HIT THE BOOKS
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.
“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 Take The Lyrics of Leonard Cohen: All the Answers Are Here, which includes the famed troubadour’s songs alongside unpublished photos and interviews with friend Malka Marom, or the much anticipated Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, an intimate biography of the Canuck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