5 of my faves from 2010

I have this terrible habit of reading authors everyone else knows and loves, well, a little on the tardy side. As a result, I tend to read 2004's best novels in 2009, and 2001's best in 2010. Still, I did manage to do a little better this year than most. Here are a few of the things I fell in love with, in no particular order.

Ghost Pine by Jeff Miller:

You may remember that we hosted a book launch for Jeff in April. If you didn't make it out for that, you still have the chance to appreciate his clear, crisp insightful all stories true book. Ghost Pine is writing (fiction and non) collected from zines written by Miller in Ottawa and Montreal and on road trips around North America. It's my new go-to book when people want something Montreal. Somewhere between pot lucks and punk rock and late night bike-rides, Ghost Pine captures the special moments in the everyday.

Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis:

I've been trying to figure how to explain my absolute love for this book. Let's put it like this: Make Me a Woman is funny and sweet and so so true. When I describe it to people I always feel like it's coming off as a guilty pleasure but I am not even a little bit guilty about loving this book. Vanessa Davis has a knack for bringing out the humour in mundane interactions, for charting awkward encounters, and for making you feel like you are already best friends with her.

Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco:

As I made my way through Ilustrado I felt my appreciation for it grow. I'm a big lit nerd, and it's inescapably obvious that Ilustrado offers something very few novels offer: textual depth. Syjuco's first novel(!) is a slow burn that bears reading and re-reading. Splicing together letters, jokes, internet forums, newspaper articles, and stories-within-stories, Ilustrado creates a powerful, multi-faceted narrative, Filipino history book, and whodunnit all wrapped up in one.

No Brow -- anything and everything:

Honestly, I can't believe how wonderful everything that No Brow puts out is. Just look at it. That is all that I ask.

X'ed Out by Charles Burns:

X'ed Out is the first volume (of three) of Charles Burns's new project and, like all his other work, it's amazing. It lovingly co-opts certain familiar Belgian comics images, and tells a spooky story about a guy named Doug. What I loved about X'ed Out is how deep the rabbit hole seems to go: every time you think you've got a handle on what's going on, you get taken deeper into the story. It's really satisfying to be brought into such an involved imagining of a world, and I am excited for the next two volumes.

Books that would have made the cut if others hadn't dibs-ed them (and also other Notable Books):
Sheila Heti's How Should a Person Be? for its perfect prose and altogether too-smart philosophical inquiries, Native Trees of Canada for its fine lines and sheer beauty, The Wrong Place by Brecht Evens because it's deft and clever and such a special merging of graphic and novel, Moomin Volume 5 because the Nibling is the cutest thing known to humankind.

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