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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Rainy Day Reads

Though we're a day early, the old adage about April showers bringing May flowers feels appropriate today! Spring has *almost* sprung here in Montreal. Warm breezes, verdant terraces and leisurely strolls in the park are calling, but first we have to schlep through some more cold, mud and general pre-spring city grime. So why not use these rainy days as an opportunity to crack open an intimidatingly long book? We've got a few suggestions of hefty tomes to get you started, all clocking it at over 500 pages:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Perhaps the lord of all intimidatingly long books, this 20th Anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace's classic is a perfect project for an ambitious reader. Even if you've already climbed this mountain, a re-read will yield all kinds of new insights. Make sure to prepare yourself with three bookmarks though - even the footnotes have footnotes! A daunting undertaking for the first 200 pages or so, you'll soon find yourself immersed in the weird world of DFW and even 1100 pages won't feel long enough.


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

There's something about a good Russian 19th century novel that is just perfectly suited to a rainy day. This beautiful hardcover edition of Anna Karenina boasting pink binoculars on the cover is positively beckoning to be opened, isn't it? Undisputedly a masterful storyteller, Tolstoy's writing has innumerable fine qualities, but brevity is not one. There are plenty of reasons to read or re-read this seminal piece of realist fiction, widely hailed as one of the finest novels ever written. Need I say more?

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Part love story, part mystery, part dystopian-future piece, Murakami spent upwards of 4 years writing the mammoth that is 1Q84. First published in 3 installments in Japan, which sold out immediately, the entire story is published in one volume for English readers. Dive into Murakami's labyrinthine, parallel universe version of Tokyo in 1984, and you'll be whisked away from rainy Montreal in no time!

The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector

Nothing beats getting completely wrapped up in a novel and losing track of time, but if you can't schedule an entire day of uninterrupted reading into your busy schedule, a long book of short stories might be just the ticket! Often described as a genius, and likened to Nabokov, Borges and Calvino, Brazillian author Clarice Lispector's fierce intelligence and knack for depicting human experiences render her work completely unique. The Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector spans her entire career, filled with darkly funny, haunting tales. Plus, the beautiful cover design from New Directions makes it a striking addition to your bookshelf!

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Fifteen years in the making, Alexander Chee's The Queen of the Night is truly epic in scope. The story follows the life of protagonist Lilliet Berne on her journey from Midwestern orphan to 19th century Parisian Opera star, with a vast array of incarnations along the way, including courtesan, hippodrome rider in the circus, prostitute, seamstress, maid to the empress of France, and spy, to name but a few. At close to 600 pages, there is plenty of drama for fans of the Victorian picaresque to sink their teeth into. Ornate prose, meticulous detail, passionate and unceasing twists of fate make Linette's journey a mesmerizing one. Renowned authors Junot Diaz, Kelly Link, Hanya Yanagihara, Helen Oyeyemi have already been singing the praises of Chee's latest book, so why not join the chorus and get swept away by this period piece?

Despite the cold and rain, spring is definitely coming, and with it, the season of beach reads. Hauling a 1000-pager to the beach is not nearly as nice as curling up with one in your favourite cozy reading spot in your home-suit, so now's the time! 

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