Summer Reads: Alyssa

If you've talked to me at any point in the past few months, you've likely heard about my thesis ad nauseum (sorry). But I'm finished now, and one of the loveliest side effects is that I now have time to read for pleasure again. Here's what I have been (or will be) working through:

Graphic Novels

Culottées T01 et 02 (Pénélope Bagieu)
I've been recommending the two volumes of Culottées (recently translated into English, as Brazen, by Montana Kane) to just about everyone. Bagieu's short illustrated biographies of unconventional women are uncomplicated and uncompromising.

Shit is Real (Aisha Franz, trans. Nicholas Houde)
Franz gives life to our worst and most understandable impulses in a surreal, technocratic futurescape where, still, there's nothing as destabilizing as heartbreak.

XTC69 (Jessica Campbell)
Intrepid explorers from the planet L8DZ N1T3 are on the hunt for men to breed with. But are their spoils even worth the effort?

Sabrina (Nick Drnaso)
No one does dread and melancholy like Drnaso. His meditation on ambiguity, unconcluded grief, conspiracy theories, and sexual violence is so timely it's almost hot to the touch.


The Dark Forest (Cixin Liu, trans. Joel Martinsen)
I had a lot of fun discussing The Three Body Problem, the first installment in Cixin Liu's Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, with the store's Reading Across Borders book club. We're meeting again (August 7th!) and I'm already deep in the second book. 

The Philistine (Leila Marshy)
When Palestinian-Canadian Nadia decides not to take her return flight home, choosing instead to stay in Cairo, she leaves open the space needed to navigate family relationships, notions of home, queer desire, and Middle Eastern identity.

The Mars Room (Rachel Kushner)
Another upcoming book club selection, I can't wait to fully melt into Kushner's novel of agency, youth, and the prison industrial complex.

Poetry and Nonfiction

Full-Metal Indigiqueer (Joshua Whitehead)
Following the character of Zoa -- indigiqueer Trickster figure, cyborg of decolonized digital landscapes -- Whitehead's poetry collection is the best kind of virus: infiltrating, reprogramming, leaving nothing unchanged.

Eye Level (Jenny Xie)
There's motion in Xie's poems, they go abroad, inward, toward something that can't quite be captured. It's the best travel guide that charts an interior world.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Alexander Chee)
I've been savouring these essays: reading just one at a time, with several days in between to let the richness of Chee's writing percolate. There's so much to work one's fingers through, with writing so finely crafted that reading becomes a tactile experience.

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (Robyn Maynard)
Maynard's meticulous research is intensely necessary as it works to undermine the national narrative of Canada as the utopian end point of the Underground Railroad.

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