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BARDOS, BEYONCE & BOOZE

our reading list for March 2017


LINCOLN IN THE BARDO  by George Saunders
High school prom king and master short story writer George Saunders has written a novel that plumbs the grief of Abraham Lincoln following the death of his eleven-year-old son Willie in the early days of the American Civil War. If you have ever thought about life, death, and what exactly a ‘bardo’ is, you know what you have to read this March,

HUNGARY-HOLLYWOOD EXPRESS by Éric Plamondon, translated from the French by Dimitri Nasrallah
The first in the Eric Plamondon’s 1984 trilogy is a crazy quilt panorama of 20th Century America focused through the lens of a failing writer obsessed with Hollywood’s favourite Tarzan: Johnny Weissmuller. Not only will you be delighted by the zippy prose, you’ll learn valuable information for pub trivia nights.

THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCÉ by Morgan Parker
Despite the patently false title, we still recommend you check out Morgan Parker’s second poetry collection, featuring sharp observations on feminism, desire, and mental health, and cameos by Queen Latifah, Michelle Obama, and the former Destiny’s Child herself.

PORTRAIT OF THE ALCOHOLIC by Kaveh Akbar
Akbar writes, “I went to the worst of bars / hoping to get / killed. / but all I could do was to / get drunk / again.” If you can relate, might we suggest a dry March and copy of Kaveh Akbar’s haunting chapbook?

A REALLY GOOD DAY: HOW MICRODOSING MADE A MEGA DIFFERENCE IN MY MOOD, MY MARRIAGE, AND MY LIFE by Ayelet Waldman
Xanax and Abilify are out; microdosing LSD is in. Find out how the other half drops acid as author and essayist’s Ayelet Waldman takes you on her frank and funny journey into (balanced) psychedelics to deal with her mood disorders.

FRONTIER CITY: TORONTO ON THE VERGE OF GREATNESS by Shawn Micallef
Not a book about Oklahoma City’s best amusement park, Frontier City is instead expert-level flâneur Shawn Micallef’s account of grappling with contemporary Toronto and the city it could be. Like a West Wing extra, Micallef walked and talked with multiple candidates in the 2014 municipal election in wards all over the megacity, and this book is the picture those conversations have painted.

WHAT WE DO NOW: STANDING UP FOR YOUR VALUES IN TRUMP'S AMERICA 
The firebrands at Melville House have collected short powerful essays from Cornell William Brooks, Gloria Steinem, Paul Krugman, Elizabeth Warren, Cristina Jimenez and more that can serve as your personal talisman as democracy dies in darkness, as the killjoys at the Washington Post are fond of saying.

WHY I AM NOT A FEMINIST: A FEMINIST MANIFESTO by Jessa Crispin
A screed – though a highly readable screed – against the toothless, marketable feminism of the mainstream, former Bookslut editor and sometime tarot enthusiast Jessa Crispin calls for an end of self-empowerment and a return to radicalism. If you attended the Womens’ March and wondered, “What next?”, put this book on your nightstand table.

A SEPARATION by Katie Kimura
Like Patricia Highsmith and Elena Ferrante spitballing a new season of The Affair, A Separation abounds with infidelity, secrets, murder, and more Greek references than The Taste of the Danforth. Advocate for it at your next book club meeting!

ROAD TO RIVERDALE by Mark Waid, Chip Zdarsky, Fiona Staples, and others
Are you loving the neo-noir, trash-tacular Netflix/CW show Riverdale, but having a hard time telling your Lodges from your Weatherbees? Check out Road to Riverdale as a graphic novel primer to Archie’s pals ‘n’ gals.


AND IN THE KIDS' ROOM:

WE ARE OKAY by Nina La Cour
If you're in the mood for a nice, cathartic ugly cry, pick up this young adult novel that follows the intense conversations of two students – Marin and Mable – over three days in their college dorm. Friendship and family rendered more heartbreaking than in a Fast and Furious movie.

OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST by Susin Nielsen
The queen of darkly comic and complicated novels for middle readers brings us a young adult novel about the dangers of optimism. Optimism is a bad word to Petula de Wilde, whose toddler sister died in a random accident. But can the motley crew of her Youth Art Therapy group change her mind?

THE GOAT by Anne Fleming
Kid accompanies her parents to New York City and finds herself in an apartment building filled with blind, skateboarding fantasy writers, opera and Spoonerism lovers, and – most importantly – a goat upon the roof. Or is there? 

ANTOINETTE by Kelly Di Pucchio
A poodle with three talented dog brothers embarks on a quest to find her friend's sister, Ooh-La-La, and finds a special talent of her own in this beautifully illustrated companion to Gaston.