Les lectures d'été de Julie

Trash Market, Tadao Tsuge, Drawn & Quarterly. 
Trash Market est un recueil de nouvelles dont les intrigues sont ancrées dans un noir Tokyo d'après la seconde guerre mondiale. Certaines des histoires sont autobiographiques ou inspirées des expériences de l'auteur, par exemple de l'emploi qu'il a occupé pendant 10 ans dans une banque de sang. 

Second Début, Francine Pelletier, Documents Nouveau Projet.

Depuis que j'ai écouté Francine Pelletier parler au lancement du magazine Liberté de ce printemps, j'ai la piqure du féminisme. Je cherche des textes contemporains, de qualité, sans clichés. Alors j'ai hâte d'ouvrir ce tout frais essai écrit par une québécoise qui fondait il y a 30 ans la revue La vie en rose. 

3 Books, Blaise Larmee, 2d cloud.

Il y a vraiment très peu de livres érotiques dont le dessin m'attire, mais celui de Blaise Larmee fait une belle exception. Ces trois livres publiésregroupés en un seul sont surprenants, prétentieusement trompeurs et sensuels. 

Revue Liberté, Été 2015, #308.
C'est Cathon qui a dessiné la couverture de ce nouveau numéro de Liberté, dont le dossier central est la culture et l'économie de l'alcool au Québec. Aussi au sommaire, des critiques littéraires de quelques-uns des auteurs favoris de la librairie Drawn & Quarterly: Jacob Wren et Anna Leventhal. 

Maîtres anciens, Thomas Bernhard dessinée par Malher, L'association. 
L'autrichien Malher (L'art selon madame Goldbruger, Pornographie et Suicide...) est l'un des auteurs de bande dessinée qui me fait le plus rire. Il adapte du Thomas Bernhard? Je veux lire cela, c'est sûr. 

My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante, Europa editions. 
Tout le monde parle d'Elena Ferrante à la librairie: mes collègues, les clients, les clubs de lecture qui passent par chez nous. Ils me disent tous: "lis-le, et ne fais pas attention à cette couverture". Alors, je vais suivre leurs ordres.

Recap: Esplanade Spring launch!

We were very pleased to host the launch of Esplanade's spring titles earlier this month. People eagerly crowded into the store, despite the fact there was a Habs game that night (RIP).

Dmitri Nasrallah, the new editor of Esplanade, introduced the authors, giving background into how their books came to be, and making the crowd even more intent on hearing excerpts. 

First up was Christine Fischer Guy, a journalist and teacher from Toronto. Her debut novel, The Umbrella Mender, was published by Wolsak and Wynn, and takes place in Moose Factory, Ontario in 1951, right in the middle of a tuberculosis epidemic.

Protagonist Hazel MacPherson is sent by the federal government to deal with it, finding the small community compelling in its wildness.

Next, Torontonian Andy Sinclair read from his new Breathing Lessons, a novel that, when Nasrallah first read the manuscript, "shocked and surprised me on every page." Originally titled "I like getting fucked up with you," the audience was treated to a chapter on lifeguard training, mouth to mouth, summer surrealism, and yoga breathing.

Last (though certainly not least), Anita Anand graced the stage and read from her new collection of short stories, Swing in the House. "Psychologically piercing in her prose," according to Nasrallah, she read from "What I Really Did," weaving together summer trips to Barcelona, mosaics, cross necklaces, and wannabe putas.

Thank you to everyone for coming out and making it a great evening!

Summer Reads 2015 - Kira's Picks

Precious few things in this life can rival the satisfaction of diving into a good book on a summer day. After grimly weathering the brutal winter Montreal threw at us this year, I'm more than ready to get languorous, preferably in a hammock, with a cat, and a frosty drink in tow. Here are a few of the books that will surely accompany me in said hammock:

Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels (ed. Tom Devlin) 

D+Q has been publishing top-notch comics for a quarter century now, and this collection brilliantly celebrates that history. So much more than a trip down memory lane, it's also jam-packed with new work from the D+Q roster of amazing artists, essays from literary luminaries, and more never-before published ephemera than you can shake a stick at! You can open this gorgeous book up to any page and be sure to discover something unexpected and great. Upon reflection, this hefty tome might actually be better suited to indoor reading, as the sheer volume of stellar content within might hurt my spindly wrists if I try to hold it aloft for too long!

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (ed. Adrienne Maree Brown and Walida Imarisha)

I'm a latecomer to Octavia Butler's work, having just started getting into her in the last couple of years, but better late than never - what a revelation! I've long loved sci-fi, but not appreciated the 'boys club' atmosphere that often permeates it, so I tend to devour the work of authors like Butler who break that mould. A collection so explicitly inspired by and dedicated to Butler's work has massive appeal to me. To paraphrase the editor's introduction: any engagement with social justice work involves a kind of speculative thinking, because it requires us to imagine a world without whatever oppressive structure we are fighting. The combo of sci-fi and politics appeals to the nerd and the activist in me in equal measure, and I can't wait to discover some new authors that blend those worlds.

Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology (ed. Ann and Jeff Vandermeer)

The title really says it all! Between this and Octavia's Brood (see above) my feminist sci-fi dreams are shaping up to come true this summer.

The Neapolitan Novels (Elena Ferrante)

The literary world has been all abuzz with praise for Ferrante this year, so I paradoxically avoided reading her...just to be contrary, I suppose?! Luckily, I finally succumbed to the tidal force of good feedback from colleagues, customers, and critics alike, and was immediately won over by Ferrante's fantastic bildungsroman. If you haven't already done so, do pick up these first three books, because English translation of the fourth and final novel is coming this summer, and believe me, you'll be chomping at the bit! Hype = warranted! 

Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer (Sylvie Rancourt)

If you've slept on the French version of Melody, never fear; D+Q is publishing the English version of Sylvie Rancourt's autobiographical comic chronicling her experiences dancing in strip clubs in 1980s Montreal. I'm only a few pages in, and already totally charmed by Rancourt's drawing and narrative style. There's never been a better time to pick up this Canadian comics classic!

Chickpea Vegan Quarterly

As the days get longer and hotter, I have to change my ordinary cooking routine dramatically to accomodate. Apart from a few summer staples, I'm more savvy at cooking hearty winter fare, so I'm officially on the hunt for some tasty summer dishes that require as little use of heat-creating appliances in my kitchen as possible! The cover of Chickpea's spring/summer issue looks like exactly the ticket with all that fresh greenery calling my name. With some of these tasty recipes in my arsenal, I won't have to be that person who shows up at your BBQ or picnic with nothing but a bag of chips and a conciliatory grin.

Subtly Worded (Teffi)

Hailed as a lighthearted and comedic writer in her time, Russian emigrée Teffi's short stories are deceptively gutting. Though they are undoubtedly funny on the surface, on another level they speak deeply of human tragedy. Most of them are just a couple of pages long, and I am blown away by anyone who can run the emotional gamut, as well as be so bitingly satirical, in such a short narrative span. Teffi fell largely into obscurity after her death, and I'm so glad the folks at Pushkin Press have made her work widely available again, and in such a beautiful lilac-hued, pocket sized volume, too! 

SuperMutant Magic Academy (Jillian Tamaki)

I blazed through this one as soon as I could get my hands on it, but I heartily recommend it to anyone who has yet to do so. With teen angst aplenty, the kids of the SuperMutant Magic Academy navigate the peaks and valleys of high school. (Even magical powers can't save one from the banalities, indignities, and heartaches of adolescence, it seems!) Oh, and there are also a lot of D+D references, which is a surefire way to win my heart! Most of the strips are just a page or two long, so if you only have time for a quick browse on your break at work, or for a few stops on the metro, this is a great choice.

Seveneves: A Novel (Neal Stephenson)

Did you think you'd make it to the end of my list without encountering yet more sci-fi? HA! I'm afraid not. In between all the aforementioned short stories, I'm going to sink my teeth into this epic tale of humanity's exodus from the Earth after the moon explodes. 5000 years later, the descendents, by this point both literally and figuratively very far-removed from their human ancestors, come back to examine the fiery wreckage. Stephenson's visionary imagination never disappoints, and this premise is certainly an intriguing one.

For more summer reads, check out my lovely colleagues' lists:

Helen's picks
Alyssa's picks
Julie's picks
Daphné's picks
Kate's picks

Summer 2015 Reads: Alyssa's picks

As much as I love curling up with a book and a sweater mid-winter, there's something amazing about heading outside, enjoying the summer sun, and diving straight into a good story. Here's what I'll be reading!

Books I read and loved

SuperMutant Magic Academy (Jillian Tamaki)
If sitting in a park, reading and laughing out loud is your idea of a good time, your first choice should absolutely be SuperMutant Magic Academy. The devastatingly funny collected webcomic tells of Marsha the witch, Wendy the fox girl, and the other students of the academy, who simultaneously must navigate the extraordinariness of broomstick sports and magic classes, and the mundanity of bake sales, prom, and unrequited love.

Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)
Beautifully crafted and heartbreakingly intimate despite it's larger than life subject matter, Station Eleven is the story of the Georgian flu, a plague that wipes out most of humanity. But beyond this cataclysmic event, Mandel weaves together the lives of characters navigating Toronto and Los Angeles before the tragedy, those facing the dangers of the small towns left in dystopian chaos, and the mysterious comic book that bridges the two worlds.

We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
A Beyoncé-sampled speech adapted into a portable, beach-ready essay? What more can you ask for? Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (of Half a Yellow Sun and Americanah fame) has crafted a manifesto of sorts, and it is important, accessible, and a necessary read.

The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis (Darryl Cunningham)
Anyone who's ever wished for an simple, incisive, and concise explanation of the global financial crisis will appreciate Cunningham's newest work. The graphic novel first details the controversial Ayn Rand, her life, and Objectivism, before explaining how deregulation and Rand's philosophy contributed to the 2008 crash.

Close to Hugh (Marina Endicott)
Close to Hugh tells the story of gallery owner Hugh Argylle who, after falling down a ladder and struggling to keep himself together, must still contend with the friends and family who remain wrapped up in their own unhappiness. Over a week in September, a sprawling cast of artists, actors, and budding talent grapple with heartbreaks, separations, financial woes, and growing up in this decidedly Robertson Davies-esque novel.

Books I can't wait to read

The Argonauts (Maggie Nelson)
A compelling combination of theory and memoir, The Argonauts is a study in identity, desire, love, queerness, and family. The book travels from Nelson falling in love with fluidly gendered artist Harry Dodge to her subsequent pregnancy, offering fresh insight into the oft-trodden topics of marriage and childrearing.

Breathing Lessons (Andy Sinclair)
Henry Moss is an everyman who hasn't had to suffer. His mother was supportive when he came out, he has fulfilling work, and is valued by friends and family. But in Sinclair's debut novel, that may not be enough, and Henry finds himself lonely and in search of intimacy that has long eluded him.

Our Ice is Vanishing / Sikuvut Nunguliqtuq (Shelley Wright)
Part exploration of Inuit history and culture, part treatise on climate change and the legacies of exploration, Our Ice is Vanishing combines scientific and legal information with individual experiences to craft a history of Canadian presence in the Arctic, and what it means for the people who make their home on the ice.

Bonus! Books I'll be revisiting

My Family and Other Animals (Gerald Durrell)
As a young boy, Durrell went to live with his eccentric English family on the Greek island of Corfu, and this memoir, perfect for warm afternoons outside, combines his budding interest in the natural world with domestic hijinks that I never grow tired of.

The Girl on the Fridge (Etgar Keret)
Etgar Keret writes weird stories, and I love them every time I read them. Whether it's the magician whose act turns horrifying, or the titular girl who grows up atop a household appliance, the forty-six stories in this collection are unsettling, funny, and very terrifying.

Feeling Sorry for Celia (Jaclyn Moriarty)
Teenaged Celia never asked to deal with missing best friends, flakey parents, penpals, or secret admirers, but that's the lot she's drawn. I fell in love with this YA book written exclusively in letters, post-it notes, and missives sent from fictional organizations (along the lines of "The Organization of Cool Teenagers Who Think You Are Not Cool") many years ago, and I can't wait to pick it up again.

Coming up on the weekend: Festival BD de Montréal! / Montreal Comic Arts Festival!

We are excited to be tabling at the FBDM again! The festival will take place from Friday May 29 to Sunday May 31 at Parc Lafontaine. This year is a special year for two reasons: it is the first bilingual edition of the festival, and it coincides with Drawn & Quarterly's Twenty-Fifth Anniversary! Find us in the exhibitor tent at stand 39 all weekend long!

Three D&Q artists will be debuting books: Seth (Palookaville 22), Marc Bell (Stroppy) and Sylvie Rancourt (Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer)! D&Q artists Julie Delporte, Pascal Girard and Diane Obomsawin will also be there for signing and paneling! Here's the full schedule so that you don't miss anything:

Open to the public from 1 pm to 8 pm
6 pm to 7 pm: Panel discussion with Marc Bell, Julie Delporte, Pascal Girard in Carrefour BD
7 pm to 8 pm: Marc Bell, Julie Delporte, and Pascal Girard sign at Librairie D+Q stand 39

Open to the public from 10 am to 6 pm
12 pm to 1 pm Seth signs at Librairie D+Q stand 39
1 pm to 2 pm Marc Bell signs at Librairie D+Q stand 39
2 pm to 3 pm Sylvie Rancourt and Diane Obomsawin sign at Librairie D+Q stand 39
3 pm to 4 pm Marc Bell and Pascal Girard sign at Librairie D+Q stand 39
3 pm to 4 pm Seth launches Palookaville 22 in Carrefour BD
4 pm to 5 pm Seth signs at Librairie D+Q stand 39
9 pm to 11 pm Seth's Dominion screens in Carrefour BD

Open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm
12 pm to 2 pm Seth signs at Librairie D+Q stand 39
2 pm to 3 pm Marc Bell signs at Librairie D+Q stand 39
2:30 pm to 3 pm Sylvie Rancourt launches Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer in Carrefour BD
3 pm to 4 pm Sylvie Rancourt signs at Librairie D+Q stand 39
3 pm to 4 pm D+Q 25 panel discussion with Peggy Burns, Tom Devlin, and Chris Oliveros in Carrefour BD

Summer 2015 reads - Helen's Picks

Happy early summer, everyone! Here are the books I plan to bring with me to parks, poolsides, and various shorelines. Perhaps you will be inspired to do the same!

Octavia's Brood, edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha
A collection of  social justice-driven speculative fiction that name-checks Octavia Butler in its title? Yes please! The stories in this collection are written by folks who do a wide range of organizing in their other lives, addressing issues from urban gentrification to institutional racism to radical parenting. In her introduction, editor Walidah Imarisha reminds us of the thick ties between social justice organizing and future-looking fiction: "Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction. All organizing is science fiction."

After the Tall Timber: Collected Nonfiction, by Renata Adler
It's become a bit of a ritual for me to read Renata Adler in the summertime. Two summers ago I read her dazzling Speedboat, last summer I raced through the paranoid and fevered Pitch Dark, and this summer I look forward to getting acquainted with her nonfiction, conveniently collected here by the New York Review of Books. I look forward the crackle of her wit and the combativeness of her views. For a nuanced look at her legacy, check out this piece at The Millions.

The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson
Many of my favourite writers are those who bend and blend genres to create wonderfully unclassifiable works. Hilton Als, Chris Kraus, Claudia Rankine and W. G. Sebald spring to mind from my recent reading, and now I happily add Maggie Nelson to the list. The Argonauts is a memoir and a love story that draws liberally from Nelson's favourite theoretical texts. It is also a reflection on how narratives around gender, queerness and parenting can complicate and uplift each other. I begin to copy out a quote and find myself writing out the entire book.

SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki
I already blew through this in one or two sittings, but I intend to reread it in bursts all summer long in order to fully enjoy Tamaki's winsome concoction of everyday school troubles and more metaphysical problems. Freaky and feminist, SuperMutant doesn't shy away from meanness or negativity, making it a much more entertaining and relatable read than many other teen-character-driven books!

Frontier #7: SexCoven, by Jillian Tamaki
Jillian Tamaki is on a roll these days! In addition to SuperMutant, she also did the most recent Frontier (a rad comics series by Youth in Decline)! SexCoven is a mysterious file, uploaded anonymously and containing drone frequencies that induce a powerful high in those (mainly people under 25) who can hear them. There's a lot to like in this small package: internet nostalgia (oldschool file-sharing networks!), teenaged obsession, tragic accidents, and a cult-like commune.

The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
I've been sleeping on the force that is Paul Beatty, I admit, but no longer! His latest, The Sellout is an absurdist and biting satire that exposes the innards of American race relations through the (extreme) actions of its narrator, a black man who reinstates slavery in a small California town. Kiese Laymon (Long Division, How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America), whose every written word I seek out hungrily, wrote a glowing review for the LA Times, in which he names The Sellout as "among the most important and difficult American novels written in the 21st century." Sold!

 š! #21 'Business Time'
The latest from comic Latvian comic arts anthology kuš! komiksi interprets the world of business in appropriately bizarre and fantastical ways. Standouts for me are Harukichi's heroic cat DJ story, Chris Kuzma's office corridor nightmare, Ann Pajuvali's ode to doing nothing, and Lai Tat Tat Wing's "Door to Door" which is rife with physical comedy and impossible working spaces that recall the half-floors of Being John Malkovich. Great for flipping through at your leisure. Excellent source of drawing inspiration too!

Palm Ash, by Julia Gfrörer + In Pace Requiescat, by Sean T. Collins & Julia Gfrörer
If an overdose of sun makes you hunger for the gothic and the horrifying, may I strongly recommend reading anything by Julia Gfrörer? Her chilling Black is the Color is currently out of print (although you can read it over at Study Group!), but we do have these two recent comics! Do not be fooled by the cheery neon paper. These tales will fill you with fear and loathing. Who said the warmer months had to be light and carefree? 

City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis, edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb
A promising anthology from n+1 that assembles pieces by a wide array of young writers grappling with the changing state of American cities over the past five to twenty years. A project that slowly came together as the financial crisis hit, picked up speed as the Occupy movement came and went, and wrapped up as Black Lives Matter was born and lit American cities on fire.  
š! #21 'Business Time'
š! #21 'Business Time'
š! #21 'Business Time'
š! #21City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis, edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb

The Neopolitan Novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay), by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein
It's all be said already, I think. If you haven't read them, do it now! They will propel you through the summer with ferocity and grace. The English translation of the fourth book will be out in September, so if you time your reading perfectly, you won't be left hanging...
š! #21

š! #21
š! #2

TONIGHT! Launch of Oana Avasilichioaei’s Limbinal (Talonbooks), Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (Bookthug, tr. by Oana Avasilichioaei & Ingrid Pam Dick) and Erín Moure’s Kapusta (House of Anansi)

Join us on Thursday, May 28 at 7 p.m. to celebrate three new titles: Oana Avasilichioaei’s Limbinal (Talonbooks), Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa (Bookthug, tr. by Oana Avasilichioaei & Ingrid Pam Dick) and Erín Moure’s Kapusta (House of Anansi)! There will be readings, refreshments, and books for sale.

Oana Avasilichioaei’s Limbinal voices in the porous space between a limb’s articulations and a liminal border, intersecting prose fragments with incantatory dialogues, poetic footnotes with photographic phrases, rebellious translations with liquid transpositions. Here, linguistic limbs fold and migrate, a distant border politicks and trips over the horizon, a river overflows, floods, palimpsests another river, Arendt’s responsibility touches Deleuze’s fold, the body, changeable, restless, searches for resonances. And new translations of Paul Celan’s Romanian poems become a generative field of language that sprout other limbs and broach other thresholds. A voice intimately addresses the border while multilingual subjectivities tackle radical responses. So the mouth, possibly hungering, possibly melodic, is always present, ready to disarticulate in order to articulate before the city gates, wobbly with struggle.

The Thought House of Philippa (translated by Oana Avasilichioaei and Ingrid Pam Dick) transposes an individual philosophy into a reflective, sensuous and incantatory novel. Propelled through the rooms of the house Wittgenstein designed for his sister, Margaret, in Vienna, Suzanne Leblanc’s prose builds an architecture for P./Philippa’s intense, acute way of seeing the world and herself. P.’s move towards the Great World of others and nature is registered in a precise language of repetition, variation and development, where ideas crucial to Wittgenstein’s writing also echo and shift. The four distinct voices of the novel’s sections act as musical movements in alternating keys of austerity and splendour. The effect—a pure expression of the passion of clear thought, the adventure of solitude and the beauty of uncompromising encounter—is riveting.

In Little Theatres, Erín Moure’s avatar Elisa Sampedrín first spoke of theatre and the need for smallness to articulate what is huge. Sampedrín reappeared in the translation mystery O Resplandor as the translator of a language she does not speak, then vanished in The Unmemntioable once the split in human identity that results from war and displacement was mended. Now, in Kapusta, the speaker E., alone in the smallest of spaces, the bench behind her grandmother's woodstove in Alberta, struggles to face the largest of historical and imagined spaces, the Holocaust in Western Ukraine, and to understand her mother's silence at the sadness of her forebears, her “salt-shaker love.” Kapusta is a book-length poem-play-cabaret in French and English, a musical with a marionette mom and sock-monkey daughter, with a lion and a creek and deer and many cabbages: an outcry against genocide.

Exploring the social, political, intimate possibilities of language through poetry, translation and sound work, Oana Avasilichioaei has published four poetry collections (including We, Beasts, 2012, winner of A.M. Klein Award, and feria: a poempark, 2008) and four translations of poetry and prose from French and Romanian. Her newest poetry collection, Limbinal, a hybrid, multi-genre work on notions of borders, which includes new translations of Paul Celan, and a co-translation with Ingrid Pam Dick of Suzanne Leblanc’s The Thought House of Philippa are appearing in spring 2015. Though she lives in Montreal, she frequently crosses borders (www.oanalab.com).

Ingrid Pam Dick (a.k.a. Gregoire Pam Dick, Mina Pam Dick, Jake Pam Dick et al.) is the author of Metaphysical Licks (BookThug 2014) and Delinquent (Futurepoem 2009). Her writing has appeared in BOMB, frieze, The Brooklyn Rail, Aufgabe, EOAGH, Fence, Matrix, Open Letter, Poetry Is Dead, and elsewhere. Her philosophical work has appeared in a collection published by the International Wittgenstein Symposium. Also an artist and translator, Dick lives in New York City, where she is currently doing work that makes out and off with Büchner, Wedekind, Walser, and Michaux.

Suzanne Leblanc holds two PhD degrees, in philosophy (1983) and in visual arts (2004), and has been teaching since 2003 at the School of Visual Arts at the University of Laval (Quebec). She has exhibited multimedia installations in Quebec and has published theoretical works in Germany, France, Switzerland and Canada. Her research and creative work deal with philosophical forms inherent in artistic disciplines. She is currently leading a research-creation group on artistic strategies for the spatialization of knowledge. La maison à penser de P. (2010) is her first novel.

Erín Moure writes in English and Galician and translates poetry from French, Galician, Spanish and Portuguese into English by, among others, Nicole Brossard, Chus Pato, Rosalía de Castro and Fernando Pessoa. Her work has garnered the GG, Pat Lowther, and A.M. Klein Awards; was a three-time Griffin Prize finalist; finalist for the Kobzar Prize; and also has appeared in short films, theatre, and musical compositions and songs. In 2014, her Insecession, a translational echo to Galician poet Chus Pato’s biopoetics, was published alongside her translation from Galician of Pato’s Secession (BookThug).

TONIGHT: Mary Soderstrom launches River Music!

Come celebrate beautiful music and strong women at the launch of Mary Soderstrom's new novel, River Music. On the program: passion and the piano, plus a reading by Mary. The event will take place tonight, Wednesday, May 27 at 7 p.m.

About River Music: Gloria Murray’s daughter jokes that Gloria would have sold her first born to further her musical career — a reproach closer to the truth than anyone but Gloria suspects. Gloria knows from the moment she hears a soaring song played on the piano that she must follow that river of emotion. After an adolescence playing in churches and hotel lobbies, she prepares to study in post-World War II France, but then another sort of passion intrudes and, halfway through her year abroad, she finds herself forced into a hard choice that she shares with no one. Back in Canada, her career blossoms, she marries and has two children, and her secret seems best forgotten — until, thirty years later, her past and her career collide. Set against a backdrop of war, economic changes, and social upheavals, River Music explores the sacrifices that women make to fulfill their destiny, the wildcards of sex and passion, and the complicated relationships between mothers and their children.

Mary Soderstrom is the author of five previous novels: The Violets of Usambara (2008), After Surfing Ocean Beach (2004), The Words on the Wall (1998), Endangered Species (1995), which was a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction; and The Descent of Andrew McPherson (1977), a finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her collections of short stories include Desire Lines: Stories of Love and Geography (2013), The Truth Is (2000) and Finding the Enemy (1997), which was also a finalist for the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of several works of creative non-fiction, including Green City: People, Nature and Urban Places, a Globe and Mail best book of 2007. Originally from the West Coast, she has lived in Montreal for decades.

Recap: Neil Smith Launches Boo

On Thursday, May 14th Neil Smith launched his novel debut, Boo, at the Librairie! The shop was crowded by fans, friends, and colleagues from the QWF (Quebec Writers Federation), of which Smith has been a proud member since its inaugural year, to celebrate the release. 

Attendees learned that inspiration for the book is grounded in Smith's experience growing up in Salt Lake City, a predominantly Mormon community, as part of the secular minority. He remembered his fascination with Heaven and his frequent attempts to induce his peers to describe it to him. As the characters in Smith's version of heaven can't age or even move beyod puberty, Boo is a never-coming-of-age novel.

After a great introduction Smith gave an animated reading, and, despite the gloomy subject matter received plenty of laughs. Afterwards there was a long Q&A session with the audience and an equally lengthy line up for book signings! The excitement for Boo was bananas! Thanks to Neil, QWF and everyone who came out and made the night such a success!

Now in Stock: Pow Pow Press

A few weeks ago Pow Pow Press launched their first English books At TCAF. It's a fantastic selection of funny and poignant graphic novels by Montreal based artists and now you can find them here!

Michel Hellman is a Mile End based artist who sometimes orders the Wilensky special. His appropriately titled comic book, Mile End, is essential reading for anyone who calls the neighbourhood home (neighbours too)! Collecting anecdotes wrought with humour and imagination it chronicles the evolution of the area over a decade paralleling the artist's own life.

Montrealers Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau (Pinkerton and Poulet grain-grain) and Cathon (La liste des choses qui existent and Les ennuis de Lapinette) collaborated to create Vampire Cousins. In a zany tribute to cult horror films Vampire Cousins is a mystery that reads like a long forgotten B-movie full of humour and intrigue.

Samuel Cantin, author of Phobies des moments seuls, is the Montreal based artist behind Vile and Miserable. It's a story about a bookstore employee who works at a shop which doubles as a used car dealership. Chronicling his life over four days it is sad, absurd and hilarious.

In Zviane's (Ping-Pong, L'ostie d'chat, ApnéeFor As Long As It Rains a man and a woman find themselves alone together in a house in a foreign country. Unable to go outside due to the rain they find themselves making music to pass the time. With a soundtrack of Scaramouche and the Legend of Zelda Theme it's not to be missed!

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