Top 25 reads

What is the top fifth of the books completed thus far this year? My favourite books and chapbooks read are these:


  • Quiet Night Think: Poems and Essays by Gillian Sze (ECW, 2022)
  • Where Things Touch: A Meditation on Beauty by Bahar Orang Bookhug, 2020)

Novels/Short Fiction

  • A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido, 2021): I haven’t read anything like it before.
  • Trans-galactic Bike Ride: Feminist Bicycle science fiction stories of transgender and non binary adventures, edited by Lydia Rose (Elly Blue, 2020): wide array of fun stories.
  • The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1994): coming of age and getting to know the depth of elders.
  • The Peculiar Life of A Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault, trans by Liedewy Hawke (One World, 2017): a very strange tale of taking over someone’s life.
  • A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (Sphere, 2006): one of her best.
  • Mr. Hotshot CEO by Jackie Liu (Jackie Liu, 2018): fun story of mismatch somehow matching perfectly.
  • All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny (Minotaur, 2020): In Paris, also how far up does the complicit negligence go?


  • The Streets, Like Flowers, Come Alive in the Rain by Steve Deneham (Potter’s Grove Press, 2021): Great eye for the story moment that goes deep.
  • Transcribing Moonlight by Skylar Kay (Frontenac House Poetry, 2022): Graceful and grounded, polished in the best possible sense.
  • Book of Annotations by Cameron Anstee (Invisible Publishing, 2018): The pauses and contemplation is no “poet voice” but actual intellect.
  • The Lake by James Lindsay (KFB, 2022): The repetition shows the power it can build.
  • Asking for Trouble: Tanka by Czandra (Yarrow, 2022): Apparently tanka can be done superbly.
  • Zom-Fam by Kamala La Mackerel (Metonymy Press, 2021): The pictures and stories built stay with me.
  • Perpetual Ideal: poems by Mike Caesar (Anstruther, 2022): Formal but fluid poems.
  • Never the Less: Walking Poems by Gillian Jerome (Nightwood, 2022). Honestly, I forget.
  • White by W.J. Van der Molen trans by Max Verhart and Klaus-Dieter Wirth (Red Moon Press, 2008): Succinct result of applied decades.
  • Chrysanthemum, issue 29, 2021: best work I’ve seen in any magazine, equal with Mayfly.
  • Still: new, selected & collaborative haiku by Philomene Kocher (Ekstasis Editions, 2022): gentle and present
  • The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977 by Adrienne Rich (Norton, 1978): timelessly cutting
  • A Season in Lowertown by David Blaikie (Wet Ink Books, 2022): Remarkably vivid, not an off note.


  • What it’s like to be a bird by David Allen Sibley (Knoff, 2020): the how more than the name only
  • Up from Slavery: An autobiography by Booker T. Washington (Modern Library/Random house, 1901, 1999): written in the moment shows details of the community movement
  • Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak (Thames & Hudson, 2007): fascinating