Unplanned Book Haul: I got a little too excited

As you can see, I’m going to have a lot of content coming up…

Before I talk about what I just spent all of my money on let me explain how this happened.

I just had to go pick up a swimsuit for my sister. That was it, that was the entire task. Dad had already paid for it online and everything, I just had to dip into The Bay at Fairview Mall and leave. This week Ontario moved into “Step 2” of the COVID-19 reopening plan, which meant, among other things, that shopping malls could open at 25% capacity (previously only stores with street entrances could operate). Unfortunately this also meant that I had to stand in a queue at the mall entrance instead of going directly into the store like I would normally have done, or would have had to do in “Step 1.”

Mall shopping in Ontario right now feels a little bit like going to an amusement park. You stand in the sun for maybe half an hour to get inside, and then every shop has its own queues as well. So since I had waited all this time I figured I would take a look around and see what else was around, because I sure has heck didn’t want to come back and stand in the sun again. And that’s when I walked past Coles.

There was a bit of a queue outside of Coles so by the time I got in I figured I should really make it worth my time. My dad would probably call it a “sunk cost” but I don’t particularly care—it was just nice to be able to browse shelves again! I walked out with 11 new books for my shelf…

When You Ask Me Where I’m Going
Jasmin Kaur

When You Ask Me Where I'm Going front cover

This debut novel by Indian-Canadian Jasmin Kaur is a collection of illustrations, poetry, and prose. From that description alone, I’m hoping it enthralls me the same way that The Girl and the Goddess did. It tells the story of an undocumented mother and daughter in North America and explores sexual assault, mental health, and feminism.

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Indigo
BAM!

letters to the person i was
Sana Abuleil

letters to the person i was front cover

I only flipped through this poetry collection briefly, and the honesty and love with which it was crafted really touched me. I’ve changed a lot myself in the past seven years or so, and I have to wonder what I would tell my younger self if given the chance.

I’m excited to read Abuleil’s reflections on growth and change, and I hope that I can apply her wisdom to my own life as well.

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Indigo
BAM

Word Problems
Ian Williams

Word Problems front cover

Ian Williams is a Black Canadian author and professor at the University of Toronto. “Clever” is not not a word I typically use to describe poetry, but he might just make me reconsider that. From his website, Word Problems “considers the ethical and political issues of our time as math and grammar problems.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m excited to find out.

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Indigo
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nedi nezu (Good Medicine)
Tenille K. Campbell

nedi nezu (Good Medicine) front cover

I was lucky enough to stumble across this brand-new poetry collection by Indigenous Canadian author Tenille Campbell. I’ve read poems about sex, romance, and heartbreak before, but this decolonized context is both new and important to me, especially now as Canadians reflect on the atrocities committed to Indigenous peoples in our history, especially through the residential schooling system.

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Indigo

Depression & Other Magic Tricks
Sabrina Benaim

Depression & Other Magic Tricks front cover

I’ve had this book on my radar for a while now. Toronto-based Sabrina Benaim is known primarily as a spoken-word poet, her poem “Explaining Depression to my Mother” over 9 million views on YouTube. This debut written collection was published a few years back, and I’m hoping that as its title suggests, it explores mental health in further depth.

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Indigo
BAM!

The Midnight Library
Matt Haig

The Midnight Library front cover

Admittedly I have no idea what this novel is about at all. I do know it was hugely popular when it was released little under a year ago, and I did recieve a review from a friend which was simply that “It was good, I enjoyed his writing style.” That seems promising enough.

I read Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive earlier this year and it was literally life-saving. Knowing his life experience and perspective, I have no doubts that this book will be deeply moving.

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Indigo
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Charming as a Verb
Ben Philippe

Charming as a Verb front cover

Listen, I love a good rom-com every once in a while. I mean, I think this is a rom-com, going off of the title. I picked this up for two reasons: number one is that it had a lil “Staff Pick” sticker on it (so I’m trusting you, Nancy!) and number two is that our Haitian-American protagonist wants to go to Columbia, and I’ve been getting a whole bunch of Columbia adverts on Facebook and Instagram lately. So maybe this is a sign or something.

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Indigo
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The Answer Is…
Alex Trebek

The Answer Is... front cover

I wish I had read this a year ago.

Alex Trebek died only a few short months after publishing his autobiography. After a heavily publicized battle with pancreatic cancer, this was hardly surprising but still left me and other Jeopardy! fans across Canada and the United States feeling empty.

This book feels heavier than it looks. Of course it does, it’s the story of one of the most beloved Canadians of all time.

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Indigo
BAM!

Resistance
Tori Amos

Resistance front cover

I don’t really know much about Tori Amos, certainly not enough for me to go out of my way to read her autobiography. But something about it is resonating with me. Maybe it’s the subtitle, “A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change, and Courage.” I could certainly use those things right now. Maybe it’s the amazing cover art. Maybe I just wish I’d given more of my life to music.

Buy now
Indigo
BAM!

The Truth of You
Iain S. Thomas

The Truth of You front cover

“Poetry about love, life, joy, and sadness.”

That’s generally enough for me.

I’ve also had this title on my radar for a little while—it came up on my Goodreads recommendations about two months ago when it was first published. I’m looking forward to exploring this new collection by South African poet Iain S. Thomas, who, as I just discovered, has been doing some really cool work involving AI and Ancient Greek poetry! I too unabashedly love Sappho.

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Indigo
BAM!

77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin
Thomas King

77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin front cover

Thomas King is a Canadian-American writer of Cherokee and Greek ancestry. The poems in his first collection reflect on Canada’s history—serving as “a eulogy for what we have squandered, a reprimand for all we have allowed, [and] a suggestion for what might still be salvaged.” Like so many other Canadians, I too am looking for that guidance now more than ever and I hope that King’s words will reach me: I’ll do my best to make them reach you, too.

Buy now
Indigo
BAM!

And that’s everything! I had a great chat with the lovely cashier too, who seemed shocked that I was buying so much. It was only their second day back from lockdown, after all. She was also very excited to see someone buying poetry and asked me if I had read Lili Reinhart’s book yet because she was considering buying it. Swimming Lessons was very popular when it came out last year, but unfortunately I haven’t read it yet. Actually, I flipped through it briefly at the store but wasn’t really feeling it. If I see her again I’ll ask her how she found it.

I also ended up signing up for the paid tier of Indigo’s points program. between the 10% off on yesterday’s purchase and the $20 welcome bonus, it’s already paid for itself!

Between these impulse-buys, a few review copies I have from NetGalley, and the handful of unread books already on my shelf, I certainly have my work cut out for me…

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