Get to know the Top 40: 5 Books that will change your perspective on art and culture

There are 40 books on the Canada Reads longlist. Where should you begin? How should you cast your precious votes? Don't worry: we're here to help.

Each one of the books on this list will change your perspective on some aspect of the world, and all week, we'll be exploring which is which. So check back with us every day and pretty soon you'll know the Top 40 like the back of your hand.

Today: Books that will change your perspective on art and culture.

Happiness Economics by Shari Lapena


Shari Lapena's novel, which was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, is a satirical look at the colliding worlds of poetry and economics, and an exploration of the true value of art.

Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King


Thomas King's novel about a small American border town (the "Truth" of the title) and the reserve (Bright Water) across the border in Canada is about family and ties to home, but it is also a vicious satire of stereotypical ideas about First Nations culture.

Headhunter by Timothy Findley


Timothy Findley's bizarre and powerful reimagining of Heart Of Darkness begins when a schizophrenic librarian accidentally lets Kurtz out of page 92 of Joseph Conrad's classic novel and onto the streets of Toronto. The fictional villain wreaks havoc on the city, inspiring terror, insanity, and corruption. A fascinating literary mish-mash that will having you rethink everything you knew about Heart of Darkness.

The Good Body by Bill Gaston


A once-promising minor-league hockey player, battling multiple sclerosis, returns home to play hockey with his university-aged son after abandoning him for years. Bill Gaston turns our national sport into a beautiful personal narrative, and you'll never look at this important aspect of Canadian culture the same way again.

Accusation by Catherine Bush


Sara, a Canadian journalist, has a fateful encounter with an Ethiopian children's circus. She develops a bond with the circus director, Renaud, an acrobat who changed the lives of many impoverished children by founding the Cirkus Mirak. But when Sara's friend begins work on a documentary about the circus, alarming accusations against Renaud surface and Sara is compelled to explore the truth behind them in this novel about artistry, morality, and how false allegations can affect the course of someone's life.

Do any of these books get your vote? Or are you waiting to hear about the other 35? Vote now!


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.