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Happy Birthday, Biblioasis!

By kerryclare
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tagged: biblioasis
Biblioasis turns 10 this year and tonight they're having a party. To celebrate, I'm making a list of some of my favourite Biblioasis titles from over the years. So many amazing reads from one of Canada's best presses.
Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway
Why it's on the list ...
These are poems that are deceptively simple; they rhyme. Sometimes I think that Alexandra Oliver is making fun of me, but I don’t hold this against her. These are poems about familiar situations–encountering other mothers in the park and discussing stroller models, angsty troubled romance. Proud poems about trouble—one called “Curriculum Vitae” contains the lines, “The hive of hell was crowded with my bees/ the sea of ill acquainted with my oar”. Dark, sinister, sardonic and hilarious. A poem about a camera user’s manual, and yes, the title poem, about recounting an old bully years later. “It’s been so long. They say. Amen.”
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Light Lifting
Why it's on the list ...
These are stories that hinge on a single moment, when one thing turns into another, and yet these single moments are so emblematic of larger stories that each of these stories is a lifetime, is a novel, and utterly satisfying from beginning to end. MacLeod also manages to bridge the literary gender divide, which I found remarkable– how he writes like a woman, and how he writes like a man, and how such distinctions cease to matter with incredible work like this. I am full of awe, amazement, will be foisting this collection on everyone I know, and not a single one of them will be the least bit sorry. They’ll all feel as lucky as I do to have experienced this incredible collection.
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English Stories, The
Why it's on the list ...
With mere words (though there is nothing mere about her words), Flood has recreated a time and a place and an atmosphere so steeped, I could trace my finger along the patterns in the wallpaper (and she doesn’t even mention the wallpaper). These stories are challenging, tricky, ripe with allusionary gateways to the wider world of literature. And so rewarding, for the richness of character, the intricate detail, and careful plotting that holds just enough back, keeping us alert and anticipating what’s around every next turn.
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Malarky
Why it's on the list ...
“Malarky is like nothing else, and what everything should be,” is something I wrote down this weekend. First, because it’s as funny as it’s dark, and also because it dares readers to be brave enough to follow along an unconventional narrative. Though the winding path is only deceptively tricky– Our Woman’s voice is instantly familiar, and the shifting perspectives remain so intimate and immediate that the reader follows. Consenting to be led, of course, which is the magic of Malarky. This is a book that will leave you demanding more of everything else you read.
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Once
Why it's on the list ...
The first book by my wonderfully talented friend (both at writing and friendship), Rebecca Rosenblum.
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All Saints
Why it's on the list ...
“…All Saints reads like a collision between Pym and Lynn Coady’s recent Hellgoing, whose epigraph is from Larkin’s “Church Going,” a poem which asks the question, “When churches will fall completely out of use/What we shall turn them into.”

The easy answer is condos – their developers are the only ones still banging on All Saints’s door. As with those in Coady’s collection, Miller’s characters are negotiating existence in a world in which the old rules and morality Pym satirized no longer apply.
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All the Voices Cry
Why it's on the list ...
None of Petersen’s characters is quite where they’re meant to be, where they want to be, and they see themselves in new lights against the unfamiliar contexts. The book is slim, the stories are subtle and quiet, and though their impact is not always immediate, All the Voices Cry is a collection you might want to meditate on, its pages getting dog-earned and stained with coffee rings as the summer wears on.
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Canary
Why it's on the list ...
I loved these stories of families and volcanic eruptions, hitching rides and kissing cousins. And oh my goodness, “Big Fat Beautiful You”, what a powerful way to finish this collection, connecting past and present, as a middle-aged woman testifies to who her sister was and who she is now: “Caroline is like one of the comets that travel fast enough to enter and leave the solar system with almost no attention. I guess I am the witness who noticed the collision and subsequent disintegration of the marvellous light.” A story like a Bruce Springsteen song, if Springsteen were a woman–I love that. There is humour here, engrossing narrative, and wonderful, wonderful writing.
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