I wrote last week about some of the books I kept close with me during our current period of social distancing and isolation. This week, I began asking how I might continue to connect with other readers and support the Canadian authors and publishers who provide us with our reading material. Wondering how you might get your hands on books like the ones recently recommended by our programmers Shelley Pomerance and Christopher DiRaddo? As it turns out, there are still plenty of ways to stay connected, engaged and reading from the comfort of your own home:
Virtual Book Clubs
Even though their two bookstore locations on Bernard Street remain closed, Librarie Drawn and Quarterly continues to connect authors and readers with their online book clubs. The bookstore has moved their slate of book clubs—including groups that focus on new fiction, non-fiction, LGBTQ+ literature, Indigenous literature, science fiction, and cookbooks—online for the foreseeable future. Drawn and Quarterly will also host a few virtual book launches in the coming weeks—I’m looking forward to seeing the brilliant Calgary writer, professor and performer Vivek Shrya launch her debut novel The Subtweet (ECW Press). A full list of upcoming virtual events is available on their Facebook page—maybe I’ll see you in the virtual crowd?
With many libraries and bookstores closed, ebooks remain a great—and affordable—option for anyone looking to set their eyes on new reading material. Invisible Publishing, a consistently strong independent publisher based in Prince Edward County, Ontario, is currently selling all ebook titles at a pay-what-you-can rate. They have an amazing range of, with a particular focus on new Canadian poetry and fiction. I recommend the novel Homing by Halifax writer Stephanie Domet, the dazzling and experimental collection Surfaces by the poet Eric Schmaltz, and the Ghost Pine anthology by zine maker Jeff Miller.
If you prefer a physical copy of a book, all of Invisible Publishing’s print books are currently 25% off and will ship weekly on Thursdays. For readers in Montreal, certain local options remain as well: L’Euguélionne, a feminist bookstore continues to deliver by bike anywhere on the Island of Montreal; and Argo, the city’s oldest independent bookstore, remains open for curbside pickup on Ste-Catherine from 12-3 pm, Monday-Friday. And Drawn and Quarterly continues to ship books to readers across Canada. You can check out their inventory and find out more information on their website.
Stay safe and happy reading!