Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Best Books of 2018

2018 was an amazing year for me, and an even better reading year. Check out my favourite books of the year below, and let me know which ones made your list!

Memorial by Alice Oswald

Memorial is kind of the underdog on my list. I didn't think much of it when I read it (That's actually a lie, I thought it was so good I wrote a review on it. I more mean that I wasn't expecting it to be a favourite of mine). I really love the way that Memorial rewrites the genre of adaptation, and creates a beautiful kinetic story surrounding grief.

The Tzar of Love and Techno by Anthony Mara

What a fucking journey. My friend Katie had been telling me about this book for literal years, and when she gave me a copy as a graduation present, I was excited to read it. But wow I wasn't expecting it to tear me apart, put me back together, rinse and repeat. I loved each of the stories and as a whole, this collection is truly beautiful.

Indecent by Paula Vogel

Indecent is such a spectacular play, and the reading experience is so rich with detail and nuance. And the performances, documented in the PBS Great Performance is so beautiful as well. Paula Vogel is quickly becoming one of my favourite playwrights!

Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom by Jordan Tannahill

More adaptations and re-imagined histories on this list! I reviewed this book for Ryerson's White Wall Review (You can read that here!) but my favourite part of this duology of plays is the reimagining of history, of art, and of religion. And not only the reimagining, but the reclamation of this as well. Such a powerful and heart wrenching story!

Gertrude and Alice by Anna Chatterton & Evalyn Parry, with Karin Randoja

I! Love! This! Play! I love the Lost Generation and this play fills both my love of queer theatre, and the exploration of the lives of authors. The Independent Aunties' play is so well crafted, using both new and innovative text as well as using things historically said by the characters in order to blur the lines between realism and fantasy. 

Toil and Trouble, edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe

This anthology was such a fun, such a wild read. I love witches, and I don't read about them enough. And this anthology ticked all of the boxes -- Diverse representation, different kinds of witches, a little romance, a little angst, a lot of badass ladies, and lots of fun magic. Honestly, if you want an anthology that is masterfully put together and has something for everyone, for every mood, this is the one.

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

 My list would not be complete without a book by Robyn Schneider. Invisible Ghosts took my breath away in so many ways. Her stories always find their way into my heart and this was no exception. Filled with romance, ghosts, and the tricky and painful parts of grieving, this book is smarter than it looks, and spectacular all around.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

I saw the film early in 2018, pre-Oscars, and fell absolutely in love with it. I knew I had to read the book, and I was not disappointed. The atmosphere, the tone, the perspective, the love. It's such a heartbreaking story, but one that withers, and blooms, and shatters, and heals. It's a very human story and one that I still think about. 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

I didn't expect to read this all in one sitting. I wanted to savour it, to hold onto every word, but it doesn't let you do that. This book is so compelling, and so honestly emotional, that you can't help but be sucked in. Each character, each plot point, each word and action, feel like necessities. This book is lean muscle -- nothing hanging off of it. So sharp, beautiful, powerful, and heartfelt. 

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

I read a lot of books that change the way I think about the world, or that change the way I think about other people. But sometimes that are books that shift the entire world on it's axis, and grip your hand, pulling you along for the ride. That was this book for me. It's unassuming, and gentle. It asks you to look at the world around you, see it from all different perspectives, recognize it's flaws, and bask in its beauty. If you read anything in 2019, let it be this one. 

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