Al Rosenberg: I’m having a hard time focusing this month. I can’t seem to get straight through just A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara, Doubleday, 2015 one book. I’m reading a thousand things at once, I have a million tabs open in my browser, and I’m not super present for any conversation I’ve have recently. I need to calm down and just pay attention to one thing at a time. So, I’m going to try to get through some of these books this month.

The Importance of Being Iceland was loaned to me by a fabulous human I get to see soon, and I want to finish it THIS WEEK. Robin wrote a Dogear review of it a few months ago, and that really caught my eye. I read a lot of “gay books” and “gay authors,” but somehow had not yet gotten around to Myles, though many other authors I’ve read refer to her in their writing.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara was loaned to me by one of my best friends, a person I trust completely in regards to literature. I’m not very far in yet, but this (spoiler-y) interview with the author has me pumped to really get into what is apparently an emotional wringing.

The Wellness Syndrome was handed to me by my coworker who said “this book is written for you.” I’m on page twenty; it’s a pretty fast read about the cult of “wellness” in our society.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web has been too depressing for me to get through honestly. It’s just not the same. There are some other books, but I lost one (WHERE IS IT) and have decided to give up on the others for the time being (especially The Illuminatus! Trilogy because what is it) and get through these three.

My goal for next month (after all of these books have been finished, obviously) is to pick a topic, and do some research. And I think it may just be astrology, a subject I know almost nothing about. Stay tuned!

A Heartbreaking Word of Staggering Genius, David Eggers, Vintage, 2001Emma Houxbois: It’s been rough getting time away from comics to read much prose, beyond going back to Fight Club every month when covering the comic, but I’ve been poking away at Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. My father sent me a copy of it a while back with a Post It note attached saying he didn’t really like it and that he thinks Eggers is pretty pretentious, but that I should read it so we could discuss it. I warned him that I was unlikely to disagree, and so far, that’s proven correct. The swamp I had to wade through just to get to the actual start of the book is reason enough to drop it, but I’m on a mission.

I’m also working through Jiz Lee’s Coming Out Like a Porn Star, a collection of essays by porn performers discussing how they came out to family and friends about their sex work. It’s a pretty fantastic collection so far and it’s tied together by really thoughtful and self aware commentary about intersectionality in sex work cutting across all facets of the formal and informal industry even though the essays themselves are limited to porn performers.

Once I’m through that, I have Susie Bright’s Inspired by Andrea Dworkin essay collection and then I can finally treat myself to The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn. My brand new obsession with her work keeps me warm at night and prevents me from remembering that The Girl in the Spider’s Web is lurking out in the darkness somewhere.

Brenda Noiseux: I feel like I’ve been a reading lull the past few months, but as the weather changesThe Peripheral William Gibson Putnam 2014 here in New England, my reading list is whispering to me. Probably shouting, at this point. I happened upon a used copy of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale and spent the weekend re-reading it. That book is still fascinating and terrifying to me.

I’m still slowly picking my way through William Gibson’s The Peripheral, but I think I may jump into either The Desert and The Blade, the new book in S.M. Stirling’s Change series, now onto the third generation living living in a post-apocalyptic world, or the Children of God, which is sequel to Mary Doria Russell’s beautifully heartbreaking sci-fi first contact story The Sparrow.

Anna Tschetter: Brenda, I want to hear your thoughts on Children of God when you’re done!

This month, I’m finishing up some nonfiction and anxious to get back to fiction. I finished Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf about the development of reading and our brains. It was fascinating, but got a bit technical toward to end, so finishing was a struggle. The other nonfiction I’m reading is Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson. I studied classical piano in college, and while I don’t play a ton now, or even listen to classical music all that often, I still love it. So far Anderson has done a really good job talking about the Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo, Henry Holt and Co, 2015composer and the difficulties of his legacy. Did he bow to Communist pressure in making music, or was he secretly resistant? It’s so hard to tell because of the fear that many lived in during Stalin’s purges. It’s fascinating and making me rediscover music I haven’t thought about in a while.

I’m late to the party as I’ve just started The Martian by Andy Weir on audio as well. I’m surprised at how funny it is! I also need to take little breaks when the story gets too stressful. Finally, Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo’s new book set in her Grisha-verse just came up on hold for me and I can’t wait to start that.

Christa: On October 5th the shortlist for the most prestigious literary prize in Canada, a.k.a the Giller Prize, was announced. It was an interesting (and exciting) list this year with three of the five titles coming from independent publisherstwo from Biblioasis and one from Coach House Books. And since this year they were also all available in paperback I decided to try and read all five before the winner was announced on November 10th. I only managed to read four of them, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience.

I started with Arvida by Samuel Archibald, a short story collection, translated from French, which paints a vivid and layered portrait of a small town in Quebec. From there I moved on to Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexismy Fifteen Dogs, Andre Alexis, Coach House Books, 2015absolute favourite of the bunch (and ultimately the winner). It followed fifteen dogs in Toronto after Apollo and Hermes give them human intelligence and I am not ashamed to tell you that it made me cry more than once. I also read Daydreams of Angels, another short story collection, from one of last year’s nominees Heather O’Neill. I had mixed feelings towards this collection. Some of the stories I loved and some I had a hard time getting through. My least favourite was Martin John by Anakana Schofield. Not because of the writing, however. It was great writing. But it was a highly disturbing story about a sexual deviant on the London underground. It gave me the creeps. All four books were really interesting and unique reads and I can honestly say that I learned something from each one. Hopefully next year I can read the whole list.

Now I’m about to start Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyemithe first book for the online bookclub I recently joined. I usually don’t have much luck with book clubs, but this book has been on my to-read list since it came out so I’d say I’m off to good start.