Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 04.15.13
Stanstead, Quebec


Not-so-good reads

We're still three months away from Summer Beach Reading Season, but you don't have to wait that long to read the books that everyone else is reading because other people told them to read them and you should too. That's because it's Spring Snow Bank Reading Season!

Here's a list of must-read books perfect for perusing in partially melted back yard snow drifts while obstinately wearing shorts and sandals because it's spring, dammit! And by must-read, I mean go now. Right now. Don't even finish this article; take it with you. No! Stop ordering online! Too slow. Go get these books this instant. Get the hell out! Git! And thank you for supporting your independent book store.

The Burghermeister's Burger by Isabelllllll Plechette

The fourth in her Possessives series (The Baker's Forklift, The Alchemist's Bassoon, The Crossing Guard's Gelato), Plechette expands her exploration of people who own things, what they own, the relationships between the owner and the thing owned, the Byzantine nature of small claims courts and the inherently awkward nature of literary sex scenes. Set against the backdrop of the Great Salmonella Scare of 1974, Plechette asks whether love, like hamburger, can simply be too rare.

The Intransigents by Jonathan Jonathanson

A group of friends reunite for their 20-year college reunion only to discover that they have not changed even the tiniest bit, not their political views, not their taste in music, not even their willful preference for the original "Star Trek" over "Star Trek: TNG." Jonathanson bravely breaks new ground by writing a 400-page book with zero character arc and no letter L, leading to a last chapter that [SPOILER ALERT] transforms into a pop-up book. [BIGGER SPOILER ALERT] Everyone dies quietly in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning. But in a good way.

The Layer Effect by Mitchell Goodbetter (non-fiction)

In this treatise on the psychology of hair care, journalist Goodbetter introduces the notion that a haircut is like lasagna: always better the next day. He then goes on to belabour this point for 220 more pages.

In the Pagoda With Your Lips on My Skin and A Dog Lying Nearby in February by Mirakowa Hibachi.

The Japanese master of alienation and super-long titles returns with his 640-page masterpiece that critics are calling "obliquely beautiful" and "really heavy." Alternating between post-apocalyptic Tokyo and Brooklyn's largest broom closet circa 1937, Hibachi tells the tale of Riku, a lightly bearded haberdasher who becomes lost in a labyrinth of sea urchins, eventually leading to a vast hill, which turns out to be a giant tongue that talks/imparts wisdom/sings the blues before sending Riku on a quest for a cat that doesn't kick litter all over the damn place. Hibachi uses the technique of defenestration to explore what it means to wear hats in the 21st century.

Is Your Basement Wet Or Are You Just Glad to See Me? By O.O. Beedoe

Self-published, then unpublished, then self-published again, selfishly published shortly thereafter, then shelved indefinitely until a major publisher shelled out for the rights after it was banned in Dublin for being "too moist," IYBWOAYJGTSM (as it's known for short) combines the sub-genres of soft-core S&M erotica and DIY plumbing. Will our frigid heroine Justine finally tap into her steamy source? Will she be showered with pleasure? Or will she flush true love goodbye? And what's he going to do with that hose clamp? Voted "Best Use of the Term 'Drain Snake'" by the Naughty Writers Association of America.

The Needy Book of Celebrities Who Are Canadian (non-fiction) This winner of the 2013 Canada Skims competition is a compendium of biographies of actors, musicians, directors and other artists who work in the United States but were born in Canada. The book goes out of its way to identify each one of them as "the Canadian actress" or "Canadian-born choreographer," just like Canada's self-esteem-starved media does. Every. Single. Time.

Romaine Hearts by Marj Onovairer A chef, a delivery girl, a distraction, a severed limb, a plot to kill the president, a shipment of walnuts, a dyslexic poet, a nation divided, an epic journey, a new beginning, a love betrayed, a dinner invitation, a health inspector, a game of Yahtzee, Dom DeLuise. Romaine Hearts will touch you. And if so, you should probably call the cops.