Chantale P's Summer Reads

May 20, 2019

Chantale P's Summer Reads

Summertime calls for deep satisfying stories lying in the grass, flies buzzing, airplanes roaring, sun blazing, wind whooshing. This season calls for reading that teaches, reflects, and nourishes alongside the vitamin D coming down and lingering throughout the seasons to come. 

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How to Do Nothing

Jenny Odell

A galvanizing critique of the forces vying for our attention—and our personal information—that redefines what we think of as productivity, reconnects us with the...

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How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell

Odell’s case against the attention economy is a definite must-read for me: a piece of activism disguised as self-help working against tech capitalism and forever endless productivity. As an artist, Odell makes space to reject the apps and tools intended to catch our attention and profit off of it with imaginative vision.

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A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

Alicia Elliott

A bold and profound work by Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is a personal and critical meditation on...

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A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, Alicia Elliott

Writing with beautiful clarity and generous spirit, Elliott’s book filled me feelings, knowledge, and fight. Deftly weaving the personal with the political, Elliott writes towards a vision and hope where Indigenous peoples are given the full expansive humanity that white settlers are offered.

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Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being

Amy Fung

In that moment, I felt closer to whiteness than not. I was completely complicit and didn't think twice about entering a space that could...

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Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being, Amy Fung

I was so excited for this radical collection of essays from critic, organizer, and curator Amy Fung who has worked in the arts across Canada for the past decade. In her debut book, she looks critically at Canada’s art world and how it continually implicates itself in the systems of oppression that it seeks to critique.

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Pleasure Activism

How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle...

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Pleasure Activism, adrienne maree brown

Colorlines perfectly synthesizes this book as “demonstrat[ing] how we can tap into our emotional and erotic desires to organize against oppression.” Yes! I’m inspired by her positive action through positive sentiments through positive reflections towards positive results.

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The Overstory

Richard Powers

National Book Award winner Richard Powers’s twelfth novel is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and...

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Overstory, Richard Powers

This sweeping story brings together a collection of characters whose lives circle around and have been affected by trees: different trees across different lands and different rooted histories. The varying characters begin to find each other in the second half of the book through environmental activism, which Powers is astute in exploring the limits of.

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Optic Nerve

Maria Gainza

"Optic Nerve is one of the best books I've read in years. How did Mari­a Gainza pull off something so risky when it never...

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Optic Nerve, Maria Gainza

An exciting English debut from Argentine author Maria Gainza recounting a woman’s obsession with art. Odd moments of art history are merged with the narrator’s  workaday Buenos Aires life. It is part Ways of Seeing, part How Should a Person Be?, and part fantastical Calvino. What’s not to love?

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The Years

Annie Ernaux

Co-winner of the 2018 French-American Foundation Translation Prize in NonfictionWinner of the 2017 Marguerite Yourcenar Prize for her entire body of workWinner of the 2016...

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The Years, Annie Ernaux

Acting as my introduction to Annie Ernaux work, The Years has hooked me into the author’s writing, leaving me eager to dive deeper into her catalogue. Ernaux traces France post-WWII by way of a collective anonymous voice. It acts as a communal memoir, recounting the story of a country post WWII through the intimate memories, stories, and photographs of herself and others.

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This Place

Kateri Akiwenzi-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional...

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This Place: 150 Years Retold, forward by Alicia Elliott

An extraordinary comic collection from a broad range of Indigenous voices, recounting Indigenous stories of resistance, resilience, violence, and belief. With a beautiful forward by Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, these accounts reject Canada’s national story, generously shining a light on experiences long obscured.

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Meat & Bone

Kat Verhoeven

A queer slice-of-life drama about dating and eating. The story, which takes place in Toronto and originally appeared as a popular webcomic, focuses on...

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Meat and Bone, Kat Verhoeven

I appreciated this book about being a young open-minded progressive living in a major metropolis who nevertheless can’t break out of toxic body thoughts and judgments. The main character Anne covets thinness, a body of protruding bones and zero fat. She meets a seductive neighbour who feeds into insecurities while her friends try to save her from self destruction.

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Clyde Fans


A masterful work by a legendary cartoonist about the decline of small bussiness and the subsequent erosion of familial relations and one's sanity. Twenty...

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Clyde Fans, Seth

This 20-years-in-the-making body of work by legendary Canadian cartoonist Seth has finally found its ultimate material form: a beautiful box set containing the 500 pages of the Clyde Fans series, originally developed through his Palookaville comics. Seth's graphic novel takes us in a wide emotional journey of nostalgia, solitude, isolation, success and failure, work, one's attitude towards one's life and one's responsibilities.

But that's not all! Here are some Summer titles coming out in the coming months that I'm very excited about digging into. 

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Hot Comb

Ebony Flowers

An auspicioius debut examining the culuture of hair from the Rona Jaffe Foundation award-winning cartoonist Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into Black women's...

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Ezra Clayton Daniels, Ben Passmore

Once a thriving working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer...

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The Remainder

Alia Trabucco Zeran

Shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International PrizeFelipe and Iquela, two young friends in modern day Santiago, live in the legacy of Chile’s dictatorship....

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Olga Tokarczuk

"Extraordinary. Tokarczuk's novel is funny, vivid, dangerous, and disturbing, and it raises some fierce questions about human behavior. My sincere admiration for her brilliant...

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Trick Mirror

Jia Tolentino

A breakout writer at The New Yorker examines the fractures at the center of contemporary culture with verve, deftness, and intellectual ferocity—for readers who’ve...

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Wioletta Greg

Accommodations follows Wiola after she leaves her childhood village, a close-knit agricultural community in Poland where the Catholic calendar and local gossip punctuate daily...

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Chantale Potié

Bookseller | Libraire