This year, thanks to the Twitter campaigns #ReadWomen and #ReadWomen2015, book lovers everywhere have been encouraged to read more books written by women. We fully support such a great and worthwhile endeavour and hope that readers everywhere will take up the challenge.
Here is just a sampling of BookThug’s #ReadWomen recommended reading list of compelling and engaging books by super-smart, crazy talented and strong women.
Pauls by Jess Taylor
This collection of ten interconnected stories all feature characters named Paul. Pauls is about people: the things that remain unseen to them; how they cope with their unforgettable pasts; the different roles they take in each other’s lives; how they hurt each other; how they try to heal each other; the things they want to learn; and the things they’ll never discover.
“Taylor’s debut collection is a cycle of bristlingly good stories that all feature at least one character named Paul. It’s an exciting thing to behold; one gets the sense of discovering in her authentic, compelling voice a master-in-waiting, like a young Alice Munro.” —National Post
Light Light by Julie Joosten
Moving from the Enlightenment science of natural history to the contemporary science of global warming, Light Light is a provocative engagement with the technologies and languages that shape discourses of knowing. It bridges the histories of botany, empire, and mind to take up the claim of “objectivity” as the dissolution of a discrete self and thus explores the mind’s movement toward and with the world.
“The collection’s keen attention to the natural order, from sun to atom, from weather to grass, is made possible because of the poet’s obvious joy and love for the world of nature …. It illuminates itself; it is an enlightenment project, which has moved through the sieve of postmodernism.” —The Rusty Toque
Myrmurs: An Exploded Sestina by Shannon Maguire
Myrmurs is an innovative variant of the sestina form (a medieval mechanism of desire that spirals around six end words). Connecting medieval textuality to contemporary politics and poetics, this poem explores living systems: cities and languages as self-organizing entities; ants; interspecies entanglements; strange attachments; neocolonialism and how to break free of it.
“In Myrmurs, Maguire’s is a language poetry composed with a lyric lilt and tone, one constructed with precise measure and a musical ear.” —rob mclennan’s blog
Leak by Kate Hargreaves
The relationship between language and the body lives in the bumps and bruises that in turn become new ways of understanding the borders and leaks of our everyday existence. In Leak, bodies lose pieces and fall apart, while words slip out of place and letters drop away. Emergency room signage becomes incomprehensible, the census requests bodily measurements, a cyclist confuses oil with her own blood. This visceral deconstruction of the body and its multiple representations tests the boundaries of body politics—pathologically, emotionally, and lyrically.
“Leak is striking for the sounds [Hargreaves] generates, allowing the language to roll and toss and spin in a fantastic display of gymnastic aural play so strong one can’t help but hear the words leap off the page.” —rob mclennan’s blog
Bunny and Shark by Alisha Piercy
A middle-aged coming-of-age story-cum-shark-adventure that reveals and celebrates women’s power in the trenches. Plunging into the first thirteen days after the ‘bastard’ pushes his ex-Playboy wife ‘Bunny’ over a cliff in the Caribbean, Bunny and Shark is a fable about island survival, and the perils and potentials of being exiled from one’s identity.
“Bunny and Shark is a little like a strange, hyper-sexualized Cinderella story, only this Cinderella is trying to escape her prince … On a greater level, it’s about a Playboy Bunny’s ascribed worth when her time as a prime physical specimen (and little else) is over and done, and what if anything remains of the woman beneath the veneer once she’s been cast aside.” —Andrew Wilmot for All Lit Up Canada
Air Carnation by Guadalupe Muro Air Carnation features an absorbing narrative that bridges non-fiction and fiction, poetry and song, as Guadalupe Muro explores themes of independence in love and the writerly life. With sojourns in Argentina, Buenos Aires, New York, Washington, and a cross-Canada train passage from Edmonton to Toronto, Air Carnation is an affecting work that will have readers laughing, crying, and all the while, enjoying this fascinating meta-fiction that sings of hippiedom in Patagonia.
“Madeleine Thien says that she likes to think of “Home” as a verb, something to be continually re-created. This is just the kind of journey Air Carnation takes us on, the joyous and uncertain and occasionally bittersweet process of creating and recreating a place that can fit it all—big enough to contain a world of dreams and plans and loves and letters, unsent but not lost. ” —Broken Pencil
Here In There by Angela Carr
A lyrical petition to the human faculty of attention. In constant motion, the poems locate unusual instances of connection. They ask, do we give or pay attention? And what do we attend to? Carr’s poems form traceable and untraceable patterns, disappearing economies of material.
“Carr constructs a delicate tower of a book, one that sways and seems fragile but never topples.” —Winnipeg Free Press
Swim by Marianne Apostolides Breathe on four. Define your terms. What is this desire? Attuned to a body in motion, Swim pulls the reader beneath the logic of prose, into the eroticism of language itself. The arcing rhythm of a body breathing—a woman marking her birth as she swims in a pool—sustains the unique and hypnotic language that becomes the medium through which this story moves.
“This excellent, brief, first novel both deters and delights within the first few pages. The language and voicing are infected by unwanted punctuation – dashes and slashes – and by intrusive 20th-century French thought. Let’s clear this initial impression out of the way. The author’s thorough command of this contemporary consciousness soon overrides any misgivings or biases the reader might have, and we are propelled into the artful fluidity of the novel.” —Malcolm Sutton for the Globe and Mail
The Men: A Lyric Book by Lisa Robertson
Who are the men? The Men are a riddle. What do they want? Their troubles become lyric. The Men explores a territory between the poet and a lyric lineage among men. Yet Robertson remains angered by the structure of gender that these works advance. It is this troubled texture of identification that she examines in The Men. What if “she” wrote “his” poems? At once intimate and oblique, humorous and heartbreaking, composed and furious, The Men seeks to defamiliarize both who and what men are.
“Roberston’s formal investigation of the epistemology of lyric poetry… mirrors the difficulty of her subjects: men, poetry, and construction of the lyric ‘I.’” —American Book Review