The CBC Books fall 2018 reading list: 18 must-read Canadian books

Looking for a new book to read this fall season? Here are 18 to check out.

Looking for a new book to read this fall season? Here are 18 to check out.

Theory by Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand is a poet and novelist. Her most recent novel is Theory. (Jason Chow, Knopf Canada)

The latest work by poet and novelist Dionne Brand is a novel that features an unnamed narrator who explores their relationship history to write an ambitious thesis on the past, present and future of culture, race, gender, class and politics.

The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Craig Davidson is the author of several books, his most recent being the novel The Saturday Night Ghost Club. (Knopf Canada/Craig Davidson)

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is a novel about 12-year-old Jake, a young boy invited to join a "ghost club" with his beloved misfit uncle. Thus begins Jake's unforgettable summer, in which it becomes apparent that demons are buried within his uncle. 

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

Patrick deWitt's latest novel is French Exit. (Danny Palmerlee, House of Anansi Press)

In Patrick deWitt's latest novel, Frances Price is a wealthy widow living in New York, dealing with scandals, near bankruptcy, her useless adult son and her cat, which she believes is her late husband. Frances decides to leave everything behind and start over in Paris, but nothing goes according to plan. 

Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey

A woman in black sits on a table and looks to the right. A black car against a purple sky.
Claudia Dey's latest novel is Heartbreaker. (Norman Wong, HarperCollins Canada)

In Heartbreaker, Claudia Dey's second novel, Billie Jean has disappeared. She's lived in a small town for almost 20 years, and still feels like she doesn't quite belong. Those who love Billie Jean set out to find her, and the search results in a fantastical journey about the mysteries of life. 

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal

Woman World is based on Aminder Dhaliwal's popular Instagram comic. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Aminder Dhaliwal's debut book Woman World takes place after a birth defect has caused men to go extinct. Women unite under the flag of "Beyoncé's Thighs" and set out to build civilization anew. Only one, Grandma, has memories of the ancient society, a time of "That's What She Said" jokes. Dhaliwal began publishing this hilarious strip on Instagram, where she amassed over 120,000 readers.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black is on the 2018 Man Booker Prize longlist. (Patrick Crean Editions, Tamara Poppitt)

Washington Black tells the story of 11-year-old Washington Black, a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. His master is Englishman Christopher Wilde, who is obsessed with developing a machine that can fly. The two develop a bond, but when a man is killed, Wilde must choose between his family and saving Washington's life — and the choice results in an unforgettable adventure around the world. 

Beirut Hellfire Society by Rawi Hage

Rawi Hage is the author of Beirut Hellfire Society. (Babak Salari/Knopf Canada)

Beruit Hellfire Society is the story of a secret society that gives proper burials to those who were denied them for reasons such as being an atheist or being gay. Pavlov, a 20-year-old undertaker, joins the society after his father's death and what unfolds is an examination of what it's like to live through war, and what it's like to face death.

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper

Our Homesick Songs is a novel by Emma Hooper. (Submitted by Penguin Random House)

Ten-year-old Finn lives in a tiny Newfoundland fishing village. But when the cod industry collapses, the village gets smaller as more people leave to find work elsewhere. Can Finn save the village and keep his family together? Our Homesick Songs is the very charming second novel by Emma Hooper — her first was Etta and Otto and Russell and James.

House of Whispers by Nalo Hopkinson, art by Dominike Stanton

House of Whispers marks Nalo Hopkinson's debut in writing comics. The series will be illustrated by Dominike Stanton. (David Findlay)

A new chapter in Neil Gaiman's beloved Sandman Universe opens with Nalo Hopkinson's House of WhispersIn this comic book series, the souls of Voodoo followers travel to the House of Dahomey on the bayou. There, they find a fabulous party hosted by the goddess Erzulie Fréda, whom they ask to grant their hearts' desires. But trouble in the form of Erzulie's cousin Sopona, lord of infectious diseases, is on the horizon. Hopkinson is the author of celebrated sci-fi novels like Brown Girl in the Ring and Sister Mine.

Clifford by Harold R. Johnson

Harold R. Johnson is the author of Clifford. (House of Anansi)

In Clifford, Governor General's Literary Award-nominated writer Harold R. Johnson recounts the life of his beloved brother, who is deceased. The two brothers were raised in northern Saskatchewan by their father, a quiet man of Swedish descent, and mother, a formidable Cree trapper. 

Madame Victoria by Catherine Leroux, translated by Lazer Lederhendler

Madame Victoria is a collection of stories by Catherine Leroux. (Jimmy Jeong, Biblioasis)

In 2001, a woman's skeleton was found in the woods near Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. After a long investigation, which included digitally reconstructing the woman's face, scouring hospital records and making public appeals for help, the woman deemed 'Madame Victoria' was never identified. In a series of stories translated from the French by Lazer Lederhendler, Catherine Leroux imagines the many different versions of this mysterious woman's life.

Such a Lonely, Lovely Road by Kagiso Lesego Molope

Such a Lonely, Lovely Road is a novel by Kagiso Lesego Molope. (Mawenzi House)

In Such a Lonely, Lovely Road, Kabelo Mosala is a young man growing up in South Africa. He's an upstanding citizen in every sense and dreams of working at his father's medical practice someday. But Kabelo has a secret: he's in love with his friend, Sediba. They form a strong bond as they grow up, but Kabelo struggles to come out to his community, which is in the grips of an increasingly urgent AIDS crisis. 

Something for Everyone by Lisa Moore

Something for Everyone is a short story collection by Lisa Moore. (Heather Barrett, House of Anansi Press)

Lisa Moore is one of Canada's most accomplished fiction writers. Something for Everyone is her third short story collection and presents an eclectic array of stories that showcase Moore's vivid prose and rich imagination.

Foe by Iain Reid

Iain Reid's new novel, Foe, was released Aug. 7, 2018. (Rob Whelan, Simon & Schuster)

Foe takes place on a remote farm, home to a married couple named Junior and Henrietta. One day, a stranger arrives on their doorstep with terrible news. The buzz for Foe, Iain Reid's second thriller, began building months before it hit bookstores, when the film rights were snapped up by Anonymous Content in April.

I'm Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

I'm Afraid of Men is a book by Vivek Shraya. (Zachary Ayotte, Penguin Canada)

I'm Afraid of Men is a moving and powerful extended essay that outlines Vivek Shraya's experiences with men, first as a boy attacked for being too feminine, and later in her life for not being feminine enough as a woman.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews is the author of the novel Women Talking and the winner of the 2004 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. (Carol Loewen/Knopf Canada)

In Miriam Toews's powerful new novel, eight Mennonite women come together to talk. Why? They have 48 hours to make a decision that will impact every woman and child in their community. Women Talking is inspired by the real-life case in the 2000s, when women in a Bolivian Mennonite community began whispering that they were waking up groggy, in pain, feeling like they had been sexually molested.

Starlight by Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese died in March 2017 at the age of 61. Starlight is his final novel. (McClelland & Stewart, Jane Dixon)

Starlight is the final novel of beloved Indigenous writer Richard Wagamese. Set in 1980 in the B.C. interior, Starlight is about an Indigenous farmer named Frank Starlight whose quiet life is dramatically changed by the frantic arrival of a woman named Emmy and her young child. 

The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman

The Real Lolita is a nonfiction book by Sarah Weinman. (Knopf Canada, Anna Ty Bergman)

Vladimir Nabokov's 1955 book Lolita, the controversial novel of a professor who falls obsessively in love with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, has sold over 60 million copies worldwide. The novel was based on the real abduction of an 11-year-old American girl named Sally Horner. Sarah Weinman pores over news articles and conducts interviews with Horner's living relatives to chronicle the young girl's life, including her kidnapping and rescue, in mid-century America.