Books

The top 10 bestselling Canadian books of 2018

With the help of Bookmanager and data from close to 300 independent bookstores, CBC Books has put together a top 10 countdown of the bestselling Canadian books of 2018.

2018 was a year full of interesting and diverse books. CBC Books is counting down the top 10 bestselling Canadian titles of 2018, using data from close to 300 independent Canadian bookstores as compiled by Bookmanager

You can listen to the countdown special hosted by Ali Hassan below or keep scrolling to see which books made the cut! 

Top Ten Canadian Books of 2018 53:59

10. The Boat People by Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (Peter Power/CBC, McClelland & Stewart)

In this debut novel by Sharon Bala, a ship carrying 500 Tamil refugees reaches the shores of British Columbia. Mahindan and his six-year-old son have survived a harrowing journey and hope to start a new life in Canada. But Mahindan is immediately taken into detention and left to wait there as politicians, journalists and the public debate the fate of the "boat people." The Boat People was defended by Mozhdah Jamalzadah on Canada Reads 2018. 

Rupi Kaur reading the poem, "Advice I Would Have Given My Mother on Her Wedding Day," from her 2017 collection, The Sun and Her Flowers 2:32

9. The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is the author of The Sun and Her Flowers. (Simon & Schuster/rupikaur.com)

Instagram poet Rupi Kaur followed up her bestselling debut milk and honey with The Sun and Her Flowers. 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. 

Canadian poet Rupi Kaur opens up about her quick rise to fame, the critical and commercial success of her debut book and her follow-up to that, The Sun and Her Flowers. 16:02

8. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is the author of Milk and Honey. (rupikaur.com/Simon & Schuster)

After gaining a huge following posting her poetry on Instagram, Rupi Kaur published this New York Times bestselling poetry collection. Divided into four chapters and featuring illustrations by Kaur, Milk and Honey explores love, pain, trauma, identity and feminism.   

In 2011, Toronto Star reporter Tanya Talaga went to Thunder Bay to write a story about why First Nation people were not voting in the federal election. But while in Thunder Bay she came across a more compelling, and important story: the deaths of seven 12:17

7. Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga

Tanya Talaga highlights the lives of seven Indigenous students in Seven Fallen Feathers. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star/House of Anansi)

In Seven Fallen Feathers, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga travels to Thunder Bay, Ont., to investigate the deaths of seven Indigenous teenagers: Jordan Wabasse, Kyle Morrisseau, Curran Strang, Robyn Harper, Paul Panacheese, Reggie Bushie and Jethro Anderson. Talaga looks at how their lives and untimely deaths can teach us about the injustice faced by Indigenous communities on a daily basis.

Canadian writer Miriam Toews has examined the ethos of her Mennonite faith in her writing before. In her new novel, she takes on a shocking true story of crime and tragedy within a reclusive conservative community and imagines how the normally silent victims gain the courage to speak out and take back their lives. Her new novel is called 'Women Talking'. 21:25

6. Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Women Talking is Miriam Toews's latest novel. (Carol Loewen, Knopf Canada)

​In Miriam Toews's powerful 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. Women Talking was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Aaward for fiction.

Jordan Peterson sits down with the CBC’s Wendy Mesley to talk about political polarization, Pepe the Frog and his support from the far right. He has a new book called 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos. Peterson sparked controversy in 2016, when he spoke against a federal bill on gender expression and the University of Toronto’s policy requirement to address students by their gender pronoun of choice 11:17

5. Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto

Mark Sakamoto is a Canada Reads winner and the author of Forgiveness. (Peter Power/CBC, Harper Perennial)

Mark Sakamoto's memoir Forgiveness tells the true story of how his grandparents survived two very different experiences of the war. His paternal grandmother was one of many Japanese Canadians forced into internment cams during World War II, while his maternal grandfather was a prisoner of war in Japan. These stories of survival and reconciliation shaped him as a Canadian, a man and a father. Forgiveness won Canada Reads 2018, when it was defended by Jeanne Beker.

The Canadian literary icon joined Eleanor Wachtel onstage at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal. His new novel, Warlight, is being hailed as a masterpiece. 53:25

4. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson is the author of 12 Rules for Life. (Random House Canada)

This self-help book by University of Toronto professor and YouTube personality Jordan B. Peterson offers age-old advice to those seeking guidance in the modern world. 12 Rules for Life gives Peterson's perspective on discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility.

Author Richard Wagamese speaks to The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers about his novel Indian Horse. 18:19

3. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

Warlight is the latest novel from author Michael Ondaatje. (McClelland & Stewart/Getty Images)

Michael Ondaatje, author of the acclaimed novel The English Patient, is once again writing about the Second World War. Set in London in 1945, the novel tells the tale of two young siblings who have been separated from their parents in the aftermath of Nazi bombings. 

Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves, speaks with Metro Morning host Matt Galloway about her novel and what it means to young Indigenous readers to see themselves represented in literature. 6:24

2. Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Indian Horse was defended by Carol Huynh on Canada Reads 2013. (Douglas & McIntyre)

This seminal novel by Richard Wagamese tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, a young Ojibway boy who is ripped from his family and forcibly placed in residential school. Saul, a gifted hockey player, is both victim and witness to the dehumanizing abuse of students at the school. As an adult, Saul becomes dependent on alcohol to cope with the trauma of his childhood. Indian Horse was defended on Canada Reads 2013 by Carol Huynh.

1. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline is the author of The Marrow Thieves. (Peter Power/CBC, Dancing Cat Books)

​In the dystopian world of Cherie Dimaline's award-winning The Marrow Thieves, climate change has ravaged the Earth and a continent-wide hunt and slaughter of Indigenous people is underway. Wanted for their bone marrow, which contains the lost ability to dream, a group of Indigenous people seek refuge in the old lands. The Marrow Thieves, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for children's text in 2017 and was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018, is a captivating, original read. 

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