BAKKA ABROAD

March 22nd, 2018

BAKKA ABROAD!

For the next few weeks, we’ll be posting pictures of places we scouted in our plan to take over the world traveled to in 2017 onto our Instagram.

We’ll post a photo each Thursday, and you’ll have until midnight the following Wednesday to comment with the correct location. A winner will be selected at random from the correct answers. Prizes will be switched up weekly with each new photo. Only real restrictions are that you need to comment with your answer on the Instagram photo, and you’ll have to swing by and visit us to pick up your prize.

So… Where were we?

Wherein we co-present Annalee Newitz at ChiSeries!

January 13th, 2018

We’ve shaken off our New Year’s fuzz and it’s back to the social whirl–with our first author appearance of the year!

We’ll be co-presenting California author and journalist Annalee Newitz–interviewed by Canada Reads finalist Madeline Ashby–at the January edition of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series! Join us on January 17th at 8:00 pm at the Round Venue, 152A Augusta Avenue, to hear excerpts and insights from Newitz, Kari Maaren (late of our 2017 Christmas party!), and local dark fantasy author Christian Adrian Brown.

Boxing Week!

December 27th, 2017

It’s Boxing Week, and we’re back in store with something a little different this year!

We’ll have our usual 10% off everything in the store, with 25% off selected titles, which include 2017 hardcovers, new picture books, graphic novels, and more. The sale table will change up through the week, so check in to see if your favourite author’s there!

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 3: Non-Fiction!

December 23rd, 2017

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…

We’re finishing off our staff’s favourite 2017 reads today with Part 3: Our Nonfiction Picks!

 

 

Our fiction picks of the year!

 

 

Ben’s pick: Paperbacks From Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction, Grady Hendrix

A look into the boom and bust of the paperback horror market of the later 20th century. It’s both funny, as it skewers the ludicrous storylines and even more ridiculous covers, and insightful, as it looks into the social, economic, and political climates that made them relevant.

Worth checking out if you remember the glory days of pulp schlock, or want to see what old people were afraid of last century.

Chris’s picks: Everyone’s a Aliebn When ur a Aliebn Too: A Book, Jomny Sun

Sweet, poignant, funny: Everyone’s a Aliebn is part fable, part comic, with a dash of philosophical treatise on the side. No matter who you are, humabn, aliebn, or other, you’ll recognize yourself in this delightful adventure.

The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben

No, it’s not SFF. Trust us, though, it’s really interesting. The author, a forester with decades of experience, will convince you that trees are the original social network. A thoughtful, compelling read.

Leah’s picks: Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, Liz Bourke

A collection of Bourke’s Sleeping With Monsters Tor.com column, essays, and reviews, this is a slice of one of the most interesting critical perspectives in the genre today: intersectional, historically-informed, and reading across everything from queer pulps to core epic fantasy to video games. Sleeping With Monsters ends up more than the sum of its parts: putting together a picture of genre tropes in this moment, and how they’re enduring–and changing.

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults, Cheryl B. Klein

From former Scholastic and current Lee & Low editor Cheryl Klein, The Magic Words is one of the most balanced how-to books out there. Addressing craft, business, the publication process, and full of exemplars and exercises, this is a nose-to-tail view of writing and publishing fiction for young readers.

Kristen’s picks: The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson

The first translation of Homer’s epic by a woman scholar, and well worth the read.

Soonish, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

It’s a non-fiction book by the creators of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, investigating ten emerging discoveries that will save and/or doom us all. Mwa ha ha! No, seriously, it’s eye-opening.

Rebecca’s pick: Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Outer Space, Tim Peake

A fun and in-depth look into the life of an astronaut, from training to be one, adjusting to and living in space, what-if situtations, and favourite buttons aboard the ISS.

The Bakka-Phoenix Books 2017 Staff Picks, Part 2: YA and Kids’ Fiction

December 22nd, 2017

We’re running out of 2017, which means it’s time for the Bakka-Phoenix annual staff picks: a shoutout to some of the books we loved this year. Between the award-winners, bestsellers, and marquee series, we found a double handful of reads that made us laugh, think, and go what if…

We’ll be posting our staff’s favourite 2017 reads over the next few days, and today is Part 2: Our YA and Kids’ picks.

 

 

Chris’s picks: The Wolf The Duck & The Mouse, Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

When a mouse is swallowed by a hungry wolf, it despairs. But deep inside the wolf’s belly, the mouse meets a duck. Together, they learn how to really live their lives, even given the… unusual circumstance. Funny, subversive, and appealing.

Thread War, Ian Donald Keeling

Johnny and Shabaz have returned to the Skidsphere from the Thread, and life will never be the same. Together, they try to improve the system from within, but not every Skid wants to change. Even worse, the cracks in the Skidsphere are growing. Facing enemies on all sides, it’ll take everything they have to keep the Skids safe – and that might not be enough.

Fast, fun, and moving. Thread War is an excellent follow-up to last year’s The Skids, winner of the Copper Cylinder Award.

Leah’s picks: The Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black

Blue’s sister Cass promised to always call home on the anniversary of their folk-singer mother’s death. This year, she didn’t: so, armed with her mother’s guitar and the premonition that Cass is in trouble, Blue goes to the crossroads at midnight and deals with the devil to find her big sister. While the devil enchants her plain brown boots to always point to where Cass is, she takes Blue’s voice in return—and that is how Blue sets off across America to bring her sister home.

The Devil and the Bluebird is one of the most stunning, heart-breaking, heart-making books I’ve read this year. I read it until 4am, and then I hugged it and laughed and cried. Rife with grief, love, discovery, unexpected kindnesses, subtle magic, and ghosts both literal and metaphorical—Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie included—it is one of those special books that is both heart-poundingly compelling and quietly wise about what makes people be both the best and worst of themselves.

Change Places With Me, Lois Metzger

Change Places With Me is the only YA novel I have ever seen blurbed by Kim Stanley Robinson. And it doesn’t take long to realize why.

Rose wakes up one morning happy: happy enough to change her hairstyle, make friends with the classmates she’s never spoken with before, and pet the neighbour dogs who used to terrify her. And there is something absolutely off about her contentment with the world.

I have rarely seen YA-oriented science fiction written with such skill and subtext as this: a speculative element that seeps up like groundwater into a revelation that’s all the more impactful because of how quiet it is. Change Places With Me is magnificent: a soft, deliberate, oblique novel about coming to terms with oneself, absolutely entwined with how a standard science-fiction technology impacts the life of one girl.

And I Darken, Kiersten White

And I Darken is a straight historical political thriller—with one twist: Instead of following a young Vlad Dracul’s youth as a hostage to the Turkish Empire, Vlad becomes Lada—and adds a new dimension to the political triangle that follows.

This is not the book I thought I’d like: genderflipped historicals are not usually my wheelhouse. But White deploys an utterly absorbing mix of political maneuvering and character work, intrigue and menace, topped off with evocative prose you can’t help but fall into, and I found myself up at 4am going just one more chapter before bed.

Eliza and Her Monsters, Francesca Zappia

Eliza and Her Monsters is a Book About Fandom—but it’s also so much -more-. Eliza floats through life as a weird, friendless small-town high school senior, devoting all her time to her secret life as LadyConstellation, creator of wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Until the most popular fic writer in Monstrous Sea fandom transfers to her high school, and Eliza starts cautiously navigating a life outside her creation—and what drives her relationship to art and life in the first place.

There is an incredibly astute kindness to Eliza and Her Monsters: both for the fans who love fantasy worlds and the needs of the people who create them. I’ve rarely seen a more nuanced look at what making or loving a fantasy world -is-, embedded in a story that’s fun and funny and sincerely gripping.

Tangled Planet, Kate Blair

After a 400-year journey, generation ship Venture–seventeen-year-old Ursa’s home–has finally reached its destination. But instead of the untouched paradise Beta Earth is supposed to be, Ursa’s first night there features a discovered corpse–and the glint of sharp teeth in the woods. Part mystery, part core science fiction, and part a compassionate look at change, anxiety, and what opportunity does to our hearts, Tangled Planet balances adventure, danger, safety, and the places we end up–good and bad both–in trying to keep our loved ones safe.

Michelle’s picks: Mighty Jack And The Goblin King, Ben Hatke

Jack’s sister Molly has been kidnapped by an ogre. He and his friend Lilly set out after her, but the rescue is more difficult than they could have imagined. Injured, alone, afraid, they must face monster within and without in order to survive. Like everything Hatke does, it’s both charming to look at and deeply moving.

Harriet the Invincible, Ursula Vernon

Harriet is an usual princess, and not just because she’s a hamster. She likes math, and fighting with swords. And she’s fated to fall under a curse when she’s twelve, but that news fills her with excitement instead of dread. Because Harriet realizes that until the curse lands, she’s invincible! So it’s time for this princess to set out to right some wrongs, hero-style. Truly charming.