Canadian books on my wish list

There are such diverse narratives and voices in CanLit books. Here are some I can't wait to read, along with a few of my favourites.

A girl holds an open, old-looking book in front of her face. Photo: Leah Kelley

I love to read. As a kid, I adored flipping through the pages of Where the Wild Things Are and The Land of Stories. I re-read The Fault In Our Stars more times than I wish to admit, and I still think about the first time I finished the fantastic novel Holes. But it wasn’t until I got to university that I realized how little Canadian literature I’ve read. I feel like it's my job as an avid reader to consume as much CanLit as I do other books, so I'm on a mission to build a list of Canadian literature that captures the diverse narratives and voices within our country. If you feel the same as me, here are the first four books on my CanLit TBR (to-be-read) list, plus a few books I've actually read that inspired this challenge.


My TBR list:

  1. River Mumma by Zalika Reid-Benta
  2. Tales for Late Night Bonfires by G.A. Grisenthwaite
  3. Rouge by Mona Awad
  4. Adherent by Chris W. Kim


Books that should be on your TBR list:

While I can’t officially recommend the books listed above (because I haven't read them yet), it feels wrong to leave you without a few that I can confirm will keep you hooked until the end. So here are my top three favourites that can act as a perfect starting point for your CanLit journey.

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Eden Robinson is one of my favourite Canadian authors. Her prose is both humorous and insightful, not to mention incredibly detailed and easy to read. Son of a Trickster is a coming-of-age story set in a world of magic realism wherein the main character, Jared, is followed by a mythological character known as the trickster. The novel combines the magic of mythology with the very real social and political issues experienced within Indigenous communities. It's funny, heartbreaking, and beautiful. I guarantee it will make for an exciting read. 

49th Parallel Psalm by Wayde Compton

If you're interested in poetry, this book has everything you could want. Compton’s work contains a stunning set of poems detailing the African diaspora in Canada. It varies in style, ranging from free verse to concrete poetry, and contains a short story at the center. Not only is the book thought-provoking, but it’s also visually stunning. I highly recommend it for everyone—even if you think poetry isn’t your thing, because this could be the book that changes your mind!

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton

Are there any graphic novel fans out there? To be honest, I didn’t really know I was one until I studied them at Dal, but now I’m hooked. Ducks is an autobiography delving into two years of the author's life while working in the Alberta oil fields to pay off her student debt. Over the two years, Beaton experiences trauma that was normalized within her male-dominated industry and struggles to grow within an environment that sees her as less valuable than her male co-workers. The novel is vivid in its images and imagery and reflects important topics of discussion for our modern Canadian society.