The CBC Books winter reading list: 15 Canadian books to read this season

We've rounded up some recent fiction and nonfiction to cozy up with as temperatures drop.

Looking for a new book? We've rounded up some recent Canadian fiction and nonfiction to cozy up with as temperatures drop.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black is a novel by Esi Edugyan. (Patrick Crean Editions, Tamara Poppitt)

Winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Giller PrizeWashington Black follows a boy known as "Wash" who was born into slavery on a Barbados sugar plantation. At the age of 11, Wash witnesses a man's death and escapes his own doom by taking off with his master's brother, an eccentric inventor he calls "Titch." Their escape takes Wash on a dangerous adventure around the globe.

Dear Evelyn by Kathy Page

Kathy Page's latest book is the novel Dear Evelyn. (Biblioasis, Billie Woods)

Winner of the 2018 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeDear Evelyn is the story of a war-time marriage that withers over the course of 70 years. Harry Miles is an English poetry lover who falls in love with Evelyn, the ambitious daughter of an alcoholic, before shipping off to serve in the Second World War. 

The Flame by Leonard Cohen

The Flame is the final poetry collection by Leonard Cohen. (Canadian Press/DAPD/Kai-'Uwe Knoth, McClelland & Stewart)

In the final days of his life, Leonard Cohen completed The Flame, a collection of previously unpublished poetry, selections from his notebooks and lyrics from his albums. Cohen curated the book's selections, which include his insights as an artist and thinker.

Final Report by Rick Mercer

Rick Mercer hosted the Rick Mercer Report for 15 seasons.

Comedian Rick Mercer's new book is a carefully curated look at never-before-published rants from the last five seasons of his hit show, along a collection of the very best rants from earlier years.

Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson

Trickster Drift is the second book in Eden Robinson's Trickster trilogy. (Laughing Red Works, Knopf Canada)

The second novel in Eden Robinson's Trickster trilogy returns to Jared — the main character from the trilogy's first book Son of a Trickster — who is now 17 years old and living in Vancouver with his formerly estranged Aunt Mave. He's been sober for a year, in an attempt to keep magic out of his life. But as the son of a Trickster and a witch, this proves nearly impossible. Things take a turn when David, his mom's violent ex-boyfriend, starts stalking him around the city.

The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong

The Woo-Woo is a memoir by Lindsay Wong. (Shimon/Arsenal Pulp Press)

This dark and witty memoir by Vancouver-based writer Lindsay Wong takes a look at the impact of mental illness on families. Wong delivers an honest and emotional look at whispered secrets, dysfunctional relationships — and how her grandmother, mother, aunt and even herself initially blamed the mythical "woo-woo," Chinese spirits that plague the living, for their mental health issues. The memoir is equal parts blunt, honest and hilarious.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

A composite photo of a book cover, featuring a snowed in car in a field, and the book's author, a 40something man with two long braids.
Moon of the Crusted Snow is a book by Waubgeshig Rice. (ECW Press)

Moon of the Crusted Snow is Waubgeshig Rice's second novel. In the book, a northern Anishinaabe community loses power just as winter arrives, burying roads and creating panic as the food supply slowly runs out. Newcomers begin to arrive on the reserve, escaping a nearby crisis, and tension builds as disease begins taking lives. Rice is the host of the CBC Radio show Up North.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Louise Penny's latest mystery is Kingdom of the Blind. (Raincoast Books, Jean-Francois Berube)

Kingdom of the Blind is the latest in Louise Penny's hit mystery series. It begins when Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Québec, is named an executor of the will of an elderly woman he's never met before. The contents are extremely strange, eventually leading to the shocking discovery of a dead body. Meanwhile, an internal investigation into the events that led to Armand's suspension is underway and deadly opioids threaten to hit the streets of Montreal.

Mamaskatch by Darrel J. McLeod

Mamaskatch is a memoir by Darrel J. McLeod. (Ilja Herb/Douglas & McIntyre)

Winner of the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfictionDarrel J. McLeod's Mamaskatch is a memoir of his upbringing in Smith, Alta., raised by his fierce Cree mother Bertha. McLeod describes vivid memories of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, surrounded by siblings and cousins. From his mother, McLeod learned to be proud of his heritage and also shares her fractured stories from surviving the residential school system.

Tilly and the Crazy Eights by Monique Gray Smith

Tilly and the Crazy Eights is a novel by Monique Gray Smith. (Centric Photography, Second Story Press)

This novel follows a woman named Tilly, as she impulsively agrees to drive eight elders on a life-changing road trip to Albuquerque for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. The eight elders, who call themselves the Crazy Eights, each choose a stop on the way to check something off on their bucket list. Each new place unearths old stories and offers healing to ancient scars.

All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay

All Things Consoled is a memoir by Elizabeth Hay. (Mark Fried, McClelland & Stewart)

Winner of the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for NonfictionAll Things Consoled is a memoir about Elizabeth Hay's transition from daughter to caregiver. With both her parents — a financially prudent artist and a schoolteacher with a short fuse — Hay had a challenging relationship growing up. 

Big Lonely Doug by Harley Rustad

Big Lonely Doug is a nonfiction book by Harley Rustad. (Harley Rustad, House of Anansi Press)

Big Lonely Doug is about an ancient Douglas fir tree that stands at roughly the height of a 20-storey building on Vancouver Island. Saved by a logger named Dennis Cronin, the tree stands alone in the forest near Port Renfrew, as its neighbouring cedar, hemlock and great fir trees were clear cut and hauled away. Big Lonely Doug was originally a magazine article, which won silver at the National Magazine Awards.

Buffy Sainte-Marie ​by Andrea Warner

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a biography of the acclaimed singer-songwriter by Andrea Warner. (

Music critic and CBC Music producer Andrea Warner drew from over 60 hours of interviews with iconic Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie for this authorized biography. The book goes deep into Sainte-Marie's childhood and through her storied career as a groundbreaking artist and tireless First Nations activist who won an Oscar and was blacklisted by two U.S. presidents.

All Our Relations by Tanya Talaga​​

Tanya Talaga wrote the 2018 Massey Lectures and accompanying book All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, on the subject of youth suicide in Indigenous communities. (Steve Russell, CBC)

Journalist and writer Tanya Talaga investigates the alarming rise in youth suicides in Indigenous communities. All Our Relations — part of the 2018 Massey Lectures and based on Talaga's Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy series — is a call for action and justice for Indigenous communities and youth.

Defying Limits by Dave Williams

Dave Williams is a Canadian astronaut. (NASA/Simon & Schuster Canada)

Dafydd Rhys Williams — also known as "Dr. Dave" — is a Canadian physician and retired astronaut. He's set records for spacewalking, saved lives as a ER doctor and performed surgery in zero gravity. Defying Limits is a memoir about passion and exploring everything life has to offer from the perspective of one of the country's most accomplished astronauts.