Here are all the reading lists we shared this summer
Did you miss one of our summer reading lists? Don't worry, we've rounded them all up here!
Start here: The Gown by Jennifer Robson
Jennifer Robson's historical novel 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.
Start here: The Matchmaker's List by Sonya Lalli
In this romantic comedy, 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 Sonya Lalli's first book.
Sci-fi & fantasy
Start here: A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
Guy Gavriel Kay's most recent novel, A Brightness Long Ago, is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy with themes of destiny, love and power. As the son of a tailor, Danio Cerra rose through the ranks of society with his incredible intelligence. He's unhappily employed at the court of a count whose nickname is "the Beast," but fate throws him a bone in the form of Adria Ripoli, an assassin who traded her family's wealth for freedom.
Kay is a bestselling sci-fi and fantasy novelist, whose books includeTigana and Children of Earth and Sky.
- Guy Gavriel Kay on why writing fantasy fiction about destiny, dominion and deceit will never go out of style
Thrillers & mysteries
Start here: Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley
Your Life Is Mine is a page-turning thriller about Blanche, the daughter of a notorious murderer and cult leader. Her father killed himself after a shooting spree more than 20 years ago, but when Blanche learns her mother was murdered, she must return home and learns there's more to her family's story than she could have ever imagined — and that the cult her father founded might be making a comeback.
Your Life Is Mine is the second thriller from Nathan Ripley, who is also the author of Find You in the Dark.
Start here: A Good Wife by Samra Zafar, with Meg Masters
When Samra Zafar was 15 years old, she was told by her mother that a great match had been found, and she was to be married — to a man who lived in Canada and was 11 years older than her. Despite having her own dreams and goals, Zafar got married, moved to a new country and started a family. But when her relationship became abusive, Zafar knew she must leave and build a new life for her children.
Zafar has written about her experience in the book A Good Wife.
Start here: Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones
Every Little Piece of Me revolves around the friendship of two women, Ava and Mags, whose every humiliation is tabloid fodder. Ava grew up on a hit reality television show where her big city family runs a small town B&B. Mags is the lead singer of a troubled Halifax rock band. Every Little Piece of Me is Amy Jones's sophomore novel, following the national bestseller We're All in This Together.
Jones won the 2006 CBC Short Story Prize.
Start here: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a YA graphic novel about a teenage girl named Freddy who can't seem to quit her girlfriend, the popular and enigmatic Laura Dean. Though they keep breaking up and getting back together, Freddy frets over whether to forgive Laura's many indiscretions — all the while taking her friendships for granted.
Mariko Tamaki is an award-winning Canadian comics writer based in Oakland, Calif.
Start here: Son of a Critch by Mark Critch
In the memoir Son of a Critch, This Hour Has 22 Minutes comedian Mark Critch describes how his light-hearted trouble-making began with growing up in 1980s Newfoundland. From trying to buy beer from a cab driver as a youngster to photo-bombing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an adult, Son of a Critch is a series of funny stories.
Son of a Critch was shortlisted for the 2019 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and the 2019 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
Books for foodies
Start here: Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui
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.
Start here: Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta
Frying Plantain follows Kara Davis through elementary school to her high school graduation, as she comes of age while being perennially caught between her Canadian nationality and Jamaican heritage. Over a series of 12 stories, Davis visits her great aunt in Jamaica, endures a cruel prank by close friends and deals with her stubborn grandparents. Frying Plantain is Zalika Reid-Benta's first book.
- Why Zalika Reid-Benta wrote a short story collection that looks at growing up young and black in Toronto
Start here: A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott
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 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.
- Alicia Elliott on why the cultural appropriation debate isn't about free speech — it's about context
YA & middle-grade books
Start here: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
In this YA novel, 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 and the Guardian. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is his first book.
Start here: Bear for Breakfast by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Jay Odjick
Children's author Robert Munsch and illustrator Jay Odjick team up for a second picture book called Bear for Breakfast. In this tale, a boy named Donovan decides to catch a bear to eat for breakfast, just like his grandfather used to eat. When he goes hunting, Donovan discovers the bear might have other plans.
Bear for Breakfast is inspired by a 1990 visit with the Chippewan community in La Loche, Sask., where Munsch met a boy named Donovan who said he loved to eat bear.
Start here: Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Taffy Brodesser-Akner's new novel, Fleishman Is in Trouble, is about a middle-aged doctor in New York named Toby Fleishman, who has just ended a 14-year marriage. He's pretty sure there's only one villain in his story. It's obviously his ex-wife Rachel, who always paid more attention to her high-powered career than to their family. Then one day Rachel drops their two kids off at his apartment and disappears. Toby is forced to deal with the fallout, and to consider the possibility that he never really understood the story of his own marriage.
Brodesser-Akner is a writer for the New York Times Magazine. Fleishman Is in Trouble is her first novel.