It seems like everyone wants to skip town and head to Canada these days — from Americans fleeing a heated election to Brits looking to explore new territory after the tumultuous Brexit. But before you start the long immigration process (yes, Canada has one too!), you should probably do a little research on the culture first. Sure, you could always just vacation in Vancouver and see what happens, but why not learn the culture the easy way and stock your end-of-summer reading list with some bestselling Canadian reads! Here are 14 books by Canadian authors that are definitely worth a literary trip north.
1. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel ($18): Following his amazing success of Life of Pi ($8), Saskatoon resident Yann Martel is back at it again with this knockout blockbuster — this time on a road trip through the last century of Portugal’s history.
2. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews ($10): What would you do if your sister has been trying to kill herself for years without success? In this epic and intimate read, sisters Elf and Yoli are presented with a challenge almost too grand for life itself — and they’ll have to learn to trust each other if they are ever going to get through it alive.
3. The Truth Commission by Susan Juby ($17): Standing in your older sister’s shadow is tough, ESPECIALLY in high school. In an effort to stand out, Normandy decides to create a truth commission with her friends. But they just might sleuth their way to a secret that they aren’t too sure they wanted to know.
4. The Choices We Make by Karma Brown ($10): Karma Brown, a Toronto resident, is one of Canada’s greatest new literary treasures. In this heartwarming read, two BFFLs struggle with adulating after high school, diving deep into hard topics like relationships, family and infertility.
5. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen ($8): If you’re looking for a hilarious and lightweight young adult read to binge on the beach, look no further than Vancouver’s own Susin Nielsen. After getting her start writing for the hit Canadian TV show Degrassi Junior High, she moved on to writing novels — and boy, are we glad she did!
6. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel ($9): After the great pandemic that shocked the world, a group of artists and musicians band together to salvage humanity. Pour a cup of hot tea and cozy down in your plushest blanket, you’re not going to want to put this read down after you start.
7. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood ($18): Margaret Atwood is Canada’s most notable literary icon of this century. The Toronto-based author of over 40 books of fiction, poetry and critical essays, her newest innovative novel The Heart Goes Last, about a couple who sign up to live in a prison for half of the year, will definitely live up to her high, high standards.
8. Moguls, Monsters and Madmen: An Uncensored Life in Show Business by Barry Avrich ($18): Montreal-born Barry Avrich has been in show business for over 30 years — taking him from dodgy off-Broadway productions to amazing feature films. Packed with accounts of Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones and Mick Jagger, this is a memoir you don’t want to miss.
9. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki ($10): This breathtaking read from rockstar author Ruth Ozeki almost deserves a category all to itself. Following the lives of two young girls on opposite sides of the world, this story will leave you belly-laughing and reaching for a tissue at the same damn time.
10. Room by Emma Donoghue ($10): After seeing Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay’s (he’s Canadian, BTW!) epic performance in the film adaptation, why not try your hand at the original work by the ever talented Emma Donoghue. You’re welcome in advance.
11. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad ($10): Body shaming is a series issue that can have grave consequences. In this highly anticipated novel, Mona Awad unpacks the thick layers of young women’s body images with such precision that you might just subconsciously nod your head during the entire 224 pages.
12. Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki ($13): A dorky girl in a small town, Montgomery Sole loves hanging out with her two best friends in Jefferson High’s Mystery Club. From dealing with bullies to tackling gym, this story is relatable to all.
13. One Hundred Days of Rain by Carellin Brooks ($18): If you’re looking for a soothing read which also happens to feature an awesome lesbian protagonist, check out Carellin Brooks’ impactful novel set in rainy Vancouver.
14. Free Days With George: Learning Life’s Little Lessons from One Very Big Dog by Colin Campbell ($11): Struggling with depression and loneliness after tragedy, Colin Campbell did what any sane person would do: He adopted a 140-pound Newfoundland Landseer. If this real-life story doesn’t confirm that dogs are man’s best friend, we don’t know what will.
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