Some books I read in 2017

I read a lot of books in 2017. Here are some of my favourites.

Fiction

Solaris

Stenisław Lem

I figured I would like this book since I enjoyed both the Tarkovsky and the Soderbergh film adaptations, but I ended up liking this book way more than I thought. I thought this story was more affecting as a novel. I still feel haunted by the closing line.

Asleep

Banana Yoshimoto

I like Yoshimoto's books-they're sad, and personal, and they often have ghosts in them. This is a good combination of things.

I read both Amrita and Asleep this year, and liked Asleep more (both are good though). This is a collection of three short stories, and I probably liked the final one the most.

The Leftovers

Tom Perrotta

This was the book I was most excited to read this year. The show was one of my favourite shows in years, and since the second season, I've been very curious about how the entire show was based on a single book.

The book is good, and the show did an amazing job at matching its tone, but the story very different and also a lot smaller. I enjoyed it, and actually wish I had read it first, though neither the book nor the show spoil each other.

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #1

Kate Leth (writer), Brittney Williams (illustrator)

Marvel is making some good super hero comics right now (N.B. read Squirrel Girl), and all the strongest ones are about characters that would rather talk through issues than fight people.

Hellcat is conceptually very good. Patsy's mom used to write romance comics about her and her friends, and then later Patsy got superpowers from hell. Now, she is setting up a temp agency for people with power who don't want to be superheroes. Also, she's good friends with everyone's favourite X-Man, Jubilee (who's a vampire now? Comics are weird).

Anyway, you don't need to know anything about the old romance comics, or any other current comics (although, again, Squirrel Girl), so you should check it out.

Non-Fiction

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Nagata Kabi

Probably my favourite book this year. It's an incredibly good exploration of depression, but is also very funny. Biographical comics are underrated and this is the best one I've seen.

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

C.L.R. James

An enthralling (and depressing) account of the Haitian revolution. This book does a great job both of detailing how clever and resourceful the revolutionaries were, and how self-serving the French, Spanish, Brits, and Americans were.

Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal

Kiera L. Ladner (Editor), Myra Tait (Editor)

Canada's sesquicentennial is over, but this collection of essays about Canada's failing of indigenous people is still worth reading.

Also, it's published by ARP, objectively the best publisher within a mile of my apartment.

Winnipeg 1919: The Strikers' Own History of the Winnipeg General Strike

Norman Penner (Editor)

This is my favourite book about the general strike, in part because it's written by the strike committee itself. If you're from Winnipeg, you should read it because it's important local history and it isn't taught well in school (perhaps because neither the city nor the province can be proud of their actions during it). If you aren't from Winnipeg, it's still about North America's largest labour strike and there's never a bad time to learn more labour history.

Assata: An Autobiography

Assata Shakur

Even having read Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (reminder, read Seize the Time), I was caught off-guard by how terrible some of the things the US government did to Assata Shakur were. Assata is an great writer and her story is incredible.

Demanding the Impossible: A history of Anarchism

Peter Marshall

Hey look, it's the giant history and overview of anarchist philosophy (and actually-existing anarchism) that you probably didn't realize you wanted. I actually started reading this back in 2015 about when I realized anarchism wasn't just, uh, anarchy, and that anarchist philosophy is actually coherent and compelling. I was slow on reading this, but part of that is I ended up reading a bunch of more-specific books about topics outlined in this one.