Holiday Book Buying Guide

We are always excited to recommend books, especially around the holiday season. A book is the perfect customized gift. There truly is something for everyone. Check out our staff recommendations for the book nerds, literati and hard-to-shop-for loved ones on your list!

All signed Festival titles are currently on sale at the Harbourfront Centre Shop. Hurry in to receive 15%-20% discounts on books!

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For the #CanLit lover you can’t go wrong with an award winner like Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

For the goof in the family or group of friends consider When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.

For young nieces and nephews or young-at-heart list-makers check out The Liszts by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julia Sarda.

For those who love to get cozy with a cup of tea by the fireside The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a great choice.

For the impossible to shop for preteen girl Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris is perfect.

For your younger brother that’s home for the holidays try City of Thieves by David Benioff.

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For the little ones that love bedtime stories Toronto ABC and Canada ABC by Paul Covello or Fox and Squirrel The Best Christmas Ever by Ruth Ohi

For the proud Torontonians (#ReadtheNorth!) check out a a classic like In The Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondatjee or Michael Helm’s Cities of Refuge.

For those with a curious mind and an out-of-the-box perception of the world pick up Anosh Irani’s The Parcel.

For the historian in your life definitely buy The Promise of Canada by Charlotte Gray.

For the lover of politics, who may need a break from talking about the US Election, they need Nathan Hill’s The Nix.

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For the children who ran out of fables to read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig written by Eugene Trivizas is your best bet.

For the kid who can’t give up Halloween quite yet try Haunted Canada 6 by John Sutherland.

For your friend with the serious Gilmore Girls obsession turn off the TV and give them Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

For the musician offer up School of Velocity by Eric Beck Rubin.

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For your mother in law who loves Canada Jane Urquhart’s A Number of Things is our go-to.

For graphic novel readers experiencing some wanderlust check out Burts Way Home by John Martz.

For the naturopath in your group of friends The Naturalist by Alissa York seems appropriate.

For the family member who appreciates dark comedy Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is sure to be a bestseller.
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For the Shakespeare aficionado, Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed because it is based on The Tempest.

For your crime-fiction loving parents Peter Robinson’s When The Music’s Over is a great choice.

For grandma who only reads historical fiction give her Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder.

For your technology-obsessed boyfriend The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott is fool-proof.

For sci-fi fans check out Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.

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IFOA Staff’s December Reading List

The holidays are characterized by a lot of hustle and bustle–the parties, the shopping, wrapping up the end of the year. There’s also some quiet time–reflection on the year that’s passing, time with family, and planning for the new year.

For these quite moments consider picking up one of the books that our staff is reading this month! (Psst! Festival books are currently 15%-20% off at the Harbourfront Centre Shop!)

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Catherine Coreno just finished Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People and started Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things. She also picked up Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey.

Rebecca Hallquist is currently reading A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem and re-reading  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but this time in Swedish!

Dean Keranovic is planning to read Alejandro Jodorowsky’s sci-fi space opera The Metabarons.

Tina Kessler is finishing Kate Taylor’s Serial Monogamy.

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Madeline McCaffrey just finished Rowan Hisayo Buchanan’s Harmless Like You and is moving on to Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder.

Zviko Mhakayakora’s TBR pile consists of Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder, Nathan Hill’s The Nix and Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.

Eirini Moschaki is reading Zadie Smith’s Swing Time.

Julia Yu is excited to read Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime.

We wish you the glitz and glam of holiday parties, the excitement of gift-giving, fun with family and friends and a lot of extra time to snuggle with a new book!

 

Some IFOA 2016 Book Covers We Love

We love book design at the IFOA! Here are just some of the great covers from this year’s library:

The never-ending news cover of Fauxccasional Poems:

Scott Tysdal, Fauxccasional Poems

 

Nina Bunjevac’s gorgeous illustrations for Fatherland:

Bunjevac, Fatherland

 

A Long Watch‘s gentle ocean:

Galappatti, A Long Watch

 

The beautiful profile on The Pain Tree:

Senior, The Pain Tree Cover

 

Fire‘s historical woodcut-inspired graphics:

Humphreys, Fire

 

The torn-paper landscapes of The High Mountains of Portugal, dotted with characters:

Martel, The High Mountains of Portugal

 

 

The Naturalist‘s combination of new and old scientific images and notes:

York, The Naturalist

 

The tempestuous graphics of Hag-Seed:

Atwood, HagSeed

 

The vivid colouring of The Little Communist Who Never Smiled:

Lafon, The Little Communist Who Never Smiled

 

Wild Rose‘s gentle ombre:

Butala, Wild Rose

 

The hungry goose on the cover of A Number of Things:

Urquhart, NumberofThings

 

The dark highway of I’m Thinking of Ending Things:

Reid, Im Thinking of Ending Things

 

The nightlights of Bright, Precious Days:

McInerney, Bright Precious Days

Stay tuned for these and many other attractive covers at the 37th edition of the International Festival of Authors, coming to Harbourfront Centre from October 20th-30th!

 

What is the IFOA staff reading this summer?

Even though we’re busy planning the 2016 festival, the IFOA staff still finds time to read. Read on to see what everyone’s enjoying right now!

Catherine Coreno, communications and marketing assistant:

We're all in this together cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beach is my favourite aspect of summer, so I am making my way to the sand as often as possible, always with a book in hand. While taking a break from Elena Ferrante’s novels, my current beach reads include We’re All In This Together by Amy Jones and The Girls by Emma Cline.

Dean Keranovic, festival assistant:

Anansi Boys cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of now I’m reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, as well as Endymion by Dan Simmons.  Once those are done I’ll move on to some other sci fi/fantasy novel/comic!

Eirini Moschaki, communications and marketing coordinator:

My Name is Red cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love it when a story transports me to other times, traditions, and cultures. Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red is an intricate mystery that immerses you in the life of 16th century Istanbul miniaturists. Power, love, art, religion, and politics; this novel has it all!

Rebecca Hallquist, executive assistant:

The Return cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just finished reading Hisham Matar’s book The Return – just out – and it’s a bit of a heavier read but very important considering current events. This book discusses the repercussions of grief, loss and ultimately living history, which I just find so fascinating. At the heart of it all, this memoir is really about a son trying to comes to terms why his father has been absent from his life for some 20+ years.  I like to use the (traditionally) more time I have in the summer to read for pleasure to better inform myself about topics that interest me (history, current affairs, environment, biographies) as well as for general enjoyment. Any sort of fantasy/historical fiction series I can get my hands on to read in the shade on a sunny day is pure bliss to me.

Risa de Rege, communications and marketing intern:

Victorian & Edwardian Ghost Stories cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually end up tackling really long, heavy books over the summer – past endeavours include Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; We, The Drowned by Cartsen Jensen; and (most of) A Song of Ice and Fire. But right now I’m taking it easy with a book of Edwardian ghost stories I picked up at a local bookstore. I love history, and ghost stories, so I’m really enjoying reading stories that have entertained people for so long.

Zviko Mhakayakora, executive assistant, programming:

The Bluest Eye cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right now I’m reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I’ll be reading some books by NoViolet Bulawayo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie too. I’m really into a mix of non-fiction and fiction right now.

 

IFOA 2016 poster art is here!

We are very excited to share IFOA’s 2016 festival poster art, designed by acclaimed Canadian cartoonist Seth!

Seth has appeared multiple times at past IFOA events, and his art is part of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s permanent collection. His illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, The Walrus, and Canadian Notes & Queries, and his comics have appeared in New York Times Magazine, Best American Comics, and McSweeneys Quarterly.

Look for his IFOA design on postcards, programs, and our site as we approach festival season!

IFOA Poster

Seth will also be curating the Five Ways exhibit in the Harbourfront Centre’s Artport Gallery.  

In this exhibition a spotlight is directed at five diverse contemporary cartoonists.  Each with a unique approach to the comics medium.  Each using comics for their own artistic expression.  Each quite different from the others. From fiction to memoir, from slice of life to the absurd, from tightly realistic to the expressionistic–five artists, five ways.The exhibition features the works of Nina Bunjevac, Michael Deforge, Nick Drnaso, Jon McNaught, and Chris Oliveros and we’re thrilled to have all these artists participating in the Festival this year.

Five Ways runs from September 24th to December 22nd, 2016.

 

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