Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Fiction: Happy Barfday, Canada! by Alex Snider

How convenient that Canada Day has fallen on a Friday! I can't be the only one who is feeling like they're living in a Tim Horton's or Canadian commercial? Right?! So, if we can just side-step the long history of genocide and betrayals and broken treaties that led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada (and we manage to the rest of the year so why not today, too, right?!), a country located on stolen land called Turtle Island, I would like to use this opportunity to list some wonderful Canadian reads, and hey, I've got the platform so I'll be taking that opportunity! Huzzah!

Runaway by Alice Munro -- She is a god. Honestly. People should stop asking questions like, "why are we here" and "is there life after death" and start asking, "how does Alice Munro know all this human condition business so well?" It's because she's a god. Ouroboros.

Bang Crunch by Neil Smith -- Did you know that Neil Smith took one, ONE, writer's workshop before coming out with this collection? Which is kind of like someone walking into a sewing for beginners class and walking out Alexander McQueen.

The Diviners by Margaret Lawrence -- Having not watched either series, nor read the book, I feel qualified to compared the Diviners to Mildred Pierce. Obviously there's no Evan Rachel Wood (thank gods, amirite?! Sophie-Anne, you are the WORST!) in the Diviners, no prairies in MP, no successful cafe franchises in the Diviners and no Métis in MP. Other than that, practically the same

What We All Long For by Dionne Brand -- Toronto's poet laureate, her list of awards and achievements and honours is as long as my slightly longer right arm (I blame badminton) all for very good reason. Shit, I'm off my game.

Whale Music by Paul Quarrington -- Speaking of whale music did you know that the pipes in our building howl and at times when I'm feeling generous and not wanting to take a sledge hammer to the fucking walls, I like to imagine that it's whales singing. Sometimes they also sound like an orchestra warming up. But I digress, again. Whale Music is the best novel about rock n' roll. Bold statement? Yes, but I stand by it. Desmond Howl makes Brian Wilson look like a functional person. I dig this book so much.

The Architects are Here by Michael Winter -- I took a writing class taught by Michael Winter and it literally changed my life. Bold statement? Yes, but I stand by it. I so very, very much love the way he writes and talks and sees the world and I wish I had an ounce of that creativity. He somehow writes in this completely unique way that swerves dangerously close to twee but never dips to the dark side. I lack the skillz to properly explain the beauty of his work so really you should just read it. Besides he once fell into an incinerator, so he's also totes badass.

Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway -- You know what you should read right now? Like, stop with the BBQing and drinking and socializing and just pick this book up. It's probably at your local library... Which is closed today so you're off the hook for now. But read it tomorrow. Call in sick if you have to. This isn't a nice, lukewarm suggestion; it's a fucking order. I know I seem all friendly and happy and, ok I probably don't seem all friendly and happy what with all the incessant ranting and cursing, but this is serious. IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. IT WILL BETTER YOU. I'm not having a very good day. I apologize for all the pressure. I'm a terrible person.

Alligator by Lisa Moore -- Great? Great!

Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies -- So good that I'll forgive Robbie his ignorant misinterpretation of Lolita.

Born With a Tooth by Joseph Boyden -- *whiney voice* Guuuuuuuuuyssss, do I really have to talk about how incredible Joseph Boyden is again? Fuck, I'm such an asshole, this week, eh (that eh is in honour of Canada Day. Hurray)? I'm super sorry, I'm having a crappy feeling day. Darling reader, don't worry, it's not your fault! I still have very fond feelings for you! It's me and my weird, sometimes fucked up brain. Ugh! I knew this was going to happen! I called it the other day when I thought I saw a mouse in our living room (I may or may not see things when I'm on the verge of a low day. By 'may' I mean I definitely do). And on Canada Day of all days! Ugh! Just kidding! Alright back to our regularly planned programming!
Ghosted by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall -- He's is my friend and I like to think I'm a pretty good friend but not so good a friend that I'd let friendship get in the way of the very serious business of reading good books. Good thing Shaughnessy wrote a very good book!

Republic of Love by Carol Shields -- It's so great reading books that are set in your neighbourhood right?! And it's like "and then they walked down Corydon and had gelato" and I'm like, "omg, I just walked down Corydon and had gelato!"and it's pretty super because, yeah, you're literally there. True story. Anyway, Carol Shields is also pretty super. Oh man, this is not a very good FF. Sorry, dudes, y'all deserve better. Forgive me. Carol Shields deserves better. Forgive me, Carol, where ever you are (I stopped asking those big questions after reading my first Alice Munro story).

I'm a Registered Nurse, Not a Whore by Anne Purdue -- What are all those words that people use to describe books in blurbs? Raw? Visceral? Hilarious? Unputdownable (my personal favourite)? Unforgiving in it's humanity? Ok, I may have made that last one up but they all stand for describing this collection. Read it now. Don't make me tell you for a third week in a row.

Well, that's all I've got for today, I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday! Hurray for Canada (horrible history of colonization and oppression and Japanese internment camps and asbestos and all that fucking shit aside)! Ugh, I am the WORST! I love you!

Until next Friday Fiction: I give you Canada's greatest musical export of the moment (sorry Nickleback!) and an incredibly epic song.


  1. Will you de-friend me if I admit that I've never heard of Tomson Highway?

    I can't decide which one to choose. Pick for me, s'il vous plaît. Either Tomson Highway or Alice Munro.

  2. Damara: I've never heard of Tomson Highway, either. But i can absoluteley vouch for Runaway, you HAVE to read it! Absolutely amazing stories, it's been a few years since I read it, and every so often i think of one of the characters in a particular story, and my heart breaks a little bit more.

  3. And Al:I have no idea why you think this post is the worst! It's not like it made out with your boyfriend or anything.

  4. Rebekah - Oh, snap!

    Damara - Do you have to choose?! Oh man, I feel like King Solomon or something! Cut them both in half? No, wait! Don't! Does that make me the true mother? I can't decide! Either way, I'll never unfriend you over books! At least not over choosing between Alice Munro and Tomson Highway... They're both so kick-ass I think eventually you'll read them both! So, in short, I'm no help. As you were.