Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley (Random House Canada)
I became familiar with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics years ago when his wife, the equally talented Hope Larson, was a contributor to the Halifax alt-weekly newspaper where I worked. This is O’Malley’s first graphic novel since concluding his crazy-popular Scott Pilgrim series but I’m most excited because it features a female chef protagonist and magic mushrooms that result in time travel.
So Long, Marianne, Kari Hesthamar; Helle V. Goldman, trans. (ECW Press)
I became obsessed with Leonard Cohen’s time on the Greek island Hydra, and his relationship with Marianne Ihlen, while reading Sylvie Simmons’ exhaustive biography I’m Your Man. I’ve been saving Hesthamar’s biography for the beach and cold drinks (Bohemian poet love affairs, yes please). It’s a such a rare opportunity to read a story from the muse’s perspective.
Two Serious Ladies, Jane Bowles (HarperCollins Canada)
I picked up this reissue up while in New York for BookExpo America, knowing that it would be a perfect read for when the humidity rises and the city goes mad. Bowles’s 1934 modernist novel (the only novel she wrote), about two proper wealthy women who “descend into debauchery,” is said to have been Tennessee Williams’ favourite book. Bonus: a new introduction by Claire Messud.
All Saints, K.D. Miller (Biblioasis)
Short fiction makes for ideal summer reading, and in her Q&Q review, Angie Abdou joins the list of writers who have praised K.D. Miller’s collection of linked stories. Although the book is loosely focused around an Anglican church, Abdou describes it as being as much about “eroticism and love as it is about religion and spirituality.” As a lapsed Catholic who spent childhood Saturday mornings in catechism classes, I say bring it on.
The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henríquez (Bond Street Books)
A love story set in Delaware between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl recovering from an accident that left her with brain damage. There are so few books about contemporary Latin American immigrant experiences, and this one is already receiving a lot of attention for Henríquez’s poetic storytelling.
Gods of the Hammer: The Teenage Head Story, Geoff Pevere (Coach House Books)
I was too young to participate in any of Teenage Head’s riots, so this is the next best thing. While Richard Hell, Marc Spitz, Lisa Robinson, and many others have thoroughly documented New York’s early punk scene, it’s nice to see a legendary Canadian band finally get its proper due.