Best Books of the Year: Voices from Home

January 8, 2018 | Book Buzz

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Each year we poll our staff members about their favourite reading experiences from the past 12 months. This post celebrates powerful fiction (and one poetry collection!) written by First Nations and Canadian authors.

"It's in literature that true life can be found. It's under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth."
                                                  Gao Xingjian

Amazing grace  

Amazing Grace by Lesley Crewe

Grace Willingdon is satisfied with her life. She has a home she loves, a man she adores and has found a measure of peace after a difficult life. Suddenly everything is disrupted when she becomes temporary guardian to her teenage granddaughter and Grace realizes that she must confront her past once and for all and move on. Debbie found this Cape Breton novel to be a "very touching story of one woman's resilience."


Famous last words  

Famous Last Words by Timothy Findley

An anonymous staff member declared Famous Last Words to be one of their favourite books not just of 2017 but of all time. Near the end of World War II, members of the US army discover the body of suspected Fascist poet Hugh Selwyn Mauberley in an alpine hotel where he has scrawled his story on the walls and ceilings of four rooms. It begins: "All I have written here is true; except the lies." How much of the story is actually credible and can his words possibly excuse his actions during the war? 

 Talking Book: DAISY Format (restricted to print disabled patrons)

Hidden keys  

The Hidden Keys by André Alexis

Wealthy heroin addict Willow Azarian and her five siblings were each bequeathed an artifact by their billionaire father. Although each item has special significance to its beneficiary, Willow believes that they are clues to the location of her father's fortune. She hires professional thief Tancred Palmieri to steal the items and help her solve the puzzle. Recommended by Christine. 


Indian horse  

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Hockey star Saul Indian Horse recounts his life story – including the horrors of a residential school.

Talking Book: DAISY Format (restricted to print disabled patrons)

Medicine walk  

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

Sixteen-year-old Franklin Starlight is contacted by his estranged father to accompany him on his final journey so that he can be buried in the Ojibway tradition. Beyond a physical journey, the men embark on an emotional one as they struggle to reconnect one final time. Cynthia describes both Medicine Walk and Indian Horse as "incredibly poignant stories."


Next year for sure  

Next Year for Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

Elaine recommends this book about a devoted couple who after nine years together decide to experiment with an open relationship.

Talking Book: CD Format (restricted to print disabled patrons)

One brother shy  

One Brother Shy by Terry Fallis

Despina says, "Such a Canadian read, from Ottawa, to London, England to Russia. Canada-Russian Hockey series 1972, bullying, and spy thriller all wrapped into one."


So much love  

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

A woman's disappearance touches many lives in her small town. Recommended by Melanie.


Son of a trickster  

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

In this novel which its author describes as "a cognitive screwball gothic with working class people", a young man's coming of age is complicated by animal spirits and a raven who may be his real father. The first book in a trilogy by the winner of the 2017 Writers' Trust Fellowship. Recommended by Shelagh.


Xiphoid process  

Xiphoid Process by Kevin Connolly

Connolly's latest collection was described by Derek Webster as "cohesive collection of individual poems about the wheeling mess and near futility of human existence". Our staff member Susan says, "Each time I pick up this astonishing book, I find something inventive, staggering, sad, and/or hilarious. It's got the stuff that'll bust your brains out."