Best of 2023 - Liz

December 19, 2023

Best of 2023 - Liz

2023 is done-ish. Here are my picks!

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Some of Them Will Carry Me

Giada Scodellaro

“This is a book of wonders, full of intricate beauty, and Giada Scodellaro is an extraordinary talent.” —Katie KitamuraGiada Scodellaro’s debut is a fiercely...

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I am obsessed with Scodellaro's pulsing, vivid writing. These stories feel like a realist fever dream sprinkled with David Lynch dust. It's become a customer favourite.

Accompanying song: My Love Mine All Mine - Mitzki

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There Is No Blue

Martha Baillie

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: BOOKS TO READ IN FALL 2023THE GLOBE AND MAIL BEST 100 BOOKS OF 2023Martha Baillie’s richly layered response to her mother’s passing,...

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This is a glowing artefact of grief. Bailie recounts the death of 3 close family members, the loss of her sister to mental illness taking up the bulk of the book. She handles the details of their relationship with a measured mind and deep compassion and self-questioning, giving no easy answers for the more stigmatizing aspects of her sister's disorder. A must-read for anyone who loves anyone struggling.

Accompanying song: Born to be Blue - Chet Baker

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des fleurs comme moi

Gould, Xavier

Entre Shédiac, Moncton et Montréal, Xavier Gould cartographie l’éclatement identitaire qui caractérise son parcours d’artiste multidisciplinaire queer acadien·ne. Examinant son enfance, ses traumas, sa...

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I met Xenia at an art event a few days ago. They are an incredible wordsmith, and this Franglais collection plays beautifully on language, identity, place, and memory. 

Accompanying song: Melancolie - Patrick Watson, Safia Nolin

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We, the Others

Toula Drimonis

Ungrateful, opportunistic, moochers, dangerous, incompatible with our values and our way of life? Every immigrant demographic has heard these descriptors at some point in...

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I talk about this book whenever I can. Drimonis intersperses her own family's history with the history of immigration in Canada beautifully. She makes the case for compassion towards migrants by reminding readers that, if one is not Indigenous, they have no first claim to this land.

Accompanying song: Arabe du hood en therapie - Adib Alkhalidey

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I'm a Fan

Sheena Patel

"A fast, fizzing cherry bomb of a debut . . . I'm a Fan will stick with you for a very long time." —The...

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This is a chilling exploration of romantic obsession gone too far. Delicious and terrifying!

Accompanying song: I Love my Boyfriend - Princess Chelsea

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Siken, Richard

The 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets competition: a powerful, confessional, erotic collection  Finalist for the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry “Siken writes...

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To quote my colleague Jules, Richard Siken is the "King of Yearning". These poems are feverish and so very hungry. Each one is a gut punch.

Accompanying song: Amore mio aiutami Version 2 - Piero Piccioni

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Lisa Alward

One of the Globe and Mail's "Sixty-Two Books to Read This Fall" • Listed in CBC Books Fiction to Read in Fall 2023 "A...

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This is a short story collection about unhappy families. Get lost in the deranged fissures of suburban, domestic life.

Accompanying song: Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead

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Crook Manifesto

Colson Whitehead

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Colson Whitehead continues his Harlem saga in a powerful and hugely-entertaining novel that summons 1970s New York in all its...

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This is a juicy novel with juicy characters. Everything is vivid and funny and so rich, that you almost forget the critique on America, class, and consumerism. I have been told Zone 1 is also amazing.

Accompanying song: Who's Lovin' You - Jackson 5

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I Could Live Here Forever

Halperin, Hanna

“Halperin’s radiant second novel walks the fine line between the longing for couplehood and the torture of codependency. . . . Let the rapturous...

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This novel is an excellent exploration of a sad character who is codependent on her addict boyfriend. Proceed with caution, you will be hurt.

Accompanying song: Beautiful Disaster (Live)

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Lose Your Mother

Hartman, Saidiya

In Lose Your Mother, Saidiya Hartman traces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by recounting a journey she took along a slave route in...

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I absolutely adore how Haartman avoids mowing any mines of sentimentality or oversimplified myth that permeate the question for African descendants in the Americas: Where did we come from? In this book, she explores the paradox of this question. Along the way, she reveals the exploitation of Black Americans' pain in Accra's pacifying tourist traps, as well as the privilege Black Americans do have globally. This promise of American freedom and comfort drives many African people to leave the lands that some Black Americans clamor to return to.

Accompanying song: I Got You - Jaime Woods

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Girl Juice

Benji Nate

A hilarious slice of twentysomething life in the twenty-first centuryWelcome to the Girl Juice House, home of only the hottest gang in town. Benji...

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A fun and funny read. Not for those who are terribly afraid of clowns. Or maybe it will cure your fear, who knows.

Accompanying song: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper

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Hit Parade of Tears

Izumi Suzuki

A new collection of stories from the cult author of Terminal Boredom Izumi Suzuki had ideas about doing things differently, ideas that paid little...

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Vintage sci-fi stories for neurotic girlies (and maybe Larry David). So inventive and vivid, I absolutely loved every page.

Accompanying song: Hellbound - Dylyn

Liz Hanley

Bookseller | Libraire