Douglas Coupland

It is hard to avoid writers in Reykjavik. There is a phrase in Icelandic, "ad ganga med bok I maganum", everyone gives birth to a book. Literally, everyone "has a book in their stomach". One in 10 Icelanders will publish one.

"Does it get rather competitive?" I ask the young novelist, Kristin Eirikskdottir. "Yes. Especially as I live with my mother and partner, who are also full-time writers. But we try to publish in alternate years so we do not compete too much."

At first blush, 2012 was not a good year for independent Canadian book publishing. It began with Random House, owned by German conglomerate Bertelsmann, finally and completely swallowing up McClelland & Stewart, the iconic publisher once as central to Canadian culture as the CBC. It ended with 42-year-old Vancouver-based Douglas & McIntyre, the largest independent publisher in the country, home to such household names as David Suzuki and Douglas Coupland, essentially filing for bankruptcy protection. Reports in the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail portrayed an industry in apparent free-fall

Sure, you can burn through the latest bestseller this summer, but why not be entertained and learn something at the same time? These novels range from masterpiece classic to fun thrillers, but they all offer excellent commentary on the business world:

Severance Package
At Jamie DeBroux’s office, layoffs aren’t as simple as packing up your things in a banker’s box. As a former cover for a branch of the intelligence community, DeBroux’s boss expects everyone to surrender themselves to death or be shot in the head.

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