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Recommended Reading List

2011 ReLit Awards Shortlist

Created by 49thShelf on August 28, 2011
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A list of books appearing on the 2011 ReLit Awards Shortlist
The Cube People

The Cube People

edition:Paperback
tagged : literary

Christian McPherson's debut novel The Cube People pokes fun at government cubicle culture through the life and times of a struggling computer programmer/novelist wannabe. McPherson surrounds his protagonist, Colin MacDonald, with a cast of screwball characters while he toils away at his government job, struggles with fertility and dreams of becoming a published writer. Recycled air, bad lighting and bizarre environmental office policies by day; scheduled love-making sessions and rejection letter …

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Book

Book

edition:Paperback
tagged :

Imagine there was just one thing you were trying to say, and you weren’t even sure what it was you were trying to say exactly, you just felt you had something to say, so you kept trying to say what it was you were trying to say and hoping that one time you would say it in a way that would allow you to finally see just exactly what it was you’d been trying to say. Imagine that sometimes you managed to say what you were trying to say better than other times, and you collected the best examples …

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Blood Relatives

Blood Relatives

edition:Paperback
tagged :

Part outlaw country song, part satirical poke at slumming as a right-of-passage, Blood Relatives tells the story of Charlie, a down-on-his-luck thirty-one year old office cleaner, whose life, since the death of his father, is out of control. Darkly comic in intent, at times hilarious, at other times unnerving, Blood Relatives creates an utterly believable fictional world that turns the conventions of the coming-of-age novel inside out. The reader follows Charlie from bad to worse, encountering a …

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The Find

The Find

edition:Paperback
tagged :

Anna Silowski, highly educated, driven and successful, works as a curator in a prestigious palaeontological museum; Scott Macleod dropped out of school, has a confused relationship with his Native roots, and an alcoholic father in tow. After a day’s prospecting leads Anna to make an extraordinary discovery in a remote part of British Columbia, the tensions below the surface of her successful career are exposed. Anna has carried for years terrifying knowledge that she feels she must keep secret …

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Krakow Melt

Krakow Melt

edition:Paperback
tagged :

Lambda Literary Award Finalist

Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction Finalist

Shortlisted for a ReLit Award
Shortlisted for an Independent Literary Award

This second novel by Lambda Literary Award
finalist Daniel Allen Cox (Shuck) is an incendiary story about two pyromaniacs who fight
homophobia in Krakow, Poland, one of the
fronts of the Solidarnosc revolution that eventually toppled the Berlin Wall in 1989. It's 2005, and Poland is grappling with its newfound role as a member of the European Unio …

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The Bourgeois Empire

The Bourgeois Empire

A Novel
edition:Paperback
tagged : literary

The bleak landscape of midlife disillusionment and excess permeate this brooding novel about a husband and wife, a teenage girl, and the erotic and mundane details of daily existence. His masculinity charged and marred to a surreal extent, Jules finds vice and love equally helpful in distracting him from the quiet brutality of existence and the inevitability of death. In this world, beauty negotiates truth with pornography and antique revolvers—contrasting the nature of agency and choice with t …

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One Bloody Thing After Another

One Bloody Thing After Another

edition:Paperback
tagged : horror, humorous

Jackie has a map of the city on the wall of her bedroom, with a green pin for each of her trees. She has a first-kiss tree and a broken-arm tree. She has a car-accident tree. There is a tree at the hospital where Jackie’s mother passed away into the long good night. When one of them gets cut down, Jackie doesn't know what to do but she doesn't let that stop her. She picks up the biggest rock she can carry and puts it through the window of a car. Smash. She intends to leave before the police ar …

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Excerpt

The window in the upstairs hallway is open. No wonder it was so cold last night. Ann slides it closed, hard, and goes down to the kitchen. There’s a bowl of cereal laid out for her breakfast, and Ann’s younger sister Margaret is already shoveling food into her face. Milk dribbles down Margaret’s chin. There’s cereal all over the tabletop.

 

“You’re disgusting,” Ann says. “Your friends will wait for you, you know. You don’t have to choke it down like that.”

“Hey, go slow,” their mother says, coming into the kitchen. She’s dressed up, in a gray–and–white suit, and she twirls once for her daughters. “What do you think?” she says. “Professional? Hire–able? Is the red scarf too much?”

“You look great, Mom,” Ann tells her. Margaret just keeps eating. Their mother bends down to get something from the floor. It’s a couple seconds before Ann realizes that her mother hasn’t come up again. She leans over, and sees that her mom wasn’t picking something up at all. She’s crouched down, holding a hand to her throat.

“Are you okay?” Ann says.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine, Ann.” Her mother clears her throat. “Sorry. I just have something… .” she clears her throat again louder, and then stands up, smiling. She clears her throat again. Then again.

Even Margaret is looking up from her cereal. Their mother coughs. And then she coughs harder. There’s a bit of blood on her lips now.

She smiles.

“Wish me luck today!” she says.

 

Ann’s mother was perfectly qualified, but her interview did not go well. Afterward, she ran out of the conference room holding her red scarf over her mouth, leaving two men, Jeff and Alex, sitting in silence for a long time.

Between the two of them they have interviewed thousands of men and women for various jobs. It has never before gone so ridiculously badly. They’re just sitting there. They should clean this up and call the next applicant. They’re on a schedule, after all. But instead they sit in silence.

Alex looks at the door where she ran out, and then he looks at the wet, bloody chunk of god–knows–what sitting on the table in front of them. The thing she coughed up, partway through the interview. That poor woman.

“That did not go well,” Jeff says.

He can joke because none of the blood landed on him.

 

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Good Evening, Central Laundromat

Good Evening, Central Laundromat

edition:Paperback
tagged :

What if your best friend’s ghost was still hanging around town? What if your girlfriend mysteriously lost her voice and didn’t seem to care? What if a strangely independent pigeon started following you wherever you went? These are the questions plaguing Cameron Delco as he struggles to get to the bottom of a bizarre mystery that begins with a fortune-teller in a late night Laundromat and ends somewhere inside a dusty lint trap. A book where the present moment is like a dream and the distant …

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