100 Books Every Canadian Should Read

Canada has a wealth of writers telling today’s tales, revisiting our past and imagining our future. Literary or mystery, comic or graphic, historical or out of this world, the 100 novels on our list are must-read books.

CBC Books considered everything from cultural impact and critical reception to reader response to choose these titles. The authors all call or once called Canada home, and the novels are all in print. Enjoy! (You can also check out our Bonus 10 list, based on your suggestions.)

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cbc books 100 young adult
 

419

Will Ferguson

Books100
Book summary
GillerQuiz
Mystery
pastwinners

A Complicated Kindness

Miriam Toews

Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2006
CRWinner
Fiction
GG2004
GGQuiz
GGQuiz2015

A Fine Balance

Rohinton Mistry

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2002
GillerQuiz
pastwinners

Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood

Atwood75
Books100
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EssentialAtwood
Fiction
GillerQuiz
Historical
Novel
pastwinners

Annabel

Kathleen Winter

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2014

A Season in the Life of Emmanuel

Marie-Claire Blais, translated by Derek Coltman

Books100
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A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali

Gil Courtemanche, translated by Patricia Claxton

Books100
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A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki

Books100
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Away

Jane Urquhart

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2013
Historical

Barney's Version

Mordecai Richler

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2004
GillerQuiz
pastwinners

Bear

Marian Engel

Books100
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Cdn Bestseller
Erotic2015
Romance

Beautiful Losers

Leonard Cohen

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2005
Erotic2015
Fiction

Bone and Bread

Saleema Nawaz

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2015longlist
CR2016longlist
CR2016shortlist

Brown Girl in the Ring

Nalo Hopkinson

BlackHistory2015
Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
Canada Reads 2008
CR2008
Fantasy - Science fiction & fantasy
Women2015

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

Elizabeth Smart

Books100
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Romance

Cereus Blooms at Night

Shani Mootoo

Books100
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Women2015

Certainty

Madeleine Thien

Books100
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Underrated2015

Come, Thou Tortoise

Jessica Grant

Books100
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Humour

Creation

Katherine Govier

Books100
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Historical
LitPrizeBook

Crow Lake

Mary Lawson

Books100
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De Niro's Game

Rawi Hage

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Elizabeth and After

Matt Cohen

Books100
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Essex County

Jeff Lemire

Books100
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Canada Reads
Comics - Comics & graphic novels
CR2011
Freedom2016

Fall on Your Knees

Ann-Marie MacDonald

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2010
Historical

February

Lisa Moore

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2013
CRWinner

Fifth Business

Robertson Davies

Books100
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Forty Words for Sorrow

Giles Blunt

Books100
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Mystery

Fruit

Brian Francis

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2009
Humour

Fugitive Pieces

Anne Michaels

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Funny Boy

Shyam Selvadurai

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Galore

Michael Crummey

Books100
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Generation X

Douglas Coupland

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2010

George & Rue

George Elliott Clarke

BlackHistory2015
Books100
Book summary
Historical
Underrated2015

Green Grass, Running Water

Thomas King

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2004

Half-Blood Blues

Esi Edugyan

BlackHistory2015
Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
Cdn Bestseller
CR2014
GillerQuiz
MusicList2015
pastwinners

Holding Still for as Long as Possible

Zoe Whittall

Books100
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How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired

Dany Laferrière, translated by David Homel

BlackHistory2015
Books100
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Indian Horse

Richard Wagamese

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2013

In the Skin of a Lion

Michael Ondaatje

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2002
CRWinner
Historical
LitPrizeBook

Kamouraska

Anne Hébert, translated by Norman Shapiro

Books100
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Kiss of the Fur Queen

Tomson Highway

Books100
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Kit's Law

Donna Morrissey

Books100
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Late Nights on Air

Elizabeth Hay

Books100
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GillerQuiz
pastwinners

Life of Pi

Yann Martel

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2003

Lives of the Saints

Nino Ricci

Books100
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Lost Girls

Andrew Pyper

Books100
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Mystery

Lullabies for Little Criminals

Heather O'Neill

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2007
CRWinner

Mercy Among the Children

David Adams Richards

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2009
GillerQuiz
pastwinners

Monkey Beach

Eden Robinson

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2015longlist

Neuromancer

William Gibson

Books100
Book summary
Fantasy - Science fiction & fantasy

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

Books100
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Historical
IFOA35

No Time for Goodbye

Linwood Barclay

Books100
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Mystery

Obasan

Joy Kogawa

Books100
Books100YA
Book summary
Fiction
Historical

Room

Emma Donoghue

Books100
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TIFF2015

Ru

Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2015
CR2015longlist
CR2015shortlist
CRWinner
Mother2015

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

Bryan Lee O'Malley

Books100
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Comics - Comics & graphic novels

Secret Daughter

Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Books100
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Six Metres of Pavement

Farzana Doctor

Books100
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Skim

Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

Books100
Books100YA
Book summary
Comics - Comics & graphic novels
Fiction

Spin

Robert Charles Wilson

Books100
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Fantasy - Science fiction & fantasy

Still Life

Louise Penny

Books100
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Mystery
Penny2015

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Stephen Leacock

Books100
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Humour

Swamp Angel

Ethel Wilson

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2016longlist

Sweetness in the Belly

Camilla Gibb

Books100
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LitPrizeBook

The Amazing Absorbing Boy

Rabindranath Maharaj

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2016longlist
Humour

The Antagonist

Lynn Coady

Books100
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The Best Laid Plans

Terry Fallis

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2011
CRWinner
Humour

The Birth House

Ami McKay

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2011
Historical

The Bishop's Man

Linden MacIntyre

Books100
Book summary
GillerQuiz
pastwinners

The Book of Negroes

Lawrence Hill

BlackHistory2015
Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2009
CRWinner
Historical

The Book of Secrets

M.G. Vassanji

Books100
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GillerQuiz
Historical
pastwinners

The Cellist of Sarajevo

Steven Galloway

Books100
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The Colony of Unrequited Dreams

Wayne Johnston

Books100
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Canada Reads
CR2003
Historical

The Cure for Death by Lightning

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Books100
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LitPrizeBook

The Double Hook

Sheila Watson

Books100
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The Englishman's Boy

Guy Vanderhaeghe

Books100
Book summary
GGQuiz2015
Historical

The Golden Mean

Annabel Lyon

Books100
Book summary
Historical

The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

Atwood75
Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2002
EssentialAtwood
Fantasy - Science fiction & fantasy
Fiction
Freedom2016
GGQuiz2015
Novel

The Hero's Walk

Anita Rau Badami

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2016longlist
CR2016shortlist

The Jade Peony

Wayson Choy

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2010

The Lesser Blessed

Richard Van Camp

Books100
Book summary
Underrated2015

The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches

Gaétan Soucy, translated by Sheila Fischman

Books100
Book summary

The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton

Book summary
Fiction
GG2013
GGQuiz
GGQuiz2015

The Mistress of Nothing

Kate Pullinger

Book summary
Fiction
GGQuiz
GGQuiz2015

The Orenda

Joseph Boyden

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
Cdn Bestseller
CR2014
CRWinner
Historical
IFOA35
IFOAPenguin

The Outlander

Gill Adamson

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2009
Historical
Romance

The Polished Hoe

Austin Clarke

BlackHistory2015
Books100
Book summary
GillerQuiz
pastwinners

The Romantic

Barbara Gowdy

Books100
Book summary
Romance

The Sisters Brothers

Patrick deWitt

Book summary
Fiction
GG2011
GGQuiz
GGQuiz2015
WTF2011

The Stone Angel

Margaret Laurence

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2002

The Stone Diaries

Carol Shields

Books100
Book summary
GGQuiz2015
LitPrizeBook

The Time in Between

David Bergen

Books100
Book summary
GillerQuiz
pastwinners

The Wars

Timothy Findley

Books100
Book summary
Freedom2016
Historical

The Wives of Bath

Susan Swan

Books100
Book summary

Three Day Road

Joseph Boyden

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2006
Historical

Tigana

Guy Gavriel Kay

Books100
Book summary
Fantasy - Science fiction & fantasy

Two Solitudes

Hugh MacLennan

Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2013
Historical

Whale Music

Paul Quarrington

Books100
Book summary
MusicList2015

What the Body Remembers

Shauna Singh Baldwin

Books100
Book summary
LitPrizeBook

What We All Long For

Dionne Brand

BlackHistory2015
Books100
Book summary
Canada Reads
CR2015longlist
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