i read a lotta books in 2017 but i lost track, didn’t properly record them. the year was too much, too much. i’m working from memory here; please forgive my omissions.
2017 was an absolute shit show from a reading perspective because, as a news junkie, i read a ton of on-line news articles and watched a lot of news on PBS. and suffered a lot of anxiety.
also, canlit was an absolute shit show from a faith perspective and i’m not going into my loss of faith**, but note the minimal number of canadian books on my top 10***.
- The Break by Katherena Vermette. a novel. an engrossing literary mystery that is character driven and down to earth, this novel shows the resiliency of Indigenous women and invites us into Winnipeg’s North End. there are multiple POV’s.
- The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. what a book of curious essays! i admire the clarity, the heart, the intelligence with which Leslie writes. she’s risky and plays with structure. i think she has a new book out this year that deals with substance abuse.
- The Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains by Yasuko Thanh. the magic of this novel is the voice of Georges-Minh, a haunted gay man in colonial Saigon. there are flights of fancy and there’s a moment of complete disintegration. it’s chaotic and somehow it all fits?
- I am a Truck by Michelle Winters. a literary mystery novel but it feels like a new kind of novel. the short story novel. the modern novel. tight, concise. nothing extra. it’s quirky!
- Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn. a memoir that plays with structure and, i suspect, suits the writer’s ADHD tendencies. form to function. it’s brash and memorable and relatable.
- Heroines by Kate Zambreno. a novel novel. a kind of mash-up of memoir, diary, fiction, literary history, criticism, theory. i dunno what it it but it’s magic. it’s about forgotten women of the modernists: READ THIS BOOK.
- Are You Somebody? by Nuala O’Faolain. a memoir of a woman of a certain age, AKA the invisible age. it’s honest and real and relatable. it’s also beautifully written.
- You are One of Them by Eliott Holt. a literary mystery novel that’s strength is direct and powerful writing. there’s nothing to spare on a sentence level. it’s about secrets and betrayal. reminds me of canlit.
**it’s quite possible that i’ll not read much canadian for the next while. just women, if i do.
***it’s really the top 8 books.