ALU Summer Reads: Staff Picks

We’re only turning up the heat this summer (and the A/C) with some smokin’ hot staff picks for reading by the lake, beach, backyard or anywhere summeresque we can park ourselves. Check out what’s in our ALU tote bags this summer!


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Leyla’s Pick

(Porcupine’s Quill)
It’s incredibly sad that the first time I was exposed to Joe Rosenblatt’s poetry was after reading an article about his recent passing. Something about his style–compared to Blake–and his striving to create strange and surrealistic dreamscapes away from reality but somehow closer–connected deeply with me. I think Rosenblatt and I would have been kindred spirits. Bite Me! promises more of Rosenblatt’s wild imagery of the monstrosity of nature, roaming tentacles and carnivorous plants, that while turning against us and consuming us, become us. In between the “unconventional” summer reads in my beach bag, including Ligotti, and Lovecraft, Rosenblatt’s Bite Me! will be a welcome addition.

Mandy’s Pick

Worst Case, We Get Married by Sophie Bienvenu, translated by JC Sutcliffe
(Book*hug Press)
Translations are my jam: I love experiencing a book in which its language has a touch of foreignness, almost like I’m reading it in its original state. That’s one reason I’m excited to read Sophie Bienvenu’s Worst Case, We Get Married; the other is the coming-of-age tour de force it promises to be. The story centres on Aïcha a precocious lovesick teenager whose fallen impossibly in love for an older musician after he comes to her rescue. With no male role models in her life, Aïcha’s love only grows into chilling, obsessive desire and I have no doubts it’ll be the kind of beach reading I’ll need a strong SPF for.

Tan’s Pick

Mooncalves by Victoria Hetherington
(Now or Never Publishing)
“Word started to spread in literary circles earlier this spring about a startling literary debut, a first novel called Mooncalves by Victoria Hetherington, published by a very small press in Vancouver […] Mooncalves is a stunning debut.” – The Globe and Mail That’s right, the buzz has been building around this one for months now. I plan to take a deep dive into the divine bizarre with Victoria Hetherington’s novel. It promises a sex cult, technological marvel, a murder mystery and more, all set in rural Quebec, all based on true events. A perfectly Netflix-worthy tale, ready for binge reading.  

Barb’s Pick

Even Weirder Than Before by Susie Taylor
(Breakwater Books)
I am interested in every new voice that comes out of Newfoundland — because boy do they have a lot of crackerjack writers — but this one, by Susie Taylor sounds especially appealing to me. I love the bildungsroman, as I have mentioned once or twice before here, so Daisy’s story in Even Weirder Than Before is right up my alley. This sounds like a great debut, exploring family and friendships, and I’m looking forward to reading it.