Sorry, no top ten best-of-the year list from me. But the following offers you titles (by genre) that I particularly enjoyed recently (which is sort of like a top ten list, I guess) The following offers some books, films and theatre that Dr. Larry particularly enjoyed in 2015.
FAVOURITE POETRY COLLECTION
From year to year, there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of new poetry anthologies for young people. Particularly Canadian poetry. For sure there is a lack of great poetry collections. HEAD TO TOE SPAGHETTI by David Booth is a GREATpoetry book. Each of the poem’s centres on food. giving us poems that ‘tickle your lips and tangle your tongue’. Les Drew’s amusing illustrations add to the delight of this great Canadian poetry book, yes, for readers of all ages. Available through Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.
FAVOURITE FREE VERSE NOVEL
I recently the book, The Gospel Truth, by Canadian author Caroline Pignat with a grade seven class and I claim this to be my favourite Canadian read of the past year. (disclaimer: I am quite enamoured with the Free Verse novel format). Pignat’s novel was the 2015 Governor General’s Award for children’s literature. The book presents different viewpoints of slaver and is a powerful example of Historical Fiction for ages 12+.
FAVOURITE PICTURE BOOK
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino was a finalist for the TD Children’s Outstanding Book as well Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. This is an important story to share in classrooms – at all grade levels!. Morris is a young boy with a strong imagination, with artistic talents and with a determination and satisfaction to wear a dress at home and at school. An important book about creativity and gender identity.
FAVOURITE CHILDREN’S NOVELS: AND THE WINNER IS…
The Newbery Award winners are soon to be announced at the end of January and for those children’ book lovers there’s always much guessing and predictions as to who the winners will be. Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s A Fish in the Tree remains at the top of the list. On my book pile are: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton and Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. Will know the winners by the end of January. Year to year, I never seem to guess correctly.
A History of Loneliness was my very favourite read (adult) of 2015. This is a novel that reveals truths about the Irish Catholic Church, and the complexities of confronting paedophelia. Boyne is perhaps best known for his book The Boy With The Striped Pajamas. As an author of children’s books as well as adult fiction he is a master story teller. Two recent titles were also amongst my favourite reads of the year. Like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas his new children’s novel The Boy at the Top of the Mountain tells the story of a boy who knows nothing about the Nazis, but is immersed in the background history when he is sent to live in a mysterious house at the top of a mountain where he is taken under Hitler’s wing. Also on my list of great books, is Boyne’s new short story collection, Beneath the Earth.
FAVOURITE SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS (adult)
These three authors have been recent favourites of mine and was excited that each had a new short story collection in 2015. Of course with such anthologies, if you’re not enjoying a story, you can quickly skip to the next selection. I read each and every story in these three great books
- Rachel Joyce (author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) has written A Snow Garden and other stories
- Nickolas Butler (author of Shotgun Lovesongs) has written Beneath the Bonfire.
- John Boyne (author of A History of Loneliness) has written Beneath the Earth. (interesting that this title almost matches Butler’ book)
FAVOURITE NONFICTION (adult)
Oliver Sacks autobiography, On the Move, published just before his death in is a special read about the famous neurophysician who brought humanity to the sick and the disabled. What a life! What a writer! Note: mention too for a recent publication entitled Gratitude which presents four short essays written before his death in 2015, that offer Sacks gratitude about the gift of life.
FAVOURITE MOVIE (s)
The movie YOUTH is at the top of the list. Went to see this film, by the Italian film director Paul Sorrentino (The Great Beauty). Recognize that this film by the Italian director Paul Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) isn’t for everyone’s tastes, but the acting (Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda), the scenery, the music all were sublime. On my second viewing of the film, I found myself to be very moved. Mention must be made of the Hungarian film SON OF SAUL, about the Sonderkommando, Jews who were forced to work in death camps. It’s a movie that will leave you shaken and stirred. Have been thinking about both these movies long after seeing them.
- London: Hangmen by Martin McDonagh
- New York: The Humans by Stephen Karam
- Toronto: 887 by Robert LePage (the guy’s a genius!).