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ASK THE BOOKSELLERS: for the person who wants to save the world

Your mom is more than just “mom.” This holiday season, we encourage you to go beyond the gift guide. If you’re looking for personal gift recommendations for the people in your life, with all their unique quirks and interests and dreams, you should shop at indie bookstores.

This week, we asked three Canadian indie booksellers what gifts they would recommend for the person who wants to save the world.

Each recommendation is as unique as the store that made it. Are you shopping for this person in your life? Use the “Shop Local” button to find this book near you or visit your local indie bookstore for their gift recommendations today! 

From Block Shop Books in Lunenburg, NS:

Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures

Written by Ivan Coyote
Published by Penguin Random House Canada

Writer and performer Ivan Coyote has spent decades on the road, telling stories around the world. For years, Ivan has kept a file of the most special communications received from readers and audience members – letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig. In 2020, like artists everywhere, Coyote was grounded by the pandemic. The energy of a live audience, a performer’s lifeblood, was suddenly gone. But with this loss came an opportunity for a different kind of connection. Those letters that had long piled up could finally begin to be answered.

Care Of combines the most powerful of these letters with Ivan’s responses. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote’s celebrated work—compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive.

Ivan Coyote is a writer and storyteller. Born and raised in Whitehorse, YK, they are the author of thirteen books, the creator of four films, six stage shows, and three albums. Coyote’s books have won the ReLit Award, been named a Stonewall Honour Book, been longlisted for Canada Reads, and awarded BC and Yukon Book Prize’s inaugural Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes.

From Knowledge Bookstore in Brampton, ON:

The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations
Written by Toni Morrison
Published by Penguin Random House Canada

These pages give us her searing prayer for the dead of 9/11, Morrison’s Nobel lecture on the power of language, her searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., her heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. She looks deeply into the fault lines of culture and freedom: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” human rights, the artist in society, the Afro-American presence in American literature. And she turns her incisive critical eye to her own work and that of others. An essential collection from an essential writer, The Source of Self-Regard shines with the literary elegance, intellectual prowess, spiritual depth, and moral compass that have made Toni Morrison our most cherished and enduring voice.

Toni Morrison is the author of eleven novels, from The Bluest Eye to God Help the Child. She received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She died in 2019.

From Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC:

Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation
Written by Paul Hawken
Published by Penguin Random House Canada

Regeneration offers a visionary new approach to climate change, one that weaves justice, climate, biodiversity, equity, and human dignity into a seamless tapestry of action, policy, and transformation that can end the climate crisis in one generation. It describes how an inclusive movement can engage the majority of humanity to save the world from the threat of global warming, with climate solutions that directly serve our children, the poor, and the excluded. This means we must address current human needs, not future existential threats, real as they are, with initiatives that include but go well beyond solar, electric vehicles, and tree planting to include such solutions as the fifteen-minute city, bioregions, azolla fern, food localization, fire ecology, decommodification, forests as farms, and the number one solution for the world: electrifying everything.

Paul Hawken is an author and activist. He has founded successful, ecologically-conscious businesses, and consulted with heads of state and CEOs on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He has written seven books including four national bestsellers: The Next Economy, Growing a BusinessThe Ecology of Commerce, and Blessed Unrest. He has served on the board of many environmental organizations including Center for Plant Conservation, Conservation International, and the National Audubon Society.

Thank you to the booksellers who provided recommendations this time around.

The Ask the Bookseller series celebrates the expert, personal recommendations and unmatched customer service that indie bookstores provide to shoppers across Canada. Thank you to our indie booksellers and remember to #ShopLocal!


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We wish to acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund.

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