Because I love to jump on a bandwagon (the seats are pre-warmed!) here's my take on the ubiquitous "Top _____" lists that pop up this time of year. (It's a bit early because I wanted to get this Nene GIF up here reeaaal bad.) As per my list in 2013, this right here is a rundown of the books I read and loved in 2015, not necessarily books that were published in 2015. Although many were. Okay, most were. Whatever. And these are in order of preference, by the way, because I am an opinionated B*TCH WHO OWNS IT.
The Society of Experience by Matt Cahill
Time travel, Toronto and ennui. What more could you possibly want in a book? The writing is damn fine, and it reads like a literary action movie at times — in the best way. I couldn’t put it down. Plus, I ran into the author at Giller Light and he was the nicest guy. Speaking of, here’s a cool interview with him about writing and the like: http://www.robmclennan.blogspot.ca/2015/11/12-or-20-second-series-questions-with_6.html
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Another book I couldn’t put down, and another book featuring Toronto… at least until... well... just read it. The cover did not appeal to me and I was feeling apocalypse-weary, so I put off buying this book until a friend with street cred insisted I give in. She was right, of course. I got lost in this arty epidemic dystopia and loved every second. *Cough*
Martin John by Anakana Schofield
Unusual in every way, Martin John feels like a seriously important work in terms of form, style and narrative voice. On the plot side of things, Schofield's insights into the mind of a troubled soul will keep your reading lamp on much longer than you planned, and the relationship between Martin John and his mother is as fascinating as anything Hitchcock could dream up. (Side note - I have typo-related anxiety every time I write "Ana - kan - a Scho - field.")
Not Being on a Boat by Esme Claire Keith
Brilliantly executed, this book is dark and funny as hell. You’ll boo!!! the protagonist and root for him all the same. I don't think I've ever read dialogue as good as Esme writes it -- especially passive-aggressive dialogue, which is an art unto itself. Fans of DFW’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again” will particularly enjoy this.
The First Bad Man: A Novel by Miranda July
I know a lot of people are sick and tired of women writers being called “quirky,” but holy $hit is this book ever QUIRKY. And funny. And sometimes so sexually bizarre I was embarrassed to be seen reading it. But I revelled in every page.
Dirty Rocker Boys by Bobbie Brown
For you gossip fans out there, this book is a treasure trove. It’s not Shakespeare, sure, but even Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare, so whatevs. Leave your PhD at the door and dive into this smutty delight. You shall have nary a regret.