Staff Picks 2019: Luke

January 6, 2019

Staff Picks 2019: Luke
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Call Them by Their True Names

Rebecca Solnit

“Rebecca Solnit is essential feminist reading.” —The New Republic“Solnit’s exquisite essays move between the political and the personal, the intellectual and the earthy.” —ElleRebecca...

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This is my second time I am writing a Best of the Year selection for Librairie Drawn and Quarterly. The Mother of All Questions made my selection last year, and Solnit’s essays have once again sauntered onto this list! Her prose are reflective & analytic in a way that feels so prescient in the current political moment (replete with crises). She presents a dire world, yet also a way to go forward, with a voice that is neither didactic nor judgemental: oxygen for my pulmons!

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I've Been Meaning to Tell You

David Chariandy

In the tradition of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,...

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A tender and beautifully written letter to his daughter. This book discusses risk, privilege, inheritance, colonialism, insensitivity and simply being in the world. Chariandy masterfully crafts sentences!  

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Feel Free

Zadie Smith

A New York Times Notable BookFrom Zadie Smith, one of the most beloved authors of her generation, a new collection of essays Since she...

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I adore Zadie Smith’s fiction. I may, however, be one of those folks who love her non-fiction more than her fiction! Smith is the ultimate prose stylist, and her expertise at conveying beauty in writing (right down to sentence structure) shines in this essay collection, which touches on climate change, urban planning, film, and the meaning of social media.  

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

Alexander Chee

From the author ofThe Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist—and how we form our...

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It has been such a pleasure recommending this gem throughout the year. Loved the way the book covers a myriad of topics: rose gardening, a trip to mexico, Chee’s experience growing up gay in a Korean-American family, the joys of writing, studying with Annie Dillard, abuse, urban living. Chee’s sentences are economic and beautiful. Sentences which burst. Sentences which harness the right verbs. Sentences to read and reread. A gift of a book.

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Jason Lutes

Twenty years in the making, this sweeping masterpiece charts Berlin through the rise of Nazism During the past two decades, Jason Lutes has quietly...

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A epic instant classic which already deserves its cemented place in the comics canon. Told in the form of a Tolstoyan epic, the plethora of characters in this book come alive and are loveable. I especially admire the way Lutes utilizes comics to delve into the subconscious and dreams of these characters. We turn the page and realize that a character has been dreaming for the last few sequences. Lutes is masterful at exploiting graphic novel’s ability to delve into the subliminal.

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Woman World

Aminder Dhaliwal

The hilarious and wildly popular instagram comic about a world with no men With her startling humor, it's no surprise that Aminder Dhaliwal's web...

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A comic about living in a world without men! There are no wars! Everyone gets along! Everyone realizes that they all had significant bi-tendencies all along! Loved this book which began as a wildly popular instagram comic (& it was a special joy to get to meet Aminder this year in store at the launch for Woman World!)

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Nick Drnaso

Video games, conspiracy theories, breakdown, murder: Everything's gonna be all right - until it isn't How many hours of sleep did you get last...

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I would hereby like to second the nomination of Sabrina for the Graphic Novel of the Year here at Librairie Drawn and Quarterly. The breakthrough that was the nomination for the Man Booker Prize generated a torrent of much deserved attention for this title (and attention to graphic novels in general). Drnaso is a master of the form & his pastel vignettes are so eerie, evocative, Lynchian, frightening and a necessary portrait of contemporary america.

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Shit Is Real

Aisha Franz

A broken-hearted woman drifts into depression as she occupies her traveling neighbor's apartment After an unexpected breakup, a young woman named Selma experiences...

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Franz is capable of such expression with her pencil drawings. She triumphs in this story about an urban millennial, inept lovers, memory, isolation, partying and apartments, and which also has a hint of magic realism.  

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Zviane au Japon


Ça va. On le sait. C’est toujours un peu lourd, lorsque votre amie revient de voyage et qu’elle insiste pour vous montrer les dix...

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This collection of pseudo-travelodge, pseudo-ethnographic study, pseudo-personal reflection is lively & charming. The stories narrative arcs vary depending on what kind of situation Zviane finds herself. We read about money, restaurant styles, the author’s reason for being in Japan, Tokyo’s relationship to Montreal. Great for local comic lovers & and those about to go on a trip.

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La vie d'artiste

Catherine Ocelot

Qu’est-ce que ça fait, avoir des amis qui réussissent? Est-ce prétentieux d’avoir l’ambition de grimper dans un arbre? Risquer de tomber, sans assurances collectives,...

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 Loved Catherine Ocelot’s meditations on being an artist! The uniform colour style and character depiction is bold. Feels as though we are listening in to private conversations among friends. Bonus: a conversation between Ocelot, Daphné B. & Julie Delporte takes place in the book in Librairie Drawn & Quarterly!

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La Petite Russie

Francis Desharnais

C’est une histoire de la colonisation de l’Abitibi. Un portrait d’hommes et de femmes qui ont tout quitté pour aller s’installer dans le Nord. Le récit d’un...

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I usually find myself vehemently objecting when folks describe graphic novels as cinematic, due to the fact that comics are an unparalleled medium capable of expression which is unique to it’s form, duh! (the same with prose, the same with film, the same with visual art, poetry, etc…). This book, however, combines beautiful cinematic drawing & presentation with lively characters and narration. The historical narrative is fascinating, yet does not purport to being the definitive history of Guyenne, nor Abitibi.

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Jessica Campbell

Commander Jessica Campbell of the planet L8DZ N1T3 and her crew are searching for men to breed with when they discover the last human...

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A laugh-out-loud in the cafe/library/public space-that-you’re-reading-it kind of book. Campbell conjures up an existence where women dominate (which was a prevalent theme of the year) and people are doubled (à la mirror facebook). A very fun and entertaining comic.  

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Chlorine Gardens

Keiler Roberts

Dealing with pregnancy, child-rearing, art-making, mental illness, and an MS diagnosis, the parts ofChlorine Gardens’ sum sound heavy, but Keiler Roberts’ gift is the...

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Keiler Roberts discusses illness, parenthood, partnership with such candor in this comic. She embraces topics which could be considered difficult. The pen and ink drawings shake hands heartily with my aesthetic preferences.

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Your Black Friend and Other Strangers

Ben Passmore

Your Black Friend and Other Strangers is a collection of culturally charged comics by cartoonist Ben Passmore, including the Eisner Award nominated and Ignatz Award-winning...

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Of all the comics that I read in 2018, this one (along with Sabrina & Berlin) shines as one that speaks directly to the current political moment. Passmore’s short stories cover topics such as removing Confederate statues across the U.S., Buffoon President, fighting repression, and systemic racism. Loved as well that these comics vacillate between (likely political) sci-fi and overtly political narratives. Passmore’s drawings reside in an almost neon colour pallet. Keep your ear to the ground  for BTTM FDRS, out in Summer 2019.

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Why Art?

Eleanor Davis

What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella...

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Beautifully drawn minimalist treatise on art which is both philosophical and fun. Love how Davis’ drawing style is expressive with so few lines.

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Georgia Webber

Part memoir, part medical cautionary tale, Dumb tells the story of how an urban twentysomething copes with the everyday challenges that come with voicelessness....

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Webber creatively conveys her experience of living in a world without a voice. The book functions as an exploration (and castigation) of the way society treats people with disabilities. Loved the scenes with Webber battling Webber. Loved the symbols in the text that allowed for a fun close read, as well as the various references to (Mile End,) Montreal.

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There There

Tommy Orange

Here is a voice we have never heard--a voice full of poetry and rage, exploding onto the page with stunning urgency and force.Here is...

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Twelve different characters orbit one another in this tremendously engrossing read. I had the pleasure of leading a book club discussion about this title in December, and the discussion further enlightened me to the myriad of synchronicities, and narrative overlap in the book. A very impressive debut.  

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Ottessa Moshfegh

A New York Times Notable BookThe New York Times bestseller.From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young...

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Such an entertaining read! Breezed through this book, which centres around one woman’s attempt to sleep a year away. Moshfegh has been recommended to me for years now, and the flowing prose & captivating narrative of this book has catapulted McGlue, Eileen and Homesick for Another World to the top of my 2019 catch-up reading list. Very excited for all the books to come this year!

Posted by

Luke Langille

Store Manager