Is it weird to say that I’ve only read 71 books so far this year? The last two years, I had read over 100 books each year, so I’m definitely down considerably. But 71 books is still more than a lot. Of those 71, here are my Top 10 reads.
This is the most recent book I’ve read that will appear on the list. Iain Reid places his reader firmly in the mind of an elderly woman slowly losing her grip with reality. Or is she? Reid continues his great work that began with 2016’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things.
Frankie Boyle holds the honored title of Brandon Sears’ favorite working comedian. So when Frankie announced he was writing a crime fiction novel, I knew this was going to land high on my list. Meantime is a drug-fuelled crime caper that had me laughing until I cried.
Five Little Indians – Michelle Good
Landing on the CBC Canada Reads shortlist this year, Michelle Good’s novel is an unflinching look at the horror and lasting legacy of the residential school system in Canada. This one will stick with me for years to come.
Whenever Chris puts out a new novel, it’s cause for celebration. Child Zero is his masterpiece to date. It is the culmination of years of hard work as an author alongside a lifetime of experience and research from his time as a molecular biologist. Could he have possibly picked a better time to write and release this book than during a pandemic?
The Next Time I Die – Jason Starr
The Next Time I Die is a brain-rattling book with a protagonist seemingly dancing on the edge of sanity. Following a near-death experience, Steven Blitz awakens to find his world very different from how he remembered. The Next Time I Die is the one book this year I believe I have recommend to people more than any other.
Honorable mentions: Chasing The Boogeyman – Richard Chizmar, The Man Who Died Twice – Richard Osman, Faithful Place – Tana French
Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann
With Martin Scorsese’s feature film adaptation set for release next year, I felt it was the right time to check this one out. Grann’s exploration of the plight of the oil-rich Osage nation as well as the death and disrespect they faced was mesmerizing. I could not put this down. Highly recommended.
Jesus Land – Julia Scheers
Julia recounts growing up alongside two adopted black brothers under two religiously fanatical parents. While under their roof, she experiences horrific trauma, but it’s her time spent with her younger brother at a Christian Bootcamp in the Dominican Republic that gives the book its true weight. Just when I thought the book could not shock me again, it descends deeper into darker and darker places.
This one was on my to-read list for some time before its release this past fall. A memoir of her time spent in the Alberta Oilsands in the mid 2000s and the men and women she encountered over her two years truly struck a chord with me (it doesn’t hurt that I lived there at the same time). While she’s always been a talented illustrator, the story here is what truly drives this one. Please, please pick this one up. You will not be disappointed.
I was 15 years old when the tragedy at Columbine High happened. Although the events of that day remain somewhat fresh in my mind, I was alarmed to find out what was fact and what was fiction. Just who or what were the Trenchcoat Mafia? What did Marilyn Manson have to do with any of this? Was what the two boys pulled off that day their original plan? Or were things altered? Columbine is a masterclass of research and reporting from author Dave Cullen.
I’m Glad My Mom Died – Jennette McCurdy
Jennette McCurdy’s book is the memoir that took the internet by storm this year. While I wasn’t familiar with Jennette McCurdy before picking this one up, I took my wife’s word for it and went in blind. Having listened to this as an audiobook, I’m not sure I can imagine reading this. McCurdy brings her story to life through a captivating performance that she originally perfected as a one-woman show.
Honorable Mentions: The Nineties – Chuck Klosterman, Confidence Man – Maggie Haberman, The Premonition – Micheal Lewis