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Friday Book Debrief Vol 41

Every week we’re sharing what our some of our writers are currently reading.

For all of our US readers, we now have our own Bookshop! You can find the full list of the below books here and with every purchase you will be helping local independent bookstores! If you do not live in the US please support your local independent stores, lots are now doing local deliveries and they need your help more then ever in these uncertain times. - ❤️

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun - Cecilia

I’m trying to expand the number of Asian authors I have on my shelves, so I picked up this sci-fi number from the bookstore. The novel follows Yona, a travel agent for a disaster tourism company—they specialize in catastrophic destination vacations. So far, I’m enjoying it.


The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin - Karen

This is a snapshot of James Baldwin's life and the media that surrounded him. The media through films and books and how there's nothing that's apolitical. The media that we get to witness through Baldiwn's lens informs America's racial politics. It's all a machine that feeds itself and is as insidious to us as National Suicide Day becomes celebrated in Sula. I'm only 30 pages in but I've already screamed out yes while reading this (did I mention I was on public transportation when this happened?). Highly recommend it.


Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart - Cat

This is an absolutely wrenching story of betrayal, abuse, addiction, poverty, and family ties set mostly in 1980s Glasgow. I picked this up before the Booker shortlist announcement and could have predicted it would make the cut. Compelling despite a pervasive sense of misery, with odd flashes of humour, and characters who claw their way under your skin. Intimate, empathetic and enlightening. It is epic.


Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo - Akilah

Recently long listed for Canada's Scotiabank Giller Prize, the latest release from Shani Mootoo is proving to be one of the most exciting novels I've read this year. Nominally about Priya, a Trinibagonian East Indian woman, who invites tension into her already fractured relationship by inviting a long time male friend to her and Alex's Ontario island abode, the story so far addresses issues of "authenticity" when it comes to how queerness, gender, race and ethnicity, citizenship, and friendship between cis men and women operate in white supremacist patriarchal societies that are quick to other.


Running by Natalia Sylvester - Mel

What better way to enter Latinx Heritage Month AND election season than by reading this YA novel? I’m savoring it. (Ed. note - I, too, am reading this phenomenal YA novel!)


Death In Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh - Alice-Rae

I read My Year of Rest and Relaxation during lockdown and then read it two more times. Death in Her Hands surpasses it, even within the first 50 pages. My feelings towards the protagonist are intense, perhaps because I relate to her more than a reader ought to. As a result I’m heavily invested in the story and found myself having to hide the book today else I would have ignored all my Zoom meetings and spent the whole day reading (which sounds pretty great to me)


The Night Letters by Denise Leith - Courtney

This novel, thus far, feels like a warm hug. Sofia is an Australian doctor who is working in a small part of Kabul, the community driven and culturally rich Shahir Square. Sofia’s sense of belonging and purpose oozes off the pages but as people start receiving threatening night letters, this beautiful sense community has the great potential to be jeopardized. Loving the vast cast of characters and the sense of impending disturbance to the peace is extremely enticing.


A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan - Courtney

Absolutely loving every page. The attention to detail and inner monologue of our narrator is something to strive for. Our narrator is the type of girl everyone wants to be, but never will be. While we strive for such poise and togetherness, it is anything but effortless for our autistic narrator. I’m loving this fresh perspective excited to delve further into this novel!


Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo - Maggie

My second book by Oluo that I’ve been looking forward to for ages. Male mediocrity is the baseline and it’s time to challenge that to make a more just and fair world.


Playing House by Ruby Lang - Lauren

This charming romantic comedy starts with the female protagonist kissing the male protagonist in an effort to avoid another man hitting on her. Who can’t relate! I am excited to see where this story leads! And bonus—it’s the first in a series!


Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur - Hannah

This is an amazingly smooth and inspiring read so far; it consists of poetry exploring all aspects of the Black British diasporan experience. I find it refreshing to see my everyday thoughts and experiences reflected on the very pages I’m reading!


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