I’ve read a lot of books in 2018, so this will be a list of the ones I can remember, or that I listed as having read on Goodreads. I got the idea for this post from a post by James at A Tolkienist’s Perspective. The links in this post go to my reviews of the books listed.
First up, two important books for understanding the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada:
- Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel. A highly accessible read which provides an overview of the current situation and the history of settler colonialism’s appalling treatment of Indigenous Peoples, their religions, languages, and cultures.
- The Reconciliation Manifesto by Art Manuel. A suggested way forward for the relationship between settlers and Indigenous people, outlined by the man who was instrumental in getting the UN to ratify the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). His daughter Kanahus is currently protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline (or was last time I checked).
- Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle – interesting but could have done with more editing. Some interesting nuggets of information and perspectives.
- The Inconvenient Indian by Tom King, which is about the image of Indigenous people that keeps them trapped in stereotypes, and the history of their treatment on both sides of the US/Canada border.
Pagan and Wiccan books
- Traditional Wicca: a seeker’s guide, by Thorn Mooney. An excellent outline of Gardnerian Wicca for people who might be thinking of joining a coven.
- Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff. Very enjoyable exploration of the symbolism and lore of sigil making, together with a great practical section. I posted the exercises from chapter five on my @birdberrybooks Instagram account.
Hmm, not many on this section of the list – will have to read more next year. I did read the excellent Evolutionary Witchcraft by T Thorn Coyle, but that might have been last year.
Not necessarily in the order that I read them.
- The Father Christmas Letters by JRR Tolkien. It was fun to revisit this book which I read as a kid.
- Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. Amazing book by a Diné writer, set after a giant climate-change-induced flood has drowned the cities of the eastern seaboard of the US. The gods of the Diné (Navajo) have returned and walk the land.
- The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau. A fun romp through the fierce competition to make the perfect porcelain colour in the 18th century. I really liked the main character, Genevieve Planché, the granddaughter of a Huguenot refugee (did you know that the word refugee arrived in English with the Huguenots taking refuge in England?) The ending of the book was slightly unsatisfying, otherwise I would have given it five stars on Goodreads. However it was quite a page turner.
- One Day in December by Josie Silver. An unputdownable romance, about love at first sight and what happened next. I loved this book, and the friendship between Laurie and Sarah, and their signature sandwich. If you like Love Actually and Bridget Jones, I think you’ll enjoy this.
- Rosewater by Tade Thompson. Science fiction with a truly original premise, set in Nigeria. Excellent.
- Pavane by Keith Roberts. I have been meaning to read this book for years, and was prompted to get it by Sable Aradia’s review of it. I didn’t like it though, and haven’t finished it.
- Circe by Madeline Miller. Interesting retelling of the legend of Circe. Much more exciting after she leaves the world of the gods and goes to live on her island and hang out with mortals.
- Daughter of Eden (part 3 of the Eden trilogy) by Chris Beckett. This is a truly original series about a small group of people who get stranded on a distant planet, their descendants, and the different ways they end up organizing their society. Highly recommended.
- All our wrong todays by Elan Mastai. A fun science fiction book with time travel and alternative realities. Great fun. However, if you’re going to write a book set in Canada, I think it’s really weird not to have any Indigenous characters in it whatsoever.
- House of Many Ways, Diana Wynne Jones. Part three of the Howl’s Moving Castle series. Quite fun but we only get glimpses of Howl and Sophie.
- The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag. I bought this book just before leaving Oxford, UK, and moving to Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. It’s set in Cambridge, UK, where I used to live, and I liked it a lot.
- The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. Magical children’s book which deserves to be a classic.
- Charles Williams, the Third Inkling, by Grevel Lindop. Probably the definitive biography of Williams, and excellently researched and written. I didn’t review it, but here’s a review from Mogg Morgan.
- The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. It has time travel and witches and quantum physics and alternative realities and beer. Very enjoyable.
- To serve them all my days by RF Delderfield. I had always meant to get around to this, but never got around to it. Well worth the read.
- Little Grey Men, and Down the Bright Stream by BB. Very well observed nature and animals, with gnomes on an adventure. Also featuring the Great God Pan.
- The Lord of the Forest by BB. An intriguing book about the life of an oak tree through nine centuries.
- The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. A story about a man who picks up lost things and catalogues them, and bequeaths his collection to a friend, who then has quite an adventure with the lost things.
I must have read more books than this in 2018, but I don’t seem to have recorded them on Goodreads. Sometimes I re-read things that I have read before.