Tag Archives: Adult

Tomboy Survival Guide, by Ivan Coyote

Cover of the book Tomboy Survival Guide. Cover is bright orange, with a black-white drawing of a human heart.Ivan Coyote is the kind of storyteller who finds their way into the heart of anyone who takes the time to listen. In fact, one of the stories in Tomboy Survival Guide is kind of about just that! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you don’t know who Coyote is, I implore you to look into their work – they are a Canadian writer and storyteller who grew up in the Yukon. Their stories reflect their endless fascination with and love for people of all kinds, and they have a remarkable ability to pull beautiful things out of tragedy and pain. All of their story collections thrum with humanity (to the point where they even bring out the reluctant poet in me, apparently!)

Cover of the book Gender Failure, with a sepia-toned portrait of Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon sitting next to each in suits and tiesTheir most recent collection, Tomboy Survival Guide, is particularly dear to my heart, though. I originally discovered Coyote when they were touring with Rae Spoon, one of my favourite Canadian musical artists. The two artists collaborated on on the multimedia show Gender Failure, exploring their experiences growing up and failing to fit into the gender binary. I saw this show three times while it was touring, and I cried at each performance; it was that good. (The stories and lyrics from this show were also published as a book by the same title, so go ahead and check it out* for yourself!)

Tomboy Survival Guide also follows up on a collaborative performance project of the same title, that Coyote developed with an all-tomboy musical ensemble, an dit explores many of the same themes as Gender Failure. Here Coyote digs back into their own life, growing up from their tomboy roots into a young butch adult, and finally embracing the uncategorizable nature of their gendered experience. Funny, vulnerable, and sometimes sad, this is ultimately a heart-warming collection of memories that, like all of Coyote’s writing, inspires me to be a stronger and more compassionate person.

Maybe it will do the same for you.


*pun very much intended

Online Courses! For FREE! No, really!

One of the less-known gems of the Vaughan Public Libraries online collection is the access we can give you to free online courses (just click on the Learn tab on our Lifelong Learning page). Here, you’ll find a list of different platforms available for various kinds of learning. We can help you out with, seriously, almost any topic imaginable, including options like:

Getting (back) into graphic novels

I don’t read nearly as many graphic novels (or comic books, if you will) as I used to. To be honest, I often find myself a little intimidated about starting in on any long-running series – because I can easily get through three or four volumes on a regular day’s commute, I find it especially hard to manage reading comic series’ through the library, and since that’s where I get all of my reading material these days, it means i mostly stick to regular old prose. But, that’s not really a great excuse! The thing is, there’s plenty of great stand-alone graphic novels out there, and I have been remiss in dropping them off my reading repertoire.

So, anyway, as a reminder to myself to get back into the graphic novel-reading game, here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of my favourite stand-alone graphic novels:

Cover of the book Pride of Baghdad, with white text in front of an image of a lion's face, partially hidden behind foliagePride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan

Based on true events, this graphic  novel follows the story of a pride of four lions that escaped from the Baghdad zoo following an American bombing raid. The lions ‘ newfound freedom is, inevitably, fraught with danger and new challenges that they can’t understand and were not prepared for.

To be honest Niko Henrichon’s artwork is more than enough reason to pick up the book, but I also found the story deeply affecting, as the lions leave behind the caged safety they’ve always known, instead choosing freedom, whatever the cost (and the cost is high). Continue reading