With the second installment of our Summer Reads series, we look at offerings from Arsenal Pulp Press in Vancouver, B.C.—three racy books to spice up your reading list.
How Poetry Saved My Life
by Amber Dawn
The fierce and fiery Amber Dawn follows up her award-winning debut novel about magic-powered prostitutes with a personal account of her own life as a sex trade worker, hustling on the streets of Vancouver. Her raw narrative rings painfully true as she recalls her years spent working the street, how they nearly destroyed her, and what it took to survive.
Read it: With your morning coffee, when the birds are chirping outside and you can fully appreciate not living on city streets.
The Lava in My Bones
by Barry Webster
A frustrated Canadian geologist finds himself obsessed with eating rocks, while his younger sister starts to ooze honey through her pores—attracting hordes of bees and male classmates alike. (Thankfully she’s not a cottager—think about the bears!) The siblings board a ship bound for Europe in search of a new life, unaware that their Pentecostal mother has snuck aboard in disguise, bent on saving their souls from the “demons” that plague her children.
Webster weaves together the bizarre and the banal, creating an intense yet funny fairy tale of an unusual family.
Read it: In the boat, on a day trip around the lake.
by Jonathan Kemp
A rich, moody tale of three very different London men at very different points in history. In the 1890s, Jack works as a rent boy and winds up befriending the soon-to-be-infamous Oscar Wilde. A century later, David, a convict, recalls his life of unashamed decadence in the city in the 1980s. Tying them together is Colin, a painter, who explores his sexuality in the 1950s, while working on a painting called “London Triptych.”
Kemp crafts a resplendent portrait of the politics and pleasures of queer life across the decades in one of the world’s most fascinating cities.
Read it: On the verandah, with a colourful cocktail by your side.