Favorite Books of 2013

None of which were actually published in 2013. Of course 🙂

Disclaimer: This is a subjective list of the books I enjoyed reading the most this year.

the singer's gun#5

The Singer’s Gun (Unbridled Books, 2010)

by Emily St. John Mandel

I’ve been reading Emily St. John Mandel’s essays at The Millions for a while now. I think this BC-to-Brooklyn transplant is ‘one to watch’ as they say. Her first novel was published in 2009 and she’s already on #4. We should all be so prolific. The Singer’s Gun is a fresh mix of literary and mystery/suspense.

mean boy#4

Mean Boy (Doubleday Canada, 2006)

by Lynn Coady

I’ve been reading Lynn Coady since her first book, Strange Heaven. I liked her books. I did not love them. I stuck with her because reasons. This year, I was rewarded. I loved Mean Boy. I’m now eager to read The Antagonist, which is already on my to-read shelf, and Hellgoing, which won this year’s Giller Prize.

the flying troutmans#3

The Flying Troutmans (Knopf Canada, 2008)

by Miriam Toews

This was the first of Miriam Toews’s books I’ve read, and now I can’t wait to read through her backlist. I’m not sure what I expected when I opened The Flying Troutmans, but this road trip with a quirky cast of characters was an unexpectedly delightful find.

the sky is falling#2

The Sky is Falling (Thomas Allen & Son, 2010)

by Caroline Adderson

I’m not sure if I’d even heard of Caroline Adderson before I started working on my dissertation, so if nothing else good comes out of it, at least I have that. The Sky is Falling, which reminded me of those years in the early ’80s when we were all sure nuclear war was imminent, was pretty close to being my favorite book for the year.


Certainty (McClelland & Stewart, 2006)

by Madeleine Thien

Topping my list of favorites is Certainty. All the things I loved about it—its themes of migration and grief and love, the questions it raises but doesn’t fully answer, its construction as a puzzle that the reader has to fit together—were the things readers who didn’t like it hated, but that just makes me love it more. It was a beautiful book both story- and writing-wise and I look forward to reading all of Madeleine Thien’s past and future work.

You’ll probably notice that all of the books on my list are Canadian. I just realized something else, though. Two were born in BC (Mandel and Thien), one used to live in BC (Coady), and one currently lives in BC (Adderson). Only Toews has no west-coast connection (that I know of, anyway). And #1 (partly) and #2 were actually set in BC. Hmm. Unintentional, but interesting!


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