5 books to read after Canada Reads 2018

Read all of the great Canada Reads 2018 books? Here are five books you might also like!
The Canada Reads 2018 panellists, from left to right: Greg Johnson, Jeanne Beker, Tahmoh Penikett, Mozhdah Jamalzadah and Jully Black. (CBC)

Canada Reads 2018 was filled with emotional and lively debates about five great Canadian books. Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, defended by Jeanne Beker, won the great Canadian book debate, but you should read them all. And if you already have, here are five more literary works you might also like.

If you've read Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, read Obasan by Joy Kogawa

Obasan by Joy Kogawa is based on her experiences during the Second World War and the displacement of Japanese Canadians during that period. (Joy Kogawa/Penguin Random House)

​Mark Sakamoto's memoir, Forgiveness, deals with the internment of his Japanese-Canadian family and his grandfather's time as a prisoner of war in Japan — events that have taken him nearly a lifetime to understand. 

In Joy Kogawa's celebrated novel Obasan, Japanese Canadian teacher Naomi Nakane digs up a painful family past. She reconstructs the events her relatives endured during the Second World War and begins to wonder up to what point a nation can be forgiven for its injustices. 

If you've read American War by Omar El Akkad, read The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper

The Mercy Journals is Claudia Casper's third novel. ( Pulp Press)

American War by Omar El Akkad follows Sarat Chestnut, a character who grows up during a second American Civil War spurred by a ban on fossil fuels. American War was defended by actor Tahmoh Penikett on Canada Reads 2018. 

Claudia Clasper's novel takes readers to a Third World War where an environmental apocalypse has left few survivors. A former soldier begins to doubt his moral code as he journeys deeper into this hostile setting to find his children, who are rumoured to be alive. The Mercy Journals won the 2016 Philip K. Dick Award for distinguished science fiction. 

If you've read The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, read A Girl Called Echo by Katherena Vermette

A Girl Called Echo is Katherena Vermette's first graphic novel and kicks off a series known as Pemmican Wars. Scott B. Henderson (centre) illustrates, with colouring done by Donovan Yaciuk. ( Press/

In the dystopian world of Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves, climate change has ravaged the Earth and a continent-wide hunt for Indigenous people is underway. Wanted for their bone marrow, which contains the lost ability to dream, a group of Indigenous people seek refuge in the old lands. Dimaline's novel was defended by singer Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

In A Girl Called Echo a Métis girl bounds across time, between her classroom and buffalo hunt. Penned by Canada Reads 2017 finalist and author of The Break, the graphic novel depicts Indigenous history as a living thing and not a list of facts in a textbook. 

If you've read Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson, read The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown

The Globe and Mail columnist, Ian Brown, offers an intimate look at raising a child with disabilities in the memoir The Boy in the Moon. (John Barber/Vintage Canada)

Precious Cargo gathers memories from the year Craig Davidson spent driving a school bus for children with special needs. In the process, he learns to look at failure differently and comes to understand the meaning of compassion. The memoir was defended by tornado hunter Greg Johnson on Canada Reads 2018. 

In The Boy in the Moon, Ian Brown's son has a genetic mutation so rare that only 300 people in the world have it. At 12 years old, Walker weighs 54 pounds and has to wear special cuffs so he can't hit himself. The Boy in the Moon won the RBC Taylor Prize for literary nonfiction (then called the Charles Taylor Prize) in 2010.

If you've read The Boat People by Sharon Bala, read The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill the the author of the Canada Reads–winning novel The Illegal. (HarperCollins)

The Boat People — defended by singer Mozhdah Jamalzadah on Canada Reads 2018 — documents people and families undergoing change in Canada. In the novel, the arrival of a ship full of Sri Lankan refugees tests the resolve of a father, his son, their lawyer and an adjudicator throughout a long hearing process. 

Winner of Canada Reads 2016, Lawrence Hill's novel The Illegal is set in a land that deports its refugees. The novel keeps up with Keita, a runner, as he illegally flees into Freedom State and hides from its government in the Underground with fellow refugees. Hill turns his attention to the hospitality of individuals in the face of a hostile nation.

CBC Books (Ryan Patrick) on Ontario Morning (March 28, 2018)


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