Chris Benjamin’s Favourite 2014 Reads
As has become an annual tradition, here are the books I most enjoyed reading in 2014 [Click on the image to visit the book’s goodreads page]:
Driven: How the Bathurst Tragedy Ignited a Crusade for Change by Richard Foot – A magazine assigned me this book to review. I’d never have read it otherwise. To my surprise it was really well written, touching and informative. It had many insights about the nature of social change and how different people respond to tragedy. If I weren’t a parent I might not have found it so powerful.
River Thieves by Michael Crummey – Well developed story about conflict between the Beothuk and early European trappers in Newfoundland, vividly depicting harsh lives lived in the elements, with a few well-timed plot twists and difficult characters.
The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta – An old Nigerian novel and I’ve never read anything quite like it; a very different style from Canlit or Americana or European literature. A powerful story of the trials and tribulations of a woman who tries to go against the grain and gets slowly sucked into the trappings of her society.
The Enchanted House by Beth E. Janzen – Provocative and sexy, yet dark book of poems with astute observation on the human condition.
Nobody Cries at Bingo by Dawn Demont – Very funny collection of stories, sort of forming a novel collectively, about life growing up on a Saskatchewan reserve. Highly recommended.
Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz – Incredibly vivid story of life in a Cairo back alley, with a popular cafe, grave robbers, mystics, barbers and philosophers.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Classic for a reason as it turns out.
When I Always Wanted Something by Carole Langille Glasser – Brilliantly depicted slice-of-life stories that offer great insights on betrayal, worry, regret, conformity…
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie – I love Rushdie’s fractured epic fairytales.
Becoming Fierce – I have a story in this so bias and all, but every story in it is emotionally raw yet beautifully written.
The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz – Satirical, at times farcical story of an old dog who refuses to learn new tricks or surrender his revolutionary outlaw ideas.
Runaway Dreams by Richard Wagamese – A powerful book of narrative poetry exploring cultural exploration and reclamation and healing
Aboriginal Rights Are Not Human Rights – A somewhat academic, but very readable, exploration of how Aboriginal rights differ but are related to human rights and why overlooking that distinction hurts millions of people worldwide.