The great Canadian reading list: 150 books to read for Canada 150

Explore the biggest Canadian reading list you'll get this year.

What books do YOU want to see on the great Canadian reading list? CBC Books posed this question to Canadians online. We combined the answers with recommendations from guests on The Next Chapter, Cross Country Checkup, books that were meaningful to prominent Canadians and added all 17 Canada Reads winners to build the ultimate reading list. Download the list as a PDF here.

This list is comprised of books available in English. If you're interested in books available in French, check out this list of 100 books from Radio-Canada.

1. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, recommended by Shelagh Rogers

Shelagh Rogers is the host of The Next Chapter and an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (Douglas & McIntyre/Charlie Cheffins)

Also recommended by: @elenstangherlinJenn PasseyKaren ChristineKathie Ramsey Hunter@N_SquiPauline ValleeSue Lynn & Wendy Barker

2.  A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Recommended by: Heather MacLeodMarita Hannon, Mary Woods, Robin HarlickRose Penner, Wendy Barker, Julie Chuba & Kathleen Clements)

3. Firewater by Harold R. Johnson (Recommended by: Geri Patriquin)

4. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (Recommended by: Jenine Urquhart & @kathydinbc)

5. My Best Stories by Alice Munro, recommended by Eleanor Wachtel

In 2004, Eleanor Wachtel was named to the Order of Canada, and in 2014 she was promoted from Member to Officer. (CBC/Penguin Canada)

Also recommended by: @DiSpeirsMartha Beechie, @SarahMacJournoPetra Young & Susan Munro

6. Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée (Recommended by: Wendy Barker)

7. The Game by Ken Dryden (Recommended by: @Tommy_Allen & Katie Jim)

8. Who Has Seen the by Wind by W.O. Mitchell (Recommended by: @DortheaHangaardLaurel Hodgins, Shelley Southcott, @SarahMacJourno &  Lisa Willner)

9. Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke, recommended by Perdita Felicien

In 2004, Perdita Felicien set the Canadian record in 100 m hurdles. She holds the record to this day. (Gaspereau Press/Perdita Felicien)

10. Obasan by Joy Kogawa (Recommended by: Linda Hulme Leahy & Ellen van der Hoeven)

11. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Recommended by: Joan KoritkoNancy Pendergast, OliviaShelley Kean & @audreywb)

12. The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King (Recommended by: Anne Dowson & Joyce Jackman)

13. Mabel Murple by Sheree Fitch, recommended by Hance Colburne

Hance Colburne is the host of Information Morning in Saint John New Brunswick. (CBC/Nimbus Publishing)

Also recommended by: Sandra Ferguson & Barbara Beaver

14. The Disappeared by Kim Echlin (Recommended by: @girlinthecityTO)

15. River Thieves by Michael Crummey (Recommended by: Andrea PatersonBarbara BethuneBev Sanham PriceKathie Ramsey Hunter & Teresa Reid)

16. The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Recommended by: Ewa Ligia & ewazadar)

17. Montreal's Irish Mafia by D'Arcy O'Connor, recommended by Jay Baruchel

Jay Baruchel is an actor, screenwriter and filmmaker. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images/HarperCollins)

18. Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese (​Recommended by Andrea Hunt GorgecJenn Passey, Jennifer RoswellKathie Ramsey Hunter​, Lisa Willner, Sidney J. FrankMena Johnston & Misha Raven)

19. Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Recommended by: Angela Reynolds)

20. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw (Recommended by Chantal Antonakis & Emm Bee)

21. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies (Recommended by Alanna JamiesonCarol Godard, @ChauDavidLaurel HodginsLinda Hulme LeahyNicole Schmidt PetersShelley Kean & Kim Neudorf)

22. Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing by Tomson Highway, recommended by Duncan McCue

Duncan McCue is Anishinaabe and a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario. He is the host of Cross Country Checkup. (CBC/Fifth House)

Also recommended by: Ellen van der Hoeven

23. Unless by Carol Shields (Recommended by @DiSpeirs, @peggyflynn25 & Kim Neudorf)

24. No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein (Recsaiommended by Linda Evans, Nadine Dajani)

25. ​ From the Fifteenth District by Mavis Gallant (Recommended by Durga Chew-Bose)

26. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell, recommended by Shelley Joyce

Shelley Joyce is the host of Daybreak Kamloops. (CBC/Hachette)

27. Essex County by Jeff Lemire (Recommended by @TaraMurphy, @JoshCrewsReally & @Tommy_Allen)  

28. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson (Recommended by Andrea Hunt Gorgec, @DiSpeirsPauline Vallee, @peggyflynn25 & Kim Neudorf)

29. Cockroach by Rawi Hage (Recommended by @CPBeacon)

30. Calling Down the Sky by Rosanna Deerchild, recommended by Jennifer Podemski

Jennifer Podemski is an Indigenous film and television producer. (Jennifer Podemski)

31. The Woefield Poultry Collective by Susan Juby (Recommended by Andrea Hunt GorgecTeresa Reid)

32. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (Recommended by Alvin Gongora, @JanRyelandChantal Antonakis & @peggyflynn25)

33. Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali (Recommended by Kristilyn)

34. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, recommended by Nora Young

Nora Young is the host of Spark on CBC Radio One. (CBC/McClelland & Stewart)

Also recommended by: Gail EdwardsLaura WarburtonMartha BeechiePetra YoungShelley Kean, @yolandabdacy,Tanis Orr BergenBarbara Bovaird & @sschleppe

35. 419 by Will Ferguson (Recommended by Dolores O'Reilly)

36. Celia's Song by Lee Maracle (Recommended by Glenna Bagley & Lori Steele Maddigan)

37. One Hour in Paris by Karyn Freedman (Recommended by Ileana Szymanski)

38. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté, recommended by Russell Bowers

Russell Bowers is the host of Daybreak Alberta. (Russell Bowers/Knopf Canada)

39. Birdie by Tracey Lindberg (Recommended by Jane Margot)

40. Ru by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman (Winner Canada Reads 2015, defended by Cameron Bailey)

41. Roughing it in the Bush Susanna Moodie (Recommended by @dortheahangaard & Donna Skinn)

42. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, recommended by Bruce Poon Tip

Bruce Poon Tip is a social entrepreneur, founder of G Adventures and bestselling author.

Also recommended by: Vala Monestime Belter

43. In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje (Winner Canada Reads 2002, defended by Steven Page, recommended by @JulieGlaser3 & Ellen Donnelly)

44. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam (Recommended by Kevin Longfield)

45. Half-Breed by Maria Campbell (Recommended by Lori Steele Maddigan)

46. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, recommended by Ify Chiwetelu

Ify Chiwetelu is the host of Now or Never on CBC Radio One. (CBC/Tundra)

Also recommended by: Deb MarshallLaurel Hodgins, @SarahMacJourno & Susan Paddock

47. Company Town by Madeline Ashby (Recommended by Wendy Barker)

48. New Tab by Guillaume Morissette (Recommended by @weiiilo)

49. The Illegal by Lawrence Hill (Winner Canada Reads 2016, defended by Clara Hughes)

50. North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette, recommended by Bif Naked

Bif Naked is a musician, humanitarian and writer. (Karolina Turek/J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing)

51. Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright (Recommended by Fiona St. Jean & @audreywb)

52. Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Recommended by Lori Steele Maddigan)

53. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence (Recommended by Gail Edwards, @super_crazy_kd, @kathydinbcLinda Hulme LeahyNicole Schmidt PetersRoxanne Lewis & Shelley Kean)

54.  Saints of Big Harbour by Lynn Coady, recommended by Wendy Bergfeldt

Wendy Bergfeldt is the host of CBC's Mainstreet in Cape Breton. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/CBC)

Also recommended by: Kathie Ramsey Hunter & Teresa Reid

55. Take Us to Your Chief by Drew Hayden Taylor (Recommended by Patty Deline)

56. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Recommended by Shelley Kean & @kathydinbc)

57. Cool Water by Dianne Warren (Recommended by Fiona St. Jean, Kim Neudorf & Wendy Barker)

58. This is Happy by Camilla Gibb, recommended by Chris dela Torre

Chris dela Torre is the host of the Afternoon Drive on CBC Radio One in London, Ontario. (Anchor Canada/CBC)

59.The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (Recommended by Katie Jim)

60. Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman (Recommended by Sandra Ferguson)

61. They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson (Recommended by Kim Neudorf)

62. The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew (Recommended by @MeandMyKat & Susan Southcott Noiseaux)

63. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, recommended by Ron Sexmith

Ron Sexsmith is a songwriter from St. Catherine's, Ontario. (Chris Young/Canadian Press/House of Anansi)

64. The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (Recommended by Gail Edwards, Kyra Collins, Laurel Hodgins, Lisa Willner & Petra Young)

65. #IndianLovePoems by Tenille Campbell (Recommended by @misswillow & @urbannativegirl)

66. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis (Recommended by Sarah Orr)

67. Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, recommended by Weyni Mengesha

Weyni Mengesha is an ward-winning theatre director (weynimengesha.com/HarperCollins)

68. And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins (Recommended by Jane Margot)

69. The Darkhouse by Barbara Radecki (Recommended by @Philippeayoub)

70. Baseball Life Advice by Stacey May Fowles (Recommended by @singing2three)

71. The Collected Poems of Patrick Lane, recommended by Sheryl McKay

Sheryl MacKay is the host of CBC's North by Northwest. (Harbour Publishing/CBC)

72. Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (Recommended by Kim Neudorf, Jane Margot, @JulieGlaser3, Linda Hulme LeahyLorna Driscoll, Corina McNeill & @kathydinbc)

73. A Fair Country by John Ralston Saul (Recommended by Mary Walsh)

74. Etta and Otto and Russell and Jamesby Emma Hooper (Recommended by Wendy Barker)

75. When The World Was New by George Blondin, recommended by Lawrence Nayally

Lawrence Nayally is the host of CBC's Trail's End. (Outcrop/Lawrence Nayally)

76. Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (Recommended by Lori Steele Maddigan)

77. Canoe Country by Roy MacGregor (Recommended by Katie Jim)

78. Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee, illustrated by Frank Newfeld (Recommended by Sandra Ferguson)

79. The Break by Katherena Vermette, recommended by Ali Hassan

Ali Hassan is the host of Laugh Out Loud on CBC Radio One. (CBC/House of Anansi Press)

Also recommended by: Lori Steele MaddiganMargaret Dianne Harris, @leavethedayfree & Wendy Barker

80. The Just City by Jo Walton (Recommended by Wendy Barker)

81. Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley (Recommended by Eileen CareySandra DowhanShelley Kean, Jane Margot, @JesiquaR)

82. Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette (Recommended by Stephanie Michaels)

83. Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan, recommended by Terry Seguin

Terry Seguin is the host of Information Morning Fredericton. (New Canadian Library/CBC)

Also recommended by: Diane Lacasse

84. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock (Recommended by Donna Skinn)

85. Kamouraska by Anne Hébert (Recommended by Emma Richler)

86. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (Winner Canada Reads 2009, defended by Ali Velshi)

87. A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell, recommended by Robyn Bresnahan

Robyn Bresnahan was with BBC World Service in London as a Senior Broadcast Journalist for six years before returning to Canada to host Ottawa Morning. (CBC/Knopf Canada)

88. We All Fall Down by Eric Walters (Recommended by Deb Marshall)

89. And Home Was Kariakoo by M.G. Vassanji (Recommended by @peggyflynn25)

90. The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe (Winner Canada Reads 2004, defended by Jim Cuddy, recommended by @peggyflynn25 & Barbara Bovaird)

91. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, recommended by Marjorie Dowhos

Marjorie Dowhos has worked as a television and radio journalist across Western Canada in communities like Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and Fort St. John. (CBC/McClelland & Stewart)

Also recommended by:  @super_crazy_kdLaurel HodginsMelinda CrumpColin Wild & Nadine Dajani

92. Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill (Winner Canada Reads 2007, defended by John K. Samson, recommended by Joyce Jackman)

93. Slash by Jeannette Armstrong (Recommended by Lori Steele Maddigan)

94. We're All In This Together by Amy Jones (Recommended by Beth Damery)

95. Home Sweet Home by Mordecai Richler, recommended by Dave Bidini

Dave Bidini has written many books including On a Cold Road and Baseballissimo. (McClelland & Stewart)

96. A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (Winner Canada Reads 2006, defended by John K. Samson)

97. I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman (Recommended by Lisa Willner)

98. The Perfection of the Morning by Sharon Butala (Recommended by Suzanne Marlow & Pat Bell)

99. Naked with Summer in Your Mouth by Al Purdy, recommended by Greg Bryk

Greg Bryk is a film and television actor from Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Matt Barnes/McClelland & Stewart)

100. Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler (Winner Canada Reads 2010, defended by Michel Vézina, recommended by Pamela Murray)

101. The Shoe Boy by Duncan McCue (Recommended by @Pschyolod)

102. Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson (Recommended by @EmilySaso1)

103. Testifyin' by Djanet Sears, recommended by Amanda Parris

Amanda Parris is the host of CBC's Exhibitionists and Marvin's Room. (CBC)

104. The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis (Winner Canada Reads 2011, defended by Ali Velshi, recommended by Kelly Hyland)

105. Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje (Recommended by @DiSpeirs)

106. Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman (Recommended by Kristilyn)

107. No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod, recommended by Jonna Brewer

Jonna Brewer has done many jobs during her years at CBC Moncton, from reporter to executive producer. (CBC/Emblem Editions)

Also recommended by: Bev Harding, @soondoneJudy Staffer, Danielle ChandlerPetra YoungShelley Kean & Kent Miller)

108. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (Recommended by Una Rose & @yolandabdacy)

109. Jake and the Kid by W.O. Mitchell (Recommended by Mark Kingwell)

110. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (Winner Canada Reads 2014, defended by Wab Kinew)

111. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, recommended by Christa Couture

Christa Couture is an award-winning singer-songwriter. (Jen Squires/Vintage Canada)

Also recommended by:@CarlaCarmact, @ColleenCrawley, @kathydinbc & Linda Evans

112. The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart (Recommended by Marian Kuiper, Fiona St. Jean​, @peggyflynn25Petra Young & @ShelleyCooke10)

113. Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry (Recommended by @yolandabdacy)

114. Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire (Recommended by Emily Stewart)

115. Indian Fall by D'arcy Jenish, recommended by Craig Norris

Craig Norris is the host of The Morning Edition in Kitchener-Waterloo. (CBC/Penguin Canada)

116. The Birth House by Ami McKay (Recommended by @MsEllanDawn)

117. Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water(Recommended by David Alexander Robertson)

118. We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night by Joel Thomas Hynes (Recommended by @MeandMyKat)

119. February by Lisa Moore, recommended by Tom Power

Tom Power is the host of q on CBC Radio. (CBC/House of Anansi Press)

Winner Canada Reads 2013. Defended by Trent McClellan.

Also recommended by:Jane Margot

120. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Recommended by @MaryWWalters & Meeya Awbay)

121. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur (Recommended by Emily Stewart)

122. Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis (Winner Canada Reads 2017, defended by Humble The Poet)

123. Shake Hands with the Devil by Roméo Dallaire, recommended by Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis is a politician and broadcaster from Toronto. (Vintage Canada/Codie McLachlan/Canadian Press)

124. Annabel by Kathleen Winter (Recommended by Nancy Hall)

125. Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler (Recommended by Kyra Collins)

126. Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Recommended by Emily Stewart)

127. The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami, recommended by Vinay Virmani

Vinay Virmani is an actor, writer and producer from Toronto. He defended The Hero's Walk on Canada Reads 2016. (CBC/Vintage Canada)

Also recommended by:Corina McNeil

128. The Fire-Dwellers by Margaret Laurence (Recommended by Jen Sookfong Lee)

129. Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre (Winner Canada Reads 2012, defended by Shad)

130. We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett (Recommended by Emily Stewart)

131. The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield (Recommended by Anne Crosby)

132. Where I Belong by Alan Doyle, recommended by Trent McClellan

Trent McClellan is a stand-up comedian from Corner Brook, Nfld. (trentscomedy.com/Doubleday Canada)

133. The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (Recommended by Laurel HodginsTeresa Reid & Kathie Ramsey Hunter)

134. King Leary by Paul Quarrington (Winner Canada Reads 2008, defended by Dave Bidini)

135. Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine (Recommended by Sandra Ferguson)

136. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko (Recommended by Chantal Antonakis & Emm Bee)

137. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston, recommended by Lisa Laco

Lisa Laco is the host of Superior Morning in Thunder Bay, Ont. (CBC/Vintage Canada)

138. Rockbound by Frank Parker Day (Winner Canada Reads 2005, defended by Donna Morrissey)

139. Island by Alistair MacLeod (Recommended by Lesley Choyce)

140. Sing a Song of Mother Goose by Barbara Reid (Recommended by Sandra Ferguson)

141. Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes (Recommended by Katie Jim)

142. Generation X by Douglas Coupland, recommended by Adam Copeland

Adam Copeland defended Michael Winter's Minster Without Portfolio on Canada Reads 2016. (CBC/St. Martin's Griffin)

143. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (Recommended by @yolandabdacy)

144. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Recommended by Pauline Vallee)

145. Next Episode by Hubert Aquin, translated by Sheila Fischman,  (Winner Canada Reads 2003, defended by Denise Bombardier)

146. Life of Pi by Yann Martel, recommended by Jason D'Souza

Jason D'Souza is the host of All Points West in British Columbia. (CBC/Vintage Canada)

Also recommended by: Martha Beechie

147. Stepping Stones by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr (Recommended by Carolyn)

148. I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland (Recommended by @BrandonZoras)

149. Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway (Recommended by @jmkershaw & Tal Taylor)

150. Klondike by Pierre Berton (Recommended by @lavee76 & Vala Monestime Belter)

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