Summer Reads - Kids Edition!

I thought we would be remiss to do all our summer picks and not suggest beach/campfire reads for the little chickadees in our lives, so below are the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's summer reads for kids!

Dreamwood - Heather Mackey
In her debut  novel, Heather Mackey creates a gorgeous universe full of wonder, mythical beasts, and adventure. It has a touch of steampunk, a bit of a Supernatural influence, and a powerful female protagonist? What more could a kid want? The book follows Lucy Darrington as she escapes her boarding school to look for her father (an expert on the supernatural, natch), who has been away a little too long for her comfort. But upon arriving at the last place her father was seen, she discovers that he's been missing for quite some time, and it is up to her to find him. Ages: 9-12

Through the Woods - Emily Carroll (out July 15th)
Through the Woods is Emily Carroll's hotly anticipated, eerie and terrifying graphic novel. The book contains five mysterious, spine-tingling stories, all with a decidedly fairy tale influence. Emily Carroll, whose work has, up until now, only been available online in webcomic form, is a comics voice to watch out for; her gloomy, unsettling stories will be sure to haunt you for a long time to come. Ages: 10-16

Chi's Sweet Home - Konami Kanata
Chi's Sweet Home is about as straight-forward as a story can get: kitten gets separated from its cat family, kitten is found by a human family, kitten adjusts to human life. And yet it's so. damn. appealing! We in the bookstore like to say that this series is so overwhelmingly cute, you can only really read one page at a time. And that is basically true, except that children have a cuteness tolerance we cannot even begin to fathom. Take the first five volumes camping with your kiddie and they will be feeling weirdly empathetic towards your cat when you're back home. Aussi disponible en français! Ages: 6-12

Tinkerlab - Rachelle Doorley
I've worked enough Kids' Drawing Days to be able to tell you that your kids are geniuses. Like, straight up. So why not foster that genius with Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors? This great DIY book includes 55 experiments to encourage curiosity and creativity in your little ones. Some of the coolest among these 55 are the monoprint project (single ink printmaking), gumdrop structures, and a rope/pulley system for your backyard. 55 no-school-for-the-summer days of guaranteed non-boredom. Ages: 4-8


This One Summer - Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
I'm not even going to pretend to introduce you guys to this book. It's our book club pick, it's awesome, you're buying it or you've already bought it. Published in May and already receiving acclaim, This One Summer is a beautiful, intelligent coming of age story focused on a preteen girl old enough to witness the angst surrounding her, but not quite old enough to be invited in. Mariko Tamaki's slow burning tension and unromantic nostalgia is perfectly matched by Jillian Tamaki's purple ink washes and character-focused illustrations. One thing I would say is that we see a lot more adults buying this than teenagers/pre-teens. Don't hog the graphic novels, you guys. Aussi disponible en français. Ages: 12+

Recap: Su J. Sokol Launches Cycling to Asylum

Last Thursday, June 19th, Su J. Sokol launched her new book, Cycling to Asylum, at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly! It was an unbelievably fun night, full of fans, friends, and family, not to mention more food than we could fit on the table. 

Like, actually. This was no ordinary veggie platter. There were vegan meatballs, four different types of dips, and truffles, you guys. Truffles. 

From the second the clock hit 7, the place was packed. By the time the event had started, the store was so full of people we were struggling to close the door. It was incredible to see so much support for Su. Particularly touching was seeing Su's mom, who got to hear all the amazing things people had to say about her daughter, and made this sappy lady sniffle more than once.

Here is yours truly giving an intro.

Su opened up the night by talking about how much of a dream of hers it was to have a book published. She mentioned she actually used to daydream about her acknowledgement page. Which is fantastic, because she had so many people to thank. The dozens of dozens of people in her writing groups and QWF workshops, the people who took the time to read drafts of Cycling to Asylum, her mother, who came from Massachusetts, her kids for working the door, her partner Glen (who not only brought over all the wine on his bike, but handed out truffles the whole night), her colleagues for letting her daydream at work, and someone called "Bicycle Bob." At this point Su voiced a need for an acknowledgement chapter, but says that’ll do for tonight. "I told myself I wasn't going to be nervous tonight but of course I am."

About Cycling to Asylum: In a near-future New York subject to an increasingly authoritarian and hostile government, Laek, a non-conformist history teacher, finds that he can no longer hide his radical past. After a brutal confrontation with the NYPD, he flees the United States with Janie, an activist lawyer, and their two kids, Siri and Simon. They cross the border by bicycle into Québec by posing as eco-tourists. In a Montréal that the future has also transformed, the family faces new challenges: convincing the authorities to grant them refugee status and integrating into Québec society. Will they find safety in their new home? Told from the points of view of the four family members, Cycling to Asylum is an unique work of interstitial fiction from an exciting new Montreal author. 

Su read as each character (with props!), to the enjoyment of everyone in the room. At the end of the reading, Su asked if there were any questions, and the response was so telling of how beloved she is: "This isn't a question, but it's a comment: we are so proud of you. You are amazing; I can’t tell you the admiration and respect I feel for you. Montreal, Quebec, and Canada are so happy to have you." How's that for a review, y'all? Once again, thanks so much to Su and her family for the amazing event, to the audience who made it a blast, and to everyone involved!

Kids' Day Recap!

On Sunday, June 8th, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly was delighted to host Kids' Day with local authors Nadine Robert (Joseph Fipps, Le Vaillant Petit Gorille) and Marianne Dubuc (The Lion and the Bird, L'autobus). It's safe to say that a whale of a time was had by all! Nadine and Marianne read to the rapt audience of children, cookies and juice were enthusiastically devoured, and then the kids drew and coloured up a storm. Here are some photos of the cuteness that ensued:

Here's Nadine reading from Ohara Hale's L'arbre brocoli, the tale of a tree whose reputation for smelliness causes other creatures to him a wide berth, until two brave souls discover that he's actually quite a lovely fellow. Friendship prevails through any and all foul smells in this charming story!

Next, Marianne Dubuc read from L'autobus, and as you can see, the kids (and parents) were really into it! Clara hops on the bus for the first time all by herself, bound for Grandma's house. Little does she know that the journey will become a genuine adventure when her fellow passengers turn out to be all sorts of animals! 

After story time ended and the cookies and juice were but a lovely, sugary memory, the kids did some drawing and colouring while the authors signed books and the parents mingled.

In case your curiosity was piqued by the description of the aforementioned aromatic broccoli tree, here you can catch a glimpse of him in the bottom right corner, about to be coloured by a happy child.

This event was really a lot of fun for everyone involved, and it was a great pleasure to have the store filled with so many adorable little readers! We would like to extend our thanks to the authors, kids, parents, Comme des géants, Enchanted Lion, and everyone who participated. We'll keep you posted about any future Kids' Days on the horizon.

Event recap: Metatron poetry night!

On Friday the 13th (!) of June, we were thrilled to host the launch party for Metatron's debut series of poetry chapbooks. This sparse little display you see above was all we had left in stock, since the books had been selling so well already. Shortly after we took this picture, Metatron's Ashley Opheim arrived with a pile of more copies, and a crowd streamed in right after. We had a packed house!

Ashley started the night off by thanking Metatron mentor Dave McGimpsey before plugging the new  Metatron website,, which is looking for local writers to contribute (check it out if that's you)! Then she introduced the night's first reader, Laura Broadbent.

Laura's new book, Interviews, is composed of posthumous interviews with various writers. She read from the one with Clarice Lispector. Broadbent described Lispector as, "So intense that even a jpeg of her face pierces your soul and you have to look away." Lispector was very mystical: "Beyond the words, beyond the self," as Broadbent said. Accordingly, Lispector's "answers" to Broadbent's questions about what is the "I" and what is "it" (ie. about the self and the other) were dense knots of stream-of-consciousness poetry, mysterious and dark.

Next up was Jay Winston Ritchie, whom Ashley aptly introduced as "funny, earnest, and colloquial." He has a new book of fiction coming out at the end of June, but he read some poems from his Metatron chapbook. Then he announced, “I’m gonna read some new poems, which will be fun. And terrifying for me.” In these poems, Ritchie observed that, "It’s difficult to be at the bar and to be a lilac bush simultaneously." He also explained at length how he is "fake in most social situations" in a poem that drew a lot of laughs from the audience. 

After Jay, Matthew E. Duffy took to the stage -- easily the night's most flamboyant performer. After telling a story about how he was recently asked to "open an embassy for Quebeckistan" at a “psychedelic moon show,” he proceeded to recite some of his poetry in a sing-murmuring cadence. Among the salad of words and sounds, the phrase, “If you don’t like oblivion, go away,” stood out. Taking a break, he explained that his poems are "visual condensations of letters and structures" including phonetic marks and words from French, Russian, and Yiddish -- they're more intended to be seen on the page than read aloud.

After an intermission, Ashley introduced Rollie Pemberton (aka Cadence Weapon), who read from his debut collection of poetry, Magnetic Days. He began by thanking Ashley for giving him the chance to publish a book of poetry. Naturally, a lot of Pemberton's poems have a hip-hop rhythm and the flavor of song lyrics, but others were prose poems full of funny observations. One referred to “making your own doritos in a 3D printer,” and another commented on the absurdities of contemporary dating. Quoting Andre 3000, he reminded us that, "You're only as funky as your last cut."

Next up: Ali Pinkney! She apologized for her weird mood -- a friend of hers died 2 years ago on a Friday the 13th, she said. To further the spooky mood, she read from a poem that's a ouija board transcription. She also took a break from poetry to read a bit of fiction, a story called "Baby Baby Baby, or, a Wooden Box from Costa Rica." A memorable line from one of her other poems: “What the fuck is this? There’s a Jameson shot in front of me. I ordered Campari.”

Finally, Ashley introduced herself and got up to read. The first poem she chose was one she hasn’t read in public before, and hasn’t even re-read for herself in a long time. It was about a transitional period in her own life -- about being, as Britney Spears put it, not a girl, not yet a woman. “I have stopped bragging on Facebook," she read. "I have stopped being in the spirit to jokingly twerk on my Navajo rug...At home we have an argument about Miley Cyrus. I say it is important to have compassion for everyone.”

After that, people hung out! It was a real party! Until the party moved elsewhere, of course. Thanks again to everyone who came!

Summer Reads: Saelan

Edward St. Aubyn, Lost for Words

I'd heard a lot about Edward St. Aubyn's quasi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose novels, a quintet of books about a family of crumbling British aristocrats, including high praise from some good friends and comparisons to both Amises (Martin and Kingsley). So when his newest novel, a one-off satire of literary awards, arrived with more praise all over it, it seemed like the perfect place to get familiar with St. Aubyn. It's a pretty cartoonish story, with a cast of characters that are all equally, gleefully two-dimensional, but it's hilarious nonetheless -- I breezed through it in just a few sittings. I'd call it a "romp," or even a "lark."

 Tricia Lockwood, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

Tricia Lockwood's twitter presence (where she pioneered and mastered the sext-as-poem format) has already established her as a twisted genius and made her an icon of the Weird Twitter scene. Lockwood touches words inappropriately, congealing a stew of spam, lolspeak, and pop culture collage into globs of uneasily arousing poetry. Her talents aren't limited to 140 characters, either. Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals is her second collection (like her first, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black, it's cover is illustrated by the equally-perverse Lisa Hanawalt) and in it, the space of the page allows Lockwood's verse to bloom like a venus fly trap.

Lydia Davis, Can’t and Won’t
Lydia Davis' thick, pinkish-orange volume of Collected Stories was hands-down the best thing I read last year, one of those books that instantly catapulted its author into my personal list of all-time favourites. And I'm clearly not alone in my esteem, given that she won the 2013 Booker Prize. I haven't started Can't and Won't yet, but it promises more of Davis' inimitably precise, poignant microfictions and I am very excited.

Nick Mandag, Facility Integrity

Toronto comic artist Nick Maandag's latest book is an Office Space-esque send-up of cubicle culture, with an obliviously tyrannical boss named Mr. Azwype who decides to implement some disruptive innovation with an efficiency-maximizing policy that forbids employees from doing "number twos" on the job. But when contract workers are brought in to "sniff out" violators, one of them stages a revolt. Naturally, hijinx ensue. Maandag's deadpan style and eccentric characters (like oily yes-man Bobby Dextrose) make this a real winner.

Maurizio Lazzarato, Signs and Machines

For some heavier reading, I'm looking to Maurizio Lazzarrato (author of The Making of the Indebted Man and The Violence of Financial Capitalism), whose new book advances a theory of how signs do things in the world. Moving beyond a postmodern framework hung up on the collapse of difference between image and reality, Lazzarato explains how, "Money, the stock market, price differentials, algorithms, and scientific equations and formulas constitute semiotic “motors" that make capitalism’s social and technical machines run." Under the imperialism of info-corporations like Google and the rise of ubiquitous surveillance, signs aren't just language and images for people to interpret, they're machines that make the world whether we're paying attention to them or not.

And here's a few other titles I hope to dig into over the Summer:

Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle vol. 1
Tove Jansson, Sculptor’s Daughter 
Sergio Chejfec, My Two Worlds
Ben Davis, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class
Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Neuro-totalitarianism

Recap: Sam Alden & Ohara Hale Double Launch!

On Thursday, June 12th, we were thrilled to host store favourites Sam Alden and Ohara Hale for their double launch celebrating Ohara's Moderne Luv and upcoming Who Did It, and Sam Alden's It Never Happened Again.

Sam and Ohara were excited to be introducing each other, with both of them lookin' like a couple o' cuties. I mean look at that photo! Those are some good looking, talented folks up there.

Ohara introduced Sam with an eerily accurate drawing of him, and some super factual information about him, some examples being that Sam is cool, Sam loves pink (the colour), and also has a secret crush on Pink the singer ("jk jk jk jk lol lol"). He has also story-boarded half an episode of Adventure Time. Sam lives in Montreal.

Sam read from Anime, one of the two stories in It Never Happened Again. Anime tells the story of a young woman from a small town who is obsessed with Japanese culture and makes the ill-advised decision to move there. Socially awkward yet endearingly sincere, Alden's narrative respects the character in a way that makes her deeply relatable.

On the topic of process, Sam mentioned how important he found it to talk about since it's a process that seems so opaque, and is different for everyone. For It Never Happened Again, he wrote out the script, and figured out all the important things he needed to say before starting. He wanted to focus on a socially inept but sympathetic teenaged anime fan. Sam also had the experience of living with his parents, doing a bunch of crappy jobs (was a “muffin man” on the Twilight movie, for your reference). He saved enough money to get to Japan, and it was such a disaster. They had only budgeted enough to get there and therefore couldn’t eat food or spend any money, so they basically just walked around all day until they had to sleep again.

Sam provided Ohara Hale's introduction next, with a very helpful drawing. "I drew this an hour ago, she draws comics, she is working on her presentation right now." Ohara is an artist who makes books for kids, grown ups, and penguins. She grew up in Missouri but lives in Montreal, she sings and does comics, and her brother is in a Mountain Dew commercial. Very important information.

Ohara read from her newest comic, Moderne Luv. Moderne Luv is an astute look at love and relationships through the eyes of a "weird boob and a penis." She also talked about a few new zines because she brought a bunch. Made some risograph comics for tonight as well, shows pages from “Veronica” about an angry sneaker. 

After their presentations, everyone stuck around to party lightly and get their Tit Zines signed. Sam thanked everyone for coming out in such crappy weather, and mentioned he washed his pants especially for this event. That's a big deal. Thanks for coming out, everyone!

Look who's on the cover of Artforum now!

It seems like just yesterday Julien Ceccaldi, beloved Librairie D+Q mainstay, was working at the bookstore, doing karaoke with us, and putting up blog posts like this one about new issues of Artforum. And then, a few months after he moved on, we got our paws on the latest issue of Mould Map, featuring a cover by none other than our very own J Ceccaldi. NOW, he's hit the cover of Artforum, and we couldn't be happier for him. There's not a harder-working, weirder-comics-loving fella in the biz.

Congratulations, Julien!!

{Astute readers take note: this photo was not taken at the Librairie, but in another bookstore in LONDON, England, of all the fancy schmancy places. We still have *one* copy of Artforum at the Librairie. Go snag yrs today. Also featured: Art Spiegelman, Cory Arcangel, and more.}

And in other dispatches of awesome former Librairie D+Q employees:

The newest issue of the weird and wonderful Hobo magazine features another beloved former D+Qer: Fiona Duncan has the cover interview with Tilda Swinton. We have copies of this one in stock too  - come on down. Savour a few lines of the piece in that link above… you know you want it.

Ok, phew! I guess I'd better sign off so I can get out there and achieve something now. A mighty fine felicitations a vous deux.

Summer Reads: Marcela

Andre the Giant - Box Brown
Bright yet brimming with an undercurrent of melancholy, Andre the Giant is a gem of a biographical comic. It tells the story of the literally larger than life André René Roussimoff (aka Andre the Giant), a pro-wrestler, actor in the cinematic classic The Princess Bride, and all-around pop-culture icon. This is a book to take to the park, with a can of Coke and a big ole' picnic. You'll leave it understanding Andre — his pain, his humour, his absolute dedication to the craft of wrestling. Such a great read.  

My Struggle Book 2 - Karl Ove Knausgaard
I read the first volume of My Struggle while on a plane ride, and it was the first time in my life I've ever wanted a trip to last longer. Which is like, sacrilege. The first volume of My Struggle ends with Knausgaard's reflections on death in relation to his father, while it looks like the second volume deals more with the disintegration of Karl Ove's first marriage, and the beginning of his relationship with his second wife, Linda. But Knausgaard is allowed to meander; he has 2700 pages to come back to his father's funeral. And I will be there, like the addict that I am.

Sunny Volume 3 - Taiyo Matsumoto
Taiyo Matsumoto is the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, and a voice in manga that is unbelievably innovative. I've been following the Sunny series, about a foster home in Japan and the kids and caretakers who inhabit it, for two volumes now, so the third was bound to make it onto my list. Matsumoto makes what could be a somber, sullen story into a bright, hopeful world of hilarious, bratty children and charismatic adults. His kinetic illustration style suits the subject matter beautifully, and the occasionally colour spread is breathtaking.

Summer of sequels, y'all.

Tonight - Su J. Sokol launches Cycling to Asylum!

You are invited to the launch of Su J. Sokol's new book, Cycling to Asylum (Deux Voiliers Publishing) tonight at 7 p.m. at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly!

About Cycling to Asylum: In a near-future New York subject to an increasingly authoritarian and hostile government, Laek, a non-conformist history teacher, finds that he can no longer hide his radical past. After a brutal confrontation with the NYPD, he flees the United States with Janie, an activist lawyer, and their two kids, Siri and Simon. They cross the border by bicycle into Québec by posing as eco-tourists. In a Montréal that the future has also transformed, the family faces new challenges: convincing the authorities to grant them refugee status and integrating into Québec society. Will they find safety in their new home? Told from the points of view of the four family members, Cycling to Asylum is an unique work of interstitial fiction from an exciting new Montreal author.

Su J. Sokol is a Montreal activist, a cyclist, and a writer of speculative and interstitial fiction. Originally from Brooklyn, Sokol studied law and philosophy before becoming a community lawyer specializing in housing. She immigrated to Canada in 2004 and now lives in Montréal with her family. Sokol works for a community organization as a social rights advocate. Her short stories have been published in Spark: A Creative Anthology and the The Future Fire. Cycling to Asylum is her first novel.

Summer Reads - Helen

Here's what I've been reading and liking so far this summer!

The Cold Song (Linn Ullmann; translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J. Haveland)
The Cold Song opens as a thriller would - with a sudden and mysterious death; however, it turns out to be a perceptive and riveting multi-character study of the inhabitants of a small Norwegian community after this violent occurrence. It's no whodunnit - the narrative focus is more diffuse and complex than that. Ullmann’s spare, perfectly restrained prose probes the borders of guilt and innocence, betrayal and loyalty to unsettling effect.

Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng) - out on July 1st!
I guess I've been in the mood for books that begin like thrillers but reveal themselves to be otherwise. Celeste Ng's intimate, haunting novel tells the unusual (in literature, anyway) story of the Lee's, a mixed Asian-white family reeling after the death of teenaged Lydia Lee. Isolated in small town America in the 1970s, Lydia's parents and two siblings each retreat into their own forms of mourning, avoidance and remembrance. Ng brings us through layers of guilt, blame and grief, revealing a devastating yet luminous portrait of a conflicted family coming to terms with itself. 

100 Crushes (Elisha Lim)
I have about 100 crushes on Elisha Lim and their perceptive and loving, not to mention gorgeous queer portraits and comics. 100 Crushes includes a series of portraits (with accompanying anecdotes) of butches Elisha has crushed on - from longterm dates to subway glimpses; a series of portraits of self-professed sissies and the femmes who inspire them; conversations about the pronoun "they"; illustrations and anecdotes about butches and genderqueer folks trying on men's suits in high-end boutiques; and - one of my favourites - the first few chapters of an ongoing graphic novel about queerness and America-philia at an all-girls convent school in Singapore! What more could we ask for? 

Believing Is Seeing (Errol Morris)
Errol Morris, esoteric and possibly genius American filmmaker, turns his attention to the detailed (and I mean detailed) study of still photographic images. Each chapter is dedicated to a photograph, or set of photographs - from Roger Fenton's iconic 1855 photograph(s) of a deadly valley during the Crimean War, to the infamous 2003 digital photos of tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib. Morris uses these images and the often apocryphal stories built around them to illustrate his rewrite of the oft-used adage: "believing is seeing". Not a light summer read, but definitely an engrossing one!

Moving Forward Sideways like a Crab (Shani Mootoo)
Okay, I will admit that I haven't started reading this one yet - but I'm excited to do so! Mootoo's latest is receiving glowing praise (check out this Globe & Mail review) and promises to deliver a expansive and insightful narrative of family ties, questions of gender and transition, and Caribbean diasporic experience in Canada.

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