Each year the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly staff members post our Top 10 books of the year! I started working at ye ole' Lib. D&Q in January, and have been honoured to work with some of the greatest, kindest, smartest people I've ever met, in one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. I haven't had this much fun reading since I was ten and thought I was Matilda. So A) thanks for existing, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, and B) let me humbly present my favourite books of 2014.
Bad Feminist (Roxane Gay)
Sculptor's Daughter (Tove Jansson)
Tove100 has made it great to be a Moomin fan, but beyond that, it has provided different shades of Tove Jansson, who was a genius, pure and simple. Her life and work fascinates me to no end, and her memoir, which chronicles melancholic tales from her childhood, is both incredibly written and perfectly structured. I highly recommend reading these aloud; they are magical.
Syllabus (Lynda Barry)
Syllabus ended up delivering so much more than I ever could have anticipated or hoped for; as with Lynda's whole gerd'damn life, it's an inspiration and an absolute joy. For those of you who are unaware of Barry's stylings, she teaches "a method of writing that focuses on the relationship between the hand, the brain, and spontaneous images, both written and visual." (D&Q) Syllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor uses the Dear Professor Old Skull's course plans from several of her classes at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and expands upon them with her teaching insights, collages, and assignments.
This One Summer (Mariko & Jillian Tamaki)
I'm not even going to pretend to introduce you guys to this book. It was our June book club pick, it's awesome, you're buying it or you've already bought it. This One Summer is a beautiful, intelligent coming of age story focused on a preteen girl old enough to witness the angst surrounding her, but not quite old enough to be invited in. Mariko Tamaki's slow burning tension and unromantic nostalgia is perfectly matched by Jillian Tamaki's purple ink washes and character-focused illustrations.
Everywhere Antennas (Julie Delporte)
Riposte Magazine (ed: Danielle Pender)
Riposte is a relatively new magazine that I feel has made a significant impact in the publishing world. It profiles bold and fascinating women, covering a broad range of issues including: art, design, music, business, innovation, politics, food and travel. I am so happy that this magazine exists, since it has exposed me to so many incredible women in so many different fields. Also, on a bit of a nerdy note: it is designed by the incomparable Shaz Madani, whose work I adore.
Puffin In Bloom Series (Various Authors, illustrated by Anna Bond)
Anna Bond is famous in the stationery world for her company, Rifle Paper Co, so when I found out she'd be doing illustrated covers for the Puffin In Bloom series, I was over the moon. The series includes Little Women, A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, and Heidi, all of which I loved as a child, and all of which feature strong female protagonists. Additionally, the production value on these little books is so fantastic: I want all my books to have gold embossed titles, please.
A Work No One Told You About (Olivia Wood)
Flowering Harbour (Seiichi Hayashi)
Breakdown Press has really been killin it this year, releasing a large number of highly praised comics that are almost all riso-printed. None affected me as deeply as Flowering Harbour, a new translation from the incredible Seiichi Hayashi (Red Colored Elegy, Gold Pollen & Other Stories). Heartbreaking yet subdued, bold yet quiet, Hayashi's work is always beautifully contradictory, and leaves you feeling a confusingly wonderful sense of gloom.
Bleeding Edge (Thomas Pynchon)
Pynchon's ear for dialogue is unparalled, and his spiralling mysteries are almost always worth the trip. I found myself in love with protagonist Maxine Tarnow, the unbelievably sassy, self-deprecating fraud investigator who helms this bizarre little ship of Pynchon's. With its penchant for (often non-existent) pop culture references and its ludicrous conspiracies, Bleeding Edge leaves you dizzy, in the best possible way.
(with as much alliteration as my little brain was capable of)
BONUS: Literary Lovas
Men Explain Things to Me (Rebeccca Solnit), White Girls PB (Hilton Als), Lila (Marilynne Robinson), Polyamorous Love Song (Jacob Wren)
BONUS: Kids Books I Covet
In Real Life (Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang), Julia, Child (Kyo Maclear & Julie Morstad), Grilled Cheese Magazine (ed: Julien Boisseau), Alpha (Isabelle Arsenault)
BONUS: Graphic Novels With Gusto
Showa: A History of Japan 1944-1953 (Shigeru Mizuki, trans: Zack Davisson), Earthling (Aisha Franz, trans: Helge Dascher), S! 18: Poetry (Kus Comics), Cats in Ukiyo-e (not really a graphic novel but I couldn't resist) (Utagawa Kuniyoshi)
And don't miss the other Top 10 lists by my well-read colleagues: