Quill & Quire Books of the Year *UPDATED*

Quill & Quire, Canada’s Magazine of Book News & Reviews has started announcing their choices for Books of the Year online (the lists have been published in print in the December issue). We thought you might be interested in seeing their selections, and of course, we’d like to note the inclusion of the graphic novel KENK in the Non-Fiction category. Here’s the philosophy behind the lists:

There’s no formula for choosing the books of the year. Some break ground, some tackle familiar themes with new energy. Some represent the best work from established authors, some introduce us to important new voices. And some are simply in-house favourites we feel deserve a little more attention.

Fiction and Poetry


Kenk: A Graphic Portrait
Richard Poplak; Nick Marinkovich, illus. (Pop Sandbox)

Graphic novels are, by definition, a hybrid form, but the first book from Toronto upstart Pop Sandbox is sui generis. Composed almost entirely of repurposed, deliberately distressed video footage, Kenk presents a fly-on-the-wall portrait of internationally notorious bike thief Igor Kenk in the weeks leading up to his arrest. The book’s gritty, foot-in-the-gutter aesthetic is perfectly suited to its subject, a crank philosopher with a skewed moral sense who is alternately fascinating and infuriating. This “graphic portrait” walks a fine line, humanizing Kenk while never excusing his misdeeds. As reviewer Alex Good wrote in July/August’s Q&Q, it is “a well-conceived and brilliantly executed book that draws an insightful, realistic portrait not just of a man, but of a specific time and place.”

Books for Young People

Covers of the Year

Kenk: A Graphic Portrait
by Richard Poplak (Pop Sandbox)
Cover design by Nick Marinkovich, Alex Jansen, and Jason Gilmore

This book captivated my ­imagination. Kenk is an asshole. A bike thief. A creepy, shifty dude. He is also a legend in Toronto. This book adds mythical proportion to his already ­incredible story. Using photocopied film stills scraped with sandpaper, scratched with razor blades, and literally torn to pieces, Nick Marinkovich et al. create an ugly world charged with emotion. I looked at a lot of book covers this year. Many were clever and clean, but nothing has stuck with me as much as this one. – Erik Mohr, a designer with ChiZine Publications