2014 Bookish Survey

I am mercilessly ripping some of these questions out of order and from various sources that Danika at the Lesbrary used in her end of year book survey. Check hers out too!

  1. Best book you read in 2014

safe girl to loveOkay, can I just pick two?  A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett and Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson, both brilliant and unique collections of short stories. Even if you think you don’t like short stories, read these books.

  1. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

I was pretty excited about Malena Watrous’s If You Follow Me because it was about a bisexual ESL teacher (like me!) but I kinda hated it actually.  The main character was a spoiled, self-indulgent American whose fish out of water antics in Japan were just annoying and culturally insensitive.

  1. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Ellen Forney, who’s a bisexual cartoonist from Seattle.  Her graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, about being an artist with bipolar disorder, was so so good.  It’s sad, funny, smart, and the drawings are (pun intended) crazy good.

  1. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

with a rough tongueI have generally had terrible experiences with lesbian/bi erotica, in that I thought it was a) terribly written, b) boring, c) not sexy, or d) all of the above, but the collection With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn edited by Amber Dawn convinced me I was terribly, terribly wrong.

  1. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2014 to finally read? 

I started reading the Saga series this year, and am now totally hooked on these science fiction comics featuring women of colour kicking ass.  I can’t believe it was around for so long before I started it but I am kind of glad I had a bunch to read when I did finally pick it up, because waiting to find out what is going to happen next is now agonizing.

  1. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Probably the Saga series, or Sarah Waters’s The Paying Guests (the second half, at least)

  1. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?


Ihappiness love this question!  Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta and I’ve Got a Time Bomb by Sybil Lamb—which is illustrated by the author—both have gorgeous and fitting covers.




  1. Most memorable character of 2014?

I will never forget the main character of When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid.  He’s an impossibly brave, brash, no-holds-barred queer teen.  He’s flamboyant, unapologetic, foul-mouthed, and gender-non-conformist.  I loved him.

  1. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo, which is simply a masterpiece of gorgeous writing.

  1. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?

mootooAgain, from Shani Mootoo:

Surely it is a failure of our human design that it takes not an hour, not a day, but much, much longer to relay what flashes through the mind with the speed of a hummingbird’s wing.

  1. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014? 

Hmm, great question.  I’ve never thought about literary crushes before, except perhaps my love for both Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter.  I really liked Em, the cool-headed sweet BFF of the main character in Leigh Matthews Don’t Bang the BaristaAlso, Josh, the trans guy in Zoe Whittall’s Holding Still for as Long as Possible, was very appealing to me even though I said in my review I thought he was boring.  He was also stable, sweet, and calm, so maybe that’s my type, since Em was very much like that too.

  1.  Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

skin folkNalo Hopkinson in her story collection Skin Folk, hands down.  She builds amazing worlds in the limited space of short stories!  Like one where in a future Toronto you might get on the bus and see someone else wearing your old body.  Or one where your full-body sex toy suits escape from the closet and attack you and your partner.  Or where a relentless wind full of miniscule shards of glass continually ravages your hometown.  Fucking brilliant, seriously.

  1. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?

I feel like whether a book made my cry or not might be a better indicator of where I was in my menstrual cycle at the time, but the ending of When Everything Feels Like the Movies made me burst into tears in public.  {Trigger warning: there’s a homophobic hate crime in that book}  I also found Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab really moving, but I don’t remember if I actually cried or not.

  1. Hidden gem of the year?

letters livedPrairie Ostrich by Tamai Kobayashi and Letters Lived: Radical Reflections, Revolutionary Paths edited by Sheila Sampath were two books sent to me for review, and I had no expectations of either of them.  They both ended up being spectacular.

  1. Best 2014 debut you read?

No question, Casey Plett’s A Safe Girl to Love.  This born writer really gets her characters, and she can really write.  I’m super excited to see what she does next.



About CaseytheCanadianLesbrarian

Known in some internet circles as Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, Casey Stepaniuk is a writer and librarian who holds an MA in English literature. She lives and works in the unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation (Nanaimo, BC). Topics and activities dear to her heart include cats, bisexuality, libraries, queer (Canadian) literature, running, and drinking tea. She runs the website Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, where you can find reviews of LGBTQ2IA+ Canadian books, archives of the book advice column Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian, and some other queer, bookish stuff. She also writes for Autostraddle. Find her on Twitter: @canlesbrarian. Some of her old reviews, especially the non-Canadian variety, can be found at the Lesbrary.
This entry was posted in Amber Dawn, Anthology, Asian, BDSM, Bisexual, Black, Canadian, Erotica, Fiction, Lesbian, Nalo Hopkinson, Non-Canadian, Postcolonial, Queer, Shani Mootoo, Short Stories, South Asian, Toronto, Trans, Trans Feminine, Trans Masculine, Zoe Whittall and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2014 Bookish Survey

  1. Glad to read some of your answers, too! Luckily for you, you had my version to draw from. The original had the questions sporadically capitalized, but of course I felt the need to make them all one or the other.

  2. Pingback: 2014 Year in Review | alivorte

Let me know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s