All Lit Up Book Club: Further Reading after Zolitude

July 25, 2018

Can you believe it's already week four of July's book club activities? After meeting our pick  Zolitude by Paige Cooper and seeing what the Biblioasis staff had to say, we had our own book club meeting, and interviewed Cooper herself. If you're also not quite ready to say goodbye to this spectacular collection of short stories, check out what we'd recommend to read next, below.

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Here are the four books we'll be reading to help us adjust to life after  Zolitude:

 

If Zolitude’s uncanny humour emerging from dark places left you in (confused) stitches...

 

Try…

 

Sweet Affliction by Anna Leventhal (Invisible Publishing)

 

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Sweet Affliction mirrors Zolitude in more ways than one: it’s a debut collection of stories about profound human experiences. If your favourite part of Zolitude was Paige Cooper’s ability to inject a humorous line in a humorless situation, though, Sweet Affliction is the book for you. Andrew Forbes said of the book that it “is at times laugh-out-loud funny, but still unremittingly honest about the prevalence of sadness in our lives.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the otherworldliness of Zolitude’s settings and characters was the (giant, mutant) cat’s meow…

 

Try…

 

Has the World Ended Yet? by Peter Darbyshire (Wolsak & Wynn)

 

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Peter Darbyshire’s collection of linked stories about a group of retired superheroes shored up in the suburbs is perfect for those who liked the “weirdness” of Zolitude best: the creeping suspicion that, somehow, the world is going to end and echoes of Cold War-era conflicts and systems are present in both of the books. Likewise, The Twilight Zone constructs and situations in Has the World Ended Yet? brings to mind Zolitude stories like “Thanatos” (time-travel) and “Pre-Occupants” (the first settlers on Mars).

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more challenging writing to read…

 

Try…

 

Breakneck by Nelly Arcan, translated by Jacob Homel (Anvil Press)

 

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There are moments in Zolitude that are far from easy to stomach – self-inflicted amputation, profuse sweating from interplanetary distress, we could go on – but Paige Cooper’s word and sentence structure choices still give the reader so much to chew on. Likewise, the late Nelly Arcan’s Breakneck is a dark telling of the triangle of sexual subjugation between two women and a man, foretold through the climate shifts and the shifting of their own bodies through plastic surgery. The intensity of their relationships is also in Zolitude, as is Arcan’s (through Homel’s translation) tricky, precise use of language.

 

 

 

 

 

If you just need some more mastery of the (short-story) form…

 

Try…

 

The Museum of Possibilities by Barbara Sibbald (Porcupine’s Quill)

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Through Zolitude, Paige Cooper shows that she knows the short story – how to get at the crux of a novel-sized truth in just a few short pages. Barbara Sibbald is also such a master. In The Museum of Possibilities, she writes 16 “shadow-box narratives” – vignettes that crack into a truth of human existence. With stories like “Things We Hold Dear” where one character is a “reader” of the other’s experience, Sibbald’s collection should move right to your “to-read” pile if you’re craving another fantastic short story collection after Zolitude.

 

 

 

 

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That's a wrap on Zolitude! Catch up on the month's happenings with our  introduction to our book clubstaff discussion, and interview with Paige Cooper. Remember you can still  pick up your own copy of Zolitude for 15% off until August 31st.

Also, make sure you get a copy of August book club pick, Ali Bryan's hilariously heartbreaking family novel,  The Figgs (Freehand Books)! We're going to start reading next week.


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