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.
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?