People with good taste generally wish the whole Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon would just go away; not because there is anything inherently wrong with erotic fiction in general or BDSM themes in particular, but because E.L. James's writing is so painfully—one might even say torturously, but not in a hot way—awful.

It's not going anywhere, though. The Hollywood adaptation is scheduled for release next February. If nothing else, it should be fun spotting all the Vancouver locations in the movie, which was shot locally (although the story is actually set in that other Vancouver).

HarperCollins has tweeted the image of the jacket cover of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's upcoming book.

It's called Common Ground: My Past, Our Present and Canada's Future and it's due in stores in October.

Politicians often write books in advance of election campaigns.

One recent example was Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices.

Lesser known is former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.

Having mastered the visual arts since his retirement in 2008, presidential man-child George W. Bush has gone on to further hone his literary skills with a biography of his father, George H.W. (Poppy) Bush.

Crown Publishers releases the still untitled work on November 11. A media release reveals that “the book shines new light on both the accomplished leader and the warm, decent man known best by his family.”

Earlier this month at the Indian Summer festival, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion involving graphic novelists from three different cultures.

Today, I learned that the video has been posted on YouTube (see below).

The first graphic novelist who spoke, Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas, is a celebrated Haida artist whose work has appeared in numerous cultural institutions, including the Museum of Anthropology and the British Museum. He's the author of several graphic novels, including Flight of the Hummingbird. Forward the video to 8:17 and you can see his presentation.

The Shishosetsu literary readings takes place during the Powell Street Festival on Sunday (August 3) from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. at the Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova Street).

Shishosetsu, also known as Watakushi Shosetsu or I-novel, is a genre of literature that emerged in early 20th century Japan. The genre often blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction because the author is the central character in an intimate self-revealing narrative.

A Vancouver-based ebook startup has snagged a major publishing partner.

BitLit Media announced today (July 21) that HarperCollins Publishers has signed on for a pilot program.

The local tech company has a mobile app that allows users to obtain the ebook editions of print books they already own for free or at a discount. The BitLit app came out for Android in January and iPhone in March.

HarperCollins will be offering the ebook versions of Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison, Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, and 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross for $1.99 to $2.99.

Archie Comics made waves when openly gay character Kevin Keller got married in a same-sex, interracial, military wedding.

The progressive issue was protested by the conservative Christian lobby group One Million Moms, which only heightened media coverage and made the issue sell out (rather than removed from shelves as the protest campaign had intended).

Now, it looks like the comic is following up with a similarly attention-grabbing issue: the death of Archie.

And again, the character Kevin Keller is involved.

This year's Indian Summer festival is in full swing.

On Thursday (July 3), an opening gala at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden kicked off the fest, which runs until July 12.

The gala featured a foodie tour of Asia curated by Vikram Vij

American poet Coleman Barks was just one of those who spoke at the event.

A nice person explained to me how these new book dispensary machines work.

You simply stand in front of the dispenser slot and think of the kind of books you like to read. When you have a clear picture in your mind, tap anywhere on the machine three times, then hold your hands under the dispenser slot and wait.

The machine will spit out a book perfectly suited to your tastes.

But, the person warned me, it could take up to 15 minutes and you should just wait patiently.

A great idea that needs work

Unfortunately, this unit located near Heather and 15th Avenue is out of order—I’ve tried it several times with no luck.

Today I found this awesome book just sitting on the lid of a Container blue bin in a Fairview back alley—a thriller called Henry’s Awful Mistake by one Robert Quackenbush, author of something like 110 books but none of them more famous than this gripping story of a duck named Henry and the ant who was his undoing.

I recommend the book to anyone who loves true-to-life stories from the animal kingdom: the thrill of the hunt, the price of failure—it’s all here, beautifully illustrated.