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Thursday, 28 December 2017

New Reads Book Club: The Idiot by Elif Batuman


D+Q's newest book club – New Reads!

Every 4-6 weeks D+Q invites our wonderful customers to dive into the new book that everyone is talking about and we will talk about in our New Reads bookclub. This January 31st , we will be discussing Elif Batuman's The Idiot, one of 2017 most acclaimed books that made the best of the year lists of the New York Times, Elle, Vogue, NPR and more. Is THE IDIOT as good as everyone says it  is? You decide! Just come ready to talk about it.

**We offer a 15% discount on The Idiot from now until the meeting date.**

We regret that the bookstore is not accessible. There is a step at the entrance, followed by a half step and a 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.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Solde d'après Fêtes/Boxing Day Sale 2017!


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!
Friday, 22 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Sophie

L'année 2017 a été riche en émotions, mais aussi en lectures tantôt déchirantes, tantôt délirantes. Les auteurs et éditeurs québécois étaient certainement en grande forme, puisqu'ils nous ont offert une littérature particulièrement engagée et surprenante. Beaucoup de deuils et de coeurs brisés, mais toujours avec un regard apaisé sur les jours à venir. Voici mes coups de coeur québécois de l'année!

Bande dessinée


Le Meilleur a Été Découvert Loin D'ici - Mélodie Vachon Boucher
Dans ce récit autobiographique, l'auteure explore avec douceur le thème du silence - celui des non-dits, de soi, et surtout des morts qui nous entourent. Faisant écho à l'excellent Moi aussi je voulais l'emporter de Julie Delporte, ce livre nous transporte dans des lieux inusités - un monastère, une maison funéraire, une salle de cinéma berlinoise - au gré des souvenirs et réflexions de la narratrice. Tout en nuances de gris, il est du genre qu'on savoure lentement pendant un après-midi enneigé.

Whitehorse. Tome 2 - Samuel Cantin
Je suis avec enthousiasme les délires de Samuel Cantin depuis ses débuts sur la blogosphère, et bien que son style et son écriture maturent comme un bon vin, je suis toujours rassurée de voir que son humour reste lui juvénile. Dans le second tome des aventures d'Henri Castagnette, le héros se rend finalement à Whitehorse pour reconquérir sa douce Laura, mais non sans difficultés. Attaque de pélicans géants, mystérieuse maladie mortelle et cousin diabolique - rien n'arrêtera Henri dans sa conquête du Grand Nord. Bien que très verbeuse, cette bd est un délire contrôlé, avec autant de punchlines que ses 300 pages.

Poésie


Brasser Le Varech - Noémi Pomerleau-Cloutier
Ce recueil est sans aucun doute mon coup de coeur de l'année. À travers le deuil de son père ingénieur forestier et une copie annotée de la Flore laurentienne qu'il lui a laissée, l'auteure part à la recherche de ses racines nordiques, délaissées au profit du béton citadin. Le vocabulaire est si riche qu'il nous fait pratiquement voir et sentir la nature entrelacée dans les réflexions de l'auteure. Une poésie qui goûte la terre, et qui donne envie d'y retourner.

Toutou Tango - Baron Marc-André Lévesque
Si la dernière année a été plutôt déprimante côté poésie (de par ses thèmes, bien sûr!), le dernier recueil de Baron Marc-André Lévesque arrive comme un vent de fraîcheur dans le paysage actuel des jeunes poètes. À la fois disjonctée et viscérale, sa poésie balance entre les références adulescentes et de douloureuses observations, mais toujours avec humour et légèreté. On y découvre de petites histoires du quotidien, ponctuées de Kraft Dinner et de chansons de Ginette Reno. Mention spéciale à la section "Jeux" du recueil!

Théâtre


J'aime Hydro - Christine Beaulieu
Le théâtre documentaire de la compagnie Porte Parole est désormais un incontournable du paysage théâtral québécois, et cette édition d'Atelier 10 rend justice à l'énorme travail qui se cache derrière la conception de leurs créations. Suivant la comédienne Christine Beaulieu dans son enquête exhaustive sur Hydro-Québec, le texte est enlevant et fascinant. Beaulieu n'a certainement pas froid aux yeux, et n'évite aucune question pour arriver le coeur du problème : qu'en est-il devenu de notre relation avec la société d'État?

Os - Steve Gagnon
Se lisant comme un douloureux poème sur le deuil et les relations humaines, ce monologue de Steve Gagnon confirme une fois de plus le talent indéniable de ce jeune dramaturge. Bien que l'édition papier ne rende pas justice à la mise en scène époustouflante du texte - où le comédien était accompagné de musiciens, avec les spectateurs déambulant tout autour - celle-ci nous permet néanmoins de plonger sans retenue dans le maelström émotionnel du narrateur, dans une intimité qui ne se crée que par la lecture.

Essais


Les Luttes Fécondes - Catherine Dorion
Dans ces temps incertains où on remet constamment en question les définitions de nos identités et relations à l'autre, l'essai de Catherine Dorion ajoute une réflexion pertinente au discours ambiant, en plongeant tête première dans le désir amoureux. Tentant de déconstruire nos préconceptions et idées reçues sur le couple, l'auteure utilise judicieusement la comparaison au monde de la politique et de courtes histoires intimes pour avancer ses idées. On n'en ressort pas indemnes - surtout si notre couple vacille.

Musiques du Diable - Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau et Vincent Giard
Bien connu pour l'incomparable Pinkerton, Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau s'associe cette fois à Vincent Giard pour illustrer ses obsessions musicales. Alliant critiques d'albums et anecdotes personnelles, le tout agrémenté des pochettes revues et dessinées par Giard, cet ovni des Éditions de ta Mère est une franchement bonne lecture, autant pour ses suggestions musicales que son humour décalé. Impossible de ne pas s'y perdre pendant de longues heures, surtout si on l'accompagne de son service de musique préféré.

Romans


Manikanetish - Naomi Fontaine
Poursuivant le travail amorcé dans Kuessipan, Fontaine livre une fois de plus un regard nécessaire et sans compromis sur les réserves amérindiennes. On suit cette fois une enseignante de français, qui tente tant bien que mal de donner espoir aux jeunes amérindiens de la réserve de la Côte-Nord où elle enseigne, en s'aidant de sa passion pour la littérature et le théâtre. Bien que la réalité décrite soit difficile et troublée, on sent toute la douceur de l'auteure et son affection pour sa communauté à travers le récit, qui ne tombe jamais dans le piège de la dénonciation ou du déni, et se présente plutôt comme une main tendue à l'autre.

Le Livre de Bois - Jean-Philippe Chabot
Si la plupart d'entre nous se rappelle de la littérature du terroir comme des lectures scolaires obligatoires, Jean-Philippe Chabot nous prouve dans ce premier roman qu'elle est toujours actuelle, et centrale à nos préoccupations identitaires. Créant de toutes pièces la légende de Jacques Côté et de son livre de bois - un livre maudit qui raconte en temps réel la vie du pauvre bûcheron canadien-français - l'auteur s'en donne à coeur joie pour truffer son histoire de références à notre imaginaire collectif et nos plus ridicules clichés. Un livre qui réchauffe l'esprit, livré par un conteur hors-pair - à déguster à la lumière d'un feu, un p'tit caribou à la main.

Le Nez Qui Voque - Réjean Ducharme
Une petite mention spéciale pour mon roman préféré de Réjean Ducharme, qui nous a quitté cette année. Je lis et relis l'histoire de Mille Milles et Chateaugué depuis dix ans maintenant, sans jamais me lasser de cet univers si dense et tragique. Abordant le thème du difficile passage entre l'enfance et le monde adulte, et campée dans un Montréal vaguement familier, c'est une histoire qui brise le coeur, et qui ne perd pas de sa pertinence encore aujourd'hui. Merci pour tout, Réjean.

Cuisine

Feast - Lindsay Anderson et Dana VanVeller
Une petite digression au palmarès québécois pour vous partager ma découverte culinaire de l'année - le magnifique Feast d'Anderson et VanVeller. Oui, les recettes sont délicieuses, mais on le parcourt avant tout comme un récit de voyage, qui nous transporte d'Est en Ouest, à la recherche de l'identité culinaire canadienne. On y redécouvre les classiques (bagels, barres Nanaimo, etc), mais on y fait surtout la rencontre de communautés vivantes et diversifiées, qu'elles soient amérindiennes, albertaines, ou maritimes. Un ouvrage important, qui se dévore comme un bon roman, et qui nous rappelle qu'être Canadien, c'est avant tout savoir partager.

Staff Picks 2017: Kate

Happy winter solstice everyone. As multiple people have consoled me, whenever I complain about early northern hemisphere sunsets, the days start getting longer again today. On the other hand, it's also the official beginning of winter. Thank goodness for the deep shelves of Librairie Drawn & Quarterly keeping me supplied with books throughout this dark season. Over the past twelve months I've read a lot of good books, but these are the ones that stuck with me.   

Notes from a Crocodile - Qiu Miaojin, The Idiot - Elif Batuman, Homesick for Another World - Ottessa Moshfegh

I read Qiu Miaojin's first novel for former D&Q bookseller Helen Bradley's bimonthly meet, her stellar Reading Across Borders book club. Miaojin became a cult literary figure in 1990s Taiwan due to her transgressive writing that addressed sexuality and depression frankly. The NYRB edition of her first novel was a highlight of my reading this year. Another highlight was undoubtedly Elif Batuman's novel, The Idiot. This school days narrative, set in the heady first days of e-mail, sees protagonist Selin, an earnest undergrad, stumble her way through freshman year at Harvard. The characters that populate Moshfegh's collection of short stories are for the most part past college days, but just as fallible and complex. After reading Eileen, I have devoured everything I can get my hands on written by Ottessa Moshfegh and Homesick for Another World was as phenomenal as I anticipated.

 
Modern Love - Constance DeJong, After Kathy Acker - Chris Kraus, Difficult Women: A Memoir of Three - David Plante

DeJong's compulsively readable story of modern love, written circa 1975, cartwheels between downtown New York, India, and the courtly love of Elizabethan England. When I learned of its influence on Kathy Acker's work, I knew I had to read it. Chris Kraus traces this lineage and many more in her biography of Acker, which had to be one of my favorite reads in 2017. Meticulously researched from the diaries and correspondences that Acker kept herself, this intimate portrait of her life and career was completely engrossing. In other memoirs, I sped through David Plante's record of his time spent in the company of three beguiling women: Jean Rhys, Sonia Orwell, and Germaine Greer. This taut account, rendered in cinéma vérité like detail, is worthwhile for its unsentimental depiction of said luminaries.

Boundless - Jillian Tamaki, The Green Hand and other Stories - Nicole Claveloux

Boundless was hands down one of my favorite reads of the year! The collection of short stories truly showcases Tamaki's astute writing, in addition to her effortless drawing style. Stories range from the quotidian to the very strange and are at their best when they're both. NYRC's late 2017 reissue of The Green Hand also features a series of strange stories that I knew I had to read right away. Originally published in Heavy Metal magazine, these comics are stunningly evocative in the way that only the best surrealist fiction can be.

Perfect Hair - Tommi Parrish, Anti-Gone - Connor Willumsen

Both of these books are formally inventive, critical accounts of love, gender, politics, and apathy in the 21st century. Of all the cartoonists I'm excited about these days, Parrish is definitely up there. Perfect Hair, out on 2d Cloud, depicts experiences of discomfort and anxiety in a way that is both visceral and familiar to me, and I'm dying for more long-form work. Inversely, Willumsen's Anti-Gone captures the ominous serenity of escapism and alienation inside a fantastic self-enclosed world.  

Moomin and the Brigands - Tove Jansson, Moi aussi, je voulais l'emporter - Julie Delporte

Julie Delporte's introspective comics are some of my favorite, and her latest is no exception. Done in the raw style of a diary, she explores sexuality and solitude, while tracing a genealogy of female role models. One of the women she examines most thoroughly is Tove Jansson, writer, artist, and creator of the beloved Moomin series. I highly recommend picking up a copy of D&Q's latest reissue of Jansson as well, Moomin and the Brigands, in which Moomin and Snorkmaiden meet!

Nature Poem - Tommy Pico, delete - Daphné B., Tropico - Marcela Huerta

In Nature Poem, Pico's follow up to the stunning IRL, he writes against the stereotype of the "noble savage" that indigenous people are endlessly confronted with. Pico is hilarious and his insights abrasive, while he creates a space for sincere reflection. Amidst all of the great poetry this year I can't leave out delete and Tropico. Both are written by former colleagues, Daphné B. and Marcela Huerta respectively, and both are truly excellent. Fusing fragments of past selves to circle around absence and loss, these slim volumes contain lush explorations of grief.
Thursday, 21 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Lauriane



Pax par Sara Pennypacker, illustré par Jon Klassen 




Ce roman de Sara Pennypacker a su se tailler une place parmi mes coups de cœur littéraires de l’année grâce à sa trame narrative captivante, à sa plume riche, à ses personnages attachants et aux magnifiques illustrations de Jon Klassen.
Pour les 9 ans et plus



Les marées par Brigitte Vaillancourt


La plume poétique de Brigitte Vaillancourt dresse l’histoire réaliste d’une famille sur le point d’éclater. Un livre sublime, empreint de douceur et d’images percutantes, qui plairait autant aux adolescents qu’aux parents.
Pour les 12 ans et plus

Souffler dans la cassette par Jonathan Bécotte



Rares sont les poètes qui savent s’adresser au public jeunesse avec leur art. Jonathan Bécotte a su brillamment décrire l’amitié particulière entre deux garçons avec sa poésie nostalgique d’une enfance naïve, aux prises avec les premiers émois amoureux.
Pour les 12 ans et plus

La légende de Carcajou par Renée Robitaille, illustré par Slavka Kolesar



Ce conte traditionnel déné, interprété par Renée Robitaille et magnifiquement illustré par Slavka Kolesar porte sur l’origine du carcajou, cet animal sauvage mythique des grandes forêts canadiennes. La magie de cette légende m’a transportée au cœur de l’univers amérindien dont nous ignorons trop souvent la fascinante et grandiose mémoire.
À partir de 5 ans 


Le dernier qui sort éteint la lumière et Mon cœur pédale par Simon Boulerice


Ceux qui connaissent les œuvres de Simon Boulerice reconnaîtront dans ces deux romans la prose emprunte de douceur et aussi de dureté de cet auteur québécois qui sait si habilement manier les mots et transporter ses lecteurs dans un tourbillon d’émotions.
À partir de 10 ans

Mammouth Rock par Évelyne Payette, illustré par Guillaume Perrault



Ce roman graphique, le premier d’une collection destinée aux sept ans et plus, est un incontournable grâce à sa structure dynamique, au texte hilarant d’Éveline Payette et aux illustrations vivantes de Guillaume Perreault, à qui l’on doit Le Facteur de l’espace. Petits et grands curieux à l’imagination intarissable se plairont à embarquer dans l’univers de Mammouth Rock !
À partir de 7 ans

Les mures par Olivier de Solminihac, illustré par Stéphane Poulin



Cet album, magnifiquement illustré par Stéphane Poulin, suit l'ours Michao, la petite chèvre Marguerite et le renardeau attachant que nous avions rencontrés dans Le Bateau de fortune. L'auteur Olivier Solminihac nous plonge encore une fois dans son univers, pour notre plus grand plaisir.
À partir de 4 ans 

Les vieux livres sont dangereux par François Gravel



Avec ce roman, qui fait partie de la collection Noire chez La courte échelle, les lecteurs à la recherche de récits d'horreur et d'enquêtes seront servis ! L'auteur François Gravel qui a marqué une génération entière avec sa série Klonk sait décidément comment susciter l’intérêt littéraire des jeunes lecteurs. 
Pour les 9 ans et plus 

Maman Ours par Ryan T. Higgins 



Cet album écrit et illustré par Ryan T. Higgins suit l'histoire de Michel, un ours grincheux et solitaire qui voit avec stupeur les œufs qu'il s’apprêtait à cuisiner éclore. Michel se retrouve alors pris avec quatre oisillons persuadés que ce gros ours grognon est leur mère. Ce récit rigolo déconstruit avec brio la structure familiale habituelle et saura plaire autant aux enfants qu'aux parents avides d'histoires intelligentes qui sortent des sentiers battus. 
À partir de 3 ans 




Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Graphic Novel Book Club: Perfect Hair by Tommi Parrish


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 January is Perfect Hair by Tommi Parrish. We will meet at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly (176 av Bernard Ouest) on Wednesday, January 17th at 7 p.m. The discussion will be hosted by Librairie Drawn & Quarterly staff member Anna De Filippi. Join us for refreshments and collective insights!


***We are offering a 20% discount on Perfect Hair from now until the meeting date!*** 


In Tommi Parrish's Perfect Hair figures form and re-form. And just that, on repeat, although sometimes with space in between. Stylistically, Parrish couples selective detailing with an equally precise sense of abstraction. The narratives bring to life both the construction of norms—sexual, gendered and familial—and their tentative undoings.

Watch out for the February 2018 release of Parrish's The Lie and How We Told It with Fantagraphics!
Sunday, 17 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Anna

D+Q 

The Good Times Are Killing Me - Lynda Barry

I read this in one sitting. For both adults and younger ones. Barry recounts a friendship from her childhood torn apart by race and class relations in late 1960s Seattle. Find beautiful portraits of her favorite musicians at the end.



Moomin and the Brigands - Tove Jansson

To get rid of demanding guests, Moomin invites Stinky over...who wants to eat all the furniture. With salt. I'm already laughing just thinking about it.




Non-Fiction

After Kathy Acker - Chris Kraus

Holland Cotter is on point to describe this book as a surgery. Having read Acker intuitively in my early 20s, I appreciated the insight into her formal writing processes most.


Riot Days - Maria Alyokhina

Reading through Riot Days is like catching snowflakes on your tongue. Aphoristic and spliced with media fragments and court documents, we follow Maria in her everyday life through the beginning of Pussy Riot's performances to the subsequent repression of the group, her hunger strikes in prison and trial.



Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - Matthew Desmond

From 2016, but new this year in paperback, Desmond writes with the eye of both a novelist and a sociologist, sharply depicting Milwaukee's low-income housing communities and multi-layered economies at the start of the 2008 crisis (still reverberating into our present.)




Translations

Go, Went, Gone - Jenny Erpenbeck translated by Susan Bernofsky

A retired classics professor from the former GDR, Richard, gets increasingly involved with a group of migrants in contemporary Berlin as they face the city's bureaucratic violence. Historical--and actual unfolding--tensions are brought bluntly alive under Erpenbeck's philosophical thumb (and Bernofsky's immaculate translation.)



The Odyssey - newly translated by Emily Wilson

The first translation ever by a woman. You know how the story goes, but do you really?



Fiction

Modern Love - Constance De Jong

Recently republished with Ugly Duckling Press, I picked up this book after reading about De Jong and Acker's friendship in After Kathy Acker. Dreamlike, layered and kooky, this book made me want to write. Jabs at patriarchal norms of 'modern love' are subtly smart, often made by way of courtly tropes, all the while time traveling in and out of different 1970s metropoles, pseudonyms and moods.



The City Always Wins - Omar Robert Hamilton

Hamilton loosely fictionalizes his involvement in Mosireen during Cairo's 2011 uprising through the character of Khalil, weaving Twitter posts, text messages and other documentary material with his own experiences (and those of his comrades.) Hamilton tells the story of the revolution not just as it played out on the streets but in the media war, Cairo’s cafés, morgues, domestic spaces and interpersonal relations.




Poetry 

Heaven is All Goodbyes - Tongo Eisen-Martin

As Claudia Rankine's description goes: "this is resistance as sound." And the sound is immense, it will have your feet first tapping, then running, then collapsing, only to start all over again. Resistant.




To read:

Extreme Cities - Ashley Dawson
Policing Black Lives - Robyn Maynard
As We Have Always Done - Leanne Simpson

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Luke

What a year it has been at the Librairie(s) Drawn and Quarterly. There are so many authors I've discovered. There were so many amazing events, so many wonderful people I've met and so many great books! Here are some 2017 selections with which I felt particular kinship:

Non-Fiction

The Mother of All Questions - Rebecca Solnit
It is perhaps because she speaks with such directness, sagacity and depth
of understanding that these essays are as brutal as they are uplifting. They describe despicable acts in an upsetting world, yet Solnit speaks truth and in this way the book feels celebratory. As Solnit analyzes current events and shows us rage-inducing-faults, we feel as though we are getting somewhere. Her essay "80 Books No Woman Should Read" tears into the "western canon" in the
best way. Ferrante, Lessing & Erdrich are held up, while a several supposed must-reads go high on her no-go list.

We Were Eight Years in Power - Ta-Nahesi Coates
There is a part in the book where Ta-Nahesi Coates says that James Baldwin’s writing “wasn’t just style or ornament but an unparalleled ability to see what was before him clearly and then lay that vision, with that same clarity, before the world.” One could say the same about Ta-Nahesi Coates’s
writing while reading this book. It is a collection of essays from years one through eight of the Obama presidency interspersed with present day reflections between each chapter. Coates eloquently expresses that although many of the ideas in the essays may seem radical, they really should not be.

No Is Not Enough - Naomi Klein
Like We Were Eight Years in Power, this book is crucial for understanding the present moment, and where to go next. Naomi Klein links her three previous works books about the climate crisis, shock, and superbrands in the comparatively concise No Is Not Enough. The book is a call to action "as the climate clock strikes zero." She lays out how middle-of-the-road, incremental change is woefully inadequate for today’s plethora of crises. She so aptly describes why colonialism, racism, misogyny,  corporate greed, superbrands and climate catastrophe, are linked, and how we must act to solve many crises at once.

Graphic

Boundless - Jillian Tamaki 
There is a strong sense of wonder and irreverence in Tamaki’s writing. She captures interpersonal relationships, strong emotions, and the minutiae of our daily lives in such a fascinating way. Tamaki’s
stunning and constantly changing drawing style pairs well with her beautiful prose. The short stories “Half-Life”, “Sexcoven”, “Jenny” and “Boundless” are particularly imaginative. “Darla” so hilarious. I love her commitment to showcasing diversity in her comics. She is able to capture movement masterfully with simple lines. Boundless is experimental and it feels as though she is exploring the full spectrum of drawing styles.

Moi aussi je voulais l’emporter - Julie Delporte
The latest from Julie Delporte is a tour de force: a profound meditation on gender and a strong feminist text. The voice is honest, poignant, and full of feeling. The images are beautifully rendered in full colour. Delporte explores creativity, isolation, loss, and personal and societal trauma with great care. Tove Jansson and Moomin occupy an important place in the text. There are references to many other other artists, writers and filmmakers and an examination of society’s treatment of female artists. The book is evocative and imaginative and the montage of text and images allow for profound reflections.

Poppies of Iraq - Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim - Translated by Helge Dascher 
Absolutely loved this book which tells the story of a childhood in Mosul, Iraq. Over 50 years of contemporary Iraqi history and personal narratives expertly play with the reader’s expectations. The minimal images combined with the text are replete with visual metaphor and parable. Use of real photos is reminiscent of Sebald as is the exploration of memory, identity and belonging. Poppies of Iraq is superb indeed.


Hostage - Guy Delisle - Translated by Helge Dascher 
This psychologically intense page-turner is dynamite. The reader is trapped with humanitarian worker Chistophe André when he is taken hostage near Chechnya. Though much of the narrative takes place in a limited physical space, the world we witness in André’s mind is broad. We experience his anguish and euphoric joy at the most minimal pleasure. We have compassion for his mixed emotions towards his captors, his only human contact. We can almost feel his physical pain. This work of deep feeling is another triumph from Delisle.

Fiction

Jenny Zhang - Sour Heart
Zhang’s honesty is startling at times. She is able to capture intimate moments and describe the thinking behind these moments so well. These short stories are engrossing, hilarious, sad, buoyant and eminently relatable. Loved the interwoven nature of the book.

Brother - David Chariandy
Swift character development, great metaphors, a use of language that is surprising, very-little-to-no superfluous detail: Chariandy’s Brother has got the makings of a superb work of fiction. The prose is fluid and lucid. The content of the book feels so relevant. It is engrossing in its structure, from the way people and events are revealed right down to how Chariandy’s constructs sentences.

Picture Books

I Am Life - Elisabeth Helland Larsen, Illustrated by Marine Schneider
Adored this book which is a follow up to Life and I: A Story about Death. In the second book, I Am Life we meet the character Life. The book is a celebration of this figure—Life—but at certain point the characters bleed into each other, and we see that Life and Death are together. The emotional effect of the book is heightened if one reads both the first and second book, but the profundity of the work is felt either way.


Marianne Dubuc - Le chemin de la montagne
A delicate book which also deals with death, but in a subtle way, as well as themes empathy, teaching, companionship and what we pass along to others. Dubuc places the text next to the images in a very playful manner. The turns of phrase are tender, the images stunning. Another grand accomplishment, as we’ve come to expect from Dubuc.

And make sure to check out all the other staff picks!

Alyssa \\ Anna \\ Arizona \\ Benjamin \\ Chantal H. \\  Chantale P. \\  Eli \\ Kalliopé \\  Kate \\  Kennedy \\  Lauriane \\ Saelan \\ Sophie

Friday, 15 December 2017

Staff Picks 2017: Benjamin

Well, here we go again. My second go at a D+Q staff picks list did not prove any easier, as I was fortunate enough to read many incredible books this year. Please indulge an incorrigible bibliophile as I proclaim my love for these booksmy favourites to be published in 2017.

DRAWN & QUARTERLY




Boundless - Jillian Tamaki
Boundless is an instant classic. In this freewheeling collection of short stories, we catch up with an aging producer of a canned sitcom-porno, drift on a six-hour atonal drone, and do battle with bedbugs. Daring and full of pizzazz, Jillian Tamaki's comics possess that rare quality in which the intimately familiar coalesces with inscrutable otherness.

Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero - Michael Deforge
A short summary of Sticks Angelica's bailiwick: Olympian, poet, scholar, headmistress, cellist, entrepreneur, sculpter. This multi-talented prima donna is at the fore of Michael Deforge's wonderfully weird graphic novel, in which a rabbit wallows in its unrequited love for a human and a moose (named Lisa Hanawalt!) struggles with feelings of body imprisonment.


OTHER GRAPHIC




Yokai - Shigeru Mizuki
I have long been a fan of Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro series, so I jumped at this gorgeous collection of over 200 of the master mangaka's hypnagogic and elegant illustrations of various yōkai (supernatural beings borne of Japanese folklore).


POETRY





While Standing in Line for Death - CAConrad
There have been some significant elegiac books published in recent memoryAnne Carson's Nox springs to mindbut While Standing in Line for Death by CAConrad, written in the wake of his boyfriend Earth's murder, stands apart from its ilk. "the tongue gives / the mind a chance to get / thunderstruck reading a / poem aloud you know how it is"


Delete - Daphné B.
In Daphné B.'s sophomore poetry collection, the Montreal poet maps the crevices and pitfalls in the language of love—as she states in Delete: "Quand j'ai dit que je t'aimais, c'est que je ne savais pas quoi dire." Daphné B., whom I had the pleasure of working with at the bookstore, had a busy 2017, also appearing in Tristesse Magazine, and collaborating with Kathy L. on an I Love Dick (Chris Kraus) fanfiction, both of which I enjoyed immensely.




Whereas - Layli Long Soldier
"Today she stood sunlight on her shoulders lean and straight to share a song in Diné, her father’s language. To sing she motions simultaneously with her hands; I watch her be in multiple musics." In Whereas, the remarkable debut poetry collection from Layli Long Soldier, the Oglala Lakota poet confronts colonial language in its various manifestations—most poignantly in the responses, treaties and apologies made by the American government to Native American peoples and tribes.


Debths - Susan Howe
Never have I felt simultaneously so bewildered and so absorbed—as the poet herself would put it, "a not-being-in-the-no."than when reading Susan Howe's Debths. The title, borrowed from Joyce's Finnegans Wake, is emblematic of the richness within, itself a triple-entendre suggesting depth, debt, and death. Across the five-part collection of verse and collage-poems, Howe employs a lyrical rigor and intertextual consonance that is utterly stunning.


FICTION




The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa (trans. Margaret Jull Costa)
This refurbished—and dare I say definitive—edition of The Book of Disquiet features a new arrangement and translation of Pessoa's fragmentary masterwork in a stylish, cloth-bound package.



Fever Dream - Samanta Schweblin (trans. Megan McDowell)
I am still yet to shake the first book I read this year. A novel that is best consumed in one sitting, Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream—her first to be translated into English—is precisely wrought and frenetically paced. A woman named Amanda lies dying in a hospital bed, ravaged by an unknown ailment. What follows is a portrait of psychological menace, a narrative which intensifies as the subject deteriorates.


NONFICTION




Afterglow - Eileen Myles
Our event with the incomparable Eileen Myles was a personal highlight of the year, as was reading their remarkable "dog memoir". In an impressionistic, elusive cadence, Myles recounts their formative years spent with a pitbull named Rosie. Poets write the best prose!



Literature Class, Berkeley 1980 - Julio Cortázar
In 2017, my obsession with Julio Cortázar has built a head of steam—the Argentine is a bonafide dazzler! In 1980, Cortázar delivered a series of lectures to literature students at UC Berkeley. The novelist was a delightful teacher—patient, curious, and very funny. An unparalleled observer of both the literary and historical moment in which he lived, Cortázar's wisdom is invaluable to 1980s students and 2017s readers alike. I also highly recommend his hypnotic prose-poem From the Observatory (Archipelago, 2011), which is now, sadly, out of print.


+++++++++++++


I LOVE THESE BOOKS, TOO



Fail Better - Beyza Ozer
Baking with Kafka - Tom Gauld
Tropico - Marcela Huerta
These Possible Lives - Fleur Jaeggy
So Many Olympic Exertions - Anelise Chen
I Love Dick, a fanfic - Kathy L. & Daphné B.
Penelope - Sue Goyette
Extended Play - Jake Terrell
Moi aussi je voulais l’emporter - Julie Delporte
Rag Cosmology - Erin Robinsong
As We Have Always Done - Leanne Simpson
The Idiot - Elif Batuman

Take a peek at other staff picks:
Alyssa \\ Kennedy \\ Saelan \\ Kate \\ Lauriane \\ Luke \\ Chantal \\ Arizona \\ Chantale \\ Kalliopé \\ Anna \\ Sophie \\ Eli \\

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