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Looks like a book, feels like a book … local literary gift picks

December 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

By Nathaniel G. Moore

Grunt of the Minotaur is described by its author Robin Richardson as having “all the naked women, natural disasters, talking hogs, cannibals, and crooked cowboys you need to make your holidays bright … with just a touch of baffling.”

’Tis the season of chocolate, stuffing, and gravy stains, of holiday work-party planning meetings, secret Santas, and loved one’s subtle gift hints. ’Tis the season of bus and train stations, mistletoe, gift receipts, egg nog, and humbug.

And now that the sludge of quotidian questions has hit the office break room like static, you know, “What are you doing for Christmas? Staying in town, going to visit family? You done all of your shopping? Why are you crying?” it’s time to face the retail music.

So just buy these books, will you?

Evan Munday, who spends his days marketing for Annex-area publisher Coach House Books just released his debut young adult novel The Kid Detective Agency, (ECW Press, $19.95) that explores the world of the undead, detective work, and high school anxiety.

When asked who he thinks who would like to receive this book as a gift, the author replied: “Any tween/early teen children who like Nancy Drew books but wish she were more goth and had more friends that were dead.”

As for Munday’s own desires for gifts this holiday season (listen up Coach House authors), “A T-Pain Microphone and a DVD of the Kolchak: The Night Stalker television series.”

Munday plans on spending his holidays “drinking himself sick on eggnog in the company of friends and family.”

Robin Richardson just returned from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She also just released her debut poetry book Grunt of the Minotaur ($15.95, Insomniac Press).

Richardson describes her debut poetry collection with an wide range of panache and nuance, “Grunt of the Minotaur has all the naked women, natural disasters, talking hogs, cannibals, and crooked cowboys you need to make your holidays bright … with just a touch of baffling.”

Richardson plans on a relaxed atmosphere this holiday season with family and loved ones, “and playing kid’s arcade games and going through haunted houses in Niagara Falls. “Please don’t tell my family,” Richardson muses. (She also hopes someone will get her a copy of Songs of Unreason by Jim Harrison.

Sherwin Tjia had a busy fall as well, just releasing his new choose-your-own-adventure style graphic novel You Are A Cat ($19.95, Conundrum), which tells the story of urban realities through the perspective of a feline. So for whom in the world is this book the perfect gift?

“This book is for cat people! I do not think dog people will like it,” said Tjia. “Also, it is not for children. There are some mature themes. As a cat, the humans in the story expose you to some things that they do not share with the other humans in the story. Mature things. But you don’t care, because you’re a cat.”

Liz Worth, on the tail end of her promo work on her non-fiction oral history of punk and the release of her debut poetry collection, had a busy year herself. She explains the difference for the discerning shopper, “Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto is an obvious for punk fans, but it’s also for people who like their stories to be wild and raw and real,” says Worth, hoping readers who love and appreciate the city will learn something new about its recent past.

Amphetamine Heart is punk rock and heavy metal that you read instead of listen to. Technically it’s a poetry collection but I think it’s better described as a book that appeals to people who like to hear about heavy nights of drinking, strange dreams, and stranger secrets. This is a good book for people who want to like poetry but feel it’s inaccessible.”

Worth is hoping for bright red lipstick and Duff McKagan’s new memoir It’s So Easy under her tree this December.

So head to Book City (501 Bloor St. W.), but if they don’t happen to have any of these titles, why not head online to the publisher’s websites themselves (they might be able to offer competitive shipping rates and local discounts, and hey, you can start a book-buying revolution!) and pick up these must-have reads for that special someone on your ever-growing list as you mutter to yourself down the subway stairs: “What am I gonna get Jim, I mean Jack, I barely know him!” Now you know—and knowing is half the battle.

Area man Nathaniel G. Moore is the author of Wrong Bar and Let’s Pretend We Never Met, both perfect for any aspiring weirdo writer in your life. In early 2012 he will (along with Burner Magazine) be releasing The Chelsea Papers, an unofficial prequel to Wrong Bar.

Tags: Annex · People · General