ALU Summer Book Club: 2023 Edition

Believe it or not, it’s our eighth (!) annual Summer Book Club here at All Lit Up, but we’re as excited as if it were our first. The reasons why are no-brainers: we’re reading the genre-bending Indigenous crime novel Humane by Anna Marie Sewell in July, and Kat Sandler’s award-winning play Yaga in August, a feminist retelling of Baba Yaga lore. (It helps, too, that both picks are 15% off until the end of August!)


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What’s in store for #ALUbookclub 2023?

July’s Read: Humane by Anna Marie Sewell (Stonehouse Publishing)

Blending elements of crime fiction, Indigenous folklore, and the family novel, poet and writer Anna Marie Sewell’s Humane introduces readers to Hazel Lesage, a Métis mother of two who takes it upon herself to find justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women as an unlicensed PI. Sewell shows us all of the characters in Hazel’s orbit, from her fiery daughter, Missy, to her troubled relative Devin, to the dog, Spider, she adopts after a prophetic dream featuring her grandmother (and who, to her dismay, is apparently able to talk). Hazel’s biting and hilarious sarcasm masks a troubled existence; one where violence is disproportionately experienced by “throwaway people” – Indigenous women, girls, and femmes.

July’s reading of Humane is perfect timing; the sequel, Urbane, just released this month!

Coming up this July:

July 5: We intro Humane, and read an excerpt from the book.
July 12: Author Anna Marie Sewell answers our need-to-know questions about the book.
July 19: The ALU team discusses Humane (and shares our discussion questions so your own book club can chat, too!).
July 26: We offer four follow-ups to Humane.

August’s Read: Yaga by Kat Sandler (Playwrights Canada Press)

From Dungeons & Dragons, to Castlevania, to John Wick, many are familiar with the fearsome character of the Baba Yaga, a witch who famously lives in a mobile house (on chicken legs, naturally). Her story has traditionally been a villain’s one: we hear about Baba Yaga’s exploits through her “victims”, frequently the men in her taloned-house’s crosshairs. In Yaga, Kat Sandler’s Dora Award-winning play, she demands that Baba Yaga finally be allowed to tell her own story. What ensues is equal parts hilarious and introspective, giving voice to this troubled character and letting her stand on her own two legs.

We can’t wait to read Sandler’s sexy, modern revamp of the Baba Yaga this August.

Coming up this August:

August 2: We talk about bringing this play to the printed page with Playwrights Canada Press.
August 9: Playwright Kat Sandler gives us the details about Yaga.
August 16: Our staff meet to chat about Yaga (and pass along our discussion questions to you, of course!).
August 23: We wrap up book club for another summer with what to read after Yaga.

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In case you missed it up top: our Summer Book Club picks Humane and Yaga are 15% off from now until the end of August 2023 (with free Canadian shipping, to boot!). Follow along with all of our book club fun here and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #ALUbookclub, all summer long.