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Best Reads of 2018 so far

Caveat: I have over a dozen still underway. More will likely be added by year’s end but so far the shiny wows were these in no particular order:

[edited to add last few I forgot to add to my spreadsheet or finished since.Jan 3, 2019]

Poetry

The Deep End of the Sky by Chad Lee Robinson (Turtle Press, 2015): the best clear-eyed haiku I’ve read in a long time.
A Book of Annotations by Cameron Anstee (Invisible, 2018): pared back to essential to express
A Thousand Years by Marco Fraticelli (Catkin press, 2018): to enter the life of a past century
The Man in the Black Coat Turns: Poems by Robert Bly (Penguin, 1983): elegant and timeless. the music of it.
One Window’s Light, ed by Lenard D Moore (Unicorn, 2017): gave new hope for what haiku can do vividly
I left nothing inside on purpose by Stevie Howell (Penguin, 2018)
A Woman’s Mourning Song by bell hooks (Harlem River Press, 1991)
bury me deep in the green wood by rob mclennan (ECW Press, 1999): I’ve probably re-read this 5 times now.
Blackbirds by Greg Santos (Eyewear Publishing, 2018, UK): touching poems
The Clouds Float North: The Complete Poems of Yu Xuanji, trans by David Young and Jiann I. Lin (Wesleyan, 1998): feels contemporary as if the varnish layer is removed from the past
Holy Wild by Gwen Benaway (Book*hug, 2018): a rush of intensity, compression and yet lyrical as well
Brocade River Poems: Selected Works of the Tang Dynasty Courtesan Xue Tao, trans by Jeanne Larsen (Princetown, 1987): I’m not confident of her translation but it was a glorious read.
Branches by Mark Truscott (Book*hug, 2018): I love all his lines, books. I collect it all.

 
Poetry Chapbooks
The Landscapes were in my arms (figure 2) by Sara Renee Marshall (above/ground, 2018): floored me with wows
Celebration Machine by Dale Tracy (Proper Tales Press, 2018): that, folks, is how to write.
Teaching my Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire (Mouthmark Series, #10, 2011): wow, intense and moving
Eleven Elleve Alive: poems by Stuart Ross, Dag T Straumsvag & Hugh Thomas (Shreeking Violet, 2018): this spurred me to write half a dozen poems
Concealed Weapons/Animal Survivors by N Hanna (above/ground,2018): a powerful set of poems
Espesantes by Stuart Ross (above/ground, 2018): I heart this.
Before Music: haiku by Philip Rowland (Red Moon Press, 2012): after seeing what he edited, wonderful to see he writes well too

 

Biography/Memoir

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (Penguin, 2016): utterly absorbing and deft
Madame Curie: A biography by Eve Curie, translated by Vincent Sheean (Doubleday, 1937): the language and presentation embody the era
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius trans by Gregory Hays (Modern Library, 170AD, 2003): slow months of food for thought

 

Novels

The Ruby Dice by Catherine Asaro (Baen, 2008): a ride thru the clash of empires.
The Last Hawk by Catherine Asaro (Tor, 1998): like a soap opera. read everything she wrote this year.
Fall in One Day by Craig Terlson (Blue Moon, 2017): this tender tough protagonist sees nobody is doing anything so he summons his abilities. inspiring
The Uninvited by Geling Yan (Faber & Faber, 2006): harsh view of Chinese society but absorbing read
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw (Orbit Books, 2016): serial killer zombies aren’t really, exactly.
Midnight Sweatlodge by Waubgeshig Rice (Theytus, 2011): the people around the fire each get to tell their story. the ending raised my hair.
When I grow up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen (BOA, 2017): I gobbled it a year ago. Worth a reread.
The Night they came for Til by Rebekah Lee Jenkins (Self-published, 2017): what if a suffragette gets to be the hero of their own story?
Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw (Orbit, 2018): the doctor to the undead got herself kidnapped by a coven of vampires. Bri said if you keep laughing you’re going to have to share so we read it all aloud.

 
Non-fiction
Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists by Margo Goodhand (Fernwood, 2017): such an eye opener and beautifully tied togehter.
Astana: Architecture, Myth & Destiny by Frank Also (Vidacom, 2017): I knew absolutely nothing of Kazakhstan and this totally reset everything.
Arthur Erickson: An architect’s life by David Stouk (Douglas & McIntyre, 2012): filled in a lot of gaps. quite the ride even if I like him less now.

 

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