The title says it all; I do mean a queer Canadian book gift guide for everyone.
For the cynical, ironic millennial in your life:
Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person by Daniel Zomparelli
This collection of interconnected short stories by Vancouver gay author and poet Daniel Zomparelli should go directly to the heart of someone in their 20s or 30s at this moment in time. In the stories, gay men look for love (and hookups and possible threesomes with ghosts) on Grindr, Instagram, and through text messages; they also do stuff like steal office supplies from their jobs, deal with their mental health at their therapists’ offices, and bake pies. This book is funny and sad and snarky and sweet and very queer and will undoubtedly profoundly speak to anyone trying to be a young or a new adult in 2017.
For someone who needs to escape:
City of Strife by Claudie Arsenault
Sometimes the world we live in is garbage and we need to get away for a while. If this applies to anyone you’re shopping for (and c’mon, how can it not?) City of Strife by Québec City asexual and aromantic-spectrum author Claudie Arsenault. It’s about a magical city (of strife) called Isandor and one inhabitant Arathiel’s return to it in search of belonging. Of course nothing is that easy and he soon finds himself in the middle of a political assassination scandal. This is the first installment in fantasy trilogy that features a big LGBTQIAP+ cast, as well as strong friendship, found family, elves, and magic!
For anyone who’s concerned about refugees:
The Clothesline Swing by Ahmad Danny Ramadan
This 2017 novel by gay Vancouver author Ahmad Danny Ramadan is a great present for anyone who’s interested in the tide of refugees who have been arriving in Canada and other places in the world in recent years. In particular, it’s about a gay Syrian couple’s journey told from the perspective of one of the men, a Hakawati (meaning storyteller), when he is elderly and looking back on his life as his partner is dying. The stories go back and forth in time, taking place in Canada, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey. It’s a haunting and nostalgic novel, but life-affirming and healing at the same time. See my full review here.
For your mom (or anyone who is a mom, or grandma):
Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald
This book is really for anyone who’s ever been a stay-at-home parent (still overwhelmingly women) and had someone tell them that isn’t damn hard stressful work. Mary-Rose aka MR/Mister is a semi-retired writer trying to balance creative endeavours with mostly solo parenting her two young kids as her partner is a busy theatre director. Lesbian Toronto author Ann-Marie MacDonald dives deep into the character of Mister as she struggles with the debilitating weight (and boredom) of motherhood and lingering symptoms from a childhood illness she thought was long behind her. Eerily reminiscent of “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
For the (pre-school and elementary age) kids:
The Boy and The Bindi by Vivek Shraya and Rajni Perera
This children’s picture book with illustrations by Rajni Perera and words by Vivek Shraya is a tender story about an Indian boy who’s fascinated with his mother’s bindi. Instead of shutting down his curiosity or restricting its use based on gender, his mom teaches him about the bindi’s cultural significance and lets him wear one. It’s a beautifully affirming story about a parent accepting their child’s gender difference and about a child finding joy in being able to express their gender difference. The illustrations are gorgeous, full of rich, deep colours and the words — “Ammi, why do you wear that dot?/ What’s so special about that spot?” are both playful and profound.
For a t(w)een, especially for one who doesn’t fit in:
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
I’m quite Tamaki’s superpower is nailing teen and tween dialogue like no other writer and it’s in full view in this YA novel about Montgomery, a 16-year-old girl with gay moms and a gay friend and sexist boys at school. She feels angry for lots of legit reasons about hate. She’s also a weirdo who has a ‘mystery club’ with her friends Thomas and Naoki where they investigate anything strange and unexplained. Monty is a young 16 who’s going through a big learning curve about learning not to simplify complex stuff like people, which makes it a perfect read for young teens or tweens reading up. See my full review here.
All the above book titles and covers are linked to amazon.com; if you click on the link and buy that book (or something else) within a day, I get a small referral fee! This money helps me be able to dedicate time to the blog and ensure quality content! If you’re using amazon.ca for holiday or everyday shopping, here are those links for the books:
Are there any other queer Canadian books you’d recommend as holiday presents?