100 Must-Read Books by Canadian Authors

2017 marks Canada’s 150th birthday as a country—the anniversary of Canadian Confederation. This is kind of a weird time and a weird thing to celebrate. We are marking an anniversary of colonization and the oppression of Aboriginal people. We are marking an anniversary that doesn’t even mean the same thing for every province.

It’s hard to celebrate where we are today as a country when First Nations people still live in some of the worst conditions. According to MacLean’s, First Nations communities:

“[have] an unemployment rate worse than Sudan and the median income is on par with Latvia. There, the infant mortality rate is worse than Russia. The sewage systems often don’t work, and there is no fire department. Medical facilities are few and far away. Drug and alcohol addictions are rampant. TB is at epidemic levels, and the rate of HIV infection is higher than Nigeria’s. This is a Canada of broken windows in tarpaper shacks.”

While Canada Day is celebrated every July 1st, this year a lot of fuss has been made of it, and Ottawa has spent in the ballpark of $500 million on celebrations. This, to me, is hard to justify, given the continued mistreatment of Aboriginal communities, the ignoring of treaties, and the amount of reconciliation that is still necessary.

While I love living in Canada and am proud of coming from here, I can’t forget my country’s troubled past. I can’t forget what happened for us to get to where we are today—and how far we still have to go.

As we celebrate the good, we must remember to also reflect on the bad. Let’s celebrate our diversity and multiculturalism. But let’s not forget to seek reconciliation and friendship.

Without further ado, here are 100 must read books by Canadian authors:

Please note: the descriptions come from the publisher via Goodreads.

Classics and Modern Classics

1) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

“Everyone’s favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.”

2) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.”

3) No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

“Alexander, orphaned as a child by a horrific tragedy, has nevertheless gained some success in the world. … Alexander is sustained by a family history that seems to run through his veins. And through these lovingly recounted stories-wildly comic or heartbreakingly tragic-we discover the hope against hope upon which every family must sometimes rely.”

4) The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

“We meet Hagar as a young girl growing up in a black prairie town; as the wife of a virile but unsuccessful farmer with whom her marriage was stormy; as a mother who dominates her younger son; and, finally, as an old woman isolated by an uncompromising pride and by the stern virtues she has inherited from her pioneer ancestors.”

5) Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

“Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross and destined to be caught in a no man’s land where memory, history, and myth collide.”

6) Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

“As Del dreams of becoming famous, suffers embarrassment about her mother, endures the humiliation of her body’s insistent desires, and tries desperately to fall in love, she grapples with the crises that mark the passage to womanhood.”

7) Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan

“Penelope Wain believes that her lover, Neil Macrae, has been killed while serving overseas under her father. That he died apparently in disgrace does not alter her love for him, even though her father is insistent on his guilt. What neither Penelope or her father knows is that Neil is not dead, but has returned to Halifax to clear his name.”

8) Two Solitudes by Hugh McLennan

“[A] powerful saga, [Two Solitudes is the story of] of Athanase Tallard, the son of an aristocratic French-Canadian tradition, of Kathleen, his beautiful Irish wife, and of their son Paul, who struggles to establish a balance in himself and in the country he calls home.”

9) Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen

“The novel centers upon the hapless members of a love triangle united by their sexual obsessions and by their fascination with Catherine Tekakwitha, the 17th-century Mohawk saint. By turns vulgar, rhapsodic, and viciously witty, Beautiful Losers explores each character’s attainment of a state of self-abandonment, in which the sensualist cannot be distinguished from the saint.”

 

Young Adult

10) Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

“In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages.”

11) Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

“In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. … Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.”

12) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

“In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, his injured best friend Darryl does not come out. The city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: ‘M1k3y’ will take down the DHS himself.”

13) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

“Destined to wind up ‘wed or dead,’ Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason.”

14) Alice, I Think by Susan Juby

“Alice, I Think is a brilliantly funny shoes-off romp through those revered, sensitive grounds known as coming-of-age. Set it Smithers, BC and its northern environs, Alice, I Think delves into the mind of a teenage protagonist whose sensitivity and wit are accompanied by an ironic awareness of her own foibles and those of the people around her.”

15) Chasing Freedom by Gloria Ann Wesley

“The American Revolutionary War is being waged, and the fate of slaves in the colonies is on the line…. [T]he war draws to a close and the Loyalist slaves are all freed — including Sarah and her grandmother, Lydia. … After months of waiting, the Redmonds are assigned to a ship bound for the first all-black community in North America: Birchtown, Nova Scotia.”

16) Money Boy by Paul Yee

“[One day, Ray Liu’s] father accesses [his] internet account, and discovers Ray has been cruising gay websites. Before Ray knows what has hit him, his belongings have been thrown on the front lawn, and he has been kicked out. Angry, defiant, Ray heads to downtown Toronto. In short order he is robbed, beaten up and seduced, and he learns the hard realities of life on the street. Could he really sell himself for sex? Lots of people use their bodies to make money—athletes, actors, models, pop singers. If no one gets hurt, why should anyone care?”

17) Exit, Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston

“During a camp party, someone slips something in [Hermione Winters’] drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.”

18) The Gravesavers by Sheree Fitch

“In the wake of a family tragedy, twelve-year-old Minn Hotchkiss is sent to spend the summer with her sour grandmother in the tiny seaside town of Boulder Basin, Nova Scotia. Almost as soon as she arrives, Minn discovers the skull of a human child on the beach. She is swiftly caught up in a mystery that reaches back more than a century, to the aftermath of the most tragic shipwreck in Maritime history before the Titanic.”

19) When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

“School is just like a film set: there’s The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn’t fit in. Before everything turns to ashes… Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It’s a total train wreck! But train wrecks always make the front page.”

20) Blood Red Road by Moira Young

“Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba’s world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.”

21) We are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

“Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed ‘It’ girl in her class, but her grades stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified.”

22) A Spy in the House by YS Lee

“Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test.”

23) Throwaway Daughter by Ting-Xing Ye

“Throwaway Daughter tells the dramatic and moving story of Grace Dong-mei Parker, a typical Canadian teenager until the day she witnesses the Tiananmen massacre on television. Horrified, she sets out to explore her Chinese ancestry, only to discover that she was one of the thousands of infant girls abandoned in China since the introduction of the one-child policy, strictly enforced by the Communist government.”

24) The Sky is Falling by Kit Pearson

“It is the summer of 1940, and all of England fears an invasion by Hitler’s army. Norah lies in bed listening to the anxious voices of her parents downstairs. Then Norah is told that she and her brother, Gavin, are being sent to Canada. The voyage across the ocean is exciting, but at the end of it Norah is miserable. The rich woman who takes them in prefers Gavin to her, the children at school taunt her, and as the news from England becomes worse, she longs for home.”

 

Adult

25) The Book of Negroes (Canada) or Someone Knows my Name (USA, UK, AUS) by Lawrence Hill

“Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom―and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War. This captivating story of one woman’s remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.”

26) A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

“This darkly funny novel is the world according to the unforgettable Nomi, a bewildered and wry sixteen-year-old trapped in a town governed by fundamentalist religion and in the shattered remains of a family it destroyed.”

27) A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

“In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century… Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.”

28) Fall on Your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald

“They are the Pipers of Cape Breton Island — a family steeped in lies and unspoken truths that reach out from the past, forever mindful of the tragic secret that could shatter the family to its foundations. Chronicling five generations of this eccentric clan, Fall on Your Knees follows four remarkable sisters whose lives are filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love.”

29) Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

“The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymous Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black. Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero’s bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there’s more to the journey than he thought.”

30) Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards

“When twelve-year-old Sidney Henderson pushes his friend Connie off the roof of a local church in a moment of anger, he makes a silent vow: Let Connie live and I will never harm another soul. At that very moment, Connie stands, laughs, and walks away. Sidney keeps his promise through adulthood despite the fact that his insular, rural community uses his pacifism to exploit him.”

31) The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

“Set in the dusty seaside town of Toturpuram on the Bay of Bengal, The Hero’s Walk traces the terrain of family and forgiveness through the lives of an exuberant cast of characters bewildered by the rapid pace of change in today’s India. Each member of the Rao family pits his or her chance at personal fulfillment against the conventions of a crumbling caste and class system.”

32) The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

“In the remote winter landscape a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of a young Iroquois girl violently re-ignites a deep rift between two tribes. The girl’s captor, Bird, is one of the Huron Nation’s great warriors and statesmen.”

33) The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

“Filled with a remarkable cast of characters – losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells from all stripes of life – and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.”

34) The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnson

“In this widely acclaimed novel, Johnston has created two of the most memorable characters in recent fiction: Joey Smallwood, who claws his way up from poverty to become New Foundland’s first premier; and Sheilagh Fielding, who renounces her father’s wealth to become a popular columnist and writer, a gifted satirist who casts a haunting shadow on Smallwood’s life and career.”

35) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

“The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers—a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village—will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.”

36) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

“One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.”

37) Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Still Missing interweaves the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfold through sessions with her psychiatrist, with a second narrative following the events after her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.”

38) Neuromancer  by William Gibson

“Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employers crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan.”

39) Still Life by Louise Penny

“Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.”

40) The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

“Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.”

41) The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

“Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.”

42) The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

“On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter’s life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.”

43) Hellgoing by Lynn Coady

“A young nun charged with talking an anorexic out of her religious fanaticism toys with the thin distance between practicality and blasphemy. A strange bond between a teacher and a schoolgirl takes on ever deeper, and stranger, shapes as the years progress. A bride-to-be with a penchant for nocturnal bondage can’t seem to stop bashing herself up in the light of day.”

44) Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock

A collection of humourous stories about the fictional small town Mariposa. Of Mariposa, Leacock says, “Mariposa is not a real town. On the contrary, it is about seventy or eighty of them. You may find them all the way from Lake Superior to the sea, with the same square streets and the same maple trees and the same churches and hotels.”

45) The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

“Born in 1905, Daisy Stone Goodwill drifts through the roles of child, wife, widow, and mother, and finally into her old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her place in her own life, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography.”

46) Tell by Frances Itani

“Tell…  follows Tress’s partner Kenan, a young shell-shocked soldier who confines himself indoors, venturing outside only at night to visit the frozen bay where he skated as a boy. Saddened by her altered marriage, Tress seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. But Maggie and her husband, Am, have problems of their own.”

47) 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

“Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl? “

48) As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross

‘As For Me and My House takes the form of a journal. The unnamed diarist … explores the bittersweet nature of human relationships, of the unspoken bonds that tie people together, and the undercurrents of feeling that often tear them apart. Her chronicle creates an intense atmosphere, rich with observed detail and natural imagery.”

49) Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thein

“Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations–those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century.”

50) Birdie by Tracey Lindberg

“Bernice Meetoos, a Cree woman, leaves her home in Northern Alberta following tragedy and travels to Gibsons, BC. She is on something of a vision quest, seeking to understand the messages from The Frugal Gourmet (one of the only television shows available on CBC North) that come to her in her dreams.”

51) Ru by Kim Thuy

“Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow—of tears, blood, money. … In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy’s autism.”

52) The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre

“Known to fellow priests as the ‘Exorcist’ because of his special role as clean-up man for the Bishop of Antigonish, Duncan has a talent for coolly reassigning deviant priests while ensuring minimal fuss from victims and their families.”

53) Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

“At thirteen, Baby vacillates between childhood comforts and adult temptation: still young enough to drag her dolls around in a vinyl suitcase yet old enough to know more than she should about urban cruelties. Motherless, she lives with her father, Jules, who takes better care of his heroin habit than he does of his daughter. Baby’s gift is a genius for spinning stories and for cherishing the small crumbs of happiness that fall into her lap. But her blossoming beauty has captured the attention of a charismatic and dangerous local pimp who runs an army of sad, slavishly devoted girls—a volatile situation even the normally oblivious Jules cannot ignore.”

54) Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King

“Alberta is a university professor who would like to trade her two boyfriends for a baby but no husband; Lionel is forty and still sells televisions for a patronizing boss; Eli and his log cabin stand in the way of a profitable dam project. These three—and others—are coming to the Blackfoot reservation for the Sun Dance and there they will encounter four Indian elders and their companion, the trickster Coyote—and nothing in the small town of Blossom will be the same again.”

55) Annabel by Kathleen Winter

“In 1968, into the devastating, spare atmosphere of the remote coastal town of Labrador, Canada, a child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor fully girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret: the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor and midwife, Thomasina. Though Treadway makes the difficult decision to raise the child as a boy named Wayne, the women continue to quietly nurture the boy’s female side. And as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting society of his father, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as ‘Annabel,’ is never entirely extinguished.”

56) The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

“Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.”

57) The Birth House by Ami McKay

As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, [Dora Rare] is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife’s apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.”

58) Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler

“Before his brain began to shrink, Barney Panofsky clung to two cherished beliefs. Life was absurd, and nobody truly understood anybody else. Even his friends tend to agree that Barney is a ‘wife-abuser, an intellectual fraud, a purveyor of pap, a drunk with a penchant for violence and probably a murderer’. But when his sworn enemy threatens to publish this calumny, Barney is driven to write his own memoirs, rewinding the spool of his life, editing, selecting and plagiarizing, as his memory plays tricks on him—and on the reader.”

59) Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay

“Harry Boyd, a hard-bitten refugee from failure in Toronto television, has returned to a small radio station in the Canadian North. There, in Yellowknife, in the summer of 1975, he falls in love with a voice on air, though the real woman, Dido Paris, is both a surprise and even more than he imagined.”

60) Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

“In 1940 a boy bursts from the mud of a war-torn Polish city, where he has buried himself to hide from the soldiers who murdered his family. His name is Jakob Beer. He is only seven years old. And although by all rights he should have shared the fate of the other Jews in his village, he has not only survived but been rescued by a Greek geologist, who does not recognize the boy as human until he begins to cry.”

61) Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

“A bet between the gods Hermes and Apollo leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change.”

62) Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

“Saul Indian Horse has hit bottom. His last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and he grudgingly comes to see that he’ll find it only through telling his story. With him, readers embark on a journey back through the life he’s led as a northern Ojibway, with all its joys and sorrows.”

63) All True Not a Lie in It by Alix Hawley

“Here is Daniel Boone as you’ve never seen him. Debut novelist Alix Hawley presents Boone’s life, from his childhood in a Quaker colony, through 2 stints captured by Indians as he attempted to settle Kentucky, the death of 1 son at the hands of the same Indians, and the rescue of 1 daughter.”

64) February by Lisa Moore

“In 1982, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a Valentine’s Day storm. All eighty-four men aboard died. February is the story of Helen O’Mara, one of those left behind when her husband, Cal, drowns on the rig.”

65) The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

“Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, this wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English-language newspaper as they struggle to keep it, and themselves, afloat. As the era of print gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions.”

66) The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy

“Louise Kirk learns about love and loss at an early age. When she is nine years old, her former beauty queen mother disappears, leaving a note that reads only—and incorrectly—“Louise knows how to work the washing machine.” Soon after, the Richters and their adopted son, Abel, move in across the street. Louise’s immediate devotion to the exotic, motherly Mrs. Richter is quickly transferred to her nature-loving, precociously intelligent son. From this childhood friendship evolves a love that will bind Louise and Abel forever.”

67) Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

“Five hundred miles north of Vancouver is Kitamaat, an Indian reservation in the homeland of the Haisla people. Growing up a tough, wild tomboy, swimming, fighting, and fishing in a remote village where the land slips into the green ocean on the edge of the world, Lisamarie has always been different. Visited by ghosts and shapeshifters, tormented by premonitions, she can’t escape the sense that something terrible is waiting for her.”

68) The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan

“Despite their many differences, Detective Rachel Getty trusts her boss, Esa Khattak, implicitly. But she’s still uneasy at Khattak’s tight-lipped secrecy when he asks her to look into Christopher Drayton’s death. Drayton’s apparently accidental fall from a cliff doesn’t seem to warrant a police investigation, particularly not from Rachel and Khattak’s team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But when she learns that Drayton may have been living under an assumed name, Rachel begins to understand why Khattak is tip-toeing around this case. It soon comes to light that Drayton may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.”

69) Omens by Kelley Armstrong

“Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions. But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence.”

70) The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant

“Since 1950, the year that The New Yorker accepted one of her short stories and changed her life, Mavis Gallant has written some of the finest short stories in the English language. In tribute to her extraordinary career this elegant 900-page volume brings together the work of her lifetime.”

71) Bear by Marian Engel

“A librarian is called to a remote Canadian island to inventory the estate of a secretive Colonel whose most surprising secret is a bear who keeps the librarian company—shocking company.”

72) Sweetland by Michael Crummey

“For twelve generations, when the fish were plentiful and when they all-but disappeared, the inhabitants of this remote island in Newfoundland have lived and died together. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, they are facing resettlement, and each has been offered a generous compensation package to leave. But the money is offered with a proviso: everyone has to go; the government won’t be responsible for one crazy coot who chooses to stay alone on an island.”

73) The Double Hook by Sheila Watson

“Here, among the hills of Cariboo country, men and women are caught upon the double hook of existence, unaware that the flight from danger and the search for glory are both part of the same journey.”

74) Generation X by Douglas Coupland

“Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society priced beyond their means. Twentysomethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fall-out of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation – Generation X.”

75) Emancipation Day by Wayne Grady

“How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him? … It’s World War II, and while stationed in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Jack meets the well-heeled, romantic Vivian Clift, a local girl who has never stepped off the Rock and is desperate to see the world. They marry against Vivian’s family’s wishes … as the war draws to a close, the new couple travels to Windsor to meet Jack’s family.”

76) By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart

“In lushly evocative language, Smart recounts her love affair with the poet George Barker with an operatic grandeur that takes in the tragedy of her passion; the suffering of Barker’s wife; the children the lovers conceived.”

77) The Lives of Saints by Nino Ricci

“When young Vittorio Innocente’s mother, Cristina, is bitten by a snake in the family stable, no one sees the blue-eyed stranger leaving except for Vittorio. He struggles to keep his mother’s secret but secrets in a small village are hard to keep, and while Cristina’s belly gradually grows under her loose dresses, they find themselves shunned by their superstitious neighbours.”

78) Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper

“Attorney Bartholomew Crane doesn’t belong in the small town of Murdoch. And the town of Murdoch doesn’t want him there. Even Crane’s client, a teacher accused of killing two girls, his own students, doesn’t seem to care if Crane gets him off or not. But Bartholomew Crane has come to Murdoch to try his first murder case—and he intends to win at all costs.”

79) The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke

“When Mary-Mathilda, one of the most respected women of the island of Bimshire (also known as Barbados) calls the police to confess to a crime, the result is a shattering all-night vigil that brings together elements of the island’s African past and the tragic legacy of colonialism in one epic sweep.”

80) Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

“The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways—farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.”

81) Kin by Lesley Crewe

“Beginning in Glace Bay in the 1930s and ending in Round Island in 2011. The cast of characters is vast and varied–some with the island’s deliciously cutting wit, some dour and uptight, some frail, some resilient, and all inextricably bound together by their shared histories.”

82) Black Apple by Joan Crate

“Set during the Second World War and the 1950s, Black Apple is an unforgettable, vividly rendered novel about two very different women whose worlds collide: an irrepressible young Blackfoot girl whose spirit cannot be destroyed, and an aging yet powerful nun who increasingly doubts the value of her life.”

83) The Break by Katherena Vermette

“When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime. In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim — police, family, and friends — tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night.”

84) By Gaslight by Steven Price

“London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures—a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.”

85) Grist by Linda Little

“Penelope MacLaughlin marries a miller and gradually discovers he is not as she imagined. Nonetheless she remains determined to make the best of life at the lonely mill up the Gunn Brook as she struggles to build a home around her husband’s eccentricities. His increasing absence leaves Penelope to run the mill herself, providing her with a living but also destroying the people she loves most.”

86) The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

“A burnt-out political aide quits just before an election—but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock—an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers—to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose – or is he?”

87) Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey

“On Canada’s Atlantic coast at the edge of the great Newfoundland fishing banks of the 1950s, Sylvanus Now is a handsome and willful fisherman. His youthful desires are simple: he wants a suit to lure a girl—the fine-boned beauty Adelaide—and he knows exactly how much fish he has to catch to pay for it. Adelaide, however, has other dreams.”

88) Promises to Keep by Genevieve Graham

“Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough.”

89) Inside by Alix Ohlin

“We follow four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. ”

90) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

“It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.”

91) Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron

“Stephen Shulevitz remembers the end of the world. Two o’clock in the morning on a Saturday night in Riverside, Nova Scotia, when he realizes he has fallen in love—with exactly the wrong person. There are no volcanic eruptions. No floods or fires. Just Stephen, watching TV with his best friend, realizing that life, as he knows it, will never be the same.”

 

Poetry

92) milk and honey Rupi Kaur

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache.

93) Seed Catalogue by Robert Kroetsch

“Seed Catalogue is an autobiographical long poem by Canadian prairie poet Robert Kroetsch. … The poem explores the actual world of history transformed into the mythical world of poetry, where what we remember about the past may be more real than history tells us.”

94) No Language is Neutral by Dionne Brand

“A joyful, imagistic discovery of woman as speaker and subject. As a woman, a black, and a lesbian, Brand arrives at a rigorous and nakedly ruthless reclamation of the poetic.”

95) North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette

“For Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg’s North End is a neighbourhood of colourful birds, stately elms, and always wily rivers. It is where a brother’s disappearance is trivialized by local media and police because he is young and aboriginal. It is also where young girls share secrets, movies, cigarettes, Big Gulps and stories of love—where a young mother full of both maternal trepidation and joy watches her small daughters as they play in the park.”

 

Graphica

96) Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

“‘Skim’ is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth who goes to a private girls’ school. When Skim’s classmate Katie Matthews is dumped by her boyfriend, who then kills himself, the entire school goes into mourning overdrive. As concerned guidance counselors provide lectures on the ‘cycle of grief,’ and the popular clique starts a new club (Girls Celebrate Life!) to bolster school spirit, Skim sinks into an ever-deepening depression. And falling in love only makes things worse…”

97) This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

“Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.”

98) Essex County by Jeff Lemire

“Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception?”

99) Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

“Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one… And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. …. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over: 1) Write your mistake, 2) Ingest one mushroom, 3) Go to sleep, 4) Wake anew.”

100) Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

“Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics-sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscathbed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world’s revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction.”

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