The end of the year always brings about a time of reflection. As with last year, we wanted to look back at the year and share some of the best books that we’ve read and think you should add to your 2022 reading piles!
All blurbs and book covers include links to the VPL catalogue where you can request and borrow these books for yourself! Happy reading!
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke:Piranesi was the first book I read in 2021 and it’s still the best one. This slim little novel is a departure from author Susanna Clarke’s gargantuan previous work Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but it still manages to spin its own labyrinthine magic (because it’s about a labyrinth, you see). In this latest novel, a man who is not technically named Piranesi but whom we shall call Piranesi documents his time in a spacious, dreamlike house that includes endless halls, statues, birds, and tides that bring in periodic floods. It’s his job to explore this house, and to help a mysterious visitor called The Other, who is researching a Great and Secret Knowledge. None of this makes any sense, but Clarke’s careful unfolding of narrative clues turns a vague and confusing plot into a compelling mystery. Who is The Other? And just what is Piranesi’s real identity? (Fun fact: he is named after the 18th century artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, known for his Imaginary Prisons etchings. A clue!) Piranesi was recently awarded the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
As someone who is prone to thinking about books way too often, it is no surprise that recent bookish trends have been on my mind lately. Of course, VPL has a history of documenting these trends. For example, Alyssia has expertly described the rise of BookTok (TikToks focusing on books) and in particular, the popularity of sad books. Despite my admiration of both books and TikTok, this is one bookish trend I can not get behind. I take no joy in watching people sob over a heartwrenching book and I have zero desire myself to sob over a book.
This of course leads me to discuss “cottagecore”, another aesthetic that continues to be popular. This aesthetic focuses on the beauty of simple living and the wonders of nature. While the cottagecore aesthetic can apply to anything (books, houses, video games, etc.), I also find that it’s not quite exactly what I enjoy. While it is aesthetically nice to look at, I am too uninvested in being in nature to enjoy it. I am frankly too much of a city person to fully be immersed in the cottagecore aesthetic.
Thus, I am positing a new bookish trope that is criminally underrated: predictability. Of course, it is no secret that book lovers tend to abhor the cheesy and the predictable. What is the point of reading a 300 page novel if I can figure out within 20 pages how it well end? Well dear reader, that is the exact comfort in it! Why would I want to read through a character’s emotional and heartwrenching life story if I did not know that they would end up okay?
I know it’s August and you may be looking forward to everything becoming more fall themed again (sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful orange forests) but I am still very much in summer mode. That feeling when everything feels new and fresh… as long as you can ignore the sun boring down on your face. With that said, I thought it would be fun to discuss some books that will make you feel that sunny optimism, even as the sun starts to set a little bit earlier!
All links below will take you to the Vaughan Public Libraries catalogue where you can request these titles! Most titles are available as ebooks in addition to physical books.
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee. This debut YA novel is about Noah, an expert on romance who runs his own blog called The Meet Cute Diary. It’s a blog that focuses on stories of trans love that all start with a meet cute, except all of Noah’s followers think that the stories are real events rather than almost-encounters that Noah experiences. While visiting his brother for the summer, Noah starts a relationship with a cute boy in which they are fake dating, and Noah hopes that it turns out to be real. It’s a wonderful story that blends the experiences of building an online persona with the cute romance we expect from summer stories.