I have a whole shelf of books that I haven't read. Actually, my new bookshelf can only stack books two levels deep, so it's two shelves of books. But whatever. In any case, I have a pile and a half of books that I've accumulated over time that have been left unread. Many of them are leftovers from back when I was doing my radio show, when publishing houses would send me piles of craptastic books for my "consideration". These books were usually Canadian and they were usually boring as all get out. Sure, occasionally I'd get something awesome like...like...um...OK, I never got anything awesome. I got a few Camilla Gibb books, but unlike everyone else in Canada, I can't abide her writing. So I'd just abandon her books in building lobbies and on subway trains, hoping that someone would think it was a find.
Loose End was one of the books I got
randomly. It's published by Arsenal Pulp, so I probably got it at a
book show or something. I'm surprised it's not signed. I never read
this book for two reasons: it's Canadian and it's supposedly short
stories. I already can't stand short stories, but when I get a book of
short stories that has a picture of the author looking all
Canadian-outdoorsy on the back cover, I know I'm just not going to like
But I was wrong.
I picked up Loose End off the Books Left Unread shelf because I
wanted something light to read. I figured I'd give it a shot. Plus,
upon closer inspection of the cover, I discovered that Ivan E Coyote is
actually a woman and her stories are actually selections from her "Loose
End" column in Xtra!West.
These were not, as I thought,
stories of the rugged outdoors written by some urban outdoorsman in a
folksy tone. No no no. These were stories of being genderqueer in
Vancouver! And they were really short! Like a couple of pages short.
This was awesome!
The "stories" (if you can call them that) are interesting
vignettes of living in a city full of different people. They span a
variety of themes, though Coyote's genderqueerness is a factor in almost
all the ... I can't call these stories ... um ... essays? The stories
are witty and sometimes funny. The writing is accessible. Even if you
aren't queer, you can appreciate the stories.
Apparently since Loose End came out, Coyote's written more books
of stories and even wrote a novel. Go figure. I don't know if I really
want to read her novel, but I do know that I'm going to add her
Xtra!West "Loose End" column to my list of "Things to Read When I'm
Slacking Off At Work".