book reviews, crafts, cheap things…

Posts tagged “canadian

Book Review: When We Were Good by Suzanne Sutherland

When we were good

I’m always happy to promote queer punk YA novels. This one is kind of great; takes place in the year 2000, lets us into the life of high school senior Katherine. Her beloved grandma’s just died, her BFF is ignoring her, her parents are absentee and she’s pretty depressed.

Enter loud, opinionated, gay, straight-edge Marie, who immediately welcomes Katherine into her social circle (girls who start bands and go to punk shows).

It’s a classic YA problem novel in the sense that there’s all kids of drama and mess-ups and there’s kind of a lesson at the end and certain relationships never heal. As an adult reader I was constantly having waves of thankgoodness life’s not like that any more…

There are music references and band interactions that could have been taken out of my personal history. You should check it out.

Book Review: Moon Honey by Suzette Mayr

Moon honey

Don’t be turned off by the weird 1990’s graphic on the front cover. This book will blow your brains straight out of your head, and in a variety of directions (figuratively, of course). I finished this book the other day and I don’t think I’ll be done processing the intricacies of it for a while, still. However, I’m not waiting to post this because I want people to acquire this book and read it soon.

The book begins with a kind of racist white girl who one day turns black after ignorantly saying some racist stuff to her boss. The plot just goes all kinds of places from there; relationships materialize and fall apart, magical things literally or maybe figuratively happen, family histories are explored, there’s a wedding, a death, some transmogrification… All in 212 pages. I don’t know how to describe this writing… but I know that I like it.


If you’re in the USA you can one of the few copies left starting at One Cent on Amazon, or do what I did and borrow a copy from Inter Library Loan. Canadians, Mayr is one of you– so you can get it even easier. No excuses!

Book Review: Venous Hum by Suzette Mayr

Venous hum

I kept thinking about Monoceros by Suzette Mayr for weeks after I read it. My review really doesn’t do it much justice, but I guess my reviews sometimes don’t when I’m kind of floored by something. Oh well. I guess I can reiterate now: Monoceros is bizarre and interesting and poignant and well-written, and I recommend it for people who like these things.

So anyway, after realizing that I was still hung up on Monoceros, I searched my library’s catalog for more books by Mayr.

There was nothing.

I searched Link+ (a consortium of West coast public and academic libraries that facilitates the sharing of materials between systems).


I stepped things up and took my hunt to InterLibrary Loan.


(PSA: if your library doesn’t have a book that you want, ask the librarian if there are any other ways to get it.)

Venous Hum was amongst those results. After a two-week wait that felt like it took forever, I pretty much devoured (plot pun intended) the book as soon as it came in. A venous hum, according to the internet, is a typically benign occurrence where a person can basically feel and hear their own heart beating and blood flowing. You can hear an example here.

It’s difficult to explain the plot– In the present day we are supplied with a chunk of time in the lives of a woman, her wife, best friend, best friend’s husband, mother, sister, father, baby, fetus, high school reunion, and affair. In the past we are shown all of the same characters, but with the addition of the woman’s teachers and classmates. Add in past Canadian politics, racism and race politics, the supernatural, and some light human eating– and you get closer to what’s going on.

An usual element to Venous Hum (and Monoceros, too) is that they both (might) fuck with metaphor. Supernatural stuff goes on and it might be a metaphor– and it might not– but it’s presented literally. There were multiple points in Venous Hum where I had to say aloud WHAT THE FUCK; Mayr does this well. But the WTF moments are simultaneously well-balanced with the really familiar human moments, so really, you still find the story believable.

Find a copy at the library, or ask a librarian to find it for you. We want your questions.

Book Review: The Secret Fruit Of Peter Paddington [AKA ‘Fruit”] by Brian Francis

Fruit        Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington (P. S. Series)

(Multiple covers AND titles!)

I found this book during my hunt for queer Canadian literature. The description, quite simply, made it too sound too bizarre to pass up:

Thirteen-year-old Peter Paddington is overweight, the subject of his classmates’ ridicule, and the victim of too many bad movie-of-the-week storylines. When his nipples begin speaking to him one day and inform him of their diabolical plan to expose his secret desires, Peter finds himself cornered in a world that seems to have no tolerance for difference. Peter’s only solace is “The Bedtime Movies” – perfect-world (*copied from the link below)

WorldCat lists the genre as Juvenile Fiction, but I totally disagree. Sure, juveniles could read it, and they might like it, and everything would be ok. But this is kind of a coming of age novel (prominently about being gay), and there is so much delightful dramatic irony! Kids in the junior high age range would totally miss that deliciousness (and they’d miss out on the 1980’s references).

It’s a good little book. The author is really clever, Peter (in his comic innocence) is likable, the story keeps moving with something new every few pages, and the line between fantasy and reality is often transcended, perhaps suggesting that it’s unnecessary for us to try to fit ourselves into other people’s reality.

Find a copy here