Book of the Month Club: Writer Favourites 2016

Port de Tête. Plateau Bookstore. Photo Laura Dumitriu Port de Tête. Plateau Bookstore. Photo Laura Dumitriu

For the second year in a row, we asked the writers here over at Montreal Rampage what was their favourite book(s) that they read over this past year. Here are their suggestions for you!

Sinj Karan, columnist
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie
“This brilliantly researched and written biography traces the life of a German princess that was forced into a marriage of convenience. The book follows the path of how she rose from a shy foreigner to one of the greatest emperor’s of the Russian empire. From her lovers to her exchanged letters on philosophy with Voltaire, this book is expansive in scope and detail, giving insight into one of the greatest women in history.”

Faerie by Eisha Marjara
“Dabbling in realities of the protagonist’s South Asian background and stereotypes of femininity, the pressures of growing up around a ‘normative’ sibling and parents that present burdening versions of traditional values finding their feet in a more liberal (emigrated) society, writer Eisha Marjara brings all these complexities to life with finesse, probity and lots of heart in this coming of age story. Faerie is marketed as young adult fiction. However, in a world where everyone is struggling to find themselves in the dynamic of persistent conformity, Faerie is a journey that has something for everyone.”

Rachel Levine, editor-in-chief
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
“I blame this novel for my grogginess several months ago; I simply could not stop reading this masterpiece about two Cree snipers during WWI. It is heralded for being one of the most important works on war ever written, told from a perspective unlike any other. The novel touches on so many topics that I still haven’t digested the experience entirely. Madness, dehumanization, friendship, obligation, family — all the big topics.”

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
“After falling ill with a mysterious illness that leaves her bedridden, Bailey’s once dynamic world shrinks. A friend brings her a plant with a snail and she spends months getting to know the creature intimately. The reader joins Bailey as the snail transforms from being her lifeline to her roommate to her object of study to a statement on living. This is a short, very satisfying book.”

Ancillary Justice by Ann Beckie
“I’d been wanting to read this Hugo award winner for a few years. Glad I finally got to it. It’s a dense book with a slightly complicated narrative structure, but don’t let that stop you from reading it. The story focuses on the starship Justice of Toren who once controlled thousands of soldiers (ancillaries) via an Artificial Intelligence. The ship’s AI has been reduced to a single human body — and that one human body wants revenge for the loss. The writing is spot on.”

Alberto Quero, staff writer
Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, edited by Michael Lee Johnson and Ken Allan Dronsfeld
“This is an anthology of contemporary poetry which gathers 53 authors in 188 pages. These writers come from different places and have different nationalities. However, they share a common trait: they love the English language so much they turn it into art and create poetry by using it. Carefully selected, the poems go from Haiku to long, more epic works.

The book was edited by Michael Lee Johnson and Ken Allan Dronsfeld. I guess the most important part is that they made it as a labor of love. In fact, both Johnson and Dronsfeld share a genuine passion for literature and poetry. They both know how hard it is to have one’s poems published and distributed. So, they started this initiative. An indie effort, it displays the best of new (and some newer) voices.”