Presents By The Page Part 2: Fic Picks

Last week I touched on a bevvy of new and new-ish nonfiction releases that are ripe for the picking when it comes to book gift-giving. Nonfiction actually tends to be the safer bet when it comes to book gifts – if you can find something related to a topic of general interest (Steve Jobs) or a specific hobby / love (Dragon’s Den), you’re set. With fiction, it does involve a little more guesswork in terms of what someone will enjoy. Generally speaking, most people have a genre they prefer, whether it be mass-market paperbacks, pastel-covered chick lit, or highbrow literary fiction. Today’s choices run the gamut of selections out there, and I did try and pick books that have a bit of built-in audience appeal in the same way most nonfiction titles do. And with that…

Note: once again, I’ve opted to include the full list price for each of these titles. If you buy online or at a discount retailer (or if it’s a best seller) chances are you’ll see savings of 20-40% off the cover price.

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
– $29.99
This book was initially touted as Maguire’s last entry into his exploration of Frank L. Baum’s Oz, after three previous volumes introduced us to the woman behind the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, alongside her son Liir, the so-called Cowardly Lion Brr, and in this tome, her would-be granddaughter Rain. The book is the most action-packed yet, with strangers and family members that may as well be strangers working hard to protect Rain in the war-torn state of Oz, with the Emerald City and Munchkinland at serious odds with one another. Newbies to the series best start at the beginning with Wicked, but can now rest assured there is a conclusion. People looking for a conclusion will mostly find one with the way Maguire masterfully wraps up the many threads that began on page one of the saga, but they’ll also be pleased to note things are left open-ended enough for us to see more from Maguire in the realm of Oz.
Perfect for: Wizard of Oz fans, Wicked fans, Literary fiction readers

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami – $35
This isn’t the first time the year 1984 has served as the backdrop for a dystopian novel, but the buzz around acclaimed Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s latest mindbending novel has put it in the same literary league as George Orwell’s classic. The story follows a young woman named Aomame and an aspiring writer named Tengo, as they poke holes (literally and figuratively) in our (then) modern-day existence. With an avalanche of storylines, plot twists, and characters, it’s a wonder Murakami is able to keep you spellbound for nearly 1,000 pages. Yet anyone who has encountered his work in the past will surely tell you, if there’s one author that can do it, Murakami is your man.
Perfect for: Fans of movies like Inception and readers that love their book with a side of international flavour

The Time In Between by Maria Duenas
– $29.99
If you love books about ordinary lives that shift under extraordinary circumstances, you’ll absolutely love Maria Duenas’ new novel, set in WW2. Sira starts life as a poor girl that’s sweeping the floors of an atelier in Spain, with dreams of creating beautiful clothes. As civil unrest begins to stir up, she runs away from both personal and political problems, reinventing as a clothing designer, but it’s a short-lived shift in fortunes. She eventually takes on the role of double agent, working as a courtesan for eager Nazi officials and reporting back to the allied forces in an increasingly dangerous game of equally duplicitous and innocent cat and mouse.
Perfect for: War buffs, and those who love sweeping historical novels.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – $28.99
Did you catch the Brad Pitt flick Moneyball this fall? Did you like that it was a baseball movie without really being a sports movie? Then you’ll probably enjoy this debut novel by Chad Harbach, which actually mirrors some real-life elements of Pitt’s character’s (Billy Beane) life. Henry Skrimshander has, more or less, got it made. He’s a breakout shortstop star at the small college he’s attending, and all the scouts and coaches that are floating around indicate he’s headed for the big leagues. That is, until his brain starts taking over and he starts losing his sporting mojo – spinning the tale into a much bigger story about mind over the matters at hand, and what we choose to be defined by.
Perfect for: Sports fans, Moneyball-watchers-and-readers, Baseball players

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
– $32
This magical book is the most spellbinding novel to hit the shelves since well, that little series about a certain boy wizard. Set in the late 19th century, The Night Circus is the story of a magical traveling circus where the tricks that typically make up a fair-goers experience are actually real. At the center of the plot are Celia and Marco, star-crossed young magicians that are doomed to fight in a deadly competition against one another. Part romance, part fantasy, and stirring up a whole of buzz, expect to see this book on your movie screens sometime in the next couple of years.
Perfect for: Harry Potter / Twilight / Hunger Games fans

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
– $29.99
Novelist Alice Hoffman has been building a dedicated following since the late 70s, one that particularly surged when her breakout hit ‘Practical Magic’ hit the shelves in the mid-90s. Right now, people are chattering about what’s been called by some as Hoffman’s ‘Masterpiece’, a story that goes way, way back in time (2,000 years to be somewhat exact) to tell a tale steeped in bible history and female power. According to one of the world’s earliest historians, 900 Jews tangled with Roman forces on the mountain of Masada, in the Judean desert, where only a small handful of survivors were able to escape with their lives. The book follows four women that are part of the Masada community, each of which has a unique story, plenty of secrets, and a strong set of realities to grapple with.
Perfect for: Historical fiction fans, Hoffman devotees

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson – $21.99 (Paperback)
The inability to cement short-term memories has been played in theatres for laughs (Adam Sandler’s 50 First Dates) and mind-bending psychopathic thrills (Christopher Nolan’s Memento). In S.J. Watson’s goosebump-raising thriller, it’s definitely more of the latter, with Christine, a middle-aged woman who wakes up every morning, unable to recall who she is, and who the man (her husband) is that’s sleeping beside her in bed. The particular day we meet Christine, she receives a call from a neurologist she’s been working with in secret, who’s helping her piece her life together again through a journal. The trouble is, the questions she’s struggling to answer are becoming increasingly complicated and painful – from as simple as ‘why doesn’t I have any children?’ all the way through to ‘what the heck happened to cause my memory loss?’
Perfect for: Thriller & mass-market readers, mystery lovers

Some great news for you lot. I’ve got a three-book prize pack to give away to one lucky reader, including two of the books – The Dovekeepers & The Time In Between – I’ve tapped for great fiction buys this Christmas, as well as the stranger-than-fiction dog lover tale Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean. Wanna win? Read on:

1) Leave a comment below before December 13th and tell me which of the fiction books above you’re most interested in. Be sure to use a valid email address when posting so I can contact you if you win!

2) Entries are limited to one per person per email address (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 13th to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry Time: There will be a bonus entry opportunity in one of the upcoming posts during the contest period. Check every post for your chance to earn a bonus entry!

As always, you’re free to email me if you want full rules & regs by emailing canadiangiftguide -at- gmail – dot- com. Happy reading!


81 Responses to “Presents By The Page Part 2: Fic Picks”
  1. Carrie Chiasson says:

    I would be torn between Dovekeepers and Before I go to Sleep..

  2. Holly Sproule says:

    Out Of Oz, I just read Wicked and loved it!

  3. Tegan says:

    I have the night circus waiting for me after I finish out of oz… so I’m pretty pumped for both of those 😀

  4. Lori says:

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern seems to have a lot of buzz going for it; I’d like to discover why.

  5. stacey h says:

    the dovekeepers

  6. Bons says:

    I’d like to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

  7. Susan says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about 1Q84, so I think I’d like to read it!

  8. Before i go to sleep sounds really interesting!

  9. Kristina Ziegler says:

    Out of Oz!

  10. Cathy M says:

    The Time in Between sounds like an interesting read.

  11. crescenza2 says:

    Before I go to sleep sounds like a thrilling read.

  12. Alaina says:

    I would like to read Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

  13. Courtney Miller says:

    Ive been hearing really good things about The NIght Circus, im going to have to pick it up.

  14. Vesper says:

    I would like to read The Dovekeepers

  15. Joy Mills says:

    The Dovekeepers – i have heard a lot about this one!

  16. Linh says:

    I would love to read IQ84 by Haruki Murakami!

  17. linda chaput says:

    Definately “The Dovekeepers” is my choice.

  18. Adina H. says:

    I’m most interested in “Before I Go To Sleep.”

  19. Jenn K says:

    I am most interested in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. I am a huge Murakami fan, and have read almost all of his books (at least those that have been translated into english).

  20. Shannon says:

    The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

  21. Sandra Furlotte says:

    NIGHT CIRCUS – for sure a book I want to read.

  22. Wonn says:

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  23. sean pynaert says:

    i would like to read before i go to sleep

  24. Morgan says:

    The night circus looks really interesting.

  25. Shannon says:

    The Time in Between sounds really good!

  26. Alina says:

    I’d be really interested in The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.

  27. Joanne says:

    Before I Go To Sleep by J.S. Watson

  28. Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard says:

    I am excited to read The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
    brendawitherspoon at hotmail dot com

  29. Burcu says:

    The Time In Between by Maria Duenas sounds great

  30. Malithi says:

    The Time In Between sounds rather intriguing. Historical fiction–can’t go wrong with it!

  31. darci paice-bailey says:

    Before I go to sleep sounds awesome, I would like to read that one most of all!

  32. Jeannie Smyth says:

    I would really like to read Maria Duenas The Time In Between. The awful truth is that I would probably like to read all of them! i just have to find the time!

  33. Kym says:

    The Dove Keeper’s for sure!

  34. seekerscan says:

    I would like to read, “Before I go to Sleep”. I would read anything. There is no such thing as a bad book.

  35. Debbie Petch says:

    I like Before You Go To Sleep. So cool!

  36. debbie f says:

    I am interested in The Dovekeeper.

  37. IQ84 looks like it would be an intriguing read. Sorry, but I am not familiar with Haruki Murakami. Idid
    however, just catch the movie Inception and found it to be a great story. I am pretty sure that I
    would enjoy reading IQ84 and introducing myself to a new author.

  38. sean flynn says:

    the dovekeepers

  39. Christine says:

    THE NIGHT CIRCUS sound like a good read.

  40. Stephen says:

    After checking out what all three are about, I feel that “Rin Tin Tin” sounds like a truly fascinating novel…That is definitely the one I would love to read!!!

  41. cher says:

    The Time in Between would interest me.

  42. John Patterson says:

    I like finding new novels to teach to my class.

  43. Barb B says:

    Toss up between Before I go to sleep and the Night Circus

  44. Evelyn says:

    I think “Before I Go to Sleep” would interest me the most! Sounds really good!

  45. Jenny says:

    Out of Oz. I’ve read the other books in the series and would love to read this one!

  46. Brook says:

    The Dovekeepers! Would love to read it, I know I will love it! Love ancient history with a mix of tales! This sound like a good made to be movie!

  47. Bonnie says:

    The selection is fantastic and would be eager to read any or all

  48. Paige says:

    The Time In Between by Maria Duenas! I love reading about WW2, and this book sounds amazing.

  49. Jeannette Laframboise says:

    I think my 2 choices would be The Dovekeepers and Before I go to Sleep. I have The Night Circus and will be starting it shortly. Thanks so very much for the opportunity to win! I am a major book lover.;0)

  50. Karen says:

    would love to read out of oz

  51. Rebby says:

    I am looking forward to The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman !

  52. Carrie Chiasson says:

    ‘I love the Canadian Gift Guide’ – Just sayin!! 🙂

  53. Ryan Betesta says:

    I’m curious to read the Night Circus

  54. Holly Sproule says:

    I love the Canadian Gift Guide!!

  55. Amy Brown says:

    I’d like to read “before I go to sleep”

  56. Sandra Betesta says:

    Before I go to sleep looks really good!

  57. Susan says:

    ‘I love the Canadian Gift Guide’

  58. Tintin says:

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

  59. Tintin says:

    I love the Canadian Gift Guide!

  60. Lyndal Meyette says:

    The Time In Between by Maria Duenas would be my pick. I love the Canadian Gift Guide.

  61. tony says:

    I’m interested in IQ84 by Haruki Murakami.

  62. tony says:

    I love the Canadian Gift Guide

  63. Andrew says:

    I want to read “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern – thanks!

  64. Andrew says:

    I love the Canadian Gift Guide

  65. Tony says:

    IQ84 by Haruki Murakami

  66. Tony says:

    I love the Canadian Gift Guide!

  67. David says:

    The Time In Between seems like a book I’d have troubles putting down. I’m quite interested in reading that one!

  68. Bons says:

    I love the Canadian Gift Guide

  69. Kiki says:

    Q84 by Haruki Murakami has been on my Christmas list since it was first released… I hope I’ve been good enough all year, by Santa’s standards, and I’ll find this under the tree!

  70. Jennifer Harding says:

    Night circus looks really good

  71. Carley L says:

    I’m most interested in “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern. It’s actually on my Christmas wish list.

  72. Melissa bonne says:

    i would like to read “Before I go to Sleep”

  73. Heather says:

    I didn’t know Gregory Maguire had another book out!!! Oooo!
    ‘I love the Canadian Gift Guide’

  74. Ami B says:

    I’d like to read Before i go to Sleep

  75. patti says:

    the dovekeeper sounds great

  76. Ola Baker says:

    Spellbound and Plot Twists are the catch words that got me hooked, therefore my choice would be

  77. Elaine says:

    All books are worth reading – to each his own taste.

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