Featuring hand-picked selections by authors we admire for all the readers on your holiday gift list, our Gift Guide Week is as lit as it gets. Today, poet and short story writer (and maybe one of the funniest people out there), Dina Del Bucchia shares five choice titles for everyone from the friend who thought "all poetry was in greeting cards" to "that person you’re sick of spending fat cash on so they can beef up their Criterion Collection."
Jen Sookfong Lee knows pop culture. And she expertly shows us what a keen culture writer she is in Gentlemen of the Shade. Taking her own experience as an East Van teen and the story of two young men trying to figure out life and love in My Own Private Idaho, Lee has created a book that blends memoir with film analysis and that’s a lovely tribute to outsiders; who they were in the '90s, and who’ve they’ve become with the influence of filmmakers like Van Sant. She understands the way culture influences and affects us in an intimate way, the kind of way that makes you understand why a film can be so meaningful, can pack so much power, and can hold us when we need it. Give this book to that person you’re sick of spending fat cash on so they can beef up their Criterion Collection.
For Anyone Who Doesn’t Believe Women, But Also All the Women in Your Life: An Honest Woman by Jonina Kirton (Talonbooks)
The honesty of this book is heartbreaking, raw, and the truth so many women have experienced as they skid through life. In gorgeous poems, Kirton gets into this honesty: women owning their sexuality, their own stories of abuse, their self-shame, and the uncomfortable place they’ve lived in society for so long. It also delivers a mouth punch of a poem that addresses the current President and creep-in-chief, and is the perfect book right now as the world slowly comes to understand the harassment leveled at women in the workplace, at home, and pretty much everywhere. It’s honestly the perfect book for anytime until men pull their shit together and stop acting like pieces of garbage. In this stand-out collection Kirton shouts, “Women contain multitudes!” You should buy it for everyone, and add it to your own wishlist.
For Your Friend Who Watches All the Teen Dramas Adults Are Supposed to Pretend Not to Like: Almost Summer by Sophie Bedard (Pow Pow Press)
I cannot tell a lie: I am that adult who loves watching teen TV shows and feeling those old teen feels. So, I can assure you that this book is a delight. Fun teen times that aren’t as much nostalgic as they are truthful: the crushes that are both embarrassing and ill-advised, the friendships, the school stress, all of it. It’s also funny. And awkward without feeling forced. I spent one of the most lovely summer days dreamily falling into this world of teendom. And while you’re at it,
Almost Summer 2 is ready for you, too, so you might as well make this a two-fer and double the good teen times.
For Your Friend Who Says They Don’t Read Poetry: Whatever, Iceberg by Tara-Michelle Ziniuk (Mansfield Press)
That friend is a liar! Or they’re going to be a liar when you gift them Whatever, Iceberg and they realize that some poetry is in fact the coolest, the smartest, and the most entertaining way to feel the feels. As clever and quotable as it is deeply moving Tara-Michelle Ziniuk has written a collection that goes deep on the messiness of human relationships and the tragicomedy of dealing with our own internal struggles. I’m not saying I want to jam poetry down people’s throats, but I am saying that you should read more of it and especially this book. That friend just hasn’t read something this excellent. Maybe they thought all poetry was in greeting cards.
For Your Broken Up Friend: Bad Endings by Carleigh Baker (Anvil Press)
With a short story collection like this who needs a partner? Baker's Bad Endings tell stories of relationships that are over, are on their way there, or never were. If you have a friend who’s living in the stained sweatshirt and chip crumbs of their break-up sadness this book affirms the idea that sometimes endings are a lot better than a stagnant or unfulfilling relationship. The women in this book might make choices you might not make, but you can’t help but respect and root for them. I’d certainly go to happy hour with them all. Sassy, smart, and funny, Bad Endings is a slim volume filled with characters and their pockets of the world, that you’ll be thinking about long after you finish the final story.
Dina's Wishlist Item: Wayside Sang by Cecily Nicholson (Talonbooks)
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Dina Del Bucchia was born in the Trail Regional Hospital, grew up in the village of Fruitvale, BC, and now lives in Vancouver. She has taught creative writing to young people, coordinated and hosted numerous literary events, and performed a one-woman show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. She is the author of three collections of poetry,
Coping with Emotions and Otters, Blind Items, and
Rom Com written with Daniel Zomparelli, and the short story collection Don't Tell Me What To Do.
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Thanks so much to Dina for this stellar list of books for all the giftees out there! Stay tuned this week for even more recommendations from authors.
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