Queen Books February 2020 Newsletter
Read on for updates on our upcoming events, books we are reading and loving, and new releases we're excited about this month.
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Book Club News!
True Crime Book Club
Tuesday, February 25
This month, we are reading Unbelievable: The Story of Two Detectives' Relentless Search for the Truth by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong (Crown) and watching the Netflix documentary. All are welcome; check out our Facebook groups at this link, or RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our True Crime Book Club mailing list.
Fiction Book Club
Our fiction book club is on a break right now—stay tuned for updates!
Monday, February 24
Reading Queens is back on! Our book club will feature books aimed at the ages of 9-12, but will have content that is appropriate and accessible to both younger and older readers should they want to join. This month we're reading The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills (Annick Press).
Check out our event page at our website for more details: http://queenbooks.ca/events
Thursday, February 20
Were There Gazelle Launch with Laura McRae
Laura K McRae is releasing a poetry collection, Were There Gazelle, and will be celebrating its publication with a Toronto Lit Up book launch at Queen Books.
Saturday, February 22
Teddy Bear of the Year Storytime with Vikki Vansickle
Join us for a very special Saturday storytime with Toronto author, Vikki Vansickle, to celebrate her new book, Teddy Bear of the Year (Tundra Books)! We’ll be having our own teddy bear picnic with light refreshments, so make sure your little ones bring their favourite teddy bear or stuffy! Free to attend and books will be for sale.
Saturday, March 7
I Am A Polar Bear and I Am A Beaver Launch with Paul Covello!
Join us for a very special Saturday storytime with Toronto author, illustrator, and artist Paul Covello! Paul will be reading his two new board books, drawing with kids, making crafts, and we will also have special cookies and a face painter! Don't miss it! Free to attend and books will be for sale.
Saturday, March 7
Paper Bag Princess Day at Queen Books!
Join us to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (Annick Press)! We'll have Paper Bag Princess crowns, temporary tattoos
2 Paper Bag Princess cotton totes to giveaway, crafts, and story time! We'll be reading The Paper Bag Princess of course, plus lots of fun books about dragons! All are welcome, please come in costume!
Tuesday, March 10
Fight Like A Girl Launch & Muay Thai Demonstration with Sheena Kamal
Join us to celebrate local author Sheena Kamal's latest young adult novel, Fight Like A Girl! Sheena will be doing a reading and signing, and we will also have a Muay Thai expert doing a demonstration.
Thursday, March 12
Resistance is Futile Toronto Launch with Julie S. Lalonde
Join us for the launch of Julie S. Lalonde’s debut memoir, Resilience Is Futile! Resilience Is Futile is a story of survival, courage and ultimately, hope. But it’s also a challenge to the ways we understand trauma and resilience. It’s the story of one survivor who won’t give up and refuses to shut up. Free to attend and books will be for sale.
What We're Reading This Month
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Little, Brown, and Company)
I finally read Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, the classic chilling masterpiece about a young woman who marries a rich widower only to find his late-wife’s memory suffocating and all too present. Du Maurier may have written it 80 years ago but it feels as fresh as if it were written yesterday.
Lanny by Max Porter (Strange Light)
2019 was a great year for books—every year is a great year for books—but 2019 delivered me something unexpected in the form of Max Porter's Lanny. The story told from four differing perspectives is a macabre fairy tale mystery that flips between the languid devouring prose of Dead Papa Toothwort to the mundane musings of Lanny's father. While the adults in Lanny's life wonder who this strange fae child is, Dead Papa Toothwort is planning and waiting. As a lover of fantasy, this got to me, as a literature reader it thrilled me, and as someone who can't look away from horror, it captivated me.
The Seas by Samantha Hunt (WW Norton/Tin House)
A bewitching tale of a nameless and maybe a little unhinged young woman who's always been an outsider in her small, seaside town. She is just keeping her head above water in her troubles: she is in unrequited love with a man much older than her, who is an Iraq war veteran, her father is lost at sea, and her mother and grandfather are lost in their own grief-stricken world. Our narrator also believes she is a mermaid. Hunt's prose is magical, and although this is a heart-wrenching novel dripping with sadness and whiskey and saltwater, it was impossible for me to not fall under its hypnotic spell. Good for fans of Claudia Dey's Heartbreaker, or just if you need more reasons to be sad!
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders (Tom Doherty Associates)
This sci-fi story centers on Sophie, a young student at the University Xiosphant, on the planet January. The setting of the novel is really interesting: a city caught between the frozen wastes on one side, and the blazing inferno on the other side. Sophie saves her roommate/crush from being arrested, but in doing so is exiled to the dark, frozen side of the planet to die. As she navigates her new surroundings and comes to terms with her new situation, Anders is able to bring her characters to life while fleshing out the city and culture of Xiosphant. This is such a refreshing piece of sci-fi to read!
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton (McClelland & Stewart)
An interesting little novel about the trajectory of a couple's relationship, from their early courtship to the birth of their children, to an affair and beyond. The narrator speaks almost as a couples therapist, interjecting throughout the plot with italicized observations about the mistakes the couple makes when communicating with one another, ways they could have navigated tricky topics and situations more peacefully, and the very nature of love itself. The book is full of wisdom and insight into the challenges and complexities of self-knowledge and communication in long term relationships.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday Canada)
Set in Florida in the 1960s, this is a brutal coming-of-age story about a black teenager sent to Nickel Academy, a reform school for boys. The story is about the Civil Rights movement, institutional abuse, and the friendship between two boys sent to a horrible place (based on a real reform school that actually existed). Even though this is a sad story, I like the way it is written—very matter-of-fact, with an interesting plot, great characters, and lots of exciting twists and turns.
Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
This was one of the most anticipated books on my radar. As someone who has worked both in the book world and the start-up culture tech world, I was champing at the bit to read it. It is marketed as an 'explosive' memoir about Silicon Valley; however, if you've been paying attention to, well, anything about Silicon Valley, nothing revealed will be a surprise. Corporate greed, corruption, hetero-normative toxic masculinity, efficiency fetishes, unbridled glee for building a technological "utopia" are all explored with heart and curiosity. Many of us who graduated into the recession will know the struggle of wanting to do something meaningful and useful but also the fear of being left behind as technology and the economy advances faster than we can upgrade our liberal arts educations. The merits of the book really lie in the precise, nuanced critique of modern-day workplace desires and expectations. Weiner's experience, while unique, will resonate with anyone who ever had a job, wished they had a job, or hated their job.
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barrry (Knopf Random Vintage Canada)
A gritty tale of a complicated friendship between two aging drug dealers as they wait at the Algeciras ferry terminal hoping to find a missing daughter.
New Releases We're Excited About This Month
Survival Is A Style: Poems by Christian Wiman (FSG)
Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader by Vivian Gornick (FSG)
Verge: Stories by Lidia Yuknavitch (Riverhead)
Weather by Jenny Offill (Knopf)
Indelicacy by Amina Cain (Strange Light)
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland (Tin House)
The Splendid and The Vile by Erik Larson (Crown)