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Astronaut Hadfield turns author

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CANADIAN astronaut Chris Hadfield became a social media star with his photos, Twitter observations and much-shared video performance of David Bowie's song Space Oddity at the International Space Station.

Now he'll bring his experiences and observations to a much older medium this October, when Random House Canada publishes his book An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

As described on the website Galleycat, the book combines the behind-the-scenes experiences of an astronaut with down-to-earth life lessons.

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Canadian author and journalist Jan Wong has been ordered to pay an undisclosed sum of money for violating a non-disclosure agreement with the Globe and Mail in her 2012 self-published bestseller Out of the Blue.

In her memoir, Wong wrote about her struggles with clinical depression and her battles with Globe and Mail management, and said the newspaper had given her "a big pile of money to go away."

That statement was ruled by an arbitrator to be a violation of her confidentiality agreement with the newspaper.

The newspaper, which reported the court order, says it will donate the settlement funds to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

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Heavily tattooed punk-rocker-turned-author Chris Walter has just released his 22nd book -- a crime novel set in Vancouver and Winnipeg called Chase the Dragon.

Like many of Walter's self-published novels and his memoirs of his time in the punk scene, Chase the Dragon has a cast of lowlifes and a grimy setting. The novel focuses on an addict on the run from a hitman and a death metal musician.

In an interview with Vancouver arts and culture newspaper The Straight, Walter also mentions that an earlier book of his, Langside, named for the Winnipeg street where he used to live, was optioned for television, but didn't make it to production.

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The June flood in southern Alberta destroyed an unknown number of rare and antique books when it flooded Tom Williams Books in the city's gentrifying Inglewood area.

Williams, 77, told the Calgary Sun that he lost his entire stock of 200,000 second-hand books. Among the books flooded were early editions of book by explorers Alexander Mackenzie and Samuel Hearne, one of which was a first edition.

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The Thin Air Winnipeg International Writers Festival has announced some of the headliners for this September's event, including one of Canada's most popular mystery writers and a bestselling author of literary/political fiction from Seattle.

Jim Lynch, whose novel Truth Like the Sun was a study of politics and corruption set in Seattle, will be joined by Saskatchewan mystery writer Gail Bowen, South Africa-born Canadian novelist Lewis DeSoto, and Deborah Ellis, a children's literature author who specializes in issue-based novels, often with an international flavour. The festival runs Sept. 20-28.

For more announcements on the line-up, see the Thin Air website.

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If you've ever given up on reading a book because it bored you, the protagonist was repellent or the writer's style just wasn't working for you, you're not alone.

The online reading community Goodreads recently posted an infographic showing the most frequently abandoned books (J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy and E L James's Fifty Shades of Grey) as well as reasons cited by the 62 per cent of readers who confess to throwing in the towel on occasion.

The graphic also lists the five most frequently abandoned classics, including James Joyce's Ulysses, which Paper Chase has given up on twice.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 13, 2013 G8

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