2016 is drawing to a close, and we here at KHACHILIFE are using this time to reflect on our literary adventures this past year. Our collective reading list forms a diverse pool — fiction, non-fiction, some published this year, some classics, some bestsellers, some indie darlings, and one French manga. We read a lot, and we definitely had our favorites! Read on for our literary loves of 2016.
The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels (Random House Canada)
“The Tools is an easy-to-read self-help book that offers mental methods which can be used to change our attitudes and reactions in our day to day lives. Not to be over thought, this book is effective enough to bring reflection and mindfulness to our hectic and often unsympathetic culture. A good book to read before bed after a tough day.” — Kate Shelton
Pony Castle by Sofia Banzhaf (Metatron Press)
“Pony Castle was written by our very own beauty writer, Sofia Banzhaf! This chapbook is a piece of prose that actually reads like beautifully gritty, razor-sharp poetry. Pony Castle is Sofia’s debut work in long form fiction, and I’m already hungry for her next one.” — Meghan Greeley
Les Rêveries d’un Gourmet Soliatire by Jirô Taniguchi and Masayuki Kusumi (Casterman)
“This manga is essential reading for anyone that loves taking their time over a really great meal. Following the protagonist as he eats his way around Japan and France, the collection revels in the process of eating, showing how even the simplest of dishes can linger in your memories.” — Hannah Lamarque
The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood (Anchor)
“It seems timely, though not necessarily intentional, that my favourite story of the year is one about our apocalyptic future. We revisit this scenario time and time again in film, television, and comics, and in the MaddAddam trilogy, Margaret Atwood offers a wondrous and chilling vision. While published over the course of ten years, with the finale coming in 2013, I thoroughly savoured all three stories—Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood, and Maddaddam—this past year. I suppose it’s fitting as well to have enjoyed this immensely talented Canadian author’s work this year since we ourselves took time out to specifically celebrate Canada’s accomplishments.
More so than being beautifully written and composed of fascinating characters, Atwood’s future is chilling and informative, full of lessons and warnings, and most importantly, believable. It’s a rightfully lauded tale that, while dystopic and uncomfortable, offers some slim hopes for the optimistic and resourceful among us. And it seems that now, more than ever, we need both the caution and the hope moving forward.” — Anthony Marcusa
The Alcehmist by Paulo Coelho (HarperCollins)
“My favourite book was The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. I read it after I finished university, and it helped provide clarity regarding how I wanted my journey to look from there on out. It’s a self-help book hidden in a story that keeps the reader engaged.” — Adessa Kiryakos
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Charles Scribner’s Sons)
“This particular novel really moved me in a lot of ways. There are many families in the world that are less fortunate and go through very difficult times, financially, mentally and physically. In this memoir, Walls and her family struggle through these life difficulties until she can make it on her own. Sometimes when times are tough in life, I think about Jeanette and how staying strong and setting goals for myself can help me to do the best I can. It’s easy to lose track of what is most important in life, and to me that’s my family, health, and stability.” – Lisa Wilbrink
Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (HarperCollins)
“Undoubtedly my current book of choice is a collection of poetry for kids titled Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.
This book was paramount in my childhood, and I could not wait to pass it along to my son Sebastian! Each night we enter the peculiar, clever, and humorous world of Shel. The poems are joyful, inspirational, and sometimes emotional, packed with lessons learned, glimmers of hope, and playful imagination. Definitely a go-to book that puts a smile on the face of both the young and the old.” — Olivia Jelenić-Živkov