It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a bit of bookish list action. Hosted as ever by the Broke and the Bookish, this week’s theme is books new on the to-read pile. As someone with a weird assortment of novels and school books piling up on my bedside table (and what is turning into an almost pathological addiction to requesting library books), this week’s theme is exactly up my alley. And who knows, maybe you’ll spot a couple of titles that will end up on your precarious bedside table stack too. Let me know if they do! Just click on a cover to hop over the Goodreads description.
After reading and loving 2015 Giller Prize winner Fifteen Dogs, I couldn’t resist a syllabus featuring Andre Alexis – which is why I find myself enrolled in a class studying short Canadian fiction. Short stories aren’t usually my jam, but all the same I’ve just put this collection – and four others – on my to-read pile for the semester. I have to give props to André Alexis for an excellent title (although I have yet to discover any sort of despair in Ottawa, despite living here for the last six months).
This title usually surfaces when the internet wants to make fun of Canadian fiction. Given that Bear is, at least on a simplistic level, the erotic story of a love affair between a librarian and a bear, there might be some merit in those comments. That said, I’ve never actually sat down to read it, despite the fact that it’s a pillar of CanLit and a mere 147 pages long. I checked it out of the library last week when I was looking for something else entirely, because I have a problem with self control and libraries. Stay tuned – Bear fits neatly into the Classics Challenge, so I’ll be back to tell you if it’s worth picking up, or if it really is just a weird, raunchy tangent of Canada’s literary history that ought to be left alone.
Big Hard Sex Criminals, Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
I’m not usually a huge fan of graphic novels, but I try to make a point of picking one up once in a while. I blew through Joe Hill’s Locke & Key last year, and the year before I finally tackled Watchmen. This year – not to imply it has anything to do with either of those titles – I’ve picked up Big Hard Sex Criminals, which is about a couple who realises they stop time when they orgasm. As any enterprising person would, they use this ability to rob banks. If that’s not a great elevator pitch, I don’t know what is.
No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod
My friend Scott and I spend a good part of our friendship on trading Canadian fiction back and forth; he just picked up All True Not A Lie In It on my recommendation and traded me No Great Mischief in return. Alistair MacLeod is one of those authors I’ve been hearing about for a long time, and yet never read a word of. All I know about this novel is that it takes place on the East Coast and opens with a terrible tragedy that leaves the main character orphaned. I’m not entirely sold, but if Scott likes it, it’s good enough for me.
It’s just about time to start putting together my thesis in earnest and since my focus is apocalypse narratives in Douglas Coupland, Girlfriend in a Coma seems like a good place to start. The title character, Karen, falls asleep in 1979 – and doesn’t wake up until two decades have passed. It turns out that she fell into the coma after seeing a vision of the apocalypse, and now that apocalypse is coming to pass. Really, really zany stuff – but somehow also hilarious and honest and good. I first read this novel in 2007 and didn’t understand it – or like it – at all. But when I picked it up again the summer before last, I loved every minute of it. There’s also something truly lovely about reading books set in the place where you grew up – and as a fellow British Columbian, Coupland’s descriptions of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley never fail to make me homesick. Anyway. I highly recommend it. And I’m sure you’ll see a fuller review appear as part of the Reread Challenge.
How about you? What’s currently on your nightstand waiting to be read? Anything good? Share your list in the comments!