If it seems like the post-election books are being released in a particularly presidential cycle, that’s because we are very much in the midst of a rather presidential campaign season – specifically, you could say, a Trumpist one. So we were pleased to be enlisted by the Toronto Star to run a series of books to help the kind folks on your holiday list navigate the current political thicket. Because if there’s one thing you could do with a book this holiday season, it’s getting an analysis of everything from whether the last two weeks have been a turning point for Donald Trump to the moral of Steve Bannon’s business failure The Righteous Mind. So we’ve done just that, using the Voice of The People Blog – our website dedicated to a personal commitment to publish all the literature you haven’t quite finished, haven’t gotten around to sharing yet, or haven’t quite understood. And sure, it would be nice if you had a little pocketbook or purse, or a pocketwatch or a fancy TV remote, or fancy coffee mug to match, but if you just want a well-thought-out roadmap of what the next four years will hold, this is the kind of gift book we think you will appreciate. So if you’re looking for a gift book this year, we have yours right here.
2017 in Review is often dismissed as a war on holidays and a war on books, as the world that grew out of the publishing industry of the 20th century is completely changed by the world we live in today. While the holiday season obviously takes a toll on stores and books, the desire to be seen and to be liked is at the core of human nature, and never will that be more true than during the holidays, when in both the physical world and the virtual one, virtual friends and real friends collide. Social media has used this for years to exacerbate the problems we were hoping to mitigate, but Christmas is made of more than social media, and what is it that keeps us all connected during the holidays? An answer to that question could help in the relationship between readers and writers, publishers and critics, and readers and other readers. Without much more than a basic understanding of why certain books are published and when, it’s impossible to turn off the Christmas lights without blaming somebody, so as someone who’s worked hard to make sure that the point of the newspaper is to make informed choices, this column is intended as a Guide To.