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Books to Break Your Reading Slump

A recommended reading list by the author of the new novel Francie's Got a Gun.

Book Cover Francie's Got a Gun

Carrie Snyder's latest novel is Francie's Got a Gun, and it's one of the excellent picks on our August Summer Reading List.

Enter for your chance to win a copy (and all the other books on the list) at the link in our profile.


Book Cover That Time I Loved You

That Time I Loved You, by Carrianne Leung, stories linked by place and time, and especially by the children who move in packs around the neighbourhood, picking up clues; pleasurable and immersive and beautifully observed.


Book Cover Fight Night

Fight Night, by Miriam Toews, oh my goodness, the voices of these characters, the richness and joy of their wisdom, the humour, the odyssey undertaken—I wanted it to go on forever; I’d read anything by Miriam Toews, anytime, anywhere.


Book Cover The Outline Trilogy

Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy (Outline, Transit, Kudos), I don’t know how she does it, but this is autofiction at its finest—the writer is a portal to the lives she observes in passing, somehow both a presence and an absence at once; deeply intelligent construction of ideas that kick everything just a bit off-kilter; mesmerizing.


Book Cover Inheritance

Inheritance, by Kerry-Lee Powell, poems that feel accessible and true by a real artist committed to her vision, Powell is also the author of a collection of gritty, raw short fiction called Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush.


Book Cover THe Age of Creativity

The Age of Creativity, by Emily Urquhart, and coming this fall, Ordinary Wonder Tales, nonfiction that combines memoir with folklore and fascinating research on the connections between art and the artist, and the stories that we tell to make our lives whole, and find belonging and meaning.


Book Cover Where the Air is Sweet

Where the Air Is Sweet, by Tasneem Jamal, sweeping yet personal historical fiction set in Uganda and Canada circa 1970s and earlier, about family, forced migration, loss, belonging and home, and the ties and rifts between generations; beautiful, assured writing.


Book Cover Heart Berries

Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot, a memoir that’s so personal and intimate it almost hurts, written in fragments that hold like moments gathered in a basket or arrayed around a room, grief and triumph intertwined, a writer finds her voice even while moving through alien environments.


Book Cover THe Most Precious Substance on Earth

The Most Precious Substance on Earth, by Shashi Bhat, linked stories so finely tuned they flow like glass, memorable characters and voices, and some extremely fascinating and unexpected explorations of power, not just the dynamics between men and women, but also between friends, parents and children, teachers and students, and strangers online.


Book Cover This One Summer

This One Summer, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, a graphic novel for young adults (or anyone, really!), a sensitive and tender portrayal of adolescent friendship: kids observing and asking questions about hard things in the lives of the adults around them; and also exploring and wondering about their own sexuality; it’s magical and captures the emotions and adventure of being young and on the cusp of great change, during those months of summer freedom (apparently this is a frequently banned book, good grief!).


Book Cover Missed Connections

Missed Connections, by Brian Francis, an epistolatory memoir about coming out and seeking connections as a young man in a more closeted homophobic time that wasn’t really so long ago (1992); funny, yearning, gentle, and conceptually inventive.


Book Cover A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki, this wondrous novel resonates in my being years after reading it; the images that remain feel curative and healing; it’s trippy and mind-bending but rooted in real experiences, and I love it so much I've given away copies as gifts countless times, and can’t wait to read her new novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness.


Book Cover Francie's Got a Gun

Learn more about Francie's Got a Gun:

A suspenseful and poignant tale from an award-winning writer about a girl navigating chaotic family life in a close-knit small town.

On a June afternoon in a small city, a wild-eyed girl named Francie dashes down a neighbourhood street, clutching a gun. She doesn’t know exactly what she’s running from, and she doesn’t know what she’s heading towards. All she understands is the need to survive. To save herself, she has no choice but to run—and to save those she loves, she must hold tight to that gun.
Swirling around Francie is a chorus of friends, family, and neighbours, each person with a different view of her. As we hear from these voices—Francie’s steadfast best friend, Alice; Alice’s comically unaware mother, Sally, and struggling mathematician father, David; Francie’s distressed and distracted mother, Marietta, and troubled, unwell father, Luce—a fractured portrait emerges of the girl and the village surrounding her. And at last we arrive at a still point in the chaos: a tall tree where Francie takes shelter, and where the meaning of her flight—for herself, and for the people around her—becomes clear.
In Francie’s Got a Gun, award-winning writer Carrie Snyder assembles a chorus of unforgettable characters who are both well-intentioned and flawed. At their centre is Francie, a vulnerable, imaginative girl with surprising attachments to each of them. Here is a propulsive, polyphonic, heart-expanding novel—equal parts sorrow and humour, fear and love, anger and kindness—about social breakdown and the quest for connection in a close-knit community.

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