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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Some Books We Are Excited About in 2017!

Graphic Novels and Comics

 


So pretty / Very Rotten, Comics and essays on lolita fashion and cute culture, jane mai + an nguyen (May 2017)


We are primed for this collection of essays and short stories by two cartoonists who go beyond the clothes.


Fire!! Zora Neale Hurston Story, Peter Bagge (February 2017)

Following his stellar biography of Margaret Sanger, cartoonist Peter Bagge chronicles the life of another twentieth century trailblazer, the acclaimed writer Zora Neale Hurston.


Sticks Angelica Folk Hero, Michael Deforge (March 2017)

The prolific and incredible Michael Deforge is back with tales of Angelica Sticks, our new heroine!



Pretending is Lying, Dominique Goblet Trans. Sophie Yanow (February 2017)

Translated from the French by store favourite Sophie Yanow, Belgian artist Dominique Goblet's memoir is an unnervingly funny account of dysfunction and an unflinching portrayal of trauma.



Boundless, Jillian Tamaki (June 2017)


Looking forward to the inimitable Jillian Tamaki's next feat - a collection of short stories revolving around a parallel world "mirror facebook" and possible transendence on the internet.

Poetry



A Sand Book, Ariana Reines (January 2017)

One of our favorite poets, Ariana Reines is giving us A Sand Book this year - a series of lyrical essays and poems situated in the American southwest!


There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan Parker (February 2017)

So excited to read this collection of poetry about feminism, race and pop culture!

"Please wait to record Love Jones at 8:48 Saturday on BET
Until your life is no longer defined by Beyoncé
Ants crawling over fallen leaves and little pieces of dog shit
Empty chicken boxes glowing with the remembrance of grease
(...)"

Fiction



This Accident of Being Lost, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (April 2017)

From the author of Islands of Decolonial Love, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, This Accident of Being Lost is a knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs!


Homesick for Another World, Ottessa Moshfegh (January 2017)

After devouring Mcglue and Eileen we can't wait to read more of Moshfegh's wicked prose!


Sour Heart, Jenny Zhang (August 2017)

So thrilled to see Brooklyn based poet Jenny Zhang publish her debut collection of stories which promises to plunge into adolescent hearts.



4 3 2 1, Paul Auster (January 2017)

We're not only excited by Paul Auster's forthcoming novel, we are also thrilled to have him at Rialto Hall, on Tuesday February 28th.Tickets are $10 (receive a $10 discount on 4 3 2 1 with the ticket).

Essays and Non-Fiction

 


On Intersectionality: Essential Writings, Kimberle Crenshaw (August 2017)

"In this incisive introduction to Crenshaw’s groundbreaking work, readers will find the key essays and articles that have defined the concept of intersectionality collected together for the first time."


South and West: from a notebook, Joan Didion (March 2017)

New Joan Didion! Do we have to say more?



Hunger: A memoir of (My) body, Roxane Gay (June 2017)

From Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Bad Feminist! A memoir about food, weight and self-image.
 
“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”


Too Much and Not in the Mood, Durga Chew-Bose (May 2017)

Sigh - we're eagerly awaiting this lyrical collection of essays on writing and female subjectivity that takes it title from Virginia Woolf's A Writer's Diary.

Kid's Books



Colette's Lost Pet, Isabelle Arsenault (May 2017)


Oh my! Our beloved Isabelle Arsenault is giving us a marvelous children story set in the Mile End.


If found, please return to, Elise Gravel (June 2017). trans. Shira Adriance

Can't wait to take a peak in local bestselling author Elise Gravel's sketchbook, full of mushrooms and colorful creatures!


Happy to be Nappy, bell hooks (January 2017)

Feminist and social critic bell hook's children book is back in print! Yahoo!
Friday, 30 December 2016

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's Overall Bestsellers of 2016

The Top Ten


1. Killing and Dying - Adrian Tomine


2. My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante


3. Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus - Chester Brown


4. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


5. Ghosts - Raina Telgemeier


6. Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur



7. Nunavik - Michel Hellman




8. Swing Time - Zadie Smith



9. The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson



10. Mooncop - Tom Gauld

The Next Ten

11. The Inconvenient Indian - Thomas King
12. Illustrated Compendium of Animal Facts - Maja Safstrom
13. Hot Dog Taste Test - Lisa Hanawalt
14. Patience - Daniel Clowes
15. Mile End (French) - Michel Hellman
16. Louis Riel: Tenth Anniversary Edition - Chester Brown
17. Mile End (English) - Michel Hellman
18. All About Love - bell hooks
19. Islands of Decolonial Love - Leanne Simpson
20. Bad Feminist - Roxane Gay

With the year drawing to a close, it's time to compile a definitive list of the titles that most excited our customers in 2016. D&Q books figure heavily, of course, with Adrian Tomine's highly anticipated Killing and Dying at number one, and strong entries from Chester Brown, Tom Gauld, and Lisa Hanawalt.

Surprisingly (or not), a number of this year's bestsellers were not actually new releases. For example, we can see from these numbers that Ferrante fever is still running high, with My Brilliant Friend at number two. Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts, one of last year's bestsellers, continued to be very popular, at number nine. Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian, originally released in 2013, proved its ongoing relevance. Chimamana Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists held on to a top spot at number four (and retained its prominent display right next to our cashiers).

Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey was definitely the breakout hit of the year, with sales that defied all expectations for a volume of contemporary poetry.

Fans were also clamouring for the new titles by Raina Telgemeier, Zadie Smith, and Daniel Clowes (Ghosts, Swing Time, and Patience), so it's no surprise to see how well they did in our store.

Michel Hellman has the distinction of appearing twice on this list, for his new graphic novel, Nunavik, as well as his perennial favourite, Mile End (which came out in French in 2011 and in English last year). In fact, if you count the English and French versions separately, Michel appears three times. Chester Brown's classic Louis Riel also continues its long run as a store favourite (making Brown another author to appear more than once on this list).

bell hooks' All About Love, though now fifteen years old, had a striking resurgence this year, and appears at number eighteen, while Leanne Simpson's Islands of Decolonial Love, from 2013, follows up at number nineteen. Roxane Gay closes out the list with 2015's Bad Feminist. I think these last three books attest to a widespread interest among our customers in reconciling political convictions and personal life, particularly with regard to feminism and indigenous rights. In a year of dispiriting news, we regard this as a hopeful sign.
Monday, 26 December 2016

Solde d'après Fêtes/Boxing Day Sale 2016!


Here's wishing you the very best of the festive season from D+Q! What better way to enjoy the holidays than to get cozy with a new book? We're having a big boxing day sale in store: today only - buy one book at regular price, and get a second book of equal or lesser value at 40% off! If there are still some gaps in your holiday reading wishlist, now is the perfect time to fill 'em! Come say hello to us this boxing day, and get some great reads for a song.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Les lectures 2016 de Lucie

Comme mes collègues l'ont déjà à peu près tou·te·s souligné, il est difficile de limiter ses choix de l'année à dix livres... Surtout quand on est une nouvelle recrue et que l'on a passé les derniers mois à entasser avidement des ouvrages chez soi sans avoir pu en lire le tiers, tout en étant certaine qu'ils méritaient leur place ici.

Les ouvrages qui m'ont le plus marquée ces derniers temps ont deux points communs ; ils portent sur l'actualité et prennent le temps de se poser les bonnes questions, au lieu de choisir le confort de la simplification face à des situations complexes. J'en recommande trois en particulier :


Rolling Blackouts, Sarah Glidden (Drawn and Quarterly)
En 2010, Sarah Glidden a suivi deux journalistes du collectif The Seattle Globalist à travers le Moyen-Orient pendant deux mois, avec pour objectif de comprendre l'essence de leur travail. Qu'est-ce que le journalisme ? Où commence-t-il, où s'arrête-t-il ? À quoi sert-il ? Son questionnement est d'autant plus intéressant que le Globalist se cherche encore ; Sarah et Alex varient les méthodes et se retrouvent souvent dans des situations qui les poussent à redéfinir leur rôle, leur positionnement par rapport aux sujets traités. Difficile de poursuivre un entretien avec professionnalisme quand un ami d'enfance et ancien soldat américain s'obstine à ne donner que des réponses partielles au sujet de ses expériences sur le terrain, ou encore quand une réfugiée irakienne vous demande ce que vous y avez gagné au juste lorsque votre pays a envahi le sien. Pas évident non plus de trouver l'équilibre entre ce qu'il est nécessaire que le public sache et ce qu'il veut savoir : une fois un reportage terminé, il faut savoir lui donner une visibilité sans tomber dans le sensationnalisme...
C'est un délice de retrouver les très belles aquarelles de Glidden, et impressionnant de constater que sa voix a pris autant de complexité. On devine tout le chemin parcouru depuis How to understand Israel in 60 days or less !


Le centre du monde, Emmanuelle Walter (Lux)
De son côté, c'est le député cri Romeo Saganash qu'Emmanuelle Walter a accompagné dans toute la Baie-James québécoise, au cours d'un road-trip qui les a emmenés d'une communauté à l'autre. À la fois un portrait de Saganash, de la circonscription qu'il parcourt et de ses habitant·e·s, le récit de ce voyage est croisé avec des sources documentaires diverses, toutes plus passionnantes les unes que les autres. C'est une excellente introduction à des enjeux sociaux et environnementaux sur lesquels j'en savais bien trop peu et que je ne savais pas par où aborder. Bien sûr, c'est un livre qui m'a mise en colère à bien des égards, car il décrit l'exploitation abusive des ressources naturelles de cet immense territoire, aux dépens des communautés autochtones. Mais l'ouvrage n'est pas exempt de nuances, ni d'optimisme. On perçoit une volonté d'avancer de manière constructive et inédite, malgré les tensions toujours présentes et malgré la grande diversité des intérêts à défendre. Une lecture rapide, mais qui ne cache pas la multiplicité des enjeux de ce territoire et nous lance sur de nombreuses pistes pour aller plus loin.


Über das Meer (Suhrkamp) / Franchir la mer (Lux) / Crossing the Sea (& Other Stories), Wolfgang Bauer
Le troisième voyage de cette liste, le plus médiatisé, le plus rude : traverser la Méditerranée pour demander l'asile en Europe. C'est ce que tente le groupe de Syriens qu'accompagnent le journaliste allemand Wolfgang Bauer et le photographe tchèque Stanislav Krupař.
La mort qui plane sur les bateaux surchargés, on l'évoque si souvent qu'elle semble détachée du reste. Ce n'est pourtant qu'une fraction du voyage. Ici, on nous raconte la réflexion qui précède la décision de traverser la mer, l'inquiétude des proches qu'on laisse derrière soi, l'attente interminable dans des appartements vides et le coup de fil qui annule tout, les échecs qui s'enchaînent, amenuisant les ressources et les espoirs investis dans le périple, le renversement des repères, la corruption des gardes-côtes, les solutions de plus en plus insensées que proposent les passeurs et que l'on finit par accepter à défaut d'avoir le choix... Les réfugiés, et avec eux, Bauer, se retrouvent face à des lois qui ne tiennent pas compte des réalités humaines : loin de les dissuader de prendre des risques, elles les poussent à toujours plus s'exposer. On est bien loin des représentations qui reprochent à l'ensemble de ces personnes, comme à une masse uniforme, les tragédies que nous vivons, alors que ces tragédies ne représentent qu'un échantillon de ce qu'elles fuient.
À la lecture de cet ouvrage, on ne peut qu'être frappé par la violence avec laquelle les frontières retiennent des humains qui risquent leur vie pour les franchir, alors que le passeport d'un pays qu'il n'est nul besoin de fuir nous autorise, voire nous encourage, à oublier l'existence de ces mêmes frontières.


Côté fiction, je n'ai pas eu de vrai coup de cœur pour des romans récents, mais l'année 2016 a été généreuse en bandes dessinées de qualité !


Moomin and Family Life, Tove Jansson (Drawn and Quarterly)
Je ne saurai jamais dire suffisamment mon attachement pour cette famille de trolls constamment tiraillés entre leur sens moral et leur égoïsme, entre leur volonté de se fondre docilement dans la masse et leur besoin irrépressible de fantaisie... Comment ne pas s'identifier à eux, comment ne pas être tenté de se réfugier dans leur monde quand le nôtre va si mal ? J'aurais pu parler de n'importe quel livre des Moomins, mais celui-ci, en plus d'avoir l'excuse d'être le plus récent à être publié dans ce format, est l'un des tous premiers épisodes du comic strip et c'est celui qui nous introduit à Moominpappa et Moominmamma, alors qu'au hasard d'une promenade en barque, ils retrouvent Moomin, leur fils qu'ils croyaient perdu depuis des années. Je le trouve particulièrement représentatif de leur univers intemporel, plein de mélancolie et d'humour absurde.


Quoi de plus normal qu'infliger la vie ?, Oriane Lassus (la mauvaise tête / Arbitraire)
Enfin quelqu'un qui décrit son malaise vis-à-vis des pressions exercées sur les femmes pour qu'elle portent des enfants, sans s'autocensurer ni imposer ses opinions : qu'est-ce que ça fait du bien ! Le tout avec un sens du détail remarquable et un style visuel qui m'a beaucoup plu. Le parallèle omniprésent entre injonction à procréer et consumérisme est à la fois hilarant et désespérant par sa justesse.


Moi qui marche à tâtons dans ma jeunesse noire, Roxane Desjardins (Les Herbes Rouges)
Un récit à la première personne sur cet entre-deux émotionnel qu'est l'adolescence : la démarche aurait pu être banale, mais à aucun moment l'ouvrage ne sonne faux. C'est un récit, mais c'est aussi un long poème en construction, un journal intime, une bande dessinée sans images, une expérience tour à tour familière et déconcertante. On s'y réconcilie avec le grand vide jamais oublié de l'adolescence, peu importe depuis combien de temps on a eu quinze ans. La narratrice met en mots la difficulté à se trouver une place, affronte peu à peu sa peur de l'échec, lutte contre la tentation de la mort, contre des comparaisons qui lui donnent le vertige et manquent d'anéantir ses débuts littéraires. Et nous ouvre grand les portes vers d'autres univers poétiques québécois.


After Nothing Comes, Aidan Koch (Koyama Press)
Porté par un dessin au crayon à papier, inachevé et infusé de nostalgie, et par un très beau sens de la mise en page, ce n'est pas un livre qui se résume. C'est une mosaïque d'instants, de morceaux capturés, comme issus de souvenirs, vécus ou imaginés. Aidan Koch décrit admirablement les émotions liées à une image du passé ou du subconscient. L'ambiance d'un lieu à un moment précis. Le résonnement, longtemps après, de paroles qui n'ont été prononcées une seule fois. Les détails visuels qui repassent en boucle jusqu'à se vider de tout leur sens.


Hot Dog Taste Test, Lisa Hanawalt (Drawn and Quarterly)
Parce que ce livre contient, entre autres, des loutres irrésistibles, des toucans en bikini, des cabanes à menstruation, des poteries grotesques, des questions existentielles sur le petit-déjeuner et des buffets à volonté. Parce qu'il est garanti sans jus détox et sans régime. Parce que c'est Lisa Hanawalt. Franchement, je ne vois pas ce que je pourrais dire de plus ?


Commando culotte, Mirion Malle (Ankama)
Si elle montre que les représentations des genres dans les productions audiovisuelles se diversifient, s'améliorent sur certains points, Mirion Malle met également en valeur ces stéréotypes tenaces que les séries et les films les plus populaires perpétuent, parfois même sans qu'on s'en aperçoive. À l'aide d'une structure bien définie, alternant les concepts et les analyses d'exemples audiovisuels, son avatar joufflu (qui vaut le voyage à lui tout seul) établit un lien très habile entre les écrans et la « vraie vie ». A noter : on y explore les tropes féminins, mais aussi masculins et trans* (beaucoup plus rares en études médiatiques !). Un livre très pédagogique, idéal comme entrée en matière pour toute personne qui souhaite s’intéresser à la relation qu'ont les médias au genre – et nous aux médias.


Les sentiments du prince Charles, Liv Strömquist (rackham) (c'est une réédition, donc techniquement, la version dont je parle ici est sortie en 2016. Si ça ne suffit pas à vous convaincre de sa fraîcheur et du bien-fondé de sa présence ici, je vous renvoie au dernier ouvrage de Liv Strömquist, L'origine du monde, qui date vraiment de 2016 et fait d'ailleurs partie des meilleures lectures de Julie !)
Avec un humour et une érudition en matière de culture pop qui m'ont beaucoup rappelé Mirion Malle, Liv Strömquist analyse les relations amoureuses telles que nos sociétés les ont façonnées. Partant d'exemples qui vont du scandale de tabloïd à la biographie d'un scientifique renommé, elle nous montre, armée d'une logique désarmante, à quel point les modèles de relations hétéronormés et monogames qui prédominent dans nos sociétés peuvent être bancals, voire complètement malsains. Elle balance vérité difficile sur vérité difficile tout en restant terriblement drôle. Une révélation.

Pour plus de suggestions, je vous encourage fortement à faire le tour de nos tops 10 de 2016 :
Saturday, 17 December 2016

Staff Picks 2016: Saelan

This is my third year making a best-of list at D&Q and every year I have the same complaint about how grad school is keeping me from enjoying the embarrassment of riches that the store provides: I don't get to read for pleasure nearly as much as I'd like! I did find time to enjoy a few things, mostly comics and things related to my studies (ie. books about art), plus cookbooks and kids books, because I'm the domesticated father of a two year-old. As you'll see below, the bulk of my fiction reading was actually catch-up from previous years.

WHAT I ENJOYED THE MOST


The Neapolitan Novels - Elena Ferrante (Europa)

I was late to the party on this, but I finally dove in to Elena Ferrante this Summer, and this series completely consumed my life for about a month. Ferrante's writing is every bit as absorbing as everyone had said, though what surprised me was what an exceptional life story it recounts. Ferrante has been repeatedly praised for her depiction of female friendship, but the relationship between Lina and Lenu is anything but ordinary. Unlike, say, Karl Ove Knausgaard's books, Ferrante's quasi-autofiction is thrillingly paced and packed with drama and incident -- plus it's set in tumultuous circumstances, indexing the ferment of Italian politics in the 60s and 70s. The series is particularly powerful as a record of the rise of feminism within a deeply sexist milieu: it is perhaps the most brutally frank (and, at the same time, incredibly sensitive) portrayal I've ever read of the myriad ways in which womens' lives have been and can be dominated by patriarchy.

OTHER NON-2016 I REALLY ENJOYED


 I Love Dick - Chis Kraus (Semiotexte) and The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson (Graywolf)

Two more essential books on female experience, by women, both of which were as good as I'd been led to believe. Kraus' book, in particular, was amazing to read. I've been familiar with her writing for years and had read other books and essays of hers, so finally reading I Love Dick felt both like re-reading and a revelation. It's the model for so much recent writing -- both in terms of autofiction in general and for women writing about their own lives, especially in the so-called "confessional" mode (a category which this books thoroughly deconstructs) -- that it felt familiar and startling at the same time. The Argonauts is a similar document: an essayistic memoir about gender and writing, self-fashioning, queer love, queer parenthood, and queer family-making.

ACTUALLY PUBLISHED IN 2016


Double Teenage - Joni Murphy (BookThug)

To my considerable embarrassment, I only finished one novel in 2016 that was actually published this year. Thankfully that book was Joni Murphy's excellent Double Teenage, a quasi-autobiographical coming-of-age story and the chronicle of a friendship between two young women, set in New Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Chicago. It seems 2016 was really the year of essayistic autofiction by women, for me. (Apologies to all those whose books I started and have yet to finish).

ART COMICS


Wendy's Revenge - Walter Scott (Koyama) and Hot or Not: 20th-century Male Artists - Jessica Campbell (Koyama)

Wendy's Revenge was, bar none, my most anticipated graphic novel of the year, and Walter Scott did not disappoint (also of note: the Wendy comics produced for this year's Montreal Biennial). Wendy's art world satire is perennially, painfully spot-on, though one of the most rewarding things about this new collection is watching Scott flesh out supporting characters like Wendy's indigenous best bud Winona and Screamo, the hard-partying gay nihilist with a secret sensitive side -- both of whom, along with Wendy herself, seem like fractured parts of Scott's own identity as a queer Mohawk artist. Now that Scott's back in art school, I can't wait to see Wendy take on MFA life! Jessica Campbell's Hot or Not is more of a one-liner, but it's a good joke.

Honourable mentions: The Artist - Anna Haifisch (Breakdown) and Jaakko Pallasvuo's Instagram.

OTHER COMICS


Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus - Chester Brown (D&Q), Laid Waste - Julia Gfrörer (Fantagraphics), and Mooncop - Tom Gauld (D&Q)

These three picks are biblical, medieval, and futuristic, respectively. Brown's exegesis on prostitution in the Old Testament is unorthodox, but masterfully rendered. Gfrörer's beautifully grim tale of desperate love amidst the Black Plague is a timely reminder that many different points in history have all felt like the end of the world. And Tom Gauld's Mooncop dispenses with the whimsical gags of his better-known work for a sustained mood piece on loneliness, optimism, and companionship -- while retaining his trademark dry and quirky sense of humour.

NONFICTION ABOUT ART



Is Toronto Burning? Three Years in the Making (and Unmaking) of the Toronto Art Scene - Philip Monk (Black Dog), Social medium: artists writing, 2000-2015 - edited by Jennifer Liese (Paper Monument), and How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking About Art - David Salle (W.W. Norton)

Monk's book is unsurprisingly opinionated and necessarily biased, given that Monk himself was a key figure in the scene he documents, but it's still an essential document of a key period in Canadian art. The moment that Monk investigates has resonance not only across the country but also in terms of international contemporary art, as the 70s turned into the 80s. Paper Monument's anthology of artists' writings gathers an eclectic (and perhaps slightly uneven) selection of the best and most significant essays of the last decade-and-a-half, a number of which I hadn't read and others that are great to revisit. Finally, David Salle is an artist that I have never been particularly drawn to, but as a hot property of the 80s art world whose star dimmed considerably in recent decades, he has some intimate insights into the upper echelons of a particular era and a cantankerous, artist's-eye perspective on other artists that's refreshing and fascinating, even when I differ on his positions and opinions the majority of the time.

COOKBOOKS


Middle Eastern Vegetarian - Salma Hage (Phaidon) and Classic German Baking - Luisa Weiss (Ten Speed)

My wife is a vegetarian who loves Middle Eastern food, so Salma Hage's book was a no-brainer in our household, but it really is a beautiful book, packed with simple and delicious recipes. Meanwhile, Luisa Weiss' Classic German Baking took me back to my childhood and the treats baked by my beloved German Omi, whose cooking I've been trying to recreate in her memory since her passing earlier this year.

KIDS BOOKS



King Baby - Kate Beaton (Arthur A. Levine) and We Found a Hat -Jon Klassen (Candlewick)

Here's two books that my toddler and I could both agree on -- both follow-ups to other much-loved titles by the same authors. Kate Beaton's King Baby was perfect for our house, since it handily explains how babies become big kids (which are sometimes followed by new babies, as is the case for us) and We Found a Hat offers a benevolent conclusion to Jon Klassen's wonderful "Hat" series, in which two friends decide to do what's best for each other.

For more reading suggestions be sure to check out Top Ten of 2016 lists from the rest of the Librairie D&Q staff:
Alyssa + Ben + Daphné + Helen + Henrika + Julie + Lucie + Rebecca + Kate

Friday, 16 December 2016

Staff Picks 2016: Kate

So many great books this year, and so little time..so let's get started! Here are my top ten of 2016: 


Beverly - Nick Drnaso
This poignant collection of short stories travels through alienated suburbia depicting fractured American family life in all of its sordid glory. Muted pastels and minimal dialogue subtly reveal the unmistakable trauma seething beneath the surface of the character's lives. Detached and misanthropic, these characters lead heart-breakingly quiet lives. With its darkly funny and nuanced stories, Beverly is a book that deserves many re-readings.


Panther - Brecht Evens
This terrifying and seductive book saw its well-deserved translation into English this year via Drawn & Quarterly. Brecht Evens' gothic fairy tale conveys the story of Christine and her shapeshifting panther friend in dazzling watercolors. The outstanding artwork and sharp writing make it easy to get lost inside this shadowy world of dreams and nightmares. Don't be fooled by the children's book format - Panther's archetypal horror stayed with me for weeks after reading.


Big Kids - Michael Deforge
In this story about transformation, a queer teenager grapples with high school life. When he unexpectedly "trees",  his perspective shifts completely and he begins to see the world through tree eyes. In the Big Kids universe, trees are hyper-evolved beings that have a zen-sensual connection to the exterior world. Not everyone is a tree though, as the protagonist learns; it's a fluid state, and some people will remain twigs forever. With this incredibly potent metaphor, Deforge captures something elemental about coming of age in my favourite Michael Deforge book to date! 


The Babysitter at Rest - Jen George
I laughed ad nauseum at the latest offering from the now seminal small press, the Dorothy Project. Jen George's collection of absurd and scathing short stories are the perfect marriage of comedy and despair. Whether satirizing basic institutions like healthcare, culture, and education or dissecting human relationships, her lampooning of the brutal violence of patriarchal culture is consistently hilarious and cutting. 


The Vegetarian - Han Kang trans. by Deborah Smith
This strange novella put me into a trance and once I started it I couldn't put it down. It revolves around the titular character Yeong-Hye's decision to stop eating meat and is told through the shifting perspective of her family. This exercise of personal agency, however small and mysterious, seems to enrage everyone around her. But the more they grasp at it, the further she eludes them. Ethereal images of carnality juxtaposed with the vegetal color this tragic modern fable.


Bad Korean - Kyung Me
This stellar collection of mixed media drawings was published this year by Space Face Books. It follows one character's path from her bedroom to the beach, the subway to the street, while accompanied by simple text statements narrating her thoughts. Chronicling the banal pleasantries of public space as well as her most intimate and gut-wrenching moments, it renders a spectrum of emotion from DGAF catty malaise to endearing optimism. Kyung Me's Bad Korean is a hypnotic visual poem.


Eileen - Ottessa Moshfegh
In this perversely funny, dark story the narrator, Eileen, reminisces about her youth. Living in small town Massachusetts with her alcoholic (retired cop) father and working at a penitentiary, life is bleak for the young Eileen. Her vast self-loathing is matched only by her contempt for everyone else in her vicinity. When not obsessing about death or bodily functions, she gets her kicks shoplifting and stalking her fantasy man and co-worker, Randy. Despite the anguish, Eileen’s inner world gleams with candor and lucidity in this totally engrossing read. 


Double Teenage - Joni Murphy
In melancholic prose, Double Teenage captures girlhood's ritualized growing pains. I read it this summer on a flight home, where its recurring theme of transition was especially poignant. Set in the Southwestern desert in the 1990s, double protagonists Celine and Julie invoke ghosts and magic spells as they try to discern why our culture has so many stories about dead girls. 


Virus Tropical - Powerpaola
Already widely published across the globe, this autobiographical comic was released in English this year in a beautiful edition by 2DCloud. It recounts Powerpaola's youth spent in 1980s Ecuador and Columbia living with her Mom and sisters. Her telling is full of charm and dark humour and each chapter, organized by themes such as religion, women, and money, is commemorated by a vivacious full-page drawing. Essential reading for fans of Julie Doucet or Marjane Satrapi, AND it's going to be a movie


Wendy's Revenge - Walter Scott
Wendy's Revenge is the fabulous followup to her sensational debut. The beloved heroine offers a much needed scene report on the sometimes seedy art world. This collection is every bit as excellent as the first. And, now that Wendy's international art career is happening, she travels a lot more. From Vancouver to Yokohama, LA, Toronto and New York, Wendy attends art openings everywhere - with enough remorseful hangovers for everyone to indulge in!

~~~~~~~ Honorable Mentions


Girl on the Shore - Inio Asano What is Obscenity - Rokudenashiko + Suite for Barbara Loden - Nathalie Léger trans. by Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon


Margaret the First - Danielle Dutton + Laid Waste - Julia Gfrörer + Hot or Not20th Century Male Artists - Jessica Campbell

~~~~~~~ Books I am going to read immediately


Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars - Kai Cheng Thom + Problems - Jade Sharma + Surveys - Natasha Stagg + Social Medium: Artists Writing; 2000-2015 - ed. by Jennifer Liese + Float - Anna Carson + Swing Time - Zadie Smith 

For more reading suggestions be sure to check out everyone's Top Ten of 2016 lists right here:
Alyssa + Ben + Daphné + Helen + Henrika + Julie + Lucie + Rebecca + Saelan

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