10 notable 2014 Vancouver books

Detail - cover art from The Outer Harbour by Wayde Compton.

Detail – cover art from The Outer Harbour by Wayde Compton.

After careful scouring of the Internet and hours of contemplation, we’ve come up with a list of 10 noteworthy Vancouver books. All are by Vancouver authors, but not all are about Vancouver itself. Most if not all have received positive reviews and/or awards. And most if not all would make great last-minute Christmas gifts, or holiday reading for the dedicated Vancouverite in your life… even if that means you.

Evan Thompson, Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy (Columbia University Press) – Thompson is a University of British Columbia philosophy professor. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, author and astrophysicist Adam Frank calls this recently published exploration of the intersection of science and Eastern religion “excellent.”

Waking Dreaming Being

John Belshaw, ed., Vancouver Confidential (Anvil Press) – Stories about Vancouver told through essays by a number of writers. “Chapters explore various aspects of the city’s history, including the Lovers’ Lane Marauder, the 1930s Communist scare and many other early Vancouver tales,” according to the Vancouver Sun.


Aaron Chapman, Live at the Commodore (Arsenal Pulp Press) – Chapman, who makes an appearance in Vancouver Confidential and is the author of a 2012 history of the Penthouse Nightclub, here tells the story of Vancouver’s most fabled live music venue, from its origins as a speakeasy to a showcase for today’s hitmakers. (Read our interview with Chapman about Live at the Commodore here.)


Raziel Reid, When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Arsenal Pulp Press) – This young adult novel won this year’s Governor General’s Award for English-language children’s literature. Reid also writes for Vancouver weekly Xtra Vancouver.


Chris Walter, SNFU: What No One Else Wanted to Say (Updated 2014 Edition) – Self-publishing visionary delves into the history of one of Western Canada’s longest-running punk bands. The 2014 edition contains an 11,000-word update about SNFU’s 2013 album Never Trouble Trouble Until Trouble Troubles You.


David Stouck, Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life (Douglas & McIntyre) – Simon Fraser University professor emeritus Stouck won the Hubert Evans Non-fiction prize at this year’s B.C. Book Award AND the City of Vancouver Book Award for this biography of Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson.


David Nunuk, Vancouver Light (Harbour Publishing) – In the Vancouver Sun, journalist Larry Pynn calls Vancouver Light “beautiful” and says that the book is “full of high-quality, visually arresting photographs of Vancouver.”


Michael Harris, The End of Absence – Winner for non-fiction in the Governor General’s Literary Awards, The End of Absence explores what Vancouver writer Harris calls “the loss of lack” –  the loss of a time when every silence or moment alone wasn’t filled by a screen. Vancouver author/artist Douglas Coupland raved, “This is a lovely, direct and beautifully written book that will make you feel good about living in the times we do. Michael Harris is honest in a way I find increasingly rare: clear, truthful and free of vexation. A true must-read.”


Wayde Compton, The Outer Harbour (Arsenal Pulp Press) – The first book of short stories by Vancouver essayist and poet Wayde Compton. On Beatroute.ca, reviewer Spencer Powell called it “a modest and subtle work. It is a story of a Vancouver that could be and a Vancouver that is.”


Aaron Bushkowsky, Curtains for Roy (Cormorant Books) – Bushkowsky is a Vancouver poet, playwright, and screenwriter. BC Bookworld said, “If Douglas Coupland had his name on the spine, Curtains for Roy would be admired and discussed worldwide as a brilliant comedy of manners, an exceedingly funny and searing portrayal of modern angst, a generational follow-up to Generation X, perfect grist for a movie. It’s that good.”


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