Arsène Schrauwen: A Modern Classic

A comic about: Arsene, venture, love, architecture, freedom, fear......lust, the unknown, nothing, projection, expectation, new acquaintances, bullshit-artistry and entrapment!

In the vein of (a less depressing) Heart of Darkness or Fitzcarraldo it's the story of the artist, Olivier Schrauwen's, grandfather who travels to an unknown African colony to meet his cousin. It was released by Fantagraphics in November this year.

 Art Spiegelman has said he's the most original cartoonist since Ware or Katchor! Check out this interview with Olivier for Paste Magazine.

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays, everyone! Stop by and see us this week. We're open boxing day from 11am - 9pm!

Discover the photography of Gerald Davis...

Discover the photography of Gerald Davis, the dad of D&Q's very own Vanessa Davis

Strange Stories: The Photography of Gerald Davis reveals the world of Palm Beach society. 

There are photos of celebrities, politicians, nudist colonies and the world's fattest cat, so really, there's something for everyone.

And there's only one copy in store - come check it out!

Must-read: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill!

Following in the elusive Helen's footsteps, I have also been seduced, at this late hour in the 2014 game, with my top ten already selected, by a beautiful book. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill is straight up amazing, and you owe it to yourself to read it.

I read this book in less than a day, I was so immersed in it. It's deceptively short, structured in vignettes and anecdotes that sometimes make you smile, and sometimes absolutely break your heart. And yet it doesn't leave the depression residue I so often feel with heartbreaking books; "a book this sad shouldn't be so much fun to read" is what the Guardian says about Offill's second novel, and they are so very right. This book is mesmerizing: meditative and beautiful, witty and poignant. Offill's narrative voice is so naturally poetic that the images she creates stay with you for days.

So in the throes of holiday stress/joy, pick up this gem of a book, and take a few days to drown in some of the prettiest prose that came out this year.

Thanks to illustrator Sara O'Leary, whose excerpt tweet made it impossible for me not to read this book.

Double issue of Worn Fashion Journal is here!

More gift ideas for you!

We just received the latest (and last) issue of Worn Fashion Journal! It is a double issue (19&20) which means there is even more amazing style and fashion and smartness packed in this volume than usual!

Check out this double cover: flip "Issue 19" over to find "Issue 20"!

We also have a whole bunch of Worn back issues - all the way to No. 6!

Or if you want the full archival experience, you can always pick up the Worn Archive!

Out Today from Drawn & Quarterly! Pippi Won't Grow Up (Thank Goodness)

What a happy Tuesday today is, considering the newest installment in Drawn & Quarterly's Pippi series is now out! Pippi Won't Grow Up is the third in the translations of Astrid Lindgren's amazing Pippi comics, which are, as always, lustrously illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman.

Pippi is back, everybody, and she is just as cheeky as ever. In Pippi Won't Grow Up, she takes on school quizzes, refuses to be evicted from her home, and brings Tommy and Annika to visit the island where her father lives. And while those particular island adventures might shock modern readers, with this eloquent review on Bleeding Cool addressing why, Pippi still holds up.

But let's not even worry about the plots of these vignettes for a second, and look instead at what makes Pippi such a cool little winner. 

She's the master of sick disses and ridiculous non-sequiters. You do not want to be on the receiving end of one of her quips, because not only is it going to be massively on point, it's going to be hard to get back at someone who has zero self-consciousness.

She cares about animals! Sometimes quite possibly just a little bit more than humans! But it's really only because she knows that when she's around, everybody's safety is totally under control, so animals deserve her empathy as well.

Not to mention that Pippi is a liver of an independent lifestyle that surely grants her status as the original Single Lady. Next time some jerk tells you you need a boyfriend, just casually quote them the above. No arguing with that.

And so I leave you with this sassy butt pose from the queen of redheads (matched only, I imagine, by Anne Shirley), and ask that you spend this holiday season living as Pippi-esque-ly as possible.

Stocking Stuffers: Fictitious Dishes

If you're looking for a great addition to a literature lover's bookshelf, you can't go wrong with Fictitious Dishes. A collection of photographs by writer and designer Dinah Fried, the book takes food-centric passages from two centuries of classic literature and recreates them.

From Oliver Twist's watery porridge to the opulent confections of Madame Bovary, Fictitious Dishes brings to life some of literature's best loved (or, in the case of The Metamorphosis's trash heap, most iconic) meals.

Recap: Molly Sauter and Gabriella Coleman's evening with the internet underground

On Thursday, November 20th, we welcomed Gabriella Coleman and Molly Sauter, who were both launching their new books, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, and The Coming Swarm, respectively.

Sauter, a doctoral student at McGill, began working on her book in 2010. Her goal was to give a biography of the history of distributed denial of service actions (DDoS), a political tactic that overloads servers and causes targeted websites to shut down. She hoped that it was a good addition to the body of online social movement literature.

Coleman, who is currently Sauter's supervisor, began studying the open access movement before switching her focus to first the church of scientology, then Anonymous. The amorphous entity can be difficult to study, and at first it seemed her research wouldn't result in anything but an anecdote and maybe an article. But after WikiLeaks, Anonymous gained mainstream recognition, and interest grew.

Both Sauter and Coleman spoke only briefly, to have more time for a question and answer period in which the audience enthusiastically participated. Those who braved the cold were rewarded with nearly 45 minutes of discussion that ranged from recent ISIS developments to the legal ramifications of online political action, and also some pretty wonderful snacks.

Must-read: Jeff VanderMeer's The Southern Reach Trilogy

As usual, after posting my top 10 of the year, I have been seduced by yet another book that I wish I could have put on the list! This time it's Jeff VanderMeer's mysterious Southern Reach Trilogy, which was initially published as three separate volumes earlier this year - Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, and is now available in this beautifully designed volume:

I must admit my shallow nature: I was drawn to read the trilogy solely based on this design! However! I have been well-rewarded for my weakness for a good book jacket. Briefly, The Southern Reach is about a mysterious "contaminated" stretch of coast (possibly in Florida, although that is never explicit) called Area X, which has been taken back by nature after an incomprehensible "event" that made the place uninhabitable for humans. The Southern Reach itself is a failing/flailing government agency tasked with sending expeditions into Area X in the ever-narrowing hope of understanding and perhaps conquering it. These expeditions are, of course, always doomed, although some more clearly than others.

I ripped through Annihilation, the first installation - it presents us with the journal of a biologist who enters Area X as part of the so-called twelfth expedition. It is a lushly written horror, involving strange wildlife, deep mistrust within the expedition, a threatening lighthouse, and, most terrifying, a pulsing tunnel, or buried tower, which emanates an otherworldly glow.

I'm now making my way through Authority, the second book, which is written as more of a spy novel than a horror, and brings us deep into the knotty bureaucracy of the Southern Reach Agency, as its members struggle to deal with their failing expeditions and their zombie-like returnees who can't seem to remember anything that happened to them in Area X.

The Southern Reach Trilogy is usually described as science fiction - but this is no silver future filled with robots, spaceships, time travel, or even much in the way of advanced technology. Its fantasy and its horror is based instead on mutant funguses, but also on the dark tendencies of humans, and our inability to really understand the environments we live in and destroy.

Staff Picks 2014: Jason

Oh man, 2014 was such an incredible year for Montreal authors! And we were so thrilled to host a good many of their launches either in the shop at 211 Bernard Ouest or offsite at venues like the Rialto and at the Cardinal Tea room. The only "problem" with it was this: I have yet to get to all of the books! If I had, I'm certain this list would have swollen to three times its current size. If any books are conspicuous by their absence here, rest-assured, they are most certainly  in my too-read pile next to my reading chair (of course I have one, don't you?) and beside my bed.  I will get to them!

To those authors (both as-yet-unread and otherwise), let me just say:

Thank you for choosing Librairie D+Q to host your launches. Thank you for your work and for proudly calling Montreal your home. Thank you for contributing to the fine literary legacy of our city. and, to those Montreal writers who did not have a book out this year but are working on one for the next - those of you who sit  crouched, head down, hands crawling like crustaceans on your keyboards, whose books will be gracing our shelves next (and whose launches we will be hopefully hosting): look to this year's crop for your inspiration. It was one for the books.

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night (Heather O'Neill)

This year marked the return of one of Montreal's greatest writers with her second book set -again- in our fine city in the 90s. While Heather's debut (Lullabies for Little Criminals) was shockingly good and deserved of the accolades it received, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night -the story of  twin children with conflicting passions in referendum-era Montreal - seemingly had a lot more to prove than her previous. Good news, everybody: it surpasses those expectations. A classic. Oh, and good news for all my fellow O'Neill fans: she has a new collection out in 2015!

Beautiful Darkness (Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët)

One of 2014's best graphic novels was also one if it's most disturbing. Vehlmann and Kerascoët's nightmare of a tale is too weird and wild to spoil here but suffice to say it will be the best story you've read that involves a  deceased little girl and the little people that once resided inside her. Bleak -and yes- beautiful.

The Love Bunglers (Jaime Hernandez)

As a culmination of Jaime Hernandez's Maggie Chascarillo stories, The Love Bunglers works beautifully but,for those of you who may find the 30+ years of Love & Rockets too daunting to dip into, it could serve as a handy introduction as well.  Another heart-wrenching tour-de-force from a bro. Hernandez.

Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller (Chloé Griffin)

Do you know Cookie? Maybe from her work as part of John Water's Dreamland acting troupe in films like Female Trouble and Pink Flamingos? Maybe you know her as a frequent photographic subject of Nan Goldin's? Or have you read her fantastic book, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black published by Semiotext(e)? How about her work as advice columnist for the East Village Eye? Know her or not, Chloé Griffin's wonderful biography is a must-have overview of the underground and Edgewise was not only one of my favourite reads of the year, it was also one of my favourite events of 2014. I hope you were here.

The Essential Ellen Willis (ed. Nona Willis Aronowitz)

I loved her Out of the Vinyl Deeps book  from last year so I was pretty happy to see this, a new collection of 50 essays spanning 40 years and edited by her daughter. In addition to her fantastic music writing it contains some amazing essays on gender, religion and politics. Willis' refreshingly  honest and unguarded approach to writing was some of the most interesting I'd read all year.

Over Easy (Mimi Pond)

Smart, sexy, and very funny, Mimi Pond's fictionalized memoir Over Easy was so evocative of its time period (the late seventies) and filled to the brim with so many compelling and endearing characters that I can only hope this is sitting on some HBO bigwig's desk waiting to be greenlit as a television series. More Mimi, more! 

Stranger Than Life (M.K. Brown)

Nothing from National Lampoon heyday holds up half as well as M.K. Brown's hilarious comics. When I was a kid, sneaking peeks at my dad's copies, her wild and weird stuff  affected me the most. Seriously, the day this bound pile of insanity arrived at the store I just sat at my desk and read it from front to back, giggling the whole time. 

White Cube (Brecht Vandenbroucke)

Another bunch of insanity, Vandebroucke's dig at the art world is some of the weirdest, laugh-out-loud stuff I'd read all year. Since I wasn't really all that aware of his work previous to this tome, it was one of 2014's best surprises.

Sweet Affliction (Anna Leventhal)

 I read Montrealer Anna Leventhal's terrific collection of stories throughout the year. A story here a story there. One before sleep at bedtime, one over a particularly good homemade soup in autumn, another few in the back seat of my parent's SUV on our drive though Maine, and still a couple more outside my daughter's dance classes while I waited for her to finish. This is the book that was most in my hands this year and I've still a few stories to go!

Spectacular Optical Book One: Kid Power! (ed. by Kier-La Janisse & Paul Corupe) 

Kier-La Janisse's House of Psychotic Women is one of my favourite books and a regular seller here at the bookstore, one we always recommend to any discerning gender studies/horror film fan customer,  so I was pretty excited to see this one announced: the first anthology in the new Spectacular Optical book series collection! Kid Power! focuses on the strange side of kids' cult movies and TV programming and features essays and musings from expert contributors like Robert Dayton, Robin Bougie, Montreal's Rick Trembles, and Janisse herself. Looking forward to the next installment!

Holiday cards galore!

The holidays are officially upon us here in Montreal. Look outside and witness the blizzard, in case there was any doubt. There's only one thing to do about it the frosty weather, and that's to get festive! No doubt you already know that we've got the perfect books for the loved ones in your life, but did you know we also carry the finest holiday cards in town?

We are proud to be a stockist of some fantastic stationery brands such as Rifle Paper Co., Chelleline, Papillon Press, O-Check, Banquet Atelier & Workshop, and Stay Home Club, to name but a few!

If you feel like getting crafty with your cards, we've got great vintage-feel stamp sets, plus fun stickers and postcards you can customize to your liking.

Although Krampusnacht has come and gone, it's not too late to send your friends greetings from Krampus! They come in a sturdy tin box with 20 cards inside, it's a steal. (Can you tell this is my personal fave holiday greeting?)

Also noteworthy in the seasonal stationery department are our many gorgeous 2015 calendars. Perfect for gifting, or to adorn your own wall in the upcoming year. (The farting cat in the background isn't part of a calendar, sadly...just a photobomb! But perhaps Ohara Hale, the artist who created that wondrous piece, should think about making a calendar because that would be so great!)

Les choix de Julie 2014


Quand j'étais enfant, j'allais dans ma librairie préférée demander conseil à des libraires charmants dont les livres jeunesse semblaient être la nourriture principale. Je me souviens leur avoir dit un jour: "J'ai peur d'avoir lu tout ce qui est bon, et qu'il ne me reste rien à lire". Cette phrase bien-sûr, les avait bien fait rire. Aujourd'hui, j'ai peur de n'avoir même pas lu le dixième de ce qui est bon, et c'est encore pire depuis que je travaille chez Drawn & Quarterly.

L'arabe du futur, Riad Sattouf

Dans ce premier tome d'un série ouvertement autobiographique, Riad Sattouf raconte son enfance balancée entre la Lybie, la France et la Syrie; une mère bretonne et un père syrien. Sans concession ni pour lui ni pour ses parents, le ton de l'auteur dédramatise tout. L'arabe du futur est une lecture riche, grave et légère, qui donne l'impression que tous les livres écrits par Riad Sattouf devaient mener à celui-ci.

 J'aime les filles (On Loving Women), Diane Obomsawin

La montréalaise Obom a interrogé une dizaine de femmes sur ce moment où elles s’aperçoivent pour la première fois qu'elles aiment une autre femme. Le livre ne me parle pas tant d'homosexualité que d'amour, de générations et de parcours atypiques. Vous avez le choix entre la version originale française ou la traduction anglaise, entre la version habillée ou la déshabillée, et bientôt vous pourrez même choisir la version cinéma puisque sa réalisation (par l'auteure) est en cours.

Une vie de famille agréable, Antoine Marchalot

Antoine Marchalot doit être salué, remercié et vénéré pour avoir publié le livre le plus drôle de l'année. Ses strips n'ont de commun que leur style hilarant et leur qualité, et pourtant, même sans sujet précis, l'ouvrage se lit d'un seul coup. J'en ris encore plusieurs mois après.

Mécanisme de survie en milieu hostile, Olivia Rosenthal

Et voici mon livre sans images préféré de 2014! Mais je vois votre tête étonnée: Est-ce de la fiction? Est-ce écrit et publié en français? Et bien oui: ce mois-ci, la librairie aménage une petite étagère pour accueillir des recueils de poésie, des essais et des romans francophones. Vous pourrez ainsi découvrir nos amours, tel que le mien pour Olivia Rosenthal. Avec son écriture exploratoire et performative, simple et incantatoire, cette auteure française dessine dans son dernier livre un travail de deuil à la fois universel et précis.

The Hospital Suite, John Porcellino

Y observant jusqu'au malaise un reflet de ma propre anxiété, j'ai bien failli ne pas pouvoir finir ce livre, tant j'ai eu peur que sa lecture ne me contamine. Cette peur de la contamination, c'est un des mécanismes du trouble obsessionnel compulsif, et c'est justement le sujet central du livre de John Pocellino. Il y a longtemps, son corps est tombé sévèrement malade, puis, choc post-traumatique sans doute, c'est ensuite sa tête qui est tombée malade...  Maintenant que les choses vont mieux pour lui, il peut nous les raconter.

Sculptor's Daughter, Tove Jansson

2014 marque l'année du centenaire de la naissance de l'auteure finlandaise Tove Jansson. L'occasion pour moi de m'atteler à la lecture de son œuvre extra-moominesque: des romans (comme le très bon Le livre d'un été récemment réédité en français) ainsi que ce mémoire structuré en forme de nouvelles, intitulé Sculptor's Daughter, où la mer, la forêt et la lumière du Nord bercent nos esprits d'enfants qui ont trop (ou pas assez) grandi.

 Today I wrote nothing, Daniil Kharms

Figure de l'avant garde russe au second quart du XXe siècle, on dit de Daniil Kharms qu'il écrivait de la "micro-fiction". Ou de la poésie?

"All all the trees go piff
all all the rocks go paff
all all of nature poof.

All all the girls go piff
all all the guys go paff
all all mariage poof.

All all the slavs go piff
all all the jews go paff
all all of Russia poof."

 Limonov, Emmanuel Carrère

On reste dans la littérature de l'Union soviétique, avec cette biographie d'un poète russe à la vie trépidante, devenu aujourd'hui politicien controversé. Si l'actualité d'Emmanuel Carrère se situe davantage du côté de l'Évangile (Le Royaume, sorti en français cette année, dont je n'ai toujours pas fini la lecture), je suis contente d'avoir vu arriver à la librairie la traduction anglaise de Limonov: un livre efficace, accessible, contemporain, qui mêle parfaitement l'écriture au "je" et la biographie.

Beautiful Darkness (Jolies ténèbres), Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet

Les éditions D&Q ont complètement rehabilité Jolies Ténèbres (une bande dessinée sortie en français en 2009, scénarisée par Vehlmann et dessinée par le couple de bretons Kerascoet), ceci en lui offrant une couverture selon moi bien plus adéquate que l'originale (qui faisait un peu trop fées et lutins). À présent, avec sa toute nouvelle beauté, je n'ai même plus besoin de dire: "Si si je vous assure, c'est vraiment bon, c'est l'un de mes livres préférés".  

Gaston, Kelly Dipucchio & Christian Robinson

D'ordinaire je ne suis pas vraiment émue par le graphisme nostalgique dans lequel Gaston s'aligne plus ou moins, mais la bouille des enfants bouledogues et caniches peints dans cet album surpasse tout en termes de cuteness. Le texte qui les accompagne est simple et adapté, lui aussi très mignon. "Petit" "Pas" "Petit pas", est-il inscrit sous les pattes des jolis chiots blancs frisés. Presque trop propre et trop gentil pour moi, Gaston mérite cependant sa place dans ce palmarès devant d'autres livres "canins", car...


... en jeunesse, 2014 a été l'année du chien! À mettre sous le même sapin que Gaston: L'île aux chiens (Aurore Callias) avec sa liste drôlatique d'animaux divers transformés en races canines; Et j'ai couru (Ingrid Chabbert et Dani Torrent) qui a serré mon cœur de petite fille quand une tempête sépare l'héroïne de son chien; Mauvais Poil (Charlotte Zolotow et Geneviève Godbout) où tout le monde se fait la tête et se la ferait encore si le toutou de la famille n'était pas invariablement de bonne humeur; Ralf (Jean Jullien) dans lequel un chien saucisse s'allonge pour sauver sa famille.

Un mot pour souligner les meilleures intégrales de l'année: du côté français, celle d'Anna et Froga d'Anouk Ricard, et du côté anglais une très belle et luxueuse compilation des strips des Moomins (ceux réalisés par Tove Jansson et non par son frère Lars, soit les cinq premiers tomes publiés auparavant par D&Q) et les zines Wendy de Walter Scott en version livre!

Ci-dessus, mes rééditions préférées: une couverture souple pour le très poétique Parfois les ennuis mettent un chapeau du belge José Parrondo (un livre de chevet incontournable) et un format de poche pour Atlas of Remote Islands (de Judith Schalansky), qui nous fait voyager comme des explorateurs depuis notre salon.

À lire aussi: La guerre des rues et des maisons de Sophie Yanow (erreur de dernière minute, il est paru en 2013, c'est sa version anglophone et originale qui compte pour 2014!), Alma de Claire Braud, Can't and Won't de Lydia Davis, White Cube de Brecht Vanderbroucke et Ant Colony de Michaël Deforge...

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