Canada Reads

5 books to read if you loved Canada Reads contender Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

Finished reading Megan Gail Coles's debut novel and looking for your next book? Here are five Canadian options.
Megan Gail Coles is the author of Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club. (CBC)

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles is a novel that revolves around a cast of flawed characters all connected to a trendy St. John's restaurant, The Hazel. Over the course of a snowy February day, they are implicated in each other's hopes, dreams and pains as they try to survive harsh economic times in the province.

It was defended by YouTuber Alayna Fender on Canada Reads 2020.

Finished with Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club and looking for your next read? Here are five Canadian books to check out.

The Break by Katherena Vermette

Katherena Vermette is the author of the novel The Break. (CBC)

In a series of shifting narratives, The Break explores the aftermath of a violent crime on a community in Winnipeg's North End. The perspectives of 10 different characters — including a social worker, a homeless teenager and a Métis police officer — come together to paint a picture of a troubled but resilient community.

 Like Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, The Break is a novel narrated from multiple perspectives that pivots around a tragic event and explores Canada's systemic issues like classism, racism and misogyny.

The Break was defended on Canada Reads 2017 by Candy Palmater.

An interview with Katherena Vermette about her Canada Reads nominated book, "The Break". 17:31

Cataract City by Craig Davidson

Craig Davidson's novel Cataract City was a finalist for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize. (Kevin Kelly/Doubleday)

Cataract City is Crag Davidson's 2013 novel about two young men who grow up in the shadow of Niagara Falls during a time of economic turmoil. Both boys, Owen and Duncan, dream of getting out and making something of themselves. But it doesn't happen. Owen becomes a police officer in town and Duncan gets involved in local criminal activity. The two must grapple with how their lives turned out and with their changing relationship.

Both novels explore the dark underbelly of touristy cities Canadians think they know: Niagara Falls and St. John's.

Cataract City was a finalist for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Author Craig Davidson, aka Nick Cutter, answers The Next Chapter's Proust Questionnaire. 4:40

February by Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore's novel February won Canada Reads in 2013. (Heather Barrett/House of Anansi)

Lisa Moore's novel February is based on a real-life incident: the tragic sinking of the Ocean Ranger oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland on Valentine's Day in 1982, with the loss of all 84 aboard. A powerful portrait of grief and the difficulty of moving on, it's the story of Helen O'Mara, a woman shattered by the death of her husband, Cal, who was one of the crew members. 

Both February and Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club are set in St. John's and use the province's economic struggles to tell stories that are both unique to the province and relatable for the entire country.

February won Canada Reads 2013, when it was defended by Trent McClellan.

The Newfoundland writer, whose most recent book is the YA novel "Flannery," shares her favourite fictional character, her greatest fear and more. 5:53

Brother by David Chariandy

David Chariandy's novel 'Brother' explores the bond between siblings, and the aftermath of a police shooting. He's speaking about the book at a CBC Thunder Bay Canada Reads event on Monday March 18. (CBC )

Brother takes us inside the lives of Michael and Francis. They are the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, their father has disappeared and their mother works double, sometimes triple, shifts so her boys might fulfil the elusive promise of their adopted home.

Like Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, it explores the challenges of getting ahead in a Canadian city and the sacrifices people make in order to keep it together.

Brother was defended by Lisa Ray on Canada Reads 2019.

David Chariandy talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book brother, which is a 2019 Canada Reads contender. 11:11

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 A Mind Spread Out on the GroundAlicia 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 examines how colonial violence, including the loss of language, seeps into the present day lives of Indigenous people, often in the form of mental illness. Elliott, who lives in Brantford, Ont., won gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2017 for the essay this book is based on.

Both books explore larger systemic issues that create inequality in Canada, including poverty, racism, sexism, addiction and more.

Author Alicia Elliott wants Canadians to think about how colonialism, poverty and mental health affect families in our society. Those issues affected her own childhood, which she's written about in her new book A Mind Spread Out On The Ground. 23:45

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