity and experimentation—even for us humble indie book publishers.

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Tell me this image doesn’t look like it would be perfectly at home on an ad emblazoned with the line “New look, same great taste!” Okay, maybe it would if it were ketchup...

We’re grabbing that opportunity with both hands here at PQL. We’ve been hard at work creating a slick-looking email newsletter for your reading pleasure—one that streamlines our familiar look and that works nicely on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. We’ve maintained much of the charming content you know and love, but we’ve also added a few bells and whistles to help you explore and appreciate all the wonderful books we have to offer, whether they be freshly published new releases, like The Essential Derk Wynand, or a forgotten gem or two.

But this is only the beginning. Over the next few weeks, you’ll see some great new graphics on our social media accounts as well as handy improvements to our eStore. We hope you all take a moment to like, follow and shop with us—and to share your thoughts on our new look!

What’s happening this month…

At PQL.

This month we’re pleased to have The Essential Derk Wynand rolling off the press and out into the hands of readers. This latest addition to the Essential Poets series was edited by John Barton and contains a selection of poems by Victoria-based poet Derk Wynand. The poems in the collection spans countries and mythologies, but at its core, Wynands poetry explores the human heart and the varied and wonderful forms of love to be found therein.

Also in the works, the next issue of our journal of the printing arts, the Devil’s Artisan! Stay tuned for the next great issue, including a look at design on the Canadian Praries.


In Kitchener/Waterloo.

Casting into Mystery author Robert Reid will be coming to the airwaves! Tune in to 98.5 CKWR to hear from him on what it’s like publishing a book during a pandemic. Tune in Tuesday, November 10 at 6:00 p.m.

In the world.

November 13 is Word Kindness Day—something everyone could use a little of these days!

November 18 is High Five a Librarian Day. Maybe don’t follow this to the letter (social distancing and all that), but it’s the spirit of the thing we want to capture. Tell your local librarians how much you appreciate all that they do!

And finally, November 20 is apparently Absurdity Day. Whether you acknowledge life’s little absurdities or create a few little good natured ones of your own, enjoy a little bit of illogical fun.

From the porcupette’s corner.

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Me, looking disgruntled and trying to figure out which books are eligible for which awards and when. With help from pretty much anyone who will answer my questions.

I can honestly say that this porcupette is still learning new things! One new task that has recently come my way has been preparing awards nomination forms and submission packages for our recently released titles. It seems deceptively simple, but I can assure you it is not! It’s not just figuring out which awards are available, but matching them with eligible titles and authors, balancing pub dates with submission deadlines and compiling all the information … rinse repeat. I have a renewed appreciation for all who dedicate their working hours to puzzling out all these deadlines.

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Thanks for checking in on this month’s newsletter. Be on the lookout for our new snazzy newsletter as well as our awesome new social media images, coming soon from your favourite Erin Village indie press.

Cheers,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 06 Nov 2020

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Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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If you’re enjoying the boon of unseasonably warm, spring-like weather here in Ontario, enjoy it! Get that last dose of outdoor enjoyment before the long, cold winter starts.

Have a great weekend,

Steph


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PQ Weekly Roundup: 20 October 2020

pqroundup2
Every Friday, the PQ Weekly Roundup collects the most shared links in our social media network—bookish articles, reviews, quizzes, recommendations and more—in convenient digest form.

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Happy Halloween, Quill fans! We hope you have a fun–and safe–weekend full of amusing tricks and delightful treats.

Cheers,

Steph


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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.