Books

11 Canadian books music fans should read

If you're a fan of music, you'll want to pick up one of these books.

If you're a fan of music, you'll want to pick up one of these books.

Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones

Every Little Piece of Me is a novel by Amy Jones. (Ali Eisner, McClelland & Stewart)

Every Little Piece of Me revolves around the friendship of two women, Ava and Mags, whose every humiliation is tabloid fodder. Ava grew up on a hit reality television show where her big city family runs a small town B&B. Mags is the lead singer of a troubled Halifax rock band. 

Every Little Piece of Me is Amy Jones's sophomore novel, following the national bestseller We're All in This Together

Jones won the 2006 CBC Short Story Prize.

Buffy Sainte-Marie by Andrea Warner

Music critic Andrea Warner wrote the biography of acclaimed singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. (Greystone, Getty Images)

Music critic and CBC Music producer Andrea Warner drew from over 60 hours of interviews with iconic Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie for this authorized biography. The book goes deep into Sainte-Marie's childhood and through her storied career as a groundbreaking artist and tireless First Nations activist who won an Oscar and was blacklisted by two U.S. presidents.

Warner is also the author of We Oughta Know, which looked at Canadian female artists in the 1990s.

Oscar by Mauricio Segura, translated by Donald Winkler

Jael Richardson's book pick this week is Oscar by Mauricio Segura. (Tonseg, Biblioasis Press)

The novel Oscar, translated from French by Donald Winkler, revolves around the life of legendary Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. The book takes a fictional look back at a Depression-era Montreal neighbourhood and explores how race, class and money shaped the world of the jazz giant.

Mauricio Segura is a Chilean-born, Montreal-based journalist, filmmaker and author.

The Flame by Leonard Cohen

The Flame is the final poetry collection by Leonard Cohen. (Canadian Press/DAPD/Kai-'Uwe Knoth, McClelland & Stewart)

Leonard Cohen is a legendary figure in the world of music and literature. In the final days of his life, Cohen completed The Flame, a collection of unpublished poetry, selections from his notebooks and lyrics from his albums. Cohen curated the book's selections, which include his insights as an artist and thinker.

The Montreal artist released 14 albums over the span of nearly 50 years, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey

Claudia Dey's latest novel is Heartbreaker. (Norman Wong, HarperCollins Canada)

In HeartbreakerClaudia Dey's second novel, Billie Jean has disappeared. She's lived in a small town for almost 20 years, and still feels like she doesn't quite belong. Those who love Billie Jean set out to find her, and the search results in a fantastical journey about the mysteries of life. 

Dey, who is based in Toronto, is also the author of the novel Stunt.

The Chai Factor by Farah Heron

The Chai Factor is a novel by Farah Heron. (HarperCollins Canada)

In The Chai Factor, Farah Heron's debut novel, Amira Khan is dedicated to her career and finishing grad school. But when her grandmother rents out the family's basement apartment to a barbershop quartet, Amira can't focus. And when she begins to clash with the group's leader, Duncan, things only get worse. 

The Chai Factor is a romantic comedy about opposites colliding and how little inconveniences can become life-changing if you open up. 

On Vinyl by Lorenz Peter

On Vinyl is a comic by Lorenz Peter. (Andy Brown/Conundrum Press)

In On Vinyl, a comic by Lorenz Peter, Lenny has followed his dreams and opened a used record store in Toronto. But a dream come true is still hard work: rents are high, sales are difficult and the hours are long. But when Lenny decides to track down the record collection of an reclusive and famed DJ, maybe his luck will turn around.

Peter is a Toronto-based comic creator who has released five graphic novels. He won the Doug Wright Award for best emerging artist in 2006.

Beautiful Scars by Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson is a musician and the author of the memoir Beautiful Scars. (Jen Squires/Doubleday Canada)

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings' Tom Wilson asked his parents a lot of questions growing up. Why were his mother Bunny and his father George so much older than his friends' parents? Why didn't they have any photos of him as a newborn? As he became known around the world for his music, he grew more haunted by the feeling that he didn't know himself.

He didn't learn the truth until he was 53 years old: his parents were really his great-aunt and uncle and he had been adopted. He shares this remarkable journey in Beautiful Scars.

The Never-Ending Present by Michael Barclay

The Never-Ending Present looks at the career of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip. (ECW Press, Junos)

In The Never-Ending Presentmusic writer Michael Barclay chronicles how five high school students from Kingston, Ont., became Canadian music legends. The Tragically Hip, fronted by the late Gord Downie, sold more than 8 million albums and won 16 Juno Awards over their storied career playing songs about Canada.

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin

Dual Citizens is a novel by Alix Ohlin. (House of Anansi Press)

In Dual Citizens, Lark Brossard is a supporting character in the lives of her artistically talented loved ones: her sister Robin is a wild and brilliant pianist, while her sometime lover Lawrence is a famous filmmaker. When Lawrence tells her he doesn't want children, Lark re-examines her life and takes control of her story.

Alix Ohlin is a Vancouver-based writer whose novel Inside was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Split Tooth is Polaris Prize-winning artist Tanya Tagaq's first book. (Penguin Random House, Peter Power/Canadian Press)

Combining memoir with fiction, Tanya Tagaq writes about a young girl's coming of age in 1970s Nunavut. She is a witness to the mythic wonders of the Arctic world, which juxtapose harshly against the violence and alcoholism in her community. 

Split Tooth is the first book by Tagaq, a Polaris Prize and Juno-winning Inuk singer. It was shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and was on the longlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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