Catherine's Highly Ambitious Summer Reads

June 25, 2019

Catherine's Highly Ambitious Summer Reads

I've gotten carried away. Here is my unrealistic, highly-ambitious reading list for the summer. The way I do things, I like having many possibilities at once and surf from a book to another. Below, I've grouped my simultaneous reads in categories. 


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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong

Named one of the most anticipated books of 2019 by Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe,, Huffington Post, The A.V....

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I've started reading this novel a few days ago in Jarry Park, lying on the grass beside the lake. Such a deliciously inventive, potent, gripping style. The book is haunting, it hovers around me.

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Lilith's Brood

Octavia E. Butler

The acclaimed trilogy that comprises LILITH'S BROOD is Hugo and Nebula award-winner Octavia E. Butler at her best. Presented for the first time in...

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Such a weird, fun, mindblowing series! I read Dawn, the first volume of this trilogy, last month, and will definitely pursue the exploration this summer. I loved Parable of the Sower but I think reading Lilith's Brood stimulates me even more, as it talks about alien extra-pleasurable sex, cross-breeding, learning to transcend the fear of others, telepathic sensory stimulation, and many other themes to trip about.

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Être ici est une splendeur

Marie Darrieussecq

Portrait de cette artiste peintre allemande, qui fut l'une des grandes représentantes du mouvement expressionniste. L'écrivaine éclaire son parcours sous un angle à la...

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I've been wanting to read that one for a while, heard a lot of good things about it. I am also very interested to learn about Paula Modersohn-Becker's life.

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The Idiot

Elif Batuman

A New York Times Book Review Notable BookFinalist for the Pulitzer Prize for FictionLonglisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction"An addictive, sprawling epic; I...

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Emotional investigation, early internet, uncertainty, early adulthood... My kind of vibe.


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Art Sex Music

Cosey Fanni Tutti

ROUGH TRADE ANDPITCHFORK MUSIC BOOK OF THE YEARMusician and artist Cosey Fanni Tutti has continually challenged boundaries and conventions for four decades. As a...

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I love Cosey Fanni Tutti. I want to know about her experience in Throbbing Gristle, the inequalities in labor and the abuse she experienced, and how she dealt with them as a strong, inspiring woman. She is an innovative musician (and performance artist) that influenced many people, myself included.

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The Mushroom at the End of the World

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world—and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to...

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I'm very excited about this book. This is the first of a series from Matsutake Worlds Research Group. Anna Tsing uses the case of matsutake mushrooms to talk about new possibilities of a life in capitalism's ruins. Destruction, collaboration, cohabitation, precariousness, she wants us to look into the seriousness of our situation and instead of being discouraged and engaged in the same intellectual paths as usual, she invites us to use chaos to create new connections. In the vein of Donna Haraway and Ursula K. LeGuin.

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Franco "Bifo" Berardi

A comprehensive philosophy of contemporary life and politics, by one of the sharpest critics of the presentWe live in an age of impotence. Stuck...

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I had been waiting for the right moment to start this one, and decided the long Megabus ride on my way to Hamilton (ON) would be perfect. I had previously tried reading Bifo a few times, and each time, I felt intimidated by him after a few pages (probably the residues of a self-doubting-i-am-not-an-intellectual insecurity). In that sense, being stuck with it for seven hours on the 401 felt like my best option for a breakthrough. Maybe I'm gaining confidence, or I'm on the same frequency for the moment, but this book captivates me!  I love how his own vulnerability seeps into his thoughts, how, aware he doesn't yet have the distance to accurately speak on our current era, he still tries to change his perspective, questions and challenges himself to offer a new vision on our situation. The full title of the book gives a good idea of the content : The Age of Impotence & The Horizon of Possibility.

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Caliban and the Witch

Silvia Federici

Literary Nonfiction. CALIBAN AND THE WITCH is a history of the body in the transition to capitalism. Moving from the peasant revolts of the...

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Such an impressive, massive body of work! I'm slowly absorbing it because it's a lot to receive at once! Silvia Federici describes in detail the development of capitalism and how it crushed many rebellions using, for example, heresy and witch-hunting to secure its hegemony. I feel it's an essential book to read to better understand the mechanisms of power and how it established its rules, particularly nowadays.


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A Sand Book

Ariana Reines

"Mind-blowing." —Kim GordonDeadpan, epic, and searingly charismatic, A Sand Book is at once relatable and out-of-this-world. In poems tracking climate change, bystanderism, state murder,...

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Relatable yet deeply mysterious, intellectual, lush, harsh, intimate, acute, sacred, emotional, cool.

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A Drink of Red Mirror

Kim Hyesoon

Translated from the Korean by Jiwon Shin, Lauren Albin, and Sue Hyon Bae. A landmark feminist poet and critic in her native South Korea,...

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I adored her previous book Autobiography of Death, her words and descriptions are sometimes so poignant and unexpected that it made me shiver. I am excited to read her new book!

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The Hundreds

Lauren Berlant & Kathleen Stewart

In The Hundreds Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart speculate on writing, affect, politics, and attention to processes of world-making. The experiment of the one hundred word...

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An experimental poetry/essay collection from two great writers, Lauren Berlant (Cruel Optimism) and Kathleen Stewart (Ordinary Affects).

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The Eyelash and the Monochrome

Tiziana La Melia

Combining visuals and text, this collection of poems travels through territories as varied as daily and domestic activities; social relationships; literature, cinema, and art;...

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This book seems amazing! With visual arts and poetry, the book tries to answer this question : What happens when material becomes thought and thought become object?

Graphic Novels

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Le Jour de Travail

Aurélie William Levaux

Recueil de textes et de dessins à travers lesquels l'auteure partage ses pensées sur le concept du travail, adoptant dans ses écrits un ton...

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Very intriguing little book with drawings and text corrected in pencil, the author speaks about her relationship to work and everyday life. Seems really fun to read.

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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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A coming-of-age story that evolves around a hair salon. 

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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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The history of Canada retold by indigenous authors and graphic novel artists.
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Is This How You See Me?

Jaime Hernandez

Maggie and Hopey leave their significant others at home and take a weekend road trip to go to a punk scene reunion in their...

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Might need to catch up with Maggie and Hopey's adventures before I read this new book. I've always appreciated spending time in Jaime Hernandez's Locas world and grew quite fond of the characters.

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How to Stay Afloat - Surnager au Quotidien

Tara Booth

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French / English incredibly cool, fun, true realness book by Tara Booth!

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Catherine Debard

Bookseller | Libraire