10 Great Canadian Reads for Canada Day

10 Great Canadian Reads The Girl Who Was Saturday Night A Tale for the Time Being All My Puny Sorrows The Handmaids Tale The Bear

Happy Canada Day! Canada was founded 147 years ago today in 1867 and man… have we produced some great literature! Today I want to share with you all 10 of my most recent favourite Canadian reads. I know there are many more great stories out there, but I’ve read each of these recently and need to share how great they are!

1. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I absolutely adore A Tale for the Time Being. I won’t lie and say that it’s a happy read all the way through – it does have difficult-to-read subjects such as schoolyard bullying and severe depression among the pages – but it is beautifully textured and complex. Half of it is told from a 16-year-old Japanese girl Nao’s perspective, the other half focuses on Ruth, a writer living in British Columbia. Read my full review here.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

A modern Canadian classic. No list of great Canadian reads would be complete without mentioning Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale in particular is one of her most widely read books, thanks to it being compulsory reading in many high schools (and rightly so). Set in a dystopic future where women are merely reproductive robots, the questions between the pages still hold true today, even 29 years later. Read my full review here.

3. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill

This is Heather O’Neill’s newest book after her critically acclaimed Lullabies for Little Criminals. Once again set in Quebec, the book follows twins Nouschka and Nicolas Tremblay as they navigate through life trying to fit in. In the background, Quebec is also trying to fit in, and the separatist movement plays a large role. I would highly recommend reading this book to see a different side of Canada. My full review can be found here.

4. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

All My Puny Sorrows is about Elf and Yoli, two sisters with one fundamental struggle: Elf is severely depressed and wants to commit suicide while Yoli wants to save her. Somehow, Miriam Toews manages to turn a sad subject into something that has hope and is bursting with love. The book opens a discussion around mental illnesses and euthanasia, but doesn’t attempt to sway the reader in any way –  it merely shows its point of view. A highly, highly recommended read from me. Read my full review here.

5. The Bear by Claire Cameron

I don’t know what it is about Canadian women but they sure know how to write a gripping novel from a child’s perspective. In The Bear, we follow five-year-old Anna as she processes the aftermath of a bear attack at her family’s campsite at Algonquin Park. It is a gripping and trying read at times, but an entertaining and thrilling one at the same time. Read my full review here.

10 Great Canadian Reads This One Summer Listen to the Squawking Chicken No Relation I Want to Go Home

6. This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

This stunning book by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki is sure to delight graphic novel lovers. Its artwork is absolutely breathtaking and complements the words effortlessly. This One Summer is about, well, one summer at a cottage. But along with the idyllic scenery lies struggle and heartbreak. This is a graphic novel that shouldn’t be missed this summer. Check back in a few weeks for my review!

7. Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui

This is a must-read book for any memoir lover and Lainey Gossip fan. Lui tells the story of her mother with this hilarious and heart-warming memoir. It’s the perfect read for mothers and daughters alike. I know that it definitely makes me want to be a better daughter. For more, read my review here.

8. I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman

This was my favourite book as a child. I can’t count how many times I’ve read and laughed with this book. I Want to Go Home is about two kids who are forced to go to summer camp by their parents and hate it so much that they attempt to escape multiple times. If you’re not familiar with Korman’s work, I would highly recommend checking him out. He’s one of my favourite children’s writers of all time. (His MacDonald Hall series is laugh-out-loud funny.)

9. No Relation by Terry Fallis

Speaking of laugh-out-loud funny, Terry Fallis’ No Relation is just that. It’s about Earnest Hemmingway (no, not Ernest Hemingway), a recently-fired copywriter whose dream in life is to be a successful novelist and is plagued by his famous name every day. He meets a bunch of other “Name Famers” and hilarity ensues. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up read, I would highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to re-read it! Read my gushing review here.

10. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (not pictured)

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my copy of Anne of Green Gables so it is not pictured. But, this is a classic Canadian children’s book and one that I will read over and over again. I read it for the first time in university, so I can confidently say that children and adults alike will fall in love with Anne and hope that she would consider you her kindred spirit. She is a headstrong girl with hilarious ideas and will forever be a beloved Canadian character.

Well, there you have it! 10 of my favourite Canadian reads. Have you ever read any of these books? Are there other Canadian books that you would’ve liked to see on this list?

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20 thoughts on “10 Great Canadian Reads for Canada Day

  1. friendlybookworm says:

    I actually read A Handmaid’s Tale in one of my university classes! It took me a while to warm up to Atwood just because were exposed to her poetry in grade 12 and I feel like I wasn’t mature enough to fully grasp her style. She’ pretty heavy and ambiguous. Leaving me rather scarred. But she was placed into my good books with A Handmaid’s Tale for sure 🙂

    • kmn04books says:

      I’m not a huge poetry fan (sorry everyone) so I get that. This was (and still is) the only Atwood book I’ve ever read, but man… it was good. I totally understand why it’s on so many required reading lists now!

  2. alenaslife says:

    Thanks for some great new suggestions. Someone else mentioned The Bear to me recently. I loved Room, which used a similar narration style. Gotta read this book.

  3. writereads says:

    Great list!! A Tale for the Time Being is one of my all-time faves! Many of the books you list are ones I’ve liked, or are by authors I’ve liked. I need to read All My Puny Sorrows soon! I just picked Lullabies and hope to read it soon, would you recommend The Girl or Lullabies to start with? -Tania

    • kmn04books says:

      To be honest, I enjoyed The Girl Who Was Saturday Night a lot more than I liked Lullabies. That being said, I know a lot of people who love Lullabies, so I’d say start with that one first! (I can’t wait to hear what you think!)

    • kmn04books says:

      I feel confident recommending both of those books (and every one on my list, for that matter). I really hope you give A Tale for the Time Being another shot! I know not everyone’s going to like it but it’s one that I’ll definitely re-read at some point in the future. This One Summer is so beautiful AND it’s a quick read for if you ever feel slumpy!

  4. cricketmuse says:

    I read all of Montgomery’s series both Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon and then fell in love with the Ann television series. I shall revisit them someday. My personal bonus is discovering my maternal grandmothers hail from PEI. I hope to make it there someday.

    • kmn04books says:

      That’s amazing! I would love to visit PEI and the rest of the maritimes sometime soon. I’ve actually only read the original Anne of Green Gables; would you recommend continuing with the series?

      • cricketmuse says:

        Indeed yes! Watching Anne grow from the lively, rambunctious orphan girl into a wife and mother is quite an experience. The Emily of New Moon series is somewhat similar, yet Emily is more much of an old soul. Have you watched the Anne of Green Gable TV series? It’s quite well-done and of course it stars a Canadian 🙂

      • kmn04books says:

        Is that the one with Megan Follows? That’s the only Anne of Green Gables adaptation I’ve seen but I loved it! I’ll have to read the rest of the series too!

  5. Naomi says:

    Great list! It’s nice to see Gordon Korman on your list. My son has been reading his books lately. We haven’t gotten to that one yet, but now I think I will look for it at the library. As for books to add to your list, I have read so many good ones lately, I wouldn’t know which to pick. If you’re interested, I made two lists of Canadian book recommendations a few months ago on my blog. You can go check them out, if you want! I love good book lists!

  6. Leah says:

    I really love A Tale for the Time Being, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Anne of Green Gables. I’ll have to add some of the others to my TBR list! The Bear, in particular, sounds really intriguing.

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love the photos in your posts. They’re always really lovely!

    • kmn04books says:

      Aw, thank you so much! Before I set my mind on the publishing industry I wanted to be a photographer full time so it’s nice to hear that you find my photographs lovely 🙂 Ps. I hope you do end up reading The Bear! It’s a quick read and told from an interesting perspective.

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