Best of books in 2019

Here are the favourites of 2019. A lot of non-fiction this year, it seems.

Suzy Hansen: Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World (on American cluelessness about their own country’s actions abroad)
Heidi Waleson: Mad Scenes and Exit Arias (the story of the rise and fall of the New York City Opera)
Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone (a group of Syrian refugees in Germany and a retired German bourgeois who volunteers to teach them German get framed as a story of not only one nation/society, but of one kinship too)
Dionne Brand: Theory (if Casaubon was a woke lesbian academic specializing in post-structuralism)
Curzio Malaparte: Skin (the Allies find devastation in post-WW2 Naples and contribute to it)
Emmanuel Carrere: Limonov (torn over this one. Excellent genesis of the Putin-ian society; on the other hand, an intellectual’s obsession with a fascist)
Patricia Highsmith: Edith’s Diary (master piece. Not all of her books are (read one which decidedly is NOT this year) but this one… yes)
Vivian Gornick: The Odd Woman and the City (hmm… dunno. Brilliant and also bitter and petty at times)
Helen Weinzweig: Basic Black with Pearls (A modernist classic set in a Toronto haunted by people from the narrator’s past and a man she needs to meet that may or may not exist. Yes CanLit has had modernists! We’re missing out if we forget them)
Mark Thompson: Birth Certificate: Story of Danilo Kiš
Olja Savićević: Adios,Cowboy 
Caroline Slocock: People Like Us: Margaret Thatcher and Me (a civil servant’s memoir which shows an unexpected side to Thatcher)
Adam Bunch: The Toronto Book of the Dead
Hannah Fry: Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine
Deborah Cameron: Feminism
Aleksandar Hemon: Book of My Lives
Hemon: Love & Obstacles
Hemon: My Parents/This Does Not Belong to You
Joanna Murray: The Female of the Species
Barbara Hosking: Exceeding My Brief (another intriguing civil servant memoir… by a gay woman who is now 93)
Seth: Clyde Fans
Laura Beatty: Lost Property
Frances Widdowson & Albert Howard: Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry
Gabriel Josipovici: Goldberg Variations
Richard Stursberg: The Tangled Garden: Canada’s Culture Manifesto for the Digital Age
Doug Saunders: Maximum Canada: Toward a Country of 100 Million
Audre Lorde: Your Silence Will Not Protect You
Jon Day: Homing
Denise Riley: Time Lived, Without Its Flow
Ben Lerner: The Topeka School (while I preferred his 10:04 much more, this is also worth reading)
Zadie Smith: Grand Union
Ted Gioia: A Subversive History of Music
Rachel Cusk: Coventry

 

4 thoughts on “Best of books in 2019

      1. Did you know her other gig is opera director? I somehow missed this interesting detail of her cv until recently, but looking back on this book it’s like well yes of course 🙂

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