The Next Chapter

Michael Lyons at Glad Day Bookstore shares the popular LGBTQ reads that are selling at his store

Books by Joshua Whitehead and Kai Cheng Thom are popular at this historic Toronto bookstore.
Michael Lyons is a book administrator for Glad Day Bookstore in Toronto. (Submitted by Glad Day Bookstore)
Listen2:47

This interview originally aired on April 27, 2019.

Toronto-based Glad Day Bookstore is known as world's oldest LGBTQ bookstore. The independent bookstore and restaurant has specialized in LGBTQ literature for nearly half a century. 

Bookstore administrator Michael Lyons tells Shelagh Rogers about some of the popular titles that keep local readers coming back to shelves.

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree storyteller from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. (Joshua Whitehead, Arsenal Pulp Press)

"Jonny Appleseed, which was published just last year, was one of my favourite reads. It's dealing with a two-spirit protagonist who is living in a city and working as a sex worker. He is also exploring his memories of his life on his reserve, his family members and his first love as well. It's a book that I would have loved to have in my hands when I was a teenager because it beautifully affirms queer love with all the warts.

"It's very passionate, very sexy and dirty but at the same time it has gorgeous and beautiful prose. Whitehead was one of the many amazing Indigenous artists at the forefront of a real shift in the Canadian literary scene towards including and celebrating more Indigenous voices. It's exciting for me to see it be such a popular title on our shelves."

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, published in 2016, was Kai Cheng Thom's first novel. (kaichengthom.wordpress.com)

"Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars  is a novel by Kai Cheng Thom. She was recently in the store interviewing another author and she said it was interesting that everybody assumes it's her memoirs, but she doesn't actually say it's her memoir. It's a magical realism trans story about a young girl who is coming into her own and in a dystopian, very transphobic city.

"It deals with issues of violence and transphobia. Cheng Thom is a trans woman. She's actually a regular of the store, so we see her all the time. This book speaks to people who are looking for a novel with teeth. It deals with issues of violence and transphobia, but in a transgressive way which is exciting to people."

Michael Lyons's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

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