October arriveth, and so does a batch of new arrivals and monthly events. The fall season brings all kinds of excellent books to the shop, so be sure to check out the selection of literature in the new arrivals section of this post. And don’t forget: Our hiatus from events is over, people! We’ll be hosting reading which newly-published authors from NeWest Press, poets from Montreal and abroad, and our Argo Open Mic is back up and running. Lastly, consider picking up a copy of our Book of the Month, John Darnielle‘s Wolf in White Van (nominated for this year’s National Book Award), and/or joining us for our Book Club in November: We’ll be reading Satantango by László Krasznahorkai, winner of the 2013 Best Translated Book Award.
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Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
“Wolf‘s structure, in which plot dances around an unspeakable memory that must be teased out of the text, is not new — but Darnielle is a master at building tenderness from this unspecified grief.” (Carman Maria Machado, “The Monstrous And The Beautiful Dance In ‘White Van'”, NPR)
Many know this novel’s author as the multi-instrumentalist, writer and composer for the band The Mountain Goats, but we assure you: He’s a damn good novelist too. Those familiar with John Darnielle‘s music can find intersecting narrative and thematic consistencies in his debut novel Wolf in White Van, namely from its treatment of adolescent introspection, but the format of the novel has given Darnielle more room to breathe.
The novel follows Sean Phillips, a young man disfigured by an accident which forces him to spend most of his time indoors. Secluded, Sean begins a mail-order game company that distributes text-based adventure games, the most popular of which is Trace Italian, a game where players navigate and attempt to survive a post-apocalyptic America populated by roving gangs of mutagenically infected people. However, Sean’s future as a game writer is compromised by a pair of teenagers who follow the path of their characters in Trace Italian down to the last syllable, an excursion that results in death and Sean is to blame.
New & Latest Arrivals
We’re just starting to catch up on our new arrivals, but for now, we’ve picked what we could from this season’s bevy of releases. Some of titles listed here are even currently being restocked, and reservations/special orders are welcome. Expect another post on new arrivals midway through the month!
Click the title of a book to view information on or a review of that title, or just search for them in our catalogue (recommended for price checks).
LITERATURE & POETRY
- This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein
- The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell
- Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (paperback edition)
- The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis
- Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
- Failure to Thrive by Suzannah Showler
- Basic Writings by Martin Heidegger (Harper Collins edition)
- Hypnos by René Char
- Thousand Times Broken: Three Books by Henri Michaux
- Dead Girls by Nancy Lee
- Blind Spot by Laurence Miall
- Some Extremely Boring Drives by Marguerite Pigeon
- The Couch Sessions by Jeff O’Brien (local author)
Our Next Book Club Title
Our next read will be Satantango by László Krasznahorkai:
Known as the inspiration for the filmmaker Béla Tarr’s six-hour masterpiece of the same name, Satantango is a “spellbinding, bleak, and hauntingly beautiful book”, a testimony that it’s the devil who “has all the good times.” Winner of the 2013 Best Translated Book Award from the online literary periodical Three Percent, the story of Satantango is told over the course of several rainy days in an unnamed hamlet, with readers following its scant inhabitants in their misery of being stuck in the middle of nowehere. “Schemes, crimes, infidelities, hopes of escape, and above all trust and its constant betrayal are Krasznahorkai’s meat.” (New Directions)
On November 19th, we’ll get together to discuss the book over some drinks. Everyone’s welcome, and anyone partaking receives a 15% discount off the book. If you would like to join in for our monthly discussions, send an email to email@example.com in order to receive regular updates.
Events for the Month of October
Argo Featured Reading #27:
NeWest Press Presents
Marguerite Pigeon & Laurence Miall
Monday, October 6th
@ Argo Bookshop
Doors @ 7PM, Reading @ 7:30PM
“Marguerite Pigeon’s gifts for quick characterization and muscular dialogue are on full display in (her first collection of short stories Some Extremely Boring Drives), where you will encounter competitors in an endurance race at the edge of the world; the secret lives of stray cats, and those who try to catch them night after night; an interview with a once-famous musician who seems to be losing touch with reality; a date in Mexico City that ends in a kidnapping; a woman who comes face to face with her mirror image and finds that she’s taken another path; and a girl who’s determined to never, ever stand still again.” (NeWest Press)
Marguerite Pigeon is a former journalist and traveller turned writer of fiction and poetry. In 2001 she lived for several months near the Honduran-Salvadoran border working with a local indigenous organization, an experience that became the inspiration for her first novel, Open Pit. She later attended UBC’s Creative Writing MFA program. Since graduating, her short stories and poems have appeared in journals throughout Canada and internationally, and her first book of poetry, Inventory (Anvil, 2009), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Some Extremely Boring Drives is her first book of short stories. Originally from Blind River, Ontario, she currently lives in Vancouver.
“In Blind Spot, debut novelist Laurence Miall crafts an unforgettable literary antihero, a man disconnected from the pain of those around him, yet blind to his own faults: When his parents’ car is hit by a train, Luke, a failed actor, returns to his Edmonton hometown to attend their funeral, wrap up their affairs, and prepare their house to be sold off. But while all others around him grieve, Luke remains detached, striking up a relationship with a woman in a neighbouring house… and stumbling across evidence that his mother may have engaged in a longstanding extramarital affair herself.” (NeWest Press)
Laurence Miall is a Montreal-based writer who spent his childhood in England before emigrating to Edmonton at the age of 14. Miall has contributed to The Edmonton Journal and his short stories have been finalists in the Summer Literary Awards contest and Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. Blind Spot is his first novel.
A Poetry Reading with
Ricardo Sternberg & Michael Harris
Thursday, October 16th
@ Argo Bookshop
Doors @ 7PM, Reading @ 7:30PM
“Some Dance doesn’t so much mark a departure from Sternberg’s previous work as continue to plot a trend, an evolution from the folkloric and fantastic to the secular and contemporary. Written in the voice of an “inveterate optimist,” Some Dance finds Sternberg taking account of his world, his life, and bestowing to it the dignity of his style, transforming it like the inveterate optimists of the insect world, “The Bees,” with “the trick (or is it wisdom?) / that allows them to distil / from the thorn of grievance, / the sweetest honey.” He takes us through his encounters with charlatans and stoned surgeons, lost loves, failed marriages, dead friends and relatives, the dictionary, a fridge full of expired food and more, and attends to each with the same verbal precision, panache and pathos, so that the unerring consideration of his aesthetic becomes a kind of ethical invigilation, the redemption of imperfect lives by perfect phrases… Ricardo Sternberg is one of the absolute best poets in this country. No s–t.” (from Michael Lista @ The National Post)
On October 16th, we’ll be hosting a reading by Montreal-based poet Michael Harris and Canadian-Brazilian poet Ricardo Sternberg who published his new collection Some Dance earlier this year. “Some Dance is a meditation on stories, the intersection of stories, of things made up, of things imagined, and of things lived – perhaps. Tricks played by memory, scrambling events from life with fiction, are a constant.” (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
Ricardo Sternberg‘s poetry has been published in magazines such as The Paris Review, The Nation, Poetry (Chicago), Descant, American Poetry Review, The Virginia Quarterly and Ploughshares.
Michael Harris is a two-time winner of the CBC Literary Competition, he also has edited poetry books and anthologies and translated the complete poetry of Marie-Claire Blais. He runs Montreal Books, a rare and used Internet bookshop. He lives in Montreal, Quebec.
The Argo Open Mic is Back! (#29)
Wednesday, October 29th
@ Argo Bookshop
Doors @ 7PM, Reading @ 7:30PM
Featured in Canadian Notes and Queries‘ Montreal issue (#89) and online reviews and mentions by websites like LikeaLocalGuide and MTLBlog, the Argo Open Mic has been running since November 2011 as an open platform for Montrealers to read their work to a like-minded public.
Grab all those poems, stories, anecdotes, songs and opinions you penned over the summer and come on by to read for 5 to 10 minutes. Emerging and established authors alike are encouraged to participate. Join us for a drink and a jazz session at Grumpy’s Bar (1242 Rue Bishop) afterwards.