Monday, 2 December 2013
Digression: Favourite Readings (2013)
The only planned reading I have for December is vintage...from 1972 in fact. (It's Xavier Hollander's The Happy Hooker, and I'm reading it for research purposes. The right, research.
That scandalous memoir is a point of reference for characters of the current novel I'm writing, and rather than faking it à la How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, I'm going to re-read its jail to riches to rags story. That will be the first time since, hmm, junior high school.)
since the only planned reading I have for December predates 2013, I'm free to formulate a list of favourite books of the year. I won't presume to argue that they're qualitatively The Best (that category's a morass, a bog of quicksand: best to avoid it altogether). And considering the large majority of them were assigned for reviews, the sampling isn't particularly wide.
I enjoyed them, though, and claim them unequivocally as reading experiences I'd recommend for others. (The Sun asked a few contributors for their Top 5 books—with reasons why—and mine can be viewed here.)
In no special order, here they are—
The Outside World by Barry Dempster
Mount Pleasant by Don Gillmor
Caught by Lisa Moore
Fresh Hell: Motherhood in Pieces by Carellin Brooks
Juanita Wildrose: My True Life by Susan Downe
Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country by Charlotte Gray
The Once and Future World by J.B. MacKinnon
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
As for less-than-pleasant and less-than-recommended, there were novels by D.W. Wilson, Shyam Selvadurai, and Douglas Coupland. Seeing that one was nominated for a national literary prize and another was called the finest novel of the year by one Victoria-based reviewer, take my opinion as highly subjective. I also don't like whistling, Moshe Safdie's design for the Vancouver Public Library central branch, sandwiches with bottled mayonnaise in them, a single long-stemmed rose given as a token of affection, the mystifying acid-wash denim revival, the Pontiac Aztec™, Axe for Men™, and the unexpectedly persistent trend of Affliction™ MMA couture.