Highlights of 2017

My last post focused on favourite Atlantic Canadian reads of 2017.

Here’s everything else…

Best Books (in addition to Best of Atlantic Canada 2017, in no particular order):

Black Berry, Sweet Juice by Lawrence Hill

Nobody Cries at Bingo by Dawn Dumont

Between by Angie Abdou

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Brother by David Chariandy

Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill

A Lady and Her Husband by Amber Reeves

The Break by Katherena Vermette

Lemon by Cordelia Strube

The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie by Cecily Ross

The Widow’s Fire by Paul Butler

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill


% CanLit: 82% (last year, 67%)

Out of the 82% Canlit, 40% is from Atlantic Canada


Bookish Highlights of the year:

1) The conversation I had with my sister after reading Black Berry, Sweet Juice by Lawrence Hill.

2) My second year being a part of the Giller Prize Shadow Jury.

3) Being asked to adjudicate for the Hamilton Literary Awards, fiction category. I had a lot of fun reading through the list; there were some great books. But for me there was a clear winner, and the rest of the jury agreed… Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin (which I wrote about last year when it was on the Giller shortlist).

4) Attending Project Bookmark Canada‘s unveiling of Bookmark #19; a passage taken from Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan. The site of the Bookmark is on Citadel Hill overlooking the harbour, and much of the part of Halifax that was most devastated by the explosion.

Bookmark for “Baromter Rising” (French and English). Halifax, Nova Scotia

I also got the chance to see the Bookmark for Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief while in Cape Breton this summer. And there is an upcoming Bookmark for L.M. Montgomery in Prince Edward Island in June 2018.

Bookmark for “No Great Mischief”. Port Hastings, Cape Breton, NS

I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year! What was a favourite book, highlight, or event for you in 2017? 


47 thoughts on “Highlights of 2017

  1. A Life in Books says:

    I’ve just been sent a copy of The Break, complete with puff fom Margaret Atwood no less. Looking forward to it. Another of your picks – Brother – is being published in the UK this year. Things are looking up!

  2. roughghosts says:

    Happy New Year! I read a little more Canadian lit—mostly poetry—this year but still need to read more. I did have a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk with a number of Canadian writers at the reader’s festival—driving writers around is a great way to get to know them. Highlights include poets Jordan Abel, Phoebe Wang, M NourbeSe Philip and Richard Harrison. I also really enjoyed meeting David Chariandy, this year’s Massey lecturer, former international lawyer Payam Akhavan, and GG winning children’s author David Robertson.

    • Naomi says:

      Oh, wow… I’m feeling a little envious. Although, if it were me, I wouldn’t know what to say to them. Were they all good conversationalists?

      • roughghosts says:

        Yes, this year we were lucky not to have any writers that need to be treated delicately, but as a volunteer you do have to respectful, sometimes someone is tired or ill. I was especially surprised how friendly and eager to chat people were when I was picking them up from the airport.

    • Naomi says:

      They’re great! I think they’re especially good for a country as big as ours (and yours!) when sometimes we feel just as far away from the opposite coast as we do from another country. It’s just one more thing to help bring us together. 🙂

  3. FictionFan says:

    Brother is gradually moving up to the top of my TBR on your recommendation – it doesn’t come out till March here so I’m waiting till then to review it. Glad you had such a good year of reading and bookish things! 😀

  4. Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel says:

    Looks like a wonderful year! I really enjoyed reading A Lady and her Husband as well. It was beautifully written and made me think. I am in two minds over Lonely Hearts hotel because I am not sure if I will be able to handle the abuse.

    • Naomi says:

      I found it harder to read about how the abuse played with their minds more than the abuse itself. It definitely wasn’t a happy story, but there were some happy parts. I don’t know if that helps you at all, or not!

  5. Katie Wilkins (@DoingDewey) says:

    Somehow I don’t particularly reading many reviews of the Jane Austen Project, but yours is the second blogger best-of list I’ve seen it on this weekend and I do love books about authors, so I don’t know how I missed this. Definitely another book for the to-read list 🙂

  6. James says:

    My book-ish highlight of 2017 was being asked by Lisa De Nikolits to write a review based on an early draft of her latest novel No Fury Like That. I also had blurbs published in the release copies of books by several authors, including one in Carol Bruneau’s latest. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      Very cool! I get excited when I see blurbs by bloggers I know. Has yet to happen to me… I take too long to read and review the books! 🙂

      • James says:

        It will soon, I’m sure. Your reviews are well-written, that’s for sure. You need to get the publicists to send ARCs. Usually they have a limited amount, but I’m told by authors that book review sites are decreasing, so hang in there, Naomi! 🙂

      • Naomi says:

        Thanks for your encouragement, James! I do get a few ARCs sent to me, but even with those I’m slow reading and reviewing them. I’ll just have to be faster!

  7. scarlett1000 says:

    What a fabulous list of books! My bookish highlight of 2017 was finally getting around to reading some Russian Literature (Tolstoy and Bulgakov) – interesting! I love the look of ‘A Lady and Her Husband.’ I am a HUGE fan of Persephone books, and although I don’t have a subscription, my aunt always used to by me one for my birthday. I can highly recommend Dorothy Whipple. Happy Reading in 2018. I enjoy your posts enormously.

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks so much, Justine!
      If you’re a fan of Persephone books, then I think it’s safe to say you’d like A Lady and Her Husband. And maybe the next one I get will be a Dorothy Whipple!
      So, do you have a favourite out of the Russian reading you did this year? Will you continue with it?
      Happy New Year to you, too!

      • scarlett1000 says:

        I think I enjoyed the Master and Margarita more than Anna Karenina, but I have to do a lot more reading of Russian literature before I can make my mind up! I will definitely keep reading it. It is intriguing! Thanks for the recommendation!

      • Naomi says:

        I haven’t read much Russian literature at all. I did read AK a few years ago… I liked lots of parts of it but didn’t love it. Maybe that’s part of the reason I haven’t read more.

  8. buriedinprint says:

    Bellevue Square will be on my list for 2017 too. I just had so much fun piecing all the bits together and playing with the misfit parts. And I’m so pleased to see Angie Abdou’s Between here – a book which I think deserves more readers! Are you planning to attend the unveiling of the LMM bookmark, or simply visit it in your own time? I would love to attend…

    • Naomi says:

      I’m really hoping to attend! But… it’s so far off I have no idea what the end of June looks like at this point. (HInt: it’s usually busy.) I think it would have to be an overnighter. We’re usually in PEI at some point over the summer anyway, so I hope to see it one way or the other!
      There’s going to be another one in Toronto soon – for Dionne Brand!

      • buriedinprint says:

        Oh, fantastic. So many possibilities there: her work is Toronto-soaked. Thanks for letting me know!

  9. The Cue Card says:

    There’s a few on your list I want to get to: the Heather O’Neil novel, and Bellevue Square as well as The Break. I’m very happy a CanLit book — Brother by David Chariandy — was one of my very top favorites of last year. It blew me away with all that feeling in it. I also liked Home Fire. You had a good year in reading!

  10. Geoff W says:

    One of the things I love about book bloggers is the diversity of what we read. I have not read any of your top books and probably won’t read 99% of them because of my own backlog. I will, of course, be reading The Jane Austen Project. Who knows – maybe I’ll accidentally stumble across one of your favorites and my memory will be jogged 😀

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