Books

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.

Spring is here! And a new season means new books. Here are 15 great Canadian reads to check out while the weather warms up.

Days by Moonlight by André Alexis

Days by Moonlight is a novel by André Alexis. (Coach House Books)

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.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood & Renee Nault

The graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was done by Renee Nault. (Liam Sharpe, McClelland & Stewart, Submitted by Renee Nault)

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.

Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis

Immigrant City is a short story collection by David Bezmozgis. (HarperCollins Canada)

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 by Julie Delporte

This Woman's Work is a comic by Julie Delporte. (Julie Delporte, Drawn & Quarterly)

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 by Cory Doctorow

Radicalized is a novel by Cory Doctorow. (Raincoast, Jonathan Worth)

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.

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

Alicia Elliott is the author of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground. (Doubleday Canada, Ayelet Tsabari)

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.

Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui

Ann Hui is a Toronto-based author and journalist. (CBC)

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.

The Unexpected Cop by Ernie Louttit

Unexpected Cop is a book by Ernie Louttit. (Bill Hamilton/University of Regina Press)

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 by Téa Mutonji

Shut Up You're Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Maxwell Lander)

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.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is a YA book by Ben Philippe. (benphilippe.com, HarperCollins)

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 by Leanne Shapton

Guest Book is a book by Leanne Shapton. (Robbie Lawrence/Penguin Random House Canada)

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.

Mistakes to Run With by Yasuko Thanh

Mistakes to Run With is a memoir by Yasuko Thanh. (Don Denton, Penguin Random House Canada)

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.

The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari

The Art of Leaving is a nonfiction book by Ayelet Tsabari. (HarperCollins Canada, Jonathan Bloom)

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 by Ian Williams

Ian Williams is the author of Reproduction. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC)

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. 

Dear Scarlet by Teresa Wong

Dear Scarlet is a graphic memoir by Teresa Wong. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Ken Hurd)

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.

Comments

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.