15 Canadian books to read this spring
Spring is here! And a new season means new books. Here are 15 great Canadian reads to check out while the weather warms up.
Nearly a year after his parents' death, botanist Alfred Homer agrees to go on a research road trip with Professor Morgan Bruno, an old family friend. As the sun sets, the two depart in search of an obscure, possibly dead poet named John Skennen and encounter a host of oddities in the gothic underworld of southern Ontario. Days by Moonlight is the fourth book in André Alexis's acclaimed quincunx, which includes the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads winner Fifteen Dogs.
Published to great acclaim in 1985, Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale continues to resonate with audiences around the world. Adapted for television, film, ballet, opera and more, the classic dystopian novel is now being turned into a graphic novel by Victoria-based artist Renee Nault. The book tells the story of a Handmaid known as Offred who is trapped in a society where her only purpose is to conceive and bear the child of a powerful man. The original novel won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.
In the stories of Immigrant City, a wannabe boxer finds work as a security guard in the Toronto suburbs, a father and daughter end up in a strange rendition of his immigrant childhood and a young man unwittingly makes contact with the underworld. David Bezmozgis's previous books include the short story collection Natasha and Other Stories and the novel The Betrayers.
This Woman's Work offers a string of memories that explores Julie Delporte's experience of womanhood. Throughout the book, the Montreal artist challenges gender assumptions and looks at how rape culture and sexual abuse have shaped her life and the lives of women around her. In cursive writing and coloured pencil drawings, This Woman's Work is a personal and contemplative inquiry into feminity and feminism in the #MeToo era.
Radicalized is a collection of four novellas that explore the quandaries — social, economic and technological — of contemporary America. Cory Doctorow's characters deal with issues around immigration, corrupt police forces, dark web uprisings and more. Doctorow is a bestselling sci-fi novelist whose past books include Little Brother and Walkaway.
In this collection of essays, Alicia Elliott explores the systemic oppression faced by Indigenous peoples across Canada through the lens of her own experiences as a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River. Elliott, who lives in Brantford, Ont., won gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2017 for the essay this book is based on. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is Elliott's first book.
In Chop Suey Nation Ann Hui drives to small towns across Canada and visits the family-run Chinese restaurants that dot the country. She also discovers her own family's secrets of working in the industry. Hui, a journalist with the Globe and Mail, begins her journey as an authenticity snob, but comes to appreciate the determination and enterprise of families across the nation.
Ernie Louttit is a bestselling author, veteran and retired police officer from Sask. Louttit was one of the first Indigenous police officers hired by the Saskatoon Police and has written about his experiences within the force in The Unexpected Cop. The Unexpected Cop takes on leadership — how being a leader means sticking to your convictions and sometimes standing up to the powers that be.
Shut Up, You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Téa Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes. Shut Up, You're Pretty is Mutonji's first short story collection.
Norris Kaplan, a wisecracking black French Canadian teenager, knows he's in for a major culture shock when his family moves to Austin, Texas. He keeps track of his fellow high schoolers by placing them in categories: Cheerleaders, Jocks, Loners and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. When people from the categories try and befriend him, Norris learns a lesson about his snarky attitude. Ben Philippe, who now lives in New York, has contributed to publications like Vanity Fair, The Guardian and Playboy.
Guestbook collects over two dozen short stories, vignettes and images from visual artist Leanne Shapton, who explores the uncanny experience of being haunted. Her characters include a tennis player who attributes his successes to an invisible entity, ghosts who visit their old beds and a woman who leaves Alcatraz with a peculiar feeling. Shapton's previous books include the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Swimming Studies.
Yasuko Thanh opens up about her tumultuous life in Mistakes to Run With, from rebelling against her evangelical parents, living on the streets of Vancouver and becoming a sex worker to falling in love and writing an award-winning novel. Thanh writes that, despite her success, she still struggles with events of the past. Mistakes to Run With is Thanh's first nonfiction book, following the short story collection Floating Like the Dead and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize-winning novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains.
After finishing her two mandatory years in the Israel Defense Forces and in the midst of grieving her father's death, Ayelet Tsabari leaves Tel Aviv to travel through India, Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Moving quickly through homes and cities, Tsabari eventually starts making trips back to Israel and digs deep into her Jewish-Yemeni background and Mizrahi identity in ways she'd never done before. Tsabari was a finalist for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize and won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for her debut short story collection, The Best Place on Earth.
Reproduction is Brampton, Ont.-raised author Ian Williams's debut novel, following his Griffin Poetry Prize-nominated poetry collection Personals and award-winning short fiction collection Not Anyone's Anything. When Felicia and her teenage son Army move into a basement apartment, they bond with the house's owner and his two children. But strange gifts from Army's wealthy, absent father begin to arrive at their doorstep, inviting new tensions into the makeshift family's lives.
Teresa Wong pens an honest and emotional letter to her daughter in the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet. The Calgary writer describes her experience with postpartum depression — how feelings of sadness, loss and guilt consumed her — and her many attempts at healing. Dear Scarlet is Wong's first book.