It’s that time of year again: time to list our favourite books of  2014. I didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked this year, which is why this is a Top Five list and not a Top Ten list. Anyways, on with the show!

La Vie Jade by Helen Tenent Morrissey

Helen Tenent Morrissey’s novella was like a diamond in a coal mine. The prose is cummings-esque: the structure of each paragraph and page expressing almost more than each word. The subject matter is fresh and novel: the story of a Dutch governess coming to grips with her transsexuality in the month before Y2K. It’s a story as much about personal awakenings as it is about the correct application of glitter, and the appropriateness of computer-powered toasters.

Pulse Previous by Tyco Slaw

Tyco Slaw is best known for his slam poetry about race, culture, and Pantone (“How Mad is Madder Brown? How Chocolate is my Bronze?”), but he has published two novels: 2007’s Like When and 2014’s Pulse Previous. Like When was lacklustre, but Pulse Previous is like a kick to the solar plexus! It delivers biting satire, witty observations, and self-effacing humour, packaged in tight, compact sentences where all excess has been trimmed, leaving the reader wondering how they ever lived without a book about a vegetarian’s quest for a mythical lentil plantation in the Himalayas.

Lacy, Shawn, Smith, and Stacey by Panagiota Dinardi

Who would have thought baby names could tear a family apart? But Panagiota Dinardi imagines just such a scenario in her debut novel about a young expectant couple. A tale about unmet expectations and secret histories that leaves the reader wondering whether an entire past can be wiped away with a strategically-crafted name.

Where Did You Take Her? by Omar Dell-Openheim

Everyone likes a road trip book, but Where Did You Take Her? twists the genre into a pretzel by telling the story of a hilarious road trip through the Canadian Prairie provinces in reverse chronological order, from different points-of-view, including that of a 1992 Camaro. A surprising novel about an overdone subject.

Nickels for a Rodeo Clown by Susan Cohen-Capotosto

Set in the 1982 Calgary stampede, Nickels for a Rodeo Clown tells the bittersweet tale of Arthur, an aging rodeo clown who attempts to redeem himself to his estranged wife and son by becoming a vigilante crime-fighter. Cohen-Capotosto approaches the subject matter with subtlety, grace, and beauty, and her prose flows beautifully, making even pratfalls seem as poetic and picturesque as a sunset.