Cooking with Off/Kilter: 5 Books for Short Story Month

May 27, 2020

If you've been finding it hard to read with all of this uncertainty in the world, we recommend catching the tail-end of Short Story Month with our tasty list of short story reads, all with a swirly bent on the strange and surreal. Here in the Off/Kilter Kitchen, we give you the ingredients for 5 books to turn your quarantine into a get cooking!

Stay weird and stay well.

–Your Off/Kilter Host, Leyla T.

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How to Tell If Your Frog Is Dead by Julie Roorda (Guernica Editions)


Julie Roorda's humourous collection of thirty-three stories grapples with philosophy and metaphysics to expose the fundamental absurdity of the human condition. Best likened to eating a square of dark chocolate with a cup of black coffee.


Key Ingredients:
- Valentines' Day-themed ghost walks
- Crime-solving plants
- Religiously observant gophers
- One escaped boa constrictor and multiple worlds






Even That Wildest Hope by Seyward Goodhand (Invisible Publishing)


Even that Wildest Hope celebrates the chaotic and vibrant writings of Seyward Goodhand that are at once both ancient and new. These stories are of complex character, and together their notes reveal a deeply human desire for beauty and abjection. Pairs nicely with writers like Angela Carter, Carmen Maria Machado and Ted Chiang.


Key ingredients:
-Wax girls and gods-among-men
-Warring artists
-Anarchic urchins
-A good old dash of danger, greed, lust and destruction






Seeds and Other Stories by Ursula Pflug (Inanna Publications)


Pflug's Seeds and Other Stories is the equivalent of comfort food – a collection with a magic that will bring you hope in these difficult times. Like a good pot pie or a Sunday roast made with a surprising little twist of a new ingredient to elevate it, these stories will open you up to new worlds and possibilities.


Key ingredients:
-Seers and vagabonds
-Addicts and gardeners
-Dream-seeds that can grow new worlds
-Communities formed against apocalyptic backdrops




Different Beasts by J.R. McConvey (Goose Lane Editions)


The experience of Different Beasts is like knowing how delicious something is supposed to be, but not being totally able to bring yourself to like it. Because this collection, while wild and fantastical, exposes us to the uncomfortable feeling that the monsters we fear are, in reality, lying just beneath our own skin.


Key ingredients:
-Insectoid demon-gods
-Mutant angels
-Shape-shifting waifs
-Scavenging drones






Send More Tourists...the Last Ones Were Delicious by Tracey Waddleton (Breakwater Books)


Send More like a craving for something you know you shouldn't have. You'll either eat it and deal with the consequences later OR go crazy thinking about it. A humourous and sharp collection that'll drive you with wild abandon and show you the transient nature of human life, because, YOLO.


Key Ingredients:
-Tarot Card predictions
-Dismembered saints
-Monsters and chicken nuggets
-Cats and bank heists



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