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Friday, 8 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Saelan

Every year, I complain about how grad school and parenthood keep me from reading for pleasure as much as I'd like. Well, this year my partner and I had our second child, so suffice it to say that not much has changed as far as my reading habits go, though I did manage to find time for a lot of graphic novels. As for the rest, I'll leave you guessing as to which titles I've actually read and which are patiently waiting on my desk or night table.

Jillian Tamaki - Boundless and Tove Jansson - Moomin and the Brigands

I'm going to limit myself to two books, here. Jillian Tamaki's Boundless was my favourite graphic novel of 2017 pretty much hands-down (see my mid-year round-up for a longer write-up) and Moomin and the Brigands (just re-issued!) is the very first of Tove Jansson's almost unspeakably charming Moomin comics -- an absolute treasure for readers of any age.

Sophie Goldstein - House of Women; Jaakko Pallasvuo - Mirror Stage & Easy Rider; Patrik Kyle - Everywhere Disappeared; Jesse Jacobs - Crawl Space; Sophia Foster-Dimino - Sex Fantasy

Look at this bumper crop! I remember a few years ago when Sophie Goldstein (then an intern at the D&Q office) brought in House of Women as a zine for consignment and it blew me away. Now this fabulous feminist sci-fi horror comic is available in a gorgeous hardcover from Fantagraphics! Jaakko Pallasvuo, one of my favourite artists (full stop) had two comics this year: a little one from Latvian press Mini Kuš, and a longer one from Landfill Editions (sadly, his book from 2dcloud is postponed, hopefully not indefinitely). Koyama Press also had a fantastic year, with stellar titles from Patrick Kyle, Sophia Foster-Dimino, and Jesse Jacobs.

An honourable mention goes to Manuele Fior's The Interview (not pictured), an interesting near-future sci-fi romance.

Matthias Enard - Compass; Otessa Moshfegh - Homesick for Another World; Laurent Binet - The Seventh Function of Language; Elif Batuman - The Idiot; Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - This Accident of Being Lost

I'll refrain from individually pitching you these five excellent books. Mathias Enard's Middle-Eastern fantasia, Compass, already comes decorated with the Prix Goncourt, while Moshfegh and Batuman's books will likely appear on many of my coworkers' lists, too. You can look here for my earlier praise of Leanne Simpson. As for Laurent Binet, The Seventh Function of Language is a madcap, postmodern detective novel in the vein of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. We all know that Roland Barthes died in 1980 after being struck by a laundry van -- what Binet's novel presupposes is...maybe he was murdered?

Naben Ruthnum - Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race; Daphné B. & Kathy L. - I Love Dick (a fanfic); Marcela Huerta - Tropico

It's a special pleasure to read books written by people you know, especially when the books are personal, as each of these are. This year, my friend Naben published a long essay (via Coach House's Exploded Views imprint) on the idea of the ''currybook,'' the literary subgenre of the South Asian diaspora in which food is so often a metaphor for the irretrievable homeland. My current and former coworkers Kate and Daphne published a fan-fictional take on Chris Kraus' iconic I Love Dick that examines the trope of unrequited love as a spur to creativity. And, finally, another former coworker, Marcela Huerta, wrote a poignant collection of poems mostly inspired by her late father, a Chilean political refugee.

Honourable mention, as well, to Daphné's Delete and to Julie Delporte's Moi aussi je voulais l'emporter, both of which I have to miss out on, since my French reading skills aren't really up to par.

Hito Steyerl - Duty Free Art; Michael Robbins - Equipment for Living; Chris Kraus - After Kathy Acker

Three of my favourite living cultural critics published book this year! Hito Steyerl's Duty Free Art is an anthology of her indispensable essays on contemporary art (mostly drawn from e-flux journal) and Equipment for Living  collects Michael Robbin's adroit essays on pop music and poetry. Chris Kraus' After Kathy Acker is a frank, critical biography of the late punk-postmodernist writer that avoids the usual hagiography and romanticization that tends to accrue to accounts of 1980s New York.

An honourable mention goes to Malcolm Harris's Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials (not pictured).

Raymond Roussel - Locus Solus; Leonora Carrington - Complete Stories; Robert Musil - The Man Without Qualities

You can look here for my recommendations of this year's reissued works by Raymond Roussel and Leonora Carrington. Kudos as well to Picador for finally putting a decent English edition of Robert Musil's classic modernist novel of fin-de-siecle Austria back in print. An honourable mention goes to New Direction' handsome new edition of Fernando Pessoa's Book of Disquiet (not pictured).

bell hooks - The Will to Change; Sarah Schulman - Conflict is Not Abuse

I feel like the most important book I've read this year is bell hooks' The Will to Change, which was published in 2004. Even at that date, hooks was lamenting the lack of serious efforts by men (as well as by female-identified feminist thinkers) to understand how patriarchy (aside from the obvious harm it does to women and gender-nonconforming people) also harms men and boys, and what a non-patriarchal masculinity not based on domination and repression might look like. Thirteen years later, we need that analysis more than ever, though it's tragic that we've made so little progress on this front. Conflict is Not Abuse, meanwhile, instructs us on how to avoid reinforcing toxic behaviour patterns even as we seek to confront abuse in our communities.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Kennedy

As an English student and a bookseller, I spend a lot of time around books. When I wasn't reading textbooks of Romantic poetry or writing essays on post-war British novels, I read the books I've compiled here - my favourites! I've also spent a lot of time leafing through picture books since the opening of our new children's store, La Petite D+Q, and I couldn't enjoy it more. It was tough to pick just a few but I've included some picture books that I loved this year.

Too Much and Not the Mood, Durga Chew-Bose
After feeling like I had spent an eternity in a reading slump, Durga Chew-Bose’s debut collection of essays completely lifted my spirits. She puts such care into every detail of her essays that reading them felt like being hugged. She has an incredible eye for details and carves them out so perfectly that I felt like I could hold each moment in my hands.

Boundless, Jillian Tamaki
Jillian Tamaki's collection of short stories is full of emotion, wit, and of course Tamaki's beautiful illustrations. Each story feels so special and delicate that I return to these stories anytime when I'm in need of some comfort reading. Wholly unique and engaging, Tamaki secures her spot as one of my favourite writers and artists.

Spaniel Rage, Vanessa Davis
I picked up this book after reading a recommendation from one of my favourite artists, Lisa Hanawalt, on the back cover, and I was not disappointed. Davis' collection of daily sketches is delightfully funny and comforting and I devoured it in one sitting before returning to my favourite pages again and again.

Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
I finally got around to reading George Saunders’ first novel a few weeks ago and I was floored. Narrated by a group of eccentric ghosts, the novel jumps off from a historical fact: after the death of his ten year old son, Abraham Lincoln returned to the crypt several times to hold his son’s body. The book had me crying within the first few chapters and laughing mere paragraphs later. I have loved every George Saunders book that I’ve read, but I think this may be my all-time favourite.

Uncomfortably Happily, Yeon-Sik Hong
This graphic memoir follows a young couple as they move from the busy streets of Seoul to the mountainous countryside in an attempt to escape chaos and expenses of the city. They find, however, that their new pastoral life is not exactly what they had imagined. The beauty in the minute details of this book kept me hanging on in a way that I never thought possible. I could read about the couple making dinner, warming their home, gardening, and all the rest of the mundanity of daily life for a thousand more pages.

Hunger, Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay’s deeply personal memoir chronicles her relationship with her body from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Through this she meditates on family, loneliness, and trauma in ways that feel both solely personal but intensely familiar.

Theft by Finding, David Sedaris
I usually have a David Sedaris book going at all times. I read a story or two anytime I need a pick-me-up, a palate cleanser, or just a brief moment of escape from it all. Theft By Finding, a collection of his diary entries from 1977 to 2002, is the perfect book for this. This book is a true deep-dive into Sedaris’ career, and full of his incomparable wit.

Here We Are, Oliver Jeffers
The latest from the wonderful author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, this beautiful book provides ''notes for living on planet earth''. He tours the entire world, land, sea, and stars in all its beautiful, illustrated glory.

The Golden Leaf, Kristen Hall and Matthew Forsythe
In this picture book written by Kristen Hall and beautifully illustrated by Montreal artist Matthew Forsythe, a group of animals chase an elusive gold leaf throughout the forest. Using actual gold leafing technique, this is one of the most gorgeous picture books I’ve read in a long time. Pairs well with the Matthew Forsythe designed wrapping paper available at La Petite D+Q!

Saisons de Montréal, Raphaelle Barbanègre
Each page in this book takes you to a new corner of Montreal. Filled with colour and charm, just like the city, this book makes a perfect gift for anyone visiting Montreal, living in Montreal, or missing Montreal. It makes me eager to get out and explore as much of the city as I can.

More staff picks are on their way! Look out for favourites from:

Kate // Luke // Saelan // Chantal // Arizona // Chantale // Benjamin // Kalliopé // Anna // Sophie // Eli

Monday, 4 December 2017

Event recap: Daphné B. & Kathy L. launch I Love Dick, a fanfic w/ Marcela Huerta & Julie Delporte

This past Friday, the 1st of December, we had the pleasure of hosting the launch of I Love Dick, a fanfic!

The zine is a collaboration between Daphné B. (poet and translator, and author of Bluetiful and Delete), and Kathy L. (part-time bookseller and artist based in Montréal). Back in the summer, Daphné and Kathy exchanged letters in the style of Chris Kraus' feminist cult classic written in the 90s, addressed to the eponymous Dick. 

The letters analyze a variety of contemporary phenomena and cultural objects such as celebrity, memes, Google Translate, pop songs, and Vegas, through the lens of female desire and feminism. The text is interwoven with images: screenshots of internet image browsing and Youtube playlists. At the intersection of artist book, zine, and fanfiction, it is a funny, subversive, and thoughtful reflection on love, desire, and art.

Daphné and Kathy took turns reading their letters, accompanied by some Lynchian mood music. The two were then joined onstage by Marcela Huerta (former assistant editor of Drawn & Quarterly and author of Tropico), and Julie Delporte (prolific cartoonist, essayist, and author of Moi aussi je voulais l'emporter), who each read from new works. Marcela even wrote her own letter to Dick!

After the readings, Kathy screened a film entitled "Last Looks", which chopped'n'screwed footage from a Harlequin-produced TV show to map the various gazes of contempt, desire, and searching. 

The readers—all D+Q staffers past and present—then partook in a "great provocative discussion about unrequited love as cultural practice, unknown terrain of female desire and selfies of crying girls" (per Heather O'Neill). Later, the conversation was further fueled by the audience in a stirring Q&A. 

Thank you to everyone for packing the house, and thank you to our wonderful readers for such a memorable event!
Thursday, 30 November 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Alyssa

Every year I dread this task: choosing, somehow, amidst all the amazing literature that came out this year, a top ten. It's a challenge I never feel up to. How does one compare a graphic novel to a poetry collection? Essays to short stories? Cookbooks to comics? And so I've selected ten titles in no particular order, books that made me fall in love, cry bitterly, or cackle to myself in public. But as for some sort of objective ranking, that I'll leave to you.

The Idiot, Elif Batuman
In Batuman's much-loved new novel, college freshman Selin has just arrived at Harvard in the 90s. Humorous, curious, and introspective, Selin finds herself immersed in Russian literature, first love, and the rather existential question of how one becomes a writer. The prose is observant, yet meditative, funny but with all the gravitas of becoming an adult and slowly, endearingly, figuring it all out.

Sour Heart, Jenny Zhang
It was a real treat to watch Jenny Zhang converse with Zadie Smith earlier this year, and there's a good reason she was chosen for the role. Her debut stories are sharply perceptive but with a tender softness, blending coming-of-age stories with tales of immigration, dreams deferred, poverty, and love. Her protagonists, daughters of artists and scholars, are delightful in their foibles, their stories, weaknesses, and aspirations a testament to Zhang's honesty and emotional range.

Mois aussi je voulais l'emporter, Julie Delporte
In her meditations on travel, art, sex, and Tove Jansson, the narrative thread holding together Julie's beautiful new graphic novel is a constant examination of what it means to be a woman. The interconnected vignettes slowly, painfully, reconcile themselves to this identity, rife with expectations and often uncomfortably constrained. The art and text work perfectly together toward the kind of clear-hearted introspection that made me sit down on a park bench in -5 weather just to finish it.

Boundless, Jillian Tamaki
I read Jillian Tamaki's spectacular set of short stories multiple times in preparation for a graphic novel book club I hosted this summer, and enjoyed them just as much each and every time. Tamaki is a consummate artist and storyteller, and Boundless's characters--who, in turn, shrink down to nothingness or become obsessed with a mysterious mirror-world Facebook--seem alive as they find themselves distanced from, or transcending, their identities, culture, relationships, and selves.

Sticks Angelica Folk Hero, Michael DeForge
When I say that this is my favourite thing Michael DeForge has published since Ant Colony, it's a meaningful sentiment. I’m always a fan of his eerie, hyper-stylized illustration and deadpan dialogue, but there’s something extra special about the story of Sticks Angelica, former Canadian heiress and force of nature. Running away from a family scandal, Sticks goes to live in the wilderness among animals like a lonely electric eel and a moose named Lisa Hanawalt who dreams of becoming a big shot lawyer in the bustling metropolis of Ottawa. They’re only a few of the characters that fill the pages of this enchanting graphic novel, with a story that had me chuckling with every new page.

Baking with Kafka, Tom Gauld
Definitely one of the books that had me laughing at increasingly inappropriate times, Baking with Kafka is the perfect continuation of You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, the first installment of Gauld's collected Guardian comic strips. Intelligent, absurd, and not a little irreverent, this new collection is funnier, more succinct, and just as enjoyable as its predecessor. 

Hunger, Roxane Gay
Back in 2015, we had the pleasure of welcoming Roxane Gay here in Montreal. During that event she mentioned her new project: a memoir of her body, her relationship to food, her history of trauma. Well worth that long anticipation, Hunger is a harrowing story: a chronicle of childhood rape, silent shame, eating, weight gain, and self-preservation, told unflinchingly, honestly, and with undeniable care. Gay is a master writer, adding to her years writing about feminism and women's bodies with this deeply personal work that is not to be missed.

Tropico, Marcela Huerta
It's always a little embarrassing when such a little book will make me cry, but I suppose that's what I get for reading books like Tropico. An intimate portrayal of the grief and love that arise from parental relationships and shared trauma, Tropico is all the best parts of the memoir, the poem, and the short story. The daughter of Chilean political refugees, Marcela has crafted a careful but uncompromising testament to how families can at once soothe and hurt each other, and how one can hope to cope with that lasting pain.

Delete, Daphné B.
I fell totally in love with Daphné's 2015 poetry collection Bluetiful, but this new work--ambitious, tightly woven, utterly relatable--is something else entirely. A reclamation of self in the face of love that threatens to swallow you whole, Delete works its way through email correspondence never sent, the disconnectedness of living abroad, the ennui of a changed home. Calm and considered, the deeply felt words give meaning to moments of loneliness, of inaction, of loss.

Wild Beauty, Ntozake Shange
Having had the opportunity to see one of my favourite plays, Shange's seminal For Colored Girls, performed recently, it was only natural that I would turn to this new work: a splendid English/Spanish collection of the writer's best and newest poems. There's always a living immediacy to Shange's work, a richness and breath to it that invites an out-loud reading, a rhythm, a dance. At times painful, always beautiful, I'm very grateful for the timing of this book's release. It's allowed me to immerse myself fully in a writer I love. 

And make sure to check out all the other staff picks when they come out:
Kate \\ Luke \\ Kennedy \\ Saelan \\ Chantal \\ Arizona \\ Chantale \\ Ben \\ Kalliopé \\ Anna \\ Sophie \\ Eli

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

New & Notable: Jaime Hernandez Fantagraphics Studio Edition

The Jaime Hernandez: Fantagraphics Studio Edition is out this month!

Jaime Hernandez is co-creator of the beloved Love and Rockets series and one third of Los Bros Hernandez, innovators of alternative comics.

This beautiful collection features almost 200 pages of unretouched original art, an interview with the artist and a trove of unreleased material. 

Come see it for yourself at the shop! 
Saturday, 25 November 2017

Daphné B. & Kathy L. launch "I Love Dick, a fanfic" with Julie Delporte & Marcela Huerta

As long fans of Kraus’ writing and the genre-blurring style which it emblemizes, Kate L. and Daphné B. began writing and sharing their own letters to Dick over the summer.

I Love Dick (a fanfic), is a post-internet iteration of the feminist cult classic written in the 90s. The letters analyze a variety of contemporary phenomenon and cultural objects such as celebrity, memes, Google Translate, pop songs, and Vegas, through the lens of female desire and feminism. The text is interwoven with images: screenshots of internet image browsing and Youtube playlists. At the intersection of artist book, zine, and fanfiction, it is a funny, subversive, and thoughtful reflection on love, desire, and art. 

The zine will be launched at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (176 Bernard O.) on December 1st at 7:00 pm where authors Kate Lewis, Daphné B., Julie Delporte and Marcela Huerta will partake in a discussion on female writing and desire.

KATHY L. is a part-time bookseller and artist based in Montreal.

DAPHNÉ B. est née en 1990 à Montréal. Elle a étudié, voyagé, été libraire. Elle a publié Bluetiful (2015) et Delete (2017). Cofondatrice du collectif Filles Missiles, elle est aussi collaboratrice à l'émission Plus on est de fous, plus ont lit et apprentie traductrice.

JULIE DELPORTE est l'auteure de plusieurs bande dessinée pour adultes - dont Journal (2014), Je vois des antennes partout (2015), Moi aussi je voulais l'emporter (2017) - et d'un album jeunesse Je suis un raton laveur (2013). Elle écrit également des essais, réalise des illustrations pour divers magazines et fabrique des bols en céramique. (pic by Hélène Gruénais)

MARCELA HUERTA is the author of Tropico, a collection of poetry and creative nonfiction published by Metatron Press in 2017. She has worked at the Museum of Anthropology, Working Format, and Free Agency Creative as a Graphic Designer, and at Drawn & Quarterly as an Assistant Editor. She is the proud daughter of Chilean refugees, and her work centers around their stories, as well as the stories of other marginalized voices. You can find her online @marsmella
Thursday, 23 November 2017

Get 25% Off All DQ Books Until November 27th!

There's a lot to celebrate here at Drawn & Quarterly, as we welcome our brand new kids' bookstore across the street at 176 Bernard West.

And our fall titles are something to behold: Between Tom Gauld's Baking With Kafta and Brigitte Findakly's Poppies of Iraq, from R. Sikoryak's The Unquotable Trump to a beautiful reissue of Lynda Barry's The Good Times Are Killing Me (not to mention works by Leanne Shapton, Jason Lutes, Tove Jansson, and Leslie Stein), there's something for everyone.

 We want to share our excitement with you!
 We're announcing a 25% OFF Drawn+Quarterly published titles, in-store sale at both locations! The sale will end next Monday, November 27th.

*TONIGHT* Julie Soleil Archambault launches MOBILE SECRETS

Join Julie Soleil Archambault at La Petite D+Q (176 Bernard O.) on Thursday, November 23rd at 7:00 pm for the launch of Mobile Secrets: Youth, Intimacy, and the Politics of Pretence in Mozambique! Archambault will be in conversation with Andrew Ivaska, Associate Professor of History at Concordia University, and Blair Rutherford, Professor of Anthropology at Carleton University.

Now part and parcel of everyday life almost everywhere, mobile phones have radically transformed how we acquire and exchange information. Many anticipated that in Africa, where most have gone from no phone to mobile phone, improved access to telecommunication would enhance everything from entrepreneurialism to democratization to service delivery, ushering in socio-economic development.

With Mobile Secrets, Julie Soleil Archambault offers a complete rethinking of how we understand uncertainty, truth, and ignorance by revealing how better access to information may in fact be anything but desirable. By engaging with young adults in a Mozambique suburb, Archambault shows how, in their efforts to create fulfilling lives, young men and women rely on mobile communication not only to mitigate everyday uncertainty but also to juggle the demands of intimacy by courting, producing, and sustaining uncertainty. In their hands, the phone has become a necessary tool in a wider arsenal of pretense—a means of creating the open-endedness on which harmonious social relations depend in postwar postsocialist Mozambique. As Mobile Secrets shows, Mozambicans have harnessed the technology not only to acquire information but also to subvert regimes of truth and preserve public secrets, allowing everyone to feign ignorance about the workings of the postwar intimate economy.

JULIE SOLEIL ARCHAMBAULT is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University. She received her PhD (2010) from the School of Oriental and African Studies (U. of London) and has been conducting ethnographic field research in Mozambique for over a decade
Wednesday, 22 November 2017

TONIGHT! Reading Across Borders Book Club: The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz

The Reading Across Borders book club focuses on literature in English translation, with a particular interest in writers who are not (yet) well-known in the English-speaking world. Hosted by former store staffer Helen Chau Bradley, the book club meetings take place every two months, and are open to all. 

For our next meeting, on Wednesday, November 22, we will meet at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (176 Bernard O.) at 7 pm to discuss Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette. In the interests of comparative literature, you are also encouraged to read Vladimir Sorokin’s The Queue as a secondary text; however, this isn’t mandatory. Join us for discussion and drinks!

**We offer a 15% discount on The Queue (both titles) from now until the meeting date.** 

We regret that the bookstore is not wheelchair accessible. There are two steps at the entrance, followed by one door that opens inward. Once inside, there are no additional steps to access the bathroom, although the bathroom space is narrow. Alcohol will be served.

A queue forms outside the Gate, which has mysteriously replaced the ruling government in the aftermath of a quelled popular revolution. No one in the city can get anything done or their basic needs met without approval from the Gate, but perversely, though rumours fly and people wait patiently, the monumental structure never opens. The ever-forming crowd brings people of all types together, and through their misfortunes, arguments and relationships, we discover the ways in which an authoritarian state manipulates and mobilizes its citizens in its favour. Basma Abdel Aziz is an Egyptian journalist and psychiatrist living in Cairo. Nicknamed “The Rebel,” she has long been a vocal critic of government repression. The Queue is the first of her books to be translated into English, and is reminiscent of Vladimir Sorokin’s late-Soviet era novel of the same name (translated from the Russian by Sally Laird), which also paints an absurdist portrait of an oppressive state via a long and seemingly purposeless line. 

A very real vision of life after the Arab Spring written with dark, subtle intelligence, The Queue describes the sinister nature of authoritarianism and illuminates the way that absolute authority manipulates information, mobilizes others in service to it, and fails to uphold the rights of even those faithful to it.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Granta Launch hosted by Catherine Leroux

Co-editor, novelist & short story writer Catherine Leroux is joined by contributors Fanny Britt and Benoit Jutras, as well as translator Rhonda Mullins, for the Montreal launch of this exquisite anthology on Thursday, November 30th at 7:00 pm at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly!

Catherine Leroux is a novelist, translator & journalist. Her novel "Le mur mitoyen The Party Wall" won the 2014 Prix litteraire France-Quebec and was nominated for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. 

Guest edited by Catherine Leroux and Madeleine Thien, GRANTA 141 focuses on Canada: from its global cities to the Arctic Circle, the writers in this issue upend the ways we imagine land, reconciliation, truth and belonging.

Catherine Leroux, écrivaine et co-éditrice du numéro, ainsi que les auteurs Fanny Britt et Benoit Jutras et la traductrice Rhonda Mullins, vous attendent au lancement montréalais de cette merveilleuse anthologie le 30 novembre à 19h a la Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly!

Co-dirigé par Madeleine Thien et Catherine Leroux, GRANTA 141 se consacre au Canada. Des métropoles au cercle arctique, les auteurs de ce numéro renversent la manière dont sont imaginés le territoire, la réconcilition, la vérité et l'appartenance.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Fall D+Q Release: Present by Leslie Stein

From NYC cartoonist Leslie Stein:
we are pleased to share PRESENT with you, a Fall 2017 D+Q release 

Leslie Stein's new collection of stories slash diary comics is a generous compilation of her daily interactions, observations, memories, and thoughts. She has been a longtime comic contributor at VICE.com, publishing weekly short comics that are as delightful as they are honest and vulnerable.

Stein's dreamy vibrant watercolour drawings deftly match the blissful energy of the artist as portrayed in her comics. Even when exploring feelings of loneliness, sadness, and rejection, Stein remains a bright presence with wit and cheer.  How does she do it! She is my unofficial spiritual comic guide, teaching me how to gracefully traverse the mess of everyday life.

Her borderless allusive drawing style is strange in the best way possible. By abstracting her figures' faces, she encourages interpretation based more-so on colours, hues, conversations, and environments than facial expressions. And when she does want to articulate the expressive reaction of a character, she does it by employing a wonderfully dramatic manga-like wide-eyed likeness.

To get a sense of Stein's refreshing outlook on the world, take a look below at this excerpt on the eclipse from one of her recent vice.com comics:

*TONIGHT* Jean-Philippe Baril Guerard launches Sports & Pastimes

BookThug invites you to the launch of Sports and Pastimes by Jean-Philippe Baril Guerard, translated from the French by Aimee Wall. Tonight! Thursday, November 16 2017, 7pm at 176 Bernard O., just east of the flagship Librairie. See the Facebook event here.

Inspired by Erik Satie’s work of the same name, Sports and Pastimes is the first novel by acclaimed Montreal playwright and author Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard to appear in English.

Translated by Aimee Wall, this fast-paced story follows the daily life, at once empty and overloaded, of a group of friends who spend all their energy trying to distract themselves with huge hits of endorphins, art and various substances, navigating pleasure and boredom, the extraordinary and the banal, as (more or less) worthy representatives of the best and worst of what their era has to offer. Consider a mashup of Girls and Less Than Zero and you are pretty close to the fun and games of Sports and Pastimes.

Praise for Sports and Pastimes (Sports et divertissements, originally published in Franch by Les éditions de ta mère):

“The novel of rich, apathetic youth has been done so often that it has almost become a genre of its own, but rarely has it been written in Quebec with such mastery of its codes as by Jean-Philippe Baril Guérard.” —Dominic Tardif, La Presse
Wednesday, 15 November 2017

*TONIGHT* Graphic Novel Book Club: My Lesbian Experience with Lonliness

**This Graphic Novel Book Club meeting will now be taking place at 
La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly 176 Bernard O.**

Each month we host a Graphic Novel Book Club meeting, open to all, during which we hang out and informally discuss a featured graphic novel. Our pick for this November is My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi! We will meet at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (176 Bernard Avenue West) today! Wednesday, November 15th at 7 p.m. The discussion will be hosted by Librairie Drawn & Quarterly staffer and children's coordinator Arizona O'Neill. Join us for refreshments and collective insights!

A heartening autobiographical manga, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi is an honest look at one young woman's exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist's burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers. 

***We are offering a 20% discount on My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness from now until the meeting date!***

Saturday, 11 November 2017

*TONIGHT* Poetry Launch: Aaron Tucker & E. Martin Nolan

E. Martin Nolan and Aaron Tucker will be reading from their new poetry collections with Anahita Jamali Rad (for love and autonomy, Talon Books, 2016), and Montrealer Jake Byrne. Join us on Saturday, November 11th at 7:00 pm at La Petite D+Q (176 Bernard O.)!

In 1968, avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp and composer John Cage exhibited Reunion, a chess performance that took place in Toronto. Whenever Duchamp or Cage moved a piece, it generated a musical note until the game was transformed into a symphony.

Inspired by this performance, "Irresponsible Mediums"—poet and academic Aaron Tucker’s second full-length collection of poems—translates Duchamp’s chess games into poems using the ChessBard (an app co-created by Tucker and Jody Miller) and in the process, recreates Duchamp’s joyous approach to making art, while also generating startling computer-made poems that blend the analog and digital in strange and surprising combinations.

The poems in "Still Point" contrast the calm and tumult of Hurricane Katrina, the deconstruction of Detroit, the financial crisis of 2008, and the BP Gulf oil spill, weaving lyrical sequences and individual pieces into a coherent whole focused on humanity’s relationship to itself and to nature. "Still Point" tells a story of beauty and horror, and how normalcy stubbornly persists amid history’s arc.
Tuesday, 7 November 2017

New D+Q : Toys Talking by Leanne Shapton

From acclaimed illustrator, author and artist Leanne Shapton: 
Toys Talking is officially out today!

In Toys Talking, Leanne Shapton explores the inner lives of toys to reveal that their thoughts and feelings are just as complicated as our own.

The concerns of these bunnies, bears, and ducks range from the mundane to the existential.

The book is beautifully bound in hardcover and brings Shapton’s gorgeously minimal brushstrokes to a younger audience. It is the kind of book that is an imaginative and stimulating read for children and reveals layers and deeper meaning when read as an adult. As described by British novelist Adam Thirwell, the book is "...unbearably poignant. A children's book for adults, or an adult book for children!" 

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