Best of 2023 - Mari

December 8, 2023

Best of 2023 - Mari

As our events season goes into hibernation, I am back to playing around in the jungle of books and illustrations cradled by our stores. My favorite books of the year encompass both works I had the pleasure to launch on my first year as Events Assistant, as well as old and new finds I have collected as I scavenge the shelves.

Please enjoy and stay warm <3

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Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry

Leanne Shapton

Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person--their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the...

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Leanne Shapton’s Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry is a must-read for fans of Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, and trinkets. This fictional auction catalogue welcomes readers into the failed love affair of an equally fictional couple, showcasing their price and prized possessions, revealing their rituals and intimacies from the most tender to the callous, bringing them to life without a Frankenstein-type invention. Shapton’s photographic eye is a delight as much as her illustrative one. I am looking forward to the 2024 reprints of Women In Clothes and Swimming Studies!
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Our Lady of Mile End

Sarah Gilbert

Our Lady of Mile End is a neighbourhood of stories where recurring characters face personal challenges and unexpected intimacies against a backdrop of...

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Our Lady of Mile End was undoubtedly one of my favourite books of the year, as well as one of my favorite launches to have hosted. Sarah Gilbert brought the neighborhood’s locals into communion, with guests flocking in and out of La Petite Librairie in order to get a glimpse and their books signed. Despite it consisting of fictional stories, Gilbert truly captures the spirit of the Mile End and the women that have made the quartier what it is today.

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Victoire de Changy

Sept enfants nous présentent tour à tour leurs trésors. Au-delà du plaisir de trouver l’objet rare, il y a pour le collectionneur celui d’organiser,...

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Collections by Victoire de Changy is one of those books that I would recommend to readers from any age. I am absolutely obsessed with the illustrations and the poetic renditions of the carefully curated collections of the seven children who make up the book. From horses to seashells to hands, it reminds us of the quirky and playful side of appreciating both art and the world itself.

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Moomin Begins a New Life

Tove Jansson

A traveling prophet may hold the key to happiness, but do the Moomins really need it?When a charismatic prophet comes to town, the residents...

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This blog would not really reflect what I read if I did not include any Moomins in it; I am a sucker for D&Qs glossy Moomin paperbacks! Although this varies by time of the year, my current favorite is Moomin Begins a New Life. Witty, hilarious, and adorable, in this story, the eccentric inhabitants of Moominville are swayed by a charismatic prophet who promises to have the secret to happiness. As he attempts to imbue the town with organized religion, the villagers must question whether this path is truly what is best for them and their chaotic nature.

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Une Chose Formidable

Rebecca Dautremer

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My favorite book as a child was a Spanish translation of Rebecca Dautremer’s Princesses Oubliées Ou Inconnues. Her eerie and elegant illustrations appealed to my psyche from a very young age, and this identification has not waned. Her most recent childrens’ book, Une Chose Formidable, is a wonderfully surreal take on memory and friendship, embarking the reader on an adventure through time with a bull and a bunny.

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Collected Fictions

Jorge Luis Borges

“An event, and cause for celebration.” —The New York TimesFor the first time in English, all the fiction by the writer who has been...

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I always come back to Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges. Despite having a very identifiable and particular voice throughout his body of work, Borges manages to talk about everything that exists, doesn’t, or that which only might. He masterfully drafts unexpected twists and turns which loom necessary at the moment of the denouement. I am very excited to have chosen a few of the stories in this collection for our upcoming Latinx Book Club, for which you can find more information here!

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The Snakes Came Back

Lora Mathis

Temporal Body, Boundless Spirit: Lora Mathis’s Poems Slither Out of Dreams Towards a Waking Reality of Collective Healing Lora Mathis’s The Snakes Came Back...

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I must confess I judged The Snakes Came Back by its cover (positive), and my expectations were very much exceeded. Written by Lora Mathis and published by local coup de coeur Metatron Press, it gave me everything I ask for in a poetry book: a contention with the infinite, a Dionysian experience, and a fun play with imagery. Snakes and tongues sharply cut, dreams slither in and out of consciousness, and the body erupts as mythological as it works through trauma, loss, and the infallible persistence of desire.

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Empty Spaces

Jordan Abel

From the acclaimed, boundary-breaking author of NISHGA comes a hypnotic and mystifying exploration of land and legacy.Reimagining James Fenimore Cooper’s nineteenth-century text The Last...

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For our last meeting of the Indigenous Literatures Book Club we selected Jordan Abel’s most recent book, Empty Spaces. Admittedly, I had not yet read the book when I attended the meeting, but after reading a few passages and conversing with the club’s host, Tara McGowan-Ross, I was left with a deep-rooted thirst to finish reading it. We discussed how this book refuses to be categorized, albeit concretely being a reimagining of James Fenimore Cooper’s nineteenth-century text The Last of the Mohicans. As many myths do, it reads as a long-form poem but also as a non-fictional telling of the history of the world. Its experimental and atmospheric tone invokes the earth’s voice, and calls to the readers’ instinctual and intellectual ways of knowing.

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The Mysteries

Bill Watterson

From Bill Watterson, bestselling creator of the beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, and John Kascht, one of America’s most renowned caricaturists, comes a mysterious and...

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The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht is reasonably not what I expected from the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, although upon reflection, that comic series spat out a considerable amount of wisdom. Marketed as a “fable for adults” and thus raising more questions than answers, in this new work I found a mature and sagacious reading of humanity and our relationship to what we cannot control. Each illustration is incredibly detailed and moody, making the book feel cinematic and timeless.

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Harvey Knight's Odyssey

Nick Maandag

Harvey Knight’s Odyssey is the latest book in Nick’s deepening catalog of jocular miserySolarism is a religion that acknowledges there is a balance of...

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Mandraag is an expert at intertwining absurdity and the quotidian in a Kafka-esque manner. His work always feels familiar yet it submerges the reader in situational speculation. I would say Rick and Morty fans might very much enjoy the three ingeneous stories presented in this book, which take place either in an office or in an alternative world where a new religion has its followers spending much of their time in tanning beds. All hail Harvey Knight's Odyssey!

Mariana Jiménez

Events Assistant