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Manitoba books whittled to 5 for CBC list

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With the start of summer reading season, Manitoba bookworms can test this province's representative volumes in CBC's Cross-Country Bookshelf project.

Compiled by Winnipeg poet and novelist Chandra Mayor and McNally Robinson founding partner Ron Robinson, the 10-strong long list deemed necessary to understand the province was whittled to five after Canadians voted.

"I think we have the best list in the country -- marvellous and weird in deeply Manitoban ways," says Mayor.

The final five include Sidura Ludwig's novel Holding My Breath; Margaret Laurence's The Diviners; Armin Wiebe's The Salvation of Yasch Siemens; and deceased crime writer Michael Van Rooy's An Ordinary Decent Criminal.

The finalists included one non-Winnipegger: Toronto cartoonist Chester Brown, for his 2003 Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography.

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British author J.K. Rowling announced that all seven of her Harry Potter novels will be made available in e-book form, Reuters reported this week.

The news came at the launch of Pottermore, an interactive website enabling exploration of the Potter universe. The forthcoming e-wbooks will be available exclusively on the site in October for all major electronic reading devices.

Rowling also reconfirmed that she will not write an eighth Potter novel.

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The Dutch group Federation for Honour and Reparation of Slavery in Suriname, which had previously threatened to burn copies of Toronto writer Lawrence Hill's novel The Book of Negroes, finally burned only the cover this week, explaining their grievance is with the word Negro in the title, the CBC reported.

The book has been published in various markets under different titles, which excise the controversial word. The Book of Negroes, however, is the actual title of a British naval ledger of freed slaves.

In a Toronto Star opinion piece prior to the burning, Hill wrote: "I tell my own children that no single word is entirely out of bounds. One must simply know the heft of each word, and use it appropriately."

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Following the 1992 "death" of Superman, and four years after fellow Marvel superhero Captain America's demise, your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man will also kick the comic book can.

The wall-crawler will be killed by archenemy the Green Goblin in issue No. 160 of Ultimate Spider-Man, reports The Guardian in England.

There has been no announcement of a possible resurrection, but as per a recent post on Comicvine.com: "In comic books, we know that pretty much everyone can come back from the dead." Nonetheless, the post noted that there have been so many recent Marvel deaths, Spidey's dirtnap could prove permanent.

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David Kamp, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, expressed vindication in the New York Times this week after reading the new memoir by Eva Gabrielsson, the longtime companion of bestselling Millennium Trilogy author Stieg Larsson.

"There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me confirms Kamp's suspicion that "Larsson was an extreme coffee drinker even by Swedish standards," based upon his characters' own conspicuous consumption.

Kamp had previously speculated Larsson might have "overcaffeinated himself to death."

ksmithpaperchase@gmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 25, 2011 J8

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