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FAN­TAS­TIC FIC­TION

WHEN ASKED to pen a blurb for his pal Tom Hanks’ first work of fic­tion, co­me­dian and fel­low au­thor Steve Martin of­fered the fol­low­ing as­sess­ment: “It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hi­lar­i­ous writer with an end­lessly sur­pris­ing mind. Damn it.” This month, Hanks, 61, a two-time Os­car win­ner and avid type­writer en­thu­si­ast – he owns more than 100 and cre­ated a type­writer-themed smart­phone app – en­ters the lit­er­ary fray, much to Martin’s dis­may, with the short story col­lec­tion Un­com­mon Type, wherein each tale in­volves a type­writer.

An­other Hol­ly­wood heavy­weight, Mad Men cre­ator Matthew Weiner, also breaks into books with his first novel,

Heather, the To­tal­ity, a chill­ing tale of a priv­i­leged fam­ily unit breached by a volatile out­sider. Mean­while, Pulitzer Prize-win­ner Jef­frey Eu­genides ven­tures into un­known ter­ri­tory with his first col­lec­tion of short fic­tion, Fresh

Com­plaint. Canuck mas­ter of the crime thriller Lin­wood Bar­clay fol­lows his Prom­ise Falls tril­ogy with a re­lated tale, Parting Shot. Best­selling White Ole­an­der au­thor Janet Fitch re­turns with a novel ex­plor­ing one woman’s view of the Rus­sian Revo­lu­tion in The

Revo­lu­tion of Ma­rina M. Ed­ward St. Aubyn puts a mod­ern spin on Shake­speare’s King Lear via an ag­ing me­dia mogul’s es­cape from a nurs­ing home in Dun­bar. And one of Canada’s favourite hu­morists, the late Stu­art McLean, is re­mem­bered with a col­lec­tion of his clas­sic and never-be­fore-pub­lished hol­i­day tales in Christ­mas at the Vinyl Cafe.

IN­SPIR­ING NON-FIC­TION

“To take you trea­sure hunt­ing; to go in pur­suit of hap­pi­ness; to find the good that does ex­ist in this world” – it’s all part of the mis­sion state­ment laid out by Meik Wik­ing, CEO of Copen­hagen’s Hap­pi­ness Re­search In­sti­tute, in The Lit­tle Book of Lykke: The Dan­ish Search for the World’s Hap­pi­est Peo­ple. “Books,” he adds, “are won­der­ful idea-spread­ers,” and we agree. Take The Lyrics of Leonard Co­hen: All the An­swers Are Here, which in­cludes the famed trou­ba­dour’s songs along­side un­pub­lished pho­tos and in­ter­views with friend Malka Marom, or the much an­tic­i­pated Reck­less Daugh­ter: A Por­trait of Joni Mitchell, an in­ti­mate biog­ra­phy of the Canuck mu­sic leg­end by David Yaffe. Rock queen Ste­vie Nicks also gets her due in Gold Dust Woman: A Biog­ra­phy of Ste­vie Nicks by famed rock bi­og­ra­pher Stephen Davis while Liza Mundy un­cov­ers the piv­otal roles of fe­male cryp­tog­ra­phers dur­ing the Sec­ond

World War in Code Girls. Tom Thom­son: The Si­lence and the

Storm by David Sil­cox and Harold Town of­fers new re­pro­duc­tions and es­says on the artist’s work and Cana­dian voy­ager Adam Shoalts em­barks on a car­to­graph­i­cal jour­ney in A His­tory of Canada in Ten Maps. Art, travel and in­spir­ing lives – as the Dan­ish might say, what’s not to lykke? —MC

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