The CBC Books fall 2017 preview: the books you must read this season

The fall book season is going to be bigger and better than ever.

The fall book season is going to be bigger and better than ever. From Canada and around the world, for readers of all interests and ages, here are the books we are most looking forward to. Here are 17 highlights of the fall 2017 book season — be sure to check out the lists for each category too. There are 117 books in total, something for every reader! A PDF of the complete list is available here.

The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre

Linden MacIntyre, former host of CBC's fifth estate, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2009 for The Bishop's Man. The Only Café is his fifth novel. (CBC/Random House Canada)

What it's about: The Only Café is the story of a father and son, Pierre and Cyril Cormier. Pierre is a high-powered lawyer in Toronto who is haunted by his past in war-torn Lebanon. Cyril is a young journalist struggling to unpack his distant father's many secrets.

Why we chose it: Linden MacIntyre's storytelling prowess has been proven time and time again with his novels The Long Stretch and The Bishop's Man, the latter of which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

When you can read it: Aug. 8, 2017

Brother by David Chariandy

Brother is David Chariandy's second novel. (Joy van Tiedemann/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: 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 fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home.

Why we chose it: David Chariandy's second novel, a follow-up to the well-received 2006 book Soucouyant, explores growing up as an second generation Canadian in 1990s Toronto. 

When you can read it: Sept. 20, 2017

Lost in September by Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter's previous novel, Annabel, was on Canada Reads in 2014. (CBC/Penguin Random House Canada)

What it's about: Lost in September is a complex and layered story of a modern day ex-soldier from Montreal who bears a striking resemblance to General James Wolfe, "Conqueror of Canada" and "Hero of Quebec," who died on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The compelling plot twists and turns as the concept of "what and who is real" is upended. 

Why we chose it: Kathleen Winter's 2011 novel Annabel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. It was also a contender for Canada Reads in 2014.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

My Conversations With Canadians by Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle is the author of numerous works, including the novels Ravensong and Celia's Song. (Columpa Bobb/BookThug)

What it's about: Throughout her celebrated literary career, Lee Maracle has toured the country and encountered challenging questions on topics such as law, prejudice and reconciliation. This book collects these questions and the years of contemplation that have followed them, and attempts to find answers.

Why we chose it: This collection of essays on big picture questions facing Canadians today, written by one of the country's great thinkers, promises to be a penetrating read. Maracle's previous books include I Am Woman and Celia's Song.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2017

Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies by Tabatha Southey

Tabatha Southey is a columnist at Maclean's. (Basil Southey/Douglas & McIntyre)

What it's about: Collected Tarts and Other Indelicacies is a collection of essays from Globe and Mail columnist Tabatha Southey, who tackles subjects from what it's like to anger jazz enthusiasts to the turbulent U.S. political climate with her trademark wit.

Why we chose it: Laughter is the best medicine, as they say, and humorist Southey knows how to deliver a whip-smart punchline.

When you can read it: Sept. 30, 2017

Game Change by Ken Dryden

Ken Dryden speaks at the "We Can Do Better" Governor General's Conference on Concussions in Sport in 2016. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press/Signal)

What it's about: NHL Hall of Famer Ken Dryden investigates the serious consequences of concussions in hockey and tells the tragic story of enforcer Steve Montador, who died at the age of 35.

Why we chose it: The hockey legend and bestselling author interviews friends, former players and leading neurobiologists for a comprehensive look at a controversial issue facing professional sports.

When you can read it: Oct. 17, 2017

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

The Golden House is the 13th novel from the famed author. (Moskowitz/ Random House)

What it's about: The always compelling Salman Rushdie weaves a tale of the American Dream gone astray against the backdrop of the Obama administration in The Golden House. Wealthy patriarch Nero Golden and his socialite family members arrive to American under mysterious circumstances; things soon fall apart, Great Gatsby-style.

Why we chose it: Salman Rushdie is one of the world's most famous and provocative writers. He's written 13 novels, often blending myth with fairytale, science fiction with history, and love with philosophy. He won the Booker Prize in 1981 for Midnight's Children, which is considered the best Booker winner of all time. 

When you can read it: Sept. 5, 2017

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

Future Home Of The Living God is the 16th novel by the National Book Award-winning author. (Canadian Press/HarperCollins)

What it's about: Louise Erdrich explores female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights in a modern world in her latest, Future Home of the Living God. It's a tale of science run amok as women give birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans.

Why we chose it: Veteran storyteller Louise Erdrich's accolades include a Gugenheim Fellowship (1985), a National Book Award for the novel The Round House (2012) and two National Book Critics Circle Award — for LaRose (2016) and Love Medicine (1984).

When you can read it: Nov. 14, 2017

The Art of Death by Edwidge Danticat

Edwidge Danticat, a two-time finalist for the National Book Award, reflects on the death of her mother in The Art of Death. (Lynn Savarese/Graywolf Press)

What it's about: Confronted with her mother's devastating diagnosis, Edwidge Danticat turns to writing and literature to make sense of death. 

Why we chose it: This book promises to be both an intimate memoir of a daughter's grief and an exploration into the literature of death — including works like Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking, Toni Morrison's Sula and Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. Danticat's previous books include the National Book Award-winning Brother, I'm Dying and Claire of the Sea Light.

When you can read it: July 11, 2017

An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn

Among the students in Daniel Mendelsohn's class on Homer's Odyssey is his father, 81-year-old mathematician Jay Mendelsohn. ( Press)

What it's about: Jay Mendelsohn, a mathematician, enrolls in the college English class on Homer's Odyssey taught by his son, the author Daniel Mendelsohn. As father and son, scientist and English professor, study the ancient text together, they grow in their understanding together.

Why we chose it: An Odyssey sounds to be a journey that is epic in its emotional and literary scope — and the New Yorker article based on the book is phenomenal. Mendelsohn's previous books include the international bestseller The Lost and the memoir Elusive Embrace.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2017

Collected Poems of Alden Nowlan

(Icehouse Poetry)

What it's about: The collection of the poems of the late Alden Nowlan (January 25, 1933 – June 27, 1983) provides a reflective and autobiographical look at the career of a Canadian literary legend. 

Why we chose it: Alden Nowlan, winner of a Governor General's Literary Award for Bread, Wine and Salt (1967), ranks as one of Canada's most popular 20th-century poets. 

When you can read it: Sept. 21 2017 

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur's poetry collection The Sun and Her Flowers is the follow-up to her bestseller milk and honey. (Simon & Schuster)

What it's about: This poetry collection, divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, uses sun and flower imagery to examine themes of wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming. 

Why we chose it: The bestselling writer of milk and honey returns with her second collection of poetry. The superstar Instagram poet has connected with millions of readers around the world and we can't wait to see how she's grown as an artist and writer.

When you can read it: Oct. 3, 2017 

Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson & colouring by Donovan Yaciuk

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/

What it's about: The first in a three-part series, Pemmican Wars follows Echo Desjardins, a 13-year-old Métis girl starting at a new school and in a new foster family. One day in history class, Desjardins is transported back in time to a Saskatchewan bison hunt.

Why we chose it: Pemmican Wars is Katherena Vermette's first graphic novel and the Winnipeg author has a habit of making incredible debuts. Her first poetry collection, North End Love Songs won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry, and her first novel, The Break, won the First Novel Award and was defended on Canada Reads in 2017 by Candy Palmater.

When you can read it: Nov. 20, 2017

Strangers by David Alexander Robertson

In the novel Strangers, a young man returns home to find his community in shambles. (David A. Robertson/Highwater Press)

What it's about: Cole Harper is called back to Wounded Sky First Nation a decade after a terrible event forced him out. The community he returns to is reeling from a series of recent murders and a terrible plague is ripping through residents. Harper gets help from his oldest friends, plus an unhelpful spirit, to find his purpose.

Why we chose it: David Alexander Robertson has an impressive array of literature to his name, including the graphic novels Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story and Will I See?, the children's book When We Were Alone and the novel The Evolution of Alice. We're excited to see what he comes up with next.

When you can read it: Nov. 20, 2017

Lumberjanes by Mariko Tamaki

What it's about: This tale of Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types and the five scouts of Roanoke cabin — Jo, April, Molly, Mal and Ripley — is a rollercoaster ride of fun as the summer camp crew embark on supernatural adventures

Why we're excited: Based on the popular graphic novel series, this illustrated novel expands on the comics' universe to provide a fun new perspective on the franchise.

When you can read it: Oct. 10, 2017 

Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid

Barbara Reid is an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books. (Ian Chrysler)

What it's about: A whimsical picture book about the sky's many stories.

Why we chose it: Barbara Reid, famous for her vibrant Plasticine artwork, is one of Canada's best storytellers, and many of her books — like Picture a Tree and Sing a Song for Mother Goose — are considered classics.

When you can read it: Aug. 29, 2017

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom, illustrated by Kai Yun Ching & Wai-Yant Li

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea is an ode to self-expression by Kai Cheng Thom (top) with illustrators Wai-Yant Li (middle illustration) and Kai Yun Ching. (Arsenal Pulp Press/Jackson Ezra/Contributor illustrations by Wai-Yant Li)

What it's about: Miu Lan is a child that can change into any shape, but can't decide whether they should be a boy or girl, fish or flower, bird or shooting star. As Miu Lan faces challenges from outsiders, their mother echoes this beautiful refrain: "whatever you dream of / i believe you can be / from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea."

Why we chose it: Kai Cheng Thom, one of CBC Books' 2017 writers to watch, won the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers this year. Her multi-genre work includes a novel, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, and the poetry collection a place called No Homeland. Montreal artists Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li bring Cheng Thom's vision to life with their stunning illustrations.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2017


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