Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Shelf Monkey

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Shelf Monkey

ECW Press, 2007

Thomas Friesen has three goals in life. Get a job. Make friends. Find a good book to curl up with. After landing a job at READ, the newest hypermegabookstore, he feels he may have accomplished all three.

All is not peaceable within the stacks, however. Discontent is steadily rising, and it is aimed squarely at Munroe Purvis, a talk show host whose wildly popular book club is progressively lowering the I.Q. of North America.

But the bookworms have a plan. Plots are being hatched. The destruction of Munroe is all but assured. And as Thomas finds himself swept along in the maëlstrom of insanity, he wonders if reading a book is all it’s cracked up to be.

If you’ve ever thrown a book against a wall in disgust; if you’ve ever loved a novel that no one else can stand; if you obsess over the proper use of punctuation; this may be the novel for you. A weirdly funny story about bookish addictions, Shelf Monkey is the ideal novel for anyone who loves good books. Or hates them.
"I’ve often wondered how a novel’s characters might assess the book they’ve been thrust, unwillingly, into -­ like victims of a kidnapping. Well, now it’s actually happened to me. Yes, Eric McCormack appears as a character in Shelf Monkey. Once I got over the shock of finding myself there and settled in for the long haul, I thought: What a literate, witty, suspenseful, alternate world Corey Redekop’s created. I’m not so sure I want to be rescued from it!"
Eric McCormack, author, The Dutch Wife

"A playful — yet very serious — ode to bibliophilia. Corey Redekop writes with energy and imagination, deft little jabs that go straight to the solar plexus. I laughed, and thought — a great deal — reading Shelf Monkey."
Paul Quarrington, author, Galveston

"... stylistically playful ... reminiscent of Stephen King's approach in Carrie. That it feels neither redundant nor artificial is a testament to Redekop's control over his material and his ability to push his story effortlessly forward.What is most praiseworthy about Shelf Monkey is its tone, which is blackly comic, and not afraid to get its hands dirty ... bracing and edgy and skirts the line of cruelty without ever quite tripping over it ... Redekop plays with this tension nicely throughout the novel, providing a critique of a literary culture that prizes shallowness and false sentiment over an authentic engagement with difficult texts, while at the same time assuring all of us who love books that, whatever our literary tastes or predilictions, and for better or for worse, we're all in this together."
Steven W. Beattie, That Shakespeherian Rag

"[T]he book's dark comedy and witty language play directly into its themes to make the satire sting . . . There's a lot to enjoy here."
Micah Toub, Quill & Quire

"[A] misfit's revenge fantasy...crackling plot and quirky Shelf Monkeys will be targeting Redekop for crimes against literature."
Bob Armstrong, Winnipeg Free Press

"It's a savage and funny book, like Fahrenheit 451 meets Revenge of the Nerds, with a little Oprah's Book Club mixed in. It's a Fight Club for bookworms."
Quentin Mills-Fenn, Uptown Magazine

"Very funny. This satire has enough snooty literary schadenfreude to satisfy even the most seasoned bibliophile."
Nathalie Atkinson, Chatelaine

"[A] savage satire on literary snobs, a pabulum-lapping public and talk-show hosts as deities...There are entire scenes that are so funny, I wish I could reprint them in their entirety. This is not all the book has going for it, though, as Redekop displays a surprising literary depth in this brutally witty slice of wickedness...[T]here’s no mistaking Shelf Monkey's subversive brilliance."
Rod Lott, Bookgasm

"[H]owlingly funny debut novel...if you love books and really need a good laugh in your life, track it down, read it, and then shelve it next to some really serious books which will then automatically lighten up."
Andrew Armitage, Owen Sound Sun Times

"With what can only be described as something different—and I do mean different—comes Corey Redekop, and his debut novel Shelf Monkey. Redekop’s manic work examines the fine line that separates bibliophiles (lovers of books) from bibliomaniacs (people afflicted with a legitimate psychological disorder that creates an obsession with the obtaining and possession of books). Sure, it sounds goofy—but for those of you with a hate-on for manner in which modern book sales are driven more by media circus than by authentically good work by talented writers, Redekop has answered your prayers."
Kelly Rowntree, Planet S

"Shelf Monkey" is by turns hilarious and disturbing. It may generate a few uncomfortable squirms as well as giggles from readers who might have a few snobbish literary tendencies of their own. Still, it's a fun sort of squirmishness, and the nihilistic cheer that permeates throughout this book is going to make it a big hit among fans of Chuck Palahniuk. I really enjoyed "Shelf Monkey" and I think that this will be the start of a very promising career for Redekop, especially if the real-life shelf monkeys of our world embrace this book like I think that they will."
Matt Staggs,

"The four central characters in Corey Redekop's invigorating first novel are bibliognostic bibliophiles, bibliomaniacal and bibliophagic, who work for a bibliopole and indulge in biblioclasm . . . It is a world in which books are people and more insidiously, as we are to discover, people can be treated as books . . . Shelf Monkey may be [Corey Redekop's] first novel, but it is decidedly more than almost."
Graham Harley, Literary Review of Canada

Read more about Shelf Monkey at the ECW Press website.