Summer Reads 2023 - Liz

July 1, 2023

Summer Reads 2023 - Liz
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I Got a Name

Eliza Robertson, Myles Dolphin

INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLERA vivid and meticulous true-crime story that exposes the deep fractures in a system that repeatedly fails to protect women, while tracking...

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Eliza Robertson absolutely destroyed me in this one. Using the murder of Krystal Senyk as a frame, Robertson examines the misogynistic, homophobic and racist biases that exist in Canadian law which enable our femicide problem. She also makes an example out of the reader in order to reveal how easy it is to believe conspiracy theories about what we call true crime. It is not entertainment; these are real people’s lives.

Song: Birmingham by Amanda Marshall

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Kyo Maclear

For readers of Crying in H Mart and Wintering, an unforgettable memoir about a family secret revealed by a DNA test, the lessons learned...

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When she finds out her dad isn’t her bio dad, Maclear embarks on a whirlwind of a journey towards kinship. As a person with a convoluted family history, I appreciate the drama, and can relate to the countless hours of searching it takes to find half an answer. When they are not the answers we expect, the family we had all along is always there to hold us.

Song: Class of 2013 by Mitski

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Wash Day Diaries

Jamila Rowser, Robyn Smith

From writer Jamila Rowser and artist Robyn Smith comes a captivating graphic novel love letter to the beauty and endurance of Black women, their...

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A beautiful tale of friendship and community. The colours and illustrations are wonderfully rich; each character’s warmth pops off the page. This book is a hug for Black girls.

Song: Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

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We, the Others

Toula Drimonis

Ungrateful, opportunistic, moochers, dangerous, incompatible with our values and our way of life? Every immigrant demographic has heard these descriptors at some point in...

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Toula rocks! Anyone who comes from an immigrant family will relate to the humour and love with which she describes her hard-working parents and under-supervised childhood. Her personal accounts of living with two-or-more cultures at odds with each other hit home for me. Otherwise, enjoy a fresh and frank perspective on the language debate, immigration policies, and xenophobia. I bought copies for my whole family.

Song: Immigrant by Alysha Brilla

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The New Masculinity

Alex Manley

From AskMen senior editor and non-binary writer Alex Manley comes The New Masculinity: A Roadmap for a 21st-Century Definition of Manhood, a guide...

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In a world where men, and the people who interact with men, desperately need an alternative to Jordan Peterson, Alex Manley gifts us with The New Masculinity. It is rich with the author’s experiences with the vast and varied tapestry of ideals that encompass masculinity (and gender overall), with plenty of bell hooks references to boot. I’m hoping people who read this book can move past the need to agree with every single point Manley makes, and approach this work with openness and compassion, for the love of men.

Song: 'Cause I'm a man by Tame Impala

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Salad Pizza Wine

Janice Tiefenbach, Stephanie Mercier Voyer, Ryan Gray

"Salad Pizza Wine will help you win friends and influence people. This volume from the homies behind Montreal’s Elena is a must for pizza...

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Summer is the season to spoil ourselves with amazing local food. I love the dishes at Elena, and I love this book. Every recipe is a hit for me. Bonus points for the focus on a healthy work culture! 

Song: Noodle by Oscar Louis

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Work-Life Balance

Aisha Franz

A cutting portrayal of the pursuit of work-life balance from the cartoonist of Shit is RealTo achieve the proper work-life balance perhaps we just...

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There are no easy answers in this new, cutting graphic novel by Aisha Franz. DQ staff had the pleasure of meeting her at FBDM this summer, and she is just as funny as her books. Her characters are hilariously pathetic; especially the yoga-obsessed therapist who offers no tangible support to her patients.

Song: New Age Girl by Deadeye Dick

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Still, I Cannot Save You

Kelly S. Thompson

With honesty, love, and humour, in this moving memoir, Kelly S. Thompson explores her relationship with her older sister, Meghan. Tested by addiction, abuse,...

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Forgiving people who hurt us is one of the hardest things to do. This gut-wrenching story of sisterly love will have you shaking in anger and tears, and ultimately, rooting for the people in it. I was especially struck with the humanity with which Thompson described the chaos during the years of her sister Meghan’s struggle with addiction. She is unflinchingly honest about her resentment when Meghan gets sick. Grab a tissue.

Song: Speechless Lady Gaga

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Because You Were Mine

Brionne Janae

In their latest collection of poems, Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner Brionne Janae dives into the deep, unsettled waters of intimate partner violence, queerness,...

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I am so excited to read this collection! It’s fascinating to me when artists like Kerry James Marshall use their imagination with darkness as a symbol. The dichotomy of white=pure and black=evil deserves to be challenged in exciting and thought provoking ways. I recently finished Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother, where she gets lost deep in the woods in Ghana to discover her ancestral roots. Blackness becomes a backdrop against which truth burns. I can’t wait to see what Brionne Janae does with this idea in the form of poetry.

Song: Brown Skin, India.Arie

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Listen, Beautiful Márcia

Marcello Quintanilha

Márcia is a nurse in a hospital near Rio and lives in a favela with her boyfriend, Aluisio, and her daughter, Jaqueline, whom she...

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This new publication from Brazilian comic artist Marcello Quintanilha (Fantagraphics) explores the agony of loving people who make grave mistakes. Wrought with drama and colour, this one is a must-read for graphic novel lovers!

Song:  Casa Forte by Banda Black Rio

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Lover Man

Alston Anderson

Stories of loners, outsiders, tricksters, addicts, jazzmen, and drifters in the Jim Crow South—a classic of 1950s Black fiction.Raw, fearless, ironic, the stories in...

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This formerly out-of-print short story collection explores the lives of people on the fringes of American society during Jim Crow. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover a nearly-lost piece of archive. Great for fans of Langston Hughes and Henry Louis Gates Jr. 

Song: no fun/party by Kara Jackson

Liz Hanley

Bookseller | Libraire