‘Tis the season for lists: shopping lists, gift lists, and most of all–“best of the year” lists.
Librarians love lists as much as anyone, so in our own contribution to the madness, Winnipeg Public Library staff have put together our annual list of favourite reads. Many of these titles are brand new; some are a bit older; but all are available at WPL and well worth a look.
Aaron‘s top book of the year was The Mount by Carol Emshwiller, the story of a budding friendship between a boy and an alien during a time of revolution – “think The Horse and his Boy meets The Fox and the Hound.”
Aileen was truly scared “in the best way possible” by The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp, which is a nail-biter and even a comedy at times thanks to the unreliable narrator.
Brian chose Sinclair Lewis’ semi-satirical polemic It Can’t Happen Here, written during the Great Depression and the rise of populist Louisiana politician Huey Long, which has been called the novel that predicted Donald Trump.
Cyrus picked The Man of Steel for Brian Michael Bendis’ story, great for people new to Superman but with plenty of fresh elements for long time fans, and its beautiful visuals from some of the best artists in superhero comics.
David recommends the Christmas-themed Mutts and Mistletoe by Natalie Cox: it’s quirky, it’s romantic, and most importantly it’s set in a Devonshire dog kennel with lots of adorable pups.
Derek says that Miriam Toews’ new novel, Women Talking, is masterfully told, with deft humour and keen insight.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman was Jennifer‘s “absolute favourite” of the year.
Kira became slightly obsessed with Octavia E. Butler this year, and chose her duology Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents.
Like Circe herself, Madeline Miller’s novel enchanted Rémi with its poetic style and absorbing story drawn from Greek mythology.
Toby enjoyed The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, an ambitious, exceptionally written novel that deals with the AIDS epidemic in Chicago in the 1980s and its present-day repercussions.
Elke says that Why We Sleep by Matthew P. Walker tells you everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about sleep, packing two decades of sleep research results into one book.
Ian picked At Home in the World, a collection of reminiscences from the Zen master and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh which is inspirational, fun, thought-provoking, and timeless.
Josie Appleton’s Officious: Rise of the Busybody State made Jacob re-think the existing purpose behind state regulations.
For Kelly, reading Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming was time well spent. An honest take on striving for work/family balance and finding her own voice while still supporting her husband’s vision.
Kim‘s selection I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya is a short book full of stories of Shraya’s experience as someone who doesn’t fit into society’s gender norms.
Larisa suggests comparing your own understanding of happiness with all those smart minds’ views which Frédéric Lenoir has collected in Happiness: a Philosopher’s Guide.
Laura found She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer a completely fascinating study of genetics and inheritance, from the extraordinarily problematic history of eugenics to modern biotech advances like CRISPR and much more.
Melissa chose Ceremonial Magic, a book on magical traditions by Israel Regardie, a brilliant occultist who was once Aleister Crowley’s private secretary.
For young readers
Andrea recommends The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress for Lemony Snicket fans. A light read full of twists and turns, it all starts with a pig in a teeny hat…
Colette selected Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman (a companion book to the Seraphina series) for its great female character, beautiful language, and strong world-building.
Jordan enjoyed the whole Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, especially the first book Cinder, which features a handsome prince, evil step mother and two step-sisters… oh, and Cinderella is a cyborg.
Katherine picked Tara Sim’s Timekeeper, in which Danny is meant to fix the clocks that control time around London, not help the spirits within them–even when one of them falls in love with him.
Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones cracked Lori’s heart by illuminating the soul crushing choices so many Indigenous youth have to make… but it also mended it with beautiful and touching love scenes.
Madeleine loved the incorporation of a podcast into the narrative of Sadie by Courtney Summers, which made her think critically about our desire to hear true crime stories that are often about violence being done to women.