For the second year in a row, there are no Pride parades or (official) dance floors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Mark the occasion in a quiet, COVID-friendly way by picking up (or pre-ordering) one of these books, all brand-new stories of LGBTQ+ life in Canada.
How to Fail as a Popstar, Vivek Shraya
Most music biographies contain a crucial element: The high point of the musician’s fame. So, what’s the musician’s story when she doesn’t get the fame? Vivek Shraya provides an answer in this crisp, painful, humorous play about what it’s like to achieve “not quite” pop stardom. As smooth and revelatory a read as any “successful” pop star’s biography.—CP. Out now.
Care Of, Ivan Coyote
Holed up in their house during the onslaught of 2020, famed trans storyteller Ivan Coyote writes and answers letters to fans, friends, and strangers about hard but deeply relatable queer topics—family, violence, addiction, suicide. While this book touches darkness, Coyote writes with charm, wit, and a deep generosity and tenderness.—CP. Out now.
The Family Way, Christopher DiRaddo
From the author of The Geography of Pluto comes this tender exploration of familyhood set in Montreal. Shortly before his 40th birthday, a gay man named Paul is asked by his two best friends, Wendy and Eve, to be their sperm donor. As Paul embarks on this emotionally weighty process, he unpacks his own relationships and insecurities along the way.—AN. Out now.
Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead, Emily Austin
One day a frazzled, anxious, hypochondriac young woman finds herself working in a Catholic parish despite being a self-described atheist lesbian. Hilarious premise? Well, it’s just getting started, because she’s about to begin impersonating a dead woman. A fast read with a punch-drunk deadpan tone, this delightfully macabre novel is stellar.—CP. July 6.
A Dream of a Woman, Casey Plett
From Winnipeg to New York City, this short story collection is full of heroines to root for, even as you cringe at their most recent, relatable mistakes. Plett (a Chatelaine contributor), scooped up a Lambda Literary Award for her first novel, Little Fish, and this new offering—focused on trans women figuring out what happens after coming out—is just as moving, and fresh.—DB. September 21.
Personal Attention Roleplay, Helen Chau Bradley
Sad, sharp, and deeply intimate, this is a perfect debut album of short stories touching on young, queer, POC life in Montreal. Helen Chau Bradley’s writing is shimmering, beautiful, and funny. There’s no question they’re a new writer to watch. I loved this book.—CP. October 19.