This Shelf Belongs to ... Sheila Heti

Each month, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly invites an author or artist to curate a shelf in the store. This May, we bring you recommendations from Sheila Heti!

SHEILA HETI is the acclaimed author of the novel How Should a Person Be?, which was named a New York Times Notable Book, the story collection The Middle Stories, and the novel Ticknor, which was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times, London Review of Books, The Globe and Mail, n+1, McSweeney's and The Believer. She frequently collaborates with other writers and artists. Sheila Heti lives in Toronto.

We are thrilled to be hosting Heti for the launch of Motherhood, Thrusday, May 3rd! Tickets are available online or in-store.

All of Sheila's picks will be 15% off for the month of May. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find:

Love That Bunch by Aline Kominsky-Crumb
One of my favourite things about this book is its depiction of being a woman artist in the 1960s when writing and drawing autobiographically felt like such a radical and abject thing to do. Aline Crumb is sparkling, hilarious, and brilliant observer of the world she finds herself in. It simultaneously feels super-contemporary and also like you’re time travelling.

Kids These Days by Malcolm Harris
This is a terrific non-fiction book that has permanently changed how I think about millenials and the situation they find themselves in. It’s Marxist, despairing, angry and condemning—and the picture he presents is very frightening. But I loved reading it, and think it has one of the best endings to a book of social woe. I think it’s required reading.

Trip by Tao Lin
Even if you are put off by a book about drugs (you are??) you should find this book interesting for the questions Tao poses about the nature of reality, and for his profile of the fascinating countercultural figure, Terence McKenna. I think it’s Tao Lin’s best book. Smart, sensitive and thoughtful, you’ll come out of it knowing and feeling more.

How To Make Love to a Negro by Dany Laferriere
I read this book when I lived in Montreal many years ago, and it is so twinned in my mind with the experiences of being in this city. The book is about living in Montreal—an artist, poverty-stricken, a romantic, a degenerate. It is alive and funny and it’s impossible to read it without also feeling like you’re living it.

Flaubert and Madame Bovary by Francis Steegmuller
If you like literary gossip, buy this book. If you’re interested in the twisty, roundabout ways art gets made—particularly all the wrong turns, dead ends, and embarrassing pomposities—buy this book. If you want to see Flaubert’s friends shaking their heads at him in pity at his bad writing, you should definitely buy this book.

Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
When asked to recommend books, I always recommed this one. I read it in my early twenties and it forever made me think about style and narrative differently. It’s so unique, from the sentences to the characters to the plot, and absolutely unforgettable. A strange and perfect world, and the only novel Jane Bowles ever wrote.

The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso
I hate to write something like “If Sylvia Plath wrote an illness memoir, it would be this book,” but that pretty much sums it up. This book is spare, vivid, epigrammatic and intense. After lending it to a friend, I finally got it back after five years.

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Few books have moved me more profoundly than this one. I spent years avoiding Thomas Hardy, somehow imagining—simply because of his name!—that his books were not for me. After reading Jude the Obscure I went out and bought all the rest of his books. Is the most wonderful novelist in the English language of all time? Maybe so.

Important Artifacts by Leanne Shapton
Okay, I’m in this book. I was even commissioned to write a screenplay of it! (But failed). It’s still one of the most uniquely told love stories I have ever encountered. I love how the book asks you to read in a new way. In all her books, she does amazing and new things in the intersection of words and images.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
This is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s about faith and temptation away from faith, and even if you aren’t interested in religion or Christianity or God, there is lots in it about the nature of desire, and the difficulty of resisting desire. I really love this book. I buy copies of it and give it to friends. It’s really funny, too.

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