Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Summer Reads: Chantale P

I am a seasonal reader - my reading habits and tastes change seasonally, yearly.
Autumn reading was crisp and bite-sized. 
Winter reading was voracious, as if books could provide warmth. 
Spring reading was languid and fleeting. 

This summer's reading will be inquisitive and piercing, heart-burning and out-of-this-world.

Chantale P's Summer Reading - 2018

Shit is Real, Aisha Franz
For Selma, the heartbroken millennial cool cat at the center of the story. She's trying to find her way through the halls of mirrors and neighbourly portals surrounding her in a futuristic unknown (Berlin-like) city.

Sabrina, Nick Drasno
For a silhouetted portrayal of loss, trauma, fear and its out-stretched reach.


The New World: Comics from Mauretania, Chris Reynolds
For stories that are just a bit off, every-so slightly - so minutely that it's barely perceptible - just so that they become overcast with knowing strangeness.

A Western World, Michael Deforge
For Deforge! For his chromatic, shape-shifting, porous comics about being a body in a westernly desiring world.

My Year of Rest & Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh
For a darkly humourous journey through existential ennui and prescription pills in the year 2000.

Brother in Ice, Alicia Kopf
For a novel about polar exploration, told through the form of research notes, diary entries and travelogue. A hybrid, fragmentary novel? I'm in!

Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg
For an immersive story about eighteenth century pickpocket and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard. It’s both historical, based on a true figure, and theatrically speculative and political, imagining Sheppard as an anarchist trans man.

Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata
For an account of a woman who rejects capitalist cultural expectations requiring her to desire more than she has. A woman works at a convenience store, and loves it. She is satisfied. But nobody around her understands how and why.

Kudos, Rachel Cusk
To complete the walking-talking-listening-retelling trilogy that Cusk so gloriously started years ago. About how stories make the lives of those who tell them and those who hear them.

Some TrickHelen DeWitt
For a collection of shorts starring savants, weirdos, and artists. For readers of DFW and Deforge - those who want to read brilliance and comedy with clear-vision precision on the bureaucracies of life.


A Handbook of Disappointed Fate, Anne Boyer
For smooth, lyric essays from the author of Garments Against Women. I turn to her to ask unthinkable questions with impossible answers.

Red Colored Elegy, Seiichi Hayashi
To revisit the quiet, sparse, lazy days of the couple at the center of this classic manga recently re-issued by D+Q.


Mirror Shoulder Signal: a novel, Dorthe Nors
For a story on learning to drive at the age of 40, but more urgently, it is about feeling and understanding that the world isn't always cut to accommodate the shape of oneself. 

Wait, Blink, Gunnhild Oyehaug
For a Norwegian bird's-eye view of three women living separate lives and how they begin to converge through an affair, an unplanned motherhood, an ambitious artistic project.

Meaty, Samatha Irby
For the laughs! So many happy, belly, blurt laughs.

Calypso, David Sedaris
For additional trustworthy laughs! After reading Theft by Finding earlier this year, admiring every diary entry and every page, I felt very home in Sedaris' wry essay story-telling.

Border Districts, Gerald Mernane
Stream System, Gerald Mernane

For two new mysterious books from the inscrutable Australian author of The Plains. A review of Border Districts perfectly captures the appeal of Mernane for me: "Relentlessly introspective but dependably playful."

Junk, Tommy Pico
For Pico's ability to deliver an epic poem with oomph, guts, tristesse, and lust.

Break.up, Joanna Walsh
For e-romancers, a novel about an affair (and break up) mostly conducted in cyberspace.

Maman Apprivoisée, Geneviève Elverum 
For new heart pounding work from Geneviève Castrée, written while terminally sick after the birth of her daughter. They are a collection of graceful poems in French and English passed forward from the now-deceased artist.

Vies Parallèles, O. Schrauwen
For a collection of short stories that propel readers into futures with sophisticated and perilous tech. We follow different versions of the artist into alternative realities brimming with acid riso tones digital chrome highlights.

The Mushroom Fan Club, Elise Gravel
To serve as a guide for our wild-intrepid-family-summer mushroom hunting.

Be Still, life, Ohara Hale
For the gentle reminder to take sweet simple pauses with the kids.

And of course, there are forthcoming books, that I'm oh-so eagerly anticipating:

The Cost of Living, Deborah Levy (Aug 2018)

Things I Don't Want To Know, Deborah Levy (Aug 2018)

Women Talking: A Novel, Miriam Toews (Aug 2018)

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Summer reads 2018: Sophie

L'été est le moment idéal pour se réfugier dans un parc à l'abri des regards, et finalement dévorer les magnifiques et (souvent immenses) livres que j'ai vu défiler sur nos tablettes au cours des derniers mois.

Voici ce qui m'attend au cours des prochaines semaines!


Acadie Road - Gabriel Robichaud
Rien de mieux qu'un roadtrip en format papier quand on est pris dans la jungle urbaine pour l'été. J'adore les routes des Maritimes, et j'ai hâte de découvrir les mots de Gabriel Robichaud pour y retourner.

La fatigue des fruits - Jean-Christophe Réhel
c'est l'été il fait déjà froid / et je réalise que je tiens la main au vent / toujours debout dans l'esprit fragile
Il y a des journées d'été qui seront pluvieuses, et je les attends pour me lover dans la poésie de La fatigue des fruits.

Dopamine - Jeanne Dompierre
La Shop a le don de nous faire découvrir de nouvelles voix fascinantes et originales, et celle de Jeanne Dompierre ne fait pas exception, si je me fis à toutes les recommendation que j'ai reçues!

Vers la beauté - David Foenkinos
Je l'avoue, je suis en retard dans mon Foenkinos, simplement parce que tous ses livres me semblent passionnants. Son dernier se déroule dans un musée, et je compte bien l'amener avec moi pour une visite climatisée au MBAM.

Miley Cyrus et les malheureux du siècle - Thomas O. St-Pierre
Je suis de ces gens qui disent toujours qu'on vit dans une époque plutôt terrible, et je n'ai aucun doute que Thomas O. St-Pierre et Miley Cyrus sauront me convaincre du contraire.

M.I.L.F. - Marjolaine Beauchamp
Utiliser le jeu Marry/Fuck/Kill pour aborder les enjeux de la maternité et de la sexualité est le tour de force que Marjolaine Beauchamp propose avec M.I.L.F. Une pièce de théâtre qui se lit comme un roman, et que j'espère dévorer sans trop me fâcher.

Tristesse - Collectif
Le second numéro de la revue Tristesse est enfin arrivé sur nos tablettes il y a quelques semaines, et je suis déjà en pâmoison devant le line-up qui le compose. Le choix parfait pour ces jours où on n'arrive pas à choisir entre essai, poésie, BD ou photo - tout y est!

I'm every woman - Liv Strömquist
Liv Strömquist a une voix mordante comme nulle autre, et nous sommes franchement chanceux d'avoir ses livres traduits en français. Elle revisite ici l'histoire de femmes extraordinaires, dont l'histoire a été tristement gâchée par des relations amoureuses ou des pressions sociales - le tout avec beaucoup d'humour et d'ingéniosité!

 Montréal, ville dépressionniste - Collectif
Ce recueil d'essais sur Montréal me fait de l'oeil depuis un bon moment, mais j'attendais le retour de jours plus lumineux pour enfin le lire, question de ne pas trop déprimer/m'emporter/vouloir déménager. Maintenant que la tempête du 375e est passée et que les élections sont à nos portes, je suis enfin prête à de nouveau haïr d'amour Montréal.

Autoportrait de Paris avec chat - Dany Laferrière
Je suis une fan numéro 1 de notre cher académicien, et encore plus lorsqu'il s'attarde à la non-fiction. Bonus ici : le tout est illustré et manuscrit de ses douces mains, dans un format ma foi épeurant, mais surtout séduisant.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Summer Reads 2018: Saelan

Last Fall and this Spring, I was teaching in addition to working at the store, which kept me very busy! I've got more time on my hands over the Summer, so when I'm not making popsicles, I've been savoring the chance to read more for pleasure. Here's some titles I've recently enjoyed or hope to get into soon.


Sheila Heti - Motherhood
Rachel Kushner - The Mars Room
As Sheila Heti writes in Motherhood, if men could give birth, whether or not to have children would be one of the central topics of philosophy since antiquity. As a parent of two, it's fascinating and to read Heti's book-length autofictional musing on having (or not having) children, which is occasionally frustrating but never less than totally original. I'm also itching to start Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room -- her incomparable 2013 book, The Flamethrowers, is (imo) one of the most vibrant, thrilling novels of recent years.

Tommy Orange - There There
Catherine Fatima - Sludge Utopia
Rachel Cusk - Kudos
I haven't dipped into any of these three books yet, but Tommy Orange's There There has been hailed as the debut of a major new voice in 21st-century indigenous literature. Catherine Fatima's Sludge Utopia was described has been compared to Chris Kraus and described as ''an auto-fictional novel about sex, depression, family, shaky ethics, ideal forms of life, girlhood, and coaching oneself into adulthood under capitalism'' -- I'm sold! Kudos is the eagerly-awaited conclusion to Rachel Cusk's acclaimed semi-autofictional trilogy, begun with Outline and Transit

Other novels of note: Naben Ruthnum's Find You in the Dark, Keith Gessen's A Terrible Country and My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh.


Anne Boyer - Handbook of Disappointed Fate
Cason Sharpe - Our Lady of Perpetual Realness
After Anne Boyer's ferociously intelligent Garments Against Women comes this book, technically (according to the label on the back) a collection of essays and criticism, but more properly considered poetry in the form of some extremely emancipated aphorisms, lists, jokes and tirades. Cason Sharpe has been contributing excellent coverage of Montreal's art scene to Canadian Art of late, so I've been meaning to check out his story collection. 


Craig Owens - Portrait of a Young Critic
Jacob Wren - Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-Art
Aruna D'Souza - Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in Three Acts
Craig Owens: Portrait of a Young Art Critic is actually just a straight transcription of a 1984 video interview with the pioneering critic and editor, though I'm hard-pressed to think of any recent book from which a person could learn more about art criticism. Jacob Wren is best known in this store as a writer and novelist, but he's also been a member of performance art group PME-Art for twenty years, which he chronicles in his new memoir, Authenticity is a Feeling. I've been following their activities for a while but I'm looking forward to catching up on the longer arc of Wren's career. Aruna D'Souza's Whitewalling expands her urgent, already-published thoughts on Dana Schutz's Open Casket to a longer, highly necessary reflection on contemporary art's unspoken white supremacy. 


Catherine Price - How to Break Up With Your Phone
If I can actually put this book's lessons into practice, I'll get a lot more reading done.


Lisa Hanawalt - Coyote Doggirl
Aisha Franz - Shit is Real
If you're a fan of Bojack Horseman then you already know that Lisa Hanawalt is a low-key genius (she's the show's production designer and producer). Her first full-length narrative comic, Coyote Doggirl (out in mid-August), is a deadpan feminist Western full of her trademark absurdist anthropomorphic-animal humour. Aisha Franz's Shit Is Real is both a satire of contemporary European hipster culture and a whimsical, thoughtful portrait of a young woman adrift. It's like a hybrid of Miranda July and Walter Scott's Wendy, set in sci-fi, near-future Berlin.


Jessica Campbell - XTC69
Alex Graham - Angloid
In Jessica Campbell's XTC69, a team of astronauts from an all-female civilization searches the universe for suitable men to breed with -- the pickings are, predictably, pretty slim. Hijinx ensue. Alex Graham's Angloid is reminiscent of Matthew Thurber's Art Comic or (again) Walter Scott's Wendy. It's a loopy, sometimes-absurd tale of an anorexic, alcoholic artist trying to survive art school and service work.


Genevieve Castrée - A Bubble
Tove Jansson - The Moomins and the Great Flood

My four-year old daughter is finally ready to get into Tove Jansson's Moomins! This gorgeous new edition of The Moomins and the Great Flood, Jansson's very first Moomin book, is the perfect introduction. She was also charmed by A Bubble, which Genevieve Castrée was working on (as a kind of parting gift for her own daughter) right up until her tragic death from cancer. It's a gutting, heartbreaking book for anyone who knows the artist's story; for those that don't, it's simply very beautiful.

Image result for deborah levy cost of living Image result for chris kraus social practices

Deborah Levy - The Cost of Living
Chris Kraus - Social Practices 
Deborah Levy's The Cost of Living is the follow-up to 2013's Things I Don't Want to Know, both of which are part of a planned autobiographical trilogy about the writing life. I've read both already in the UK editions and they are simply phenomenal. I've become evangelical about Levy since reading them (along with her equally-excellent Booker Prize-nominated novel, Hot Milk). It's really the Summer of Levy, for me. I'm also very excited about Chris Kraus' forthcoming collection of essays on art.
Tuesday, 10 July 2018

New D+Q : SHIT IS REAL by Aisha Franz

Shit is Real, by German illustrator and comic book artist Aisha Franz, is out today !

Aisha Franz's uses chalky pencils to create a futurist world in which we follow Selma, a young woman who falls into a depression after an unexpected breakup. As Selma struggles to accomplish simple tasks and feels more and more disconnected from her friends, she experiences "a series of reveries and emotional setbacks".

One day, Selma witnesses another couple breakup. As she follows the male of that couple, Anders, and soon starts to date him, she finds out that the woman in that same couple is actually her neighbour, into whose apartment she can see through a narrow cleft in her wall. One day, Selma sees her mysterious and glamorous neighbour leaving her apartment for a business trip and forgetting her key card behind her. Selma hesitates, but soon can't resist : she uses the key card to enter her neighbour's apartment.

Click here to visit Aisha Franz's author page, and come by the store to pick up a copy of Shit is Real!

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