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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all shelf monkeys now
I didn't know whether to laugh or shudder reading Corey Redekop's Shelf Monkey. So I did both.

The novel tells the tale of failed lawyer turned bookstore widget Thomas, who finds his soulmates in an eccentric group of fellow employees at hypermegabookstore READ. The only problem is they're more crazy than eccentric. They hold secret meetings where they burn...
Published on Nov. 4 2011 by peter darbyshire

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shelf Monkey or Sick Puppy?
A sad-sack character who's prone to depression lands a job at a bookstore and gets sucked into a sort of booklovers' cult where low-quality books are ceremonially burned over a bonfire. Eventually the members are no longer content to take out their rage on the books alone. The story is told through a series of letters and the occasional newspaper article. It's an...
Published on March 20 2011 by Vivian Unger


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all shelf monkeys now, Nov. 4 2011
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This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
I didn't know whether to laugh or shudder reading Corey Redekop's Shelf Monkey. So I did both.

The novel tells the tale of failed lawyer turned bookstore widget Thomas, who finds his soulmates in an eccentric group of fellow employees at hypermegabookstore READ. The only problem is they're more crazy than eccentric. They hold secret meetings where they burn offensive books -- you know, Michael Crichton, Candace Bushnell, the Left Behind series -- while assuming the monikers of beloved fictional characters. Oh, Corey, you had me at Yossarian. They have a particular hatred for a book club host called Munroe Purvis, who's sort of a sordid cross between Oprah and Morton Downey Jr. and whose book club selections represent everything wrong with western society -- imagine your grandmother's diaries turned into bestsellers, and you'll have an idea of what Purvis's book club represents.

Of course, Purvis isn't what he appears to be, and neither are many of Thomas's bookstore friends. Some of them turn out to be hiding deep secrets about the bookstore, while others are just plain dangerous in the way only geeks can be dangerous. When Purvis goes on tour and comes to town, the secrets and craziness collide as Thomas's friends set out to destroy Purvis, and the novel quickly moves from the Nick Hornby section of the bookstore to the Joseph Heller and Chuck Palahniuk table.

Redekop manages to keep his own voice throughout the novel, while winking, nodding and even raising a beer every now and then to literary culture. He name-drops authors more than a fourth-year English student, and he makes some literary traditions his own, such as adopting the epistolary novel and turning it into an email exchange while Thomas is on the run from the authorities. Even this is a bit of a literary joke for Redekop, though, as the recipient of his emails is Eric McCormack, a real-life Canadian author. At least I think he's a real-life Canadian author. I've never met him, and after reading Shelf Monkey I am beginning to wonder if he's a clever construct on the part of Redekop to flesh out the book.

Shelf Monkey is a literary thriller but it's also a fun romp -- unless, presumably, you're an Oprah fan. But if so, you're not Redekop's imagined audience. His ideal reader knows this book is blackly, blackly funny because it's all too true.

Full disclosure: Redekop gave one of my novels a fine review at his site, but I would have liked this book just as much anyway.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wicked, satirical and, oh, yeah, a great read, Nov. 7 2010
By 
Cliff Burns (Western Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
Who would believe terrorism could be this much fun?

Of course, in this case, the "terrorists" are a cadre of bibliophiles who are revolted by how the corporate mentality has infected the book trade like an insidious virus, contaminating the printed word with hype, money and the herd mentality. No sacred cows are left unskinned and Mr. Redekop has a terrific eye for snappy dialogue and witty turns of phrase. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Craig Clevenger will LOVE this guy. Much of Canadian fiction is a wasteland these days but every so often one encounters a book that gives you hope that this country is still capable of producing innovative, convention-busting artists. Corey Redekop...remember that name. He's going to be around, pricking sensibilities and tickling funny bones, for a long time to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book!, July 11 2007
This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
Stick with this book past the first few chapters and it will all become clear. And it will be worth it, I promise

Disgruntled employees of a major retail bookstore cringe at the recommended reads of Munroe Purvis and commit acts of literary rebellion in tribute their love of good books.

Redekop weaves a neat crime story intertwined with astute observations on working retail while tossing barbs at literary low weights and bestowing laurels on those writers whose prose soars like eagles above the pulpy dross that inexplicably makes it way to press.

And it's funny as hell.

Read it. All of it.
You won't be sorry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Inquisition is Back, July 19 2007
By 
Amy Ross "writer" (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
Redkop has moments of real wit and he isn’t afraid to push his plot to entertainingly ludicrous extremes. If, ultimately, he winds up glossing over some finer philosophical points about censorship, elitism, taste, and judgement, he at least reminds us of the pleasure, joy, and even lunacy a true love of books can inspire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shelf Monkey or Sick Puppy?, March 20 2011
By 
Vivian Unger (New Brunswick, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
A sad-sack character who's prone to depression lands a job at a bookstore and gets sucked into a sort of booklovers' cult where low-quality books are ceremonially burned over a bonfire. Eventually the members are no longer content to take out their rage on the books alone. The story is told through a series of letters and the occasional newspaper article. It's an absorbing read, but I found it deeply disturbing. I wanted to believe that the novel was a cautionary tale about the dangers of peer pressure and groupthink rather than a celebration of torture and revenge. However, there are aspects of the ending that suggest otherwise--I don't want to give too much away. For me, this tipped the balance too far into the sick-in-the-head end of things. But by all means, read it and decide for yourself what you think Redekop meant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twisted yet refreshing!, Feb. 26 2011
This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
This is a great book, but not for the faint of heart! You don't ever really know what to expect. It is from the mind of a gifted imaginination and is an interesting look into the psychy of a man who loses control over his life. I love all the Canadian reference points and to be sure, the author is writing about what he knows!!! I was thouroughly entertained!
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Left Wing Monkey, Nov. 29 2010
This review is from: Shelf Monkey (Paperback)
I found the Conservative bashing throughout the book to be very annoying. I had hoped that by the time I got to the end of the book I would have found a purpose for all of the pot shots. As it turns out, the jabs added nothing to the story line. Apparently, Corey Redekop just really believes that right leaning readers are a bunch of morons. Well the author can at count on this right leaning reader to at least be smart enough not to ever buy one of his books again.
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Shelf Monkey
Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop (Paperback - April 1 2007)
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