14 Canadian books to read on Valentine's Day

Whether you love love, are over love or don't need it to be happy, here is a roundup of 14 great books that are perfect to read today.

Whether you love love, are over love or don't need it to be happy, here is a roundup of 14 great books that are perfect to read this Valentine's Day.

The Flame by Leonard Cohen

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

In the final days of his life, Leonard Cohen completed The Flame, a collection of unpublished poetry, selections from his notebooks and lyrics from his albums.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 poems explore love, loss and longing and are often funny, dark and insightful.

Flawed by Andrea Dorfman

Andrea Dorfman is a filmmaker and animator based in Nova Scotia. (Firefly Books, andreadorfman.com)

In this autobiographical comic, Andrea Dorfman surprises herself by falling in love with a plastic surgeon from the East Coast. Having struggled with accepting her appearance — she was bullied in school for having a big nose — Dorfman feels conflicted about the fact that Dave makes people "beautiful" for a living. Despite these reservations, a long-distance courtship blooms into a beautiful romance and helps Dorfman overcome her insecurities. Flawed is about falling in love, but also about learning to love yourself.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Uzma Jalaluddin is the author of Ayesha At Last. (Andrea Stenson, HarperCollins Canada)

Ayesha At Last, Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, tells the story of a young Muslim woman who aspires to be a poet, but must balance what her family expects of her with what she wants for herself. Things get tricky when she falls for Khalid, a young conservative man who is set to marry someone else. Ayesha At Last is a fun, contemporary twist on Jane Austen's classic Pride & Prejudice.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson holds up her historical novel The Gown. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC)

What is more romantic than a royal wedding — or a mysterious royal wedding connection? The Gown offers a fictional take on the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress. The book moves between Canada in 2016, where a young woman looks into her grandmother's mysterious past, to Britain in 1947, where a country struggling in the aftermath of war prepares to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth.

Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

Comics Will Break Your Heart is a YA novel by Faith Erin Hicks. (Nathan Boone, Raincoast Books)

In Faith Erin Hicks's first YA novel, Miriam's grandfather co-created the iconic superhero series TomorrowMen, but doesn't get a dime for his work because he sold the rights for a pittance to his co-creator. Now the family's struggling to stay afloat and the future looks grim for Miriam. Things get complicated when the heir to the TomorrowMen fortune moves to town — and, worse, he happens to be pretty cute.

Hard to Do by Kelli María Korducki

Kelli Korducki is a journalist and author of Hard To Do. (Coach House Books)

 In Hard to Do, Kelly María Korducki explores what it means to be in a contemporary romantic partnership — specifically the politics and economic implications around a breakup. The origins of the book are based on personal experience — after going through a breakup of her own, Korducki wanted to research the complex history of romantic partnerships, marriage, divorce and the socioeconomic dynamics between men and women in today's world.

The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli

The Matchmaker's List is a novel by Sonya Lalli. (Penguin Random House Canada, Ning Joanis)

Caving to family pressure, Raina Anand has reluctantly consented to let her grandmother play matchmaker. Anand endures a series of terrible blind dates with "suitable" bachelors, all the while hatching a plan to thwart her tight-knit family's plans. The Matchmaker's List is a charming modern romantic comedy.

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Thea Lim is a Toronto-based writer and teacher. (Elisha Lim, Viking Canada)

Thea Lim's An Ocean of Minutes is a novel about how far one would go to save the one they love. It's set in an alternative timeline: one where a deadly flu ripped through America, forever changing the country. When Polly Nader's partner Frank becomes infected, she makes a drastic decision in order to save him. A company called TimeRaiser agrees to pay for life-saving treatment if Polly time travels 12 years into the future, where she can be reunited with Frank and work as a bonded labourer. But Polly is accidentally sent 17 years into a future where Frank is nowhere to be found.

No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol

No One Tells You This is a memoir of Glynnis MacNicol's 40th year. (Naima Green, Simon & Schuster)

You don't need to be in a relationship to have a happy, fulfilling life. That's what Glynnis MacNicol sets out to prove in her memoir No One Tells You This. MacNicol is a business owner, writer, New Yorker (by way of Toronto), daughter, sister and friend. But when she turned 40, it seemed that the two roles MacNicol didn't fill — wife and mother — were what people cared most about. No One Tells You This is the story of the year she turned 40, a period she spends rewriting what it means to be a single woman.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Elan Mastai is the author of the sci-fi novel All Our Wrong Todays. (David Leyes, Doubleday Canada)

Screenwriter and author Elan Mastai has a knack for humorous storytelling and witty prose, skills he puts to good use with his debut novel All Our Wrong Todays. It's 2016 and, in Tom Barren's world, technology has solved all of humanity's problems — there's no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocados. Unfortunately, Tom isn't happy. He's lost the girl of his dreams. And what do you do when you're heartbroken and have a time machine? Something stupid. What happens next is a funny and bittersweet adventure.

Be My Love by Kit Pearson

Be My Love is a YA novel by Kit Pearson. (HarperCollins, Katherine Farris)

Maisie has spent most of her summers frolicking on Kingfisher Island with her cousin Una. But this summer is different — Una has become "too mature" for Maisie and is obsessed with an older man named David Meyer. Be My Love is for readers aged 10 to 14. Kit Pearson is a beloved and prolific Canadian children's writer whose past work includes A Day of Signs and Wonders and Awake and Dreaming

Things To Do When It's Raining by Marissa Stapley

Things To Do When It's Raining is bestselling author Marissa Stapley's latest novel. (Eugene Choi, Simon & Schuster)

Things To Do When It's Raining follows New Yorker Mae Summers as she returns to her childhood home after her fiancé disappears with all their money.  Who is there, but Gabe Broadbent, Mae's first love, whose sudden disappearance was the cause for Mae's first broken heart. It's partly inspired by Marissa Stapley's of her grandparents and a family secret that remained buried for many years.

Starlight by Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese died in March 2017 at the age of 61. Starlight is his final novel. (McClelland & Stewart, Jane Dixon)

Starlight is the final novel from beloved Indigenous writer Richard Wagamese. The novel was not completed before Wagamese died in 2017, and includes a note from the publisher. Set in 1980 in the B.C. interior, Starlight is about an Indigenous farmer named Frank Starlight whose quiet life is dramatically changed by the frantic arrival of a woman named Emmy and her young child. Emmy and her child have escaped an abusive home and end up forming a bond with Frank.

A Boy at the Edge of the World by David Kingston Yeh

David Kingston Yeh is an author and playwright. (Guernica Editions)

This debut novel follows Daniel Garneau, a gay hockey player who leaves his small hometown for university in Toronto. There, Daniel entangles himself in a love triangle — caught between his ex-boyfriend Marcus and a magnetic bike mechanic named David.

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