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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Les choix 2016 de Daphné!

Oh là là! Déjà le temps de faire ce décompte-là! Voici donc quelques-uns des livres publiés en 2016 que j'ai particulièrement aimés.


1. Wendy's Revenge, Walter Scott

\(★ω★)/ Génial! La Wendy de Walter Scott revient en force cette année. Quel plaisir de naviguer avec elle dans un monde artistique cruel, celui des soirées trop avinées et des hypocrites sophistiqués!

Plus expérimental, le deuxième volume de Scott s’intercale de passages en prose lyrique. Wendy est une Dodie Bellamy montréalaise ou une Chris Kraus graphique! Je vote pour elle aux prochaines élections.



2. The Babysitter at Rest, Jen George

Enfin de l'étrange contre le toujours pareil! Imbibées d'une atmosphère post-apocalyptique, les nouvelles de George tournent en satire l'oppression patriarcale.

Dans l'une d'elles, une femme est hospitalisée. Des hommes en sarrau observent les cristaux qui poussent dans son vagin, la bourrent de médicaments et l'insultent...Lorsque la patiente réussit à s'enfuir de sa chambre, c'est pour se retrouver dans un stade de baseball désert au centre duquel un ancien amant peint sans relâche sa propre moustache. C'est la logique du pire...(dixit Étienne Lepage).

Longue vie à Dorothy Project, une maison d'édition indépendante qui publie principalement la prose expérimentale d'auteurEs merveilleuses.


3. Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life, Erin Wunker

J'aime beaucoup le concept de la féministe KillJoy (ma traduction libre : la féministe casseuse de party). Ce dernier vient de Sarah Ahmed (@SaraNAhmed), une importante théoricienne des affects! J'étais donc intriguée par ce recueil d'essais canadiens qui proposait de reprendre le concept de la KillJoy pour l'appliquer à la vie quotidienne.

Le résultat: une série de notes fluides qui rappellent parfois la prose de Maggie Nelson. 

Wunker poursuit des réflexions très riches déjà entamées par plusieurs penseuses avant elle, notamment Solnit, Nelson, Berkowitz, Simpson et bien sûr, Ahmed.



4. An Indoor Kind of Girl, Frankie Barnet

Barnet a l’humour noir de George Saunders et la bizarrerie attrayante de Miranda July. L’appartement infesté de tortues qu’elle dépeint dans ce premier recueil de nouvelles est à la mesure de ses personnages, subtilement décalé. Ils sont jeunes, mais désillusionnés. Alors ils partent en backpack et rejoignent des plages pareilles aux cartes postales que l’on colle aux frigos.

C’est la vingtaine, encore la vingtaine, toujours la vingtaine, dans une prose unique qui rend compte de la difficulté de se sentir exister. Une jeune auteure dont on va assurément entendre parler.

De Metatron, une maison d'édition indépendante de Montréal!



5. A Chier, Obom

Ce livre m'a beaucoup fait rire! Quand j'étais jeune, j'étais fan des Archie Comics, que ma grand-mère m'achetait au dépanneur et que je préférais souvent aux jujubes et aux bonbons à la cenne.

Le détournement "dada" que propose Obom est hilarant et réussit à souligner avec brio la vacuité de ces récits d'aventures. Heureusement, la rivalité entre Betty et Veronica disparaît au profit d'une belle complicité amoureuse. Wow!

Une édition inédite de la mauvaise tête



6. So Sad Today, Melissa Broder

@sosadtoday : breaking news: still thinking about you
@sosadtoday : people i want to meet: - dogs
@sosadtoday : don't recommend me anything except cereal and a peaceful death 

Loufoques, les tweets de la poète américaine possèdent ce condensé d’angoisse existentielle et d’amertume dans lequel chacun se reconnaitra. Ils nous ramènent, en quelques caractères, à ce petit bobo ancien qu’il fait bon gratter de temps en temps. Le recueil d’essais So Sad Today plaira à tous les adeptes du bonhomme triste et du lol pas convaincu, ainsi qu’aux sad girls and boys de l’Internet. Inspiré du compte Twitter éponyme, les textes parlent notamment de la dépression de l’auteure et de ses troubles anxieux. 





7. Fourrer le feu, Marjolaine Beauchamp

Je me rappellerai toujours d'une nuit de la poésie au Studio Juste Pour Rire où je n'arrivais pas à comprendre la poésie. Pourquoi est-ce que tout le monde parlait de cyprine, de mythologie grecque et de baies de genévrier?

La poésie triste et molle. J'avais l'impression de ne pas être à la bonne place.

Quand Marjolaine Beauchamp a foulé le stage, tout a changé. Elle m'a sauvé la vie. En fait, je suis sûre qu'elle a sauvé plein de vies.

"Vouloir fourrer le feu à l'hôpital
L'incendie final
Celui des forêts abitibiennes
Où tu reviens
Deux semaines après
Pis les pousses vertes tendres
Ont l'air célestes."

Fourrer le feu est son deuxième recueil.


8. Moomin & Family Life, Tove Jansson

Ce que j'aime des Moomins, c'est peut-être leur côté sombre: ils sont déprimés, mesquins et rêvent de whisky. Ils s'entraident et s'aiment aussi. Un de mes albums en couleurs préférés, plein de poésie, de petits bonhommes étranges, de mélancolie et d'amour.


9. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir, Kai Cheng Thom

Parce qu'il vient tout juste de paraître, je n'ai pas encore fini de lire Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, mais j'aime vraiment beaucoup! Il y a de la poésie là-dedans, un peu de magie, des sirènes échouées, du kung-fu, mais aussi des phrases coup de poing que j'ai constamment envie de prendre en note.

Ce sont les mémoires d'une femme trans avec, conformément aux souhaits de l'auteure, "something kick-ass and intense [...] hot sex and gang violence and maybe zombies and lots of magic".

De Metonomy Press, une maison d'édition indépendante de Montréal.




10. Le centre du monde : Une virée en Eeyou Istchee Baie-James avec Romeo Saganash, Emmanuelle Walter

Je m'étais promise de lire le dernier essai-reportage d'Emmanuelle Walter, que je considère maintenant comme une lecture essentielle! J'étais totalement ignorante des enjeux de la Baie-James et il me semble maintenant que ce livre m'a aidé à mieux les cerner.

C'est un incontournable!

Guidée par Romeo Saganash, un leader cri, Walter sillonne le territoire en posant un regard toujours humain sur ce qu'elle voit, apprend, comprend.

J'ai fini ma lecture indignée, énergisée, et remplie d'admiration pour la nation crie, en autres.



Et aussi: 
Coquelicots d'Irak, Brigitte Findakly & Lewis Trondheim
Big Kids, Michael DeForge
Les premiers aviateurs, Francis Desharnais & Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau





Et aussi:
What is Obscenity, Rokudenashiko
Testament, Vickie Gendreau
Pond, Claire-Louise Bennett




Et aussi:
Des femmes savantes, Chloé Savoie-Bernard
Closer, Sarah Barmak
Nicolas, Pascal Girard

Les staff picks de Benjamin
Les staff picks de Julie
Les staff picks de Helen



Club de lecture francophile: Des femmes Savantes


Pour le prochain club de lecture francophile de la librairie, nous lisons Des femmes Savantes, un recueil de nouvelles de l'auteure montréalaise Chloé Savoie-Bernard. Des femmes savantes se compose de portraits de femmes que la vie malmènent mais qui se relèvent, dans une écriture habitée par la musique pop et la poésie.

La rencontre aura lieu le mercredi 25 janvier à 19h à la librairie (211 rue Bernard Ouest). Nous vous offrons 15% de rabais à l'achat du livre jusqu'au jour du club de lecture. Que vous soyez débutant ou francophone d'origine, vous êtes les bienvenus!
Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Graphic Novel Book Club: Rutu Modan's THE PROPERTY



Each month we host a Graphic Novel Book Club meeting, open to all, during which we hang out and informally discuss a featured graphic novel. Our pick for January is Rutu Modan’s THE PROPERTY! We will meet at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (211 Bernard O) on Wednesday, January 18th at 7:00 p.m. The discussion will be hosted by D+Q marketing director Julia Pohl-Miranda. Join us for refreshments and collective insights! 

**We offer a 20% discount on THE PROPERTY from now until the meeting date.

In THE PROPERTY, a grandmother and granddaughter travel to Poland to reclaim a property lost during World War II. Upon arrival, it becomes clear that their trip may have different motivations than first indicated. Modan's characters are prickly and loving, sensitive and overbearing, easy-to-read and contradictory: in short, they’re as complex and unpredictable as real people. THE PROPERTY’s humor and realism are articulated perfectly in Modan’s clear-line style, accenting a work of fiction that is wry, engaging, and delightfully readable.
Tuesday, 6 December 2016

This shelf belongs to... Madeleine Thien!


Each month, Librairie Drawn and Quarterly invites a local author or artist to curate a shelf in the store. This December, we bring you recommendations from Giller prize award-winner Madeleine Thien!

Man Booker prize nominee Madeleine Thien is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes,which was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, a Kiriyama Pacific Prize Notable Book, and won the BC Book Prize for Fiction; the novel Certainty, which won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award; and the novel Dogs at the Perimeter, which was shortlisted for Berlin’s 2014 International Literature Award and won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 Liberaturpreis. Her novels and stories have been translated into twenty-five languages, and her essays have appeared in Granta, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Five Dials, Brick and Al Jazeera. The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.


In addition, all of Madaleine's picks will be 15% off for the month of December! Here's a sneak peak of what you'll find on her shelf:

Red Dust (Ma Jian)"As I get to my feet, the boss wipes the sweat from his face and says, 'Why not have something to eat before you turn back.' He too knows this is the end of the world."

Monstress volume 1 (Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda)"How does one whom history has made a monster escape her monstrosity? How does one overcome the monstrousness of others without succumbing to a rising monstrousness within?”

Ai Weiwei (Uli Sigg) "The reality of existence is the reality of puzzlement. It is ubiquitous, and our eternal pursuit of truth originates in our perpetual dependence on bewilderment."

Carnival (Rawi Hage)
"What do the stars believe in, Zainab? Where do the dead horses go, what do the birds worship, and what do the rivers live for?"

Men in Dark Times (Hannah Arendt)
“Is it true that it will be of greater consequence to leave behind you a better world than to have been good?"

Working (Studs Terkel)
“It is about a search, too, for daily meaning a well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short for a sort of life rather than a sort of dying."

Collected Essays (James Baldwin)
“Now, this country is going to be transformed. It will not be transformed by an act of God, but by all of us, by you and me. I don’t believe any longer that we can afford to say that it is entirely out of our hands. We made the world we’re living in and we have to make it over."

Paying For It (Chester Brown)
“Possessiveness warps people’s love and corrupts it."

Palestine (Joe Sacco)
A quote from another writer, Italo Calvino, that makes me think of Joe Sacco and all the books on my shelf, "[The inferno of the living] is what is already here ... There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not the inferno, then make them endure, give them space."
Monday, 5 December 2016

Staff Picks 2016: Helen

I'm officially a Librairie D+Q old-timer: this is my fifth Best of the Year list! (If you're interested in a retrospective, you can read the past editions here: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.) This year, due to spending less time at the store and more time on other projects, I've read less than usual; however, that doesn't mean I don't have an unreasonable amount of recommendations for you all! Here are my top 10 books of 2016 (with a bonus, because of course), in alphabetical order:


Beverly (Nick Drnaso)
Beverly was a real Drawn & Quarterly standout for me this year, probably because it satisfies my love of short fiction, depressing character studies, and the mundane made horrifying. Drnaso's soothing pastels and pillowy shapes belie the bleak circumstances of these subtly intertwined stories. Disturbing family dynamics, emotional manipulation, and suburban angst abound. Worth rereading a few times, so as not to miss the many visual and textual details.


Laid Waste (Julia Gfrörer)
The much-anticipated follow-up to 2013's Black is the Color, Laid Waste is just as witty and doom-ridden as its predecessor. Agnès is a young widow in a plague-cursed medieval city, who seems strangely immune to the disease that slowly takes everyone around her. Gfrörer doesn't shy away from ugliness or horror, and her dense line drawings perfectly convey the decay and despair of a community felled by pestilence. Despite her hopeless surroundings and circumstances, Agnès is still open to a newfound connection with a widower and fellow survivor (at least for now). A love story for our own apocalyptic times.


Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq (Sarah Glidden)
Glidden, an American cartoonist, accompanies two good friends, both experienced independent journalists, on a trip through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, in hopes of documenting their attempts to learn about the effects of the Iraq war on people in the region, particularly refugees. Complicating the trip is the presence of a childhood friend and former American Marine, whose viewpoint is often troubling and uncomfortable for the other three, particularly when they are trying to connect with the people they meet. All members of the travel group must question the implications of their American identities and figure out how they can respond to their country's disastrous foreign policy. Glidden's watercolours are observant and often beautiful, recalling the work of Rutu Modan.



After Nothing Comes (Aidan Koch)
I can't get enough of Aidan Koch's work these days. After Nothing Comes, published in the spring by Koyama Press, is a selection of her zines, from between 2008 and 2014. I am drawn to her work the way I was drawn to Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy (Drawn & Quarterly); both artists are experts at portraying a fleeting gesture, and at subtracting elements until only the most necessary parts of an image remain. Fittingly, Koch recently did an illustrated version of Lydia Davis' short story "How Difficult" for the Paris Review. I couldn't think of a better match.




The Vegetarian (Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith)
The English translation of this captivating South Korean novel won this year's Man Booker International Prize. This dark, absorbing novel is narrated by three distinct voices: the conservative, abusive husband of the titular vegetarian,Yeong-hye—a seemingly ordinary woman whose decision to become a vegetarian is just a preliminary sign of her resistance to the violent human world; Yeong-hye's brother-in-law, whose obsession with her leads to an erotic, unsettling overlap of art and life; and finally, Yeong-hye's concerned sister, who helplessly watches her sister distance herself from the living in hopes of becoming something else entirely.



Hot Milk (Deborah Levy)
Sofia Papastergiadis has accompanied her mother, Rose, to Almería, in southern Spain, in order for Rose to be treated at a special clinic for a variety of undiagnosed symptoms. Sofia, an anthropologist by training, has been Rose’s frustrated caretaker since she was a child, and struggles to find the thread of her own life. Manoeuvring between the heat-cracked desert and the oily, jellyfish-filled sea, she attempts to push her life forward by trying on new behaviours, including stealing fish and pursuing a mysterious girl. This is no breezy beach read, as some have assumed from the cover, but rather a clear-eyed examination of dependence, illness, and obsession, which turns the concept of "coming-of-age" on its head.


Seeing Red (Lina Meruane, translated by Megan McDowell)
I’m always excited to see what Dallas literary translation press Deep Vellum comes out with, so I snatched this one up the moment it came in. I read it in March, and have returned to it several times since then. Lina Meruane, celebrated Chilean writer, writes with visceral intensity and a relentless energy that lays bare the violence of the everyday. Her protagonist, a young Chilean navigating life in New York, suddenly loses her sight due to a rare condition, and her ensuing obsession with the eye(ball)s of others, her travels back to her family in Chile, and her Kafkaesque experiences with the medical world are at once nightmarish and grippingly realistic.


Ways to Disappear (Idra Novey)
A translator's book about a translator: more action-packed than you might expect! Novey’s first novel is at once a mystery, a meditation on translation and the plight of the translator, and a full-on adventure-romance romp. It follows Emma, unglamourous white American translator of the beloved and enigmatic Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda—who has unaccountably climbed into a tree and disappeared. What begins as an attempt to track down “her” author morphs into a transformational journey for Emma, as she contends with Yagoda’s two adult children, her gambling debts, her unfinished manuscript, her knack for absurdity and her stubborn unwillingness to reappear.


Virus Tropical (Powerpaola, translated by Jamie Richards)
Powerpaola, who currently lives and works in Buenos Aires, brings us the story of her childhood and adolescence in Peru and Colombia, starting with her mother’s pregnancy, which was mistaken by several doctors for a “tropical virus.” The youngest of three sisters, she grows up surrounded mainly by women, blossoming from a timid child into an adventurous teen. Powerpaola’s drawings are gorgeous, particularly the title pages for each chapter, which perfectly convey the uproar and hilarity of her young life. English-speaking readers are very lucky to have this translated edition from 2dcloud!


Look: Poems (Solmaz Sharif)
The most overtly political poetry I have read in a long time. Read and admired, to the extent of being completely bowled over by it. Sharif’s project began as a single poem in which she repurposed and recontextualized terms from the United States Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, and slowly developed into this gutting, ferocious, and unexpectedly intimate work. In “Desired Appreciation,” she writes: “Until now, now that I’ve reached my thirties:/All my Muse’s poetry has been harmless:/American and diplomatic.” No longer.


BONUS: The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race (ed. Jesmyn Ward)
I have not read all the way through this star-studded collection yet, but I wanted to include it in my top picks because of how necessary it feels to read black writers—always, but probably even more urgently at this particular moment. Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones, Men We Reaped: A Memoir) edited (and contributed to) this anthology; she curated it as a contemporary response to James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, still all too necessary in an era of both covert and overt anti-black racism, and ongoing white entitlement, rage, and violence. Some highlights so far: the poet Kevin Young responds to white attempts to literally don blackness; poet, essayist, playwright, and recent MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Claudia Rankine grapples with the (in)visibility of black death in America;  Kiese Laymonwhom I google on the regular lest I miss a single one of his online pieces, writes about his love for both his grandmama and for Outkast, and how this has shaped his writing; and Ward herself does an online test to get familiar with her complex genealogy, embracing all of its intricacies while staunchly maintaining her black American identity.

Honourable mentions:



Panther (Brecht Evens, translated by Michele Hutchinson and Laura Watkinson); Wendy's Revenge (Walter K. Scott)



Wreck and Order (Hannah Tennant-Moore); Umami (Laia Jufresa, translated by Sophie Hughes); Margaret the First (Danielle Dutton)

Books-from-2016-that-I-would-probably-recommend-were-I-to-have-started/finished-them-by-this-date:


3 Summers (Lisa Robertson); The Revolutionaries Try Again (Mauro Javier Cardenas); Extracting the Stones of Madness (Alejandra Pizarnik, translated by Yvette Siegert); Calamities (Renee Gladman); Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir (Kai Cheng Thom); Float (Anne Carson); Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey (Frances Wilson); Swing Time (Zadie Smith)

Happy reading, everyone!

Don't forget to check out my erudite colleagues' Best of 2016 lists as well:
Les choix de Julie
Benjamin's Picks


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Staff Picks : Benjamin

My first four months here at Librairie D+Q have been entirely hazardous for my bookshelves (and tables, and windowsills...). As we arrive headlong at the year's end, the prospect of narrowing my favourite books of 2016 to ten is becoming more and more daunting. What a year it was! Looking forward to 2017, there are already a number of releases that have me salivating. Of particular note is New Directions' upcoming reprint of Pessoa's Book of Disquiet... but I'm getting ahead of myself! Here are my top books of the year, books that left me in varying degrees of hysteria, in no particular order.


1. Madeleine E. - Gabriel Blackwell

Theoretically, this book should not be as entertaining as it is. Gabriel Blackwell’s newest title is unlike anything I have ever read; its exquisite pacing and shimmering streams of thought kept me completely enthralled. Essentially, the author is a man obsessed with a man obsessed. In Madeleine E., Blackwell uses Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo as a springboard into a complex exploration of identity and memory. Dubbed a commonplace book—collecting quotations to analyse a subject—Blackwell swirls memoir, philosophy, fiction, film criticism, and quotes from such figures as W.G. Sebald and Rebecca Solnit, to create a kind of melancholic kaleidoscope (much like Vertigo’s title sequence). Highly recommend!



2. Float - Anne Carson

This new book from enigmatic poet and classicist Anne Carson was my most anticipated this year, and it is a treat from the moment it is picked up! The book consists of twenty-two individual chapbooks which “float” (hence the title) inside of a transparent case. The off-kilter presentation is mirrored in its contents, as Carson’s work is ever fragmentary, ever startling, ever prancing towards truth. Though each chapbook is technically isolated and meant to be read in any order, there is a surprising coherence to the various themes. The subjects shift from memory to loss to icebergs to Francis Bacon, yet constant throughout seems to be the concept of translation, whether it be language to language—she is a professor of Classics after all—or experience to language, the chief concern of the poet. Anne Carson is a favourite of many at the ol’ Librairie, and with Float has delivered not only an astounding work of poetry, but a tilt on what we expect from a book as artifact.




3. Mooncop - Tom Gauld

From the author of You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack and Goliath comes a brand-new tale of lunar law-enforcement. Mooncop is Gauld’s vision of moonlife: droll isolation. We follow our hero, the mooncop, as he makes his daily rounds of the near deserted lunar colony. Equal parts funny and melancholy, Gauld invites you into the seclusion, the inertia, the stark beauty, of life on the moon. As per one exchange with the mooncop: “Don’t you have any real crime to deal with?” “Not really.” I cannot get enough Tom Gauld. While the end of Goliath left me devastated (no spoilers), the feeling at the end of Mooncop was far more serene, far more hopeful.




4. Wendy's Revenge - Walter Scott

Walter Scott is an artist based *somewhere* between Montreal and Toronto, who garnered near cult-status with his Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel nominated Wendy. Wendy is a boozy bundle of nerves who has her sights set on becoming an art starlet but is consistently derailed by bad decisions. Despite (or perhaps by way of) her blunders, Wendy is completely lovable and relatable. This time around, Wendy is back and ready to unleash her wrath on the art world that left her for dead. I had the pleasure of working the launch of Wendy’s Revenge here at the Librairie, with Walter’s hilarious and humble presentation leaving me completely sold on the Wendiverse (as if I wasn’t already)!




5. Sebald Book Set - W.G. Sebald
New Directions continue to release some of the best looking books around, as this Peter Mendelsund designed book-set is a feast for the eyes. W.G. Sebald has been described as “memory’s Einstein”, and spent his illustrious career honing his very own genre. Part travelogue, part fiction, part history, part memoir; his books can only truly be characterized as “Sebaldian”, a term that nearly equals “Kafkaesque” in its distinctiveness. The three books comprised in the set are Vertigo, a novel that follows an unnamed narrator as he journeys to his childhood home in Bavaria; The Rings of Saturn, his most famous work which maps Sebald’s trek through the coast of East Anglia as he weaves a web of memory and history; and The Emigrants, a sprawling narrative which tracks the lives of four post-war German emigrants. I first encountered Sebald’s work through a Grant Gee directed documentary entitled Patience, After Sebald. The film recreates the journey through East Anglia from The Rings of Saturn, and it sent me on a tear through Sebald's backlog! This reissue of three of his most engrossing novels cements New Directions as one of my favourite publishers. The physical books are perfect encapsulations of the texts they contain, as the fragmented glimpses of history and the natural world are decidedly “Sebaldian”.



6. Mickey - Chelsea Martin
This was my riding-the-metro-pocket-novel for the last few weeks of 2016. Reading on wheels inexplicably alters my experience with a book, and though Chelsea Martin’s vision remains focused throughout, the shifting settings I consumed it in kept the book in a constant state of metamorphosis.   After breaking up with her boyfriend—the titular Mickey—a young woman navigates the dark waters of her contemporary woes all on her own. Told in a series of restrained vignettes, Mickey follows its protagonist as she attempts to situate her life and art and connect with her estranged mother. Martin is a prime example of what a young writer can accomplish in the internet age. Her art is brooding, minimalist, yearning. The intelligence is obvious but never flaunted, Martin may just be the patron saint of modern heartbreak. I can’t wait to see what she does next!



7. House Mother Normal - B.S. Johnson
This book invigorated me like no other this year! A wildly innovative novel, House Mother Normal maps the deterioration of the human psyche in old age. The book is made up of eight monologues, each beginning with an assessment of the patient’s physical capacity. A New Directions reprint, this book is a totally captivating tragicomedy from B.S. Johnson, one of Britain’s greatest experimental writers.



8. Nicolas - Pascal Girard
Nicolas was perhaps the most affecting book I encountered this year. Pascal digs into childhood trauma with remarkable restraint, each moment is rendered in spare, gorgeous vignettes. With little to adorning them, the emotional impact of the panels is shattering. Pascal reflects on the death of his younger brother and the ripples that have carried over into his adult life. A truly moving book from one of my favourite comics artists!



9. The Babysitter at Rest - Jen George
The Dorothy Publishing Project is quickly becoming one of my favourite small presses. New from the literary outfitter is a bizzaro collection of short stories by Jen George, entitled The Babysitter at Rest. The eponymous short story, which previously appeared in BOMB Magazine, tilts and sears through a gratuitous party scene populated with odd and earnest characters, including a silver-haired pervert and a roommate named "Horse". George's stories at times border on farcical, but at their core lie careful examinations of being young, female, lost, unfulfilled. These five stories are hilarious in their reckless abandon, yet there is a discipline to the weirdness, a cool head recounting the surreal. The Babysitter at Rest is told in a soft-psychedelia that charmed my socks off!


10. The Photographer’s Last Picture - Sean Howard
Recently arrived from award-winning Gaspereau Press (of which I share a hometown) is a new take on the war poem. Sean Howard unearthed photos from a tattered copy of Collier’s Photographic History of the European War (1916) and used them as flint for a roaring poetry, twenty-fold. Howard, an adjunct professor of political science at Cape Breton University, begins each passage with a brief, plainspeak description of the grainy photograph, from there it is a freefall of metaphors and associations regarding history, memory, and the actions and implications of war. The result is simultaneously disorienting and revealing, I was at once plunged into the cold facts and blood-warm sensations of global conflict. The effectiveness of this book is perhaps an indication that we are moving away from traditional interpretations of History, and moving towards a more immersive, and hopefully empathetic, understanding.


Hon. Mention: Seth's Dominion
While it is technically not a book, I still couldn’t resist put Seth’s Dominion on my list! There are few modern cartoonists with the gravitas of Seth. Part animation, part live action, Seth’s Dominion is a perceptive documentary which manages to do justice to its incredibly prolific subject. Luc Chamberland’s film sheds light on the artist through insightful biography and immersive animated shorts of his comics. A must have!

Check out everyone’s favourites of the year: Alyssa // Daphne // Helen // Henrika // Julie // Kate // Lucie // Rebecca // Saelan

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Top 5: November's bestselling magazines!


What did your hearts desire in November? Magazines on art, travel, food, and cycling, proving that just because the cold has set in, doesn't mean we've all stopped dreaming:


Apartamento


Cereal


Boneshaker


The Outpost


Cured

(Not pictured: Monocle magazine, already sold out!)
Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Les meilleures lectures de 2016 par Julie

Voici donc le quatrième Noël que je passe comme libraire chez Drawn & Quarterly. Notre rayon de littérature francophone y est de plus en plus fourni, et c'est un plaisir d'en glisser des titres dans ce palmarès 2016, tout en continuant, bien-sûr, à dévorer notre premier amour, celui de la bande dessinée. J'ai mal au coeur d'avoir du écourter ma liste à 10 titres (j'ai même triché) alors je vous donne rendez-vous en cette fin d'année au 211 rue Bernard pour discuter entre nos tables des mes oubliés.


Être ici est une splendeur
, Marie Darrieussecq

L’auteure française Marie Darrieussecq raconte d’une prose personnelle la courte vie de Paula M. Becker, une peintre allemande née en 1876. En s’appuyant sur ses tableaux (à l’avant-garde de l'expressionnisme) et sur sa volumineuse correspondance (notamment avec Rilke), Marie Darrieussecq offre le portrait d’une femme forte, sensible, libre, ambiguë et féministe, à laquelle on ne doute pas qu’elle s’identifie. Une de mes plus belles lectures de ces dernières années, qui m’a touchée jusqu’aux larmes par sa beauté et son intelligence.



Nicolas, réédition augmentée, Pascal Girard

Cette année, Nicolas, l'un des premiers livres de Pascal Giard, dessiné en 2006, a été réédité en anglais par Drawn & Quarterly dans une belle version cartonnée. Mécanique Générale l'a également republié dans sa langue française originale, et l'auteur en a profité pour écrire un nouveau chapitre. Ce livre autobiographique, dans lequel Pascal Girard raconte la mort de son petit frère lorsqu'ils étaient enfants, par sa simplicité, sa vérité et sa profondeur, m'a en quelque sorte donné l'autorisation de dessiner de la manière dont je le fais. Merci Nicolas.



Les trois carrés de chocolat
, Mélodie Vachon Boucher

Parlant de premiers livres vrais et sobrement dessinés, Les trois carrés de chocolat est à mettre dans cette même catégorie précieuse. Avec une narration intuitive et virtuose (sans en avoir l'air), Mélodie Vachon Boucher raconte une violence sexuelle à la fois spécifique à sa propre histoire, et complètement universelle à l'histoire des femmes. Un peu comme dans l'expression "culture du viol".



L'origine du Monde, Liv Strömquist

Il n'est jamais trop tard pour corriger les effarantes erreurs  inculquées aux filles sur leur sexualité. La lecture de cette bande dessinée drôle, accessible et bien documentée (sur la honte liée aux règles, l'histoire de la méconnaissance de la biologie féminine, par exemple celle du clitoris que l'on commence à peine à connaître...) est un véritable soulagement, à plus de trente ans. On pourrait aussi mettre ce livre dans des mains d'ados, ça leur ferait gagner bien du temps.



Mémoire de Fille, Annie Ernaux

À presque 75 ans, Annie Ernaux ravive sa mémoire de fille avec une finesse telle que je pense reconnaître la jeune fille que j’ai été, au détour d’une phrase: “Ce qui me vient spontanément: tout en elle est désir et orgueil. Et: elle attend de vivre une histoire d’amour.” Ernaux dissèque ses souvenirs avec une acuité sociologique, repassant au peigne fin son été 1958, celui de la perte de sa virginité. Son va-et-vient continu entre passé et présent permet une importante mise à distance et mêle à la restitution des évènements de courtes réflexions lumineuses sur l’écriture. C'est L’écriture comme un couteau, par une auteure incontournable dont les livres sont grandioses, les uns après les autres.



L'amie prodigieuse et Le nouveau Nom, Elena Ferrante

Mon été a été consacré à la lecture de la série napolitaine d'Elena Ferrante, dans un seul souffle, les deux derniers tomes ayant été dévorés en anglais par impatience, faute de version française disponible. Jamais je n'avais trouvé ailleurs cette alliance d'addiction de lecture et d'exigence dans l'écriture et le propos. J'ai donc vibré et déprimé pendant presque deux mois, au rythme de la vie et de l'amitié mouvementée des personnages Elena et Lila, et de celle de l'histoire contemporaine de l'Italie. La dimension féministe de la saga n'est pas pour me déplaire.



Mooncop, Tom Gauld

Tom Gauld est un poète. Il me réconcilie avec une forme traditionelle de la bande dessinée, celle qui utilise des cases et des bulles, un encrage bien propre, et qui parfois, ailleurs, m'ennuie de plus en plus. Mais heureusement, Tom Gauld est là. Dans Mooncop, il met en scène un policier sur la lune, seul, de plus en plus seul, et de plus en plus attachant.



Juliette, Camille Jourdy

Nous avons du patienter de longues années après la sortie de Rosalie Blum (bientôt adapté au cinéma) pour lire cette nouvelle bande dessinée de Camille Jourdy. Histoire de famille et d’amour dans la province française, Juliette est un livre doux et drôle. Le dessin, particulièrement généreux, est magnifique et reposant. Un petit chef d’oeuvre, modeste et réconfortant.



Pendant que le loup n'y est pas, Valentine Gallardo et Mathilde Van Gheluwe

Les deux auteures belges de Pendant que le loup n'y est pas, Valentine Gallardo et Mathilde Van Gheluwe, sont à surveiller. Elles dessinent au crayon (j'adore!) sans copier les maîtresses de cet outil (Goblet, Hellgren, Vähämäki, etc.) Dans ce livre à quatre mains, elles se replongent dans le traumatisme qu'a provoqué dans leur pays l'affaire Dutroux en 1996. Agées alors d'une dizaine d'années, elles racontent comment cette histoire de viols, meurtres, séquestration et pédophilie a marqué leur enfance.



Choir, Rosalie Lavoie

La langue dans laquelle est écrit Choir est belle et sophistiquée, mais elle est aussi limpide et bienveillante pour son lecteur, tout sauf destinée à nous perdre ou nous embobiner. Une langue percée de lucidité donc, à l’opposé des comportements de Frank, l’homme avec lequel l’auteure montréalaise Rosalie Lavoie est aux prises d’une danse dont le rythme lui échappe, entre rejets et retours permanents. Choir est un essai pour comprendre ce que nous rejouons dans ces danses douloureuses: ici, l’amour d’un père violent, que l’on devine incestueux. N’oublions pas que le privé est politique.


Commando Culotte, Mirion Malle

Voici la compilation publiée par Ankama des notes du blogue de Mirion Malle, une auteure française en ce moment étudiante à Montréal. Féministe au style graphique très cool, addict à la pop-culture, Marion Malle est parfois drôle mais le plus souvent très sérieuse. Elle analyse tout ce qu’elle mange à l’écran avec ses super-pouvoirs pour décripter les stéréotypes des genres. 

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