Staff Picks 2018: Kennedy

December 11, 2018

Staff Picks 2018: Kennedy

This year I read lots of books and added even more to my to-be-read pile. Here are some that I loved!

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Ottessa Moshfegh

A New York Times Notable BookThe New York Times bestseller.From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young...

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Split Tooth

Tanya Tagaq

Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller PrizeFrom the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never...

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Confessions of the Fox

Jordy Rosenberg

A New York Times Editors’ Choice: “A mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid, eighteenth century London . . . a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through...

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Conversations with Friends

Sally Rooney

“Sharp, funny, thought-provoking . . . a really great portrait of two young women as they’re figuring out how to be adults.”– Celeste Ng, "Late...

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Fox 8

George Saunders

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lincoln in the Bardo, a darkly comic short story about the unintended consequences unleashed by...

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Anna Burns

Winner of the Man Booker Prize“Everything about this novel rings true. . . . Original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique.”—The Guardian  In an unnamed city,...

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My Brilliant Friend (HBO Tie-in Edition)

Elena Ferrante

Premiering November 2018 as an HBO series.Book one in theNew York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends growing up in post-war Italy is...

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There's so much to love in these recent fiction releases. With My Year of Rest and Relaxation I indulged in my own desire to check out and just sleep for a while. Split Tooth felt like a lush dream full of light. Confessions of the Fox was a wild page-turner that re-imagined history. Conversations with Friends felt like reading, yes, conversations with my own friends and has me eagerly anticipating the release of Rooney's forthcoming novel, Normal People - out next summer. Fox 8 was a delightful and funny story from one of my favourite writers. Milkman is the novel I am going to read next and My Brilliant Friend is what I am watching on TV and it's got me wanting to re-read the whole series. Ah!

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I'm Afraid of Men

Vivek Shraya

"Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I'm Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better....

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

Alexander Chee

From the author ofThe Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist—and how we form our...

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Patricia Lockwood


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Non-Fiction - I'm Afraid of Men is a powerful call to action and a book I want everyone I know to read. I hold How to Write an Autobiographical novel close to my heart; one of my favourite reads in recent years and such a beautifully crafted book. Priestdaddy was the funniest thing I've read in a while, in addition to being so sharp and tender.

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Woman World

Aminder Dhaliwal

The hilarious and wildly popular instagram comic about a world with no men With her startling humor, it's no surprise that Aminder Dhaliwal's web...

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Shit Is Real

Aisha Franz

A broken-hearted woman drifts into depression as she occupies her traveling neighbor's apartment After an unexpected breakup, a young woman named Selma experiences...

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Bad Friends


A story of the enduring quality of female friendship amid a gritty landscape of abuseJinju is bad. She smokes, drinks, runs away from home,...

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Blame This on the Boogie

Rina Ayuyang

The true story of how Hollywood musicals got one person through school, depression, and the challenges of parenthood Inspired by the visual richness and...

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Drawn & Quarterly had quite a year! Sabrina became the first graphic novel nominated for the Man Booker and we published seminal works by the likes of Julie Doucet and Jason Lutes. I adored Woman World and the desolate yet joyous universe it introduced. I tore through the totally absurd Shit is Real in one sitting. Bad Friends' dark story of friendship completely drew me in. Blame This on the Boogie had the greatest colours that danced on every page. Reading it felt like a warm hug.

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Fluorescent Mud

Eli Howey

Fluorescent Mud is an art comic that is entirely hand painted in watercolour and gouache. Using a strong visual language of symbols and codes,...

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Chlorine Gardens

Keiler Roberts

Dealing with pregnancy, child-rearing, art-making, mental illness, and an MS diagnosis, the parts ofChlorine Gardens’ sum sound heavy, but Keiler Roberts’ gift is the...

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Tara Booth

Nocturne is Booth's first wide release, following her critically acclaimed short-run debut, DUII. In his wordless graphic novella, Booth covers autobiographical themes of mental...

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Graphic Novels - I loved the beautiful purple hues and quiet story of Fluorescent Mud. Chlorine Gardens made me laugh out loud. Nocturne was a terrific late-night indulgence.

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On a Sunbeam

Tillie Walden

“Tillie Walden is the future of comics, andOn a Sunbeamis her best work yet. It’s a ‘space’ story unlike any you’ve ever read, with...

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DeadEndia: The Watcher's Test (Book 1)

Hamish Steele

Barney and his best friend Norma are just trying to get by and keep their jobs, but working at the Dead End theme park...

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The Prince and the Dressmaker

Jen Wang

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian...

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Check, Please!: # Hockey

Ngozi Ukazu

Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, andverytalented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey...

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YA Graphic Novels - Sublime talent Tillie Walden delivered a devastatingly beautiful coming-of-age story once again with On a Sunbeam. I took a tour of the haunted amusement park DeadEndia with a rag-tag group of humans. demons, and talking dogs. The Prince and the Dressmaker was a heartwarming story of love and acceptance. Check, Please! managed to be totally romantic amidst a whole bunch of hockey jokes. 

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Remy Charlip, Jerry Joyner

A book of creative metamorphosis and stunning visuals that will bend children's imaginations and appeal to all ages. "One of my own personal childhood...

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The Dangerous Journey

Tove Jansson

Get swept away in this otherworldly adventure to Moominvalley through treacherous yet beautiful landscapes Tove Jansson takes us on a beautifully illustrated and delightfully...

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The Mushroom Fan Club

Elise Gravel

Join Elise Gravel as she explores the science of some of nature's weirdest and wildest characters - mushrooms! Elise Gravel is back with a...

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Presto and Zesto in Limboland

Arthur Yorinks, Maurice Sendak

“The pictures are vintage Sendak: wry, wild, and with all sorts of mysteries tucked away in the corners. Yorinks, using his trademark clever nonsense...

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Evie and the Truth About Witches

John Martz

We’ve all read about witches, those pointy hat wearin’, broom ridin’, spell castin’, superlative olfactory organ sportin’, child nappin’ creepies. But Evie wants to...

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Picture Books - Thirteen is the book I am obsessed with - 13 stories unfold simultaneously on each page. The Dangerous Journey is a hauntingly beautiful addition to the Moomin canon. The Mushroom Fan Club is a fun and informative guide from one of the best children's authors working today. Presto and Zesto in Limboland, released posthumously, is typical Sendak - totally bizarre and absolutely delightful. Read Evie and the Truth About Witches for a great twist ending. 

That's all from me for now. Till next year!