The Top Five Canadian Books to Read Right Now

The Top Five Canadian Books to Read Right Now


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The long lull of Montreal winter can leave many craving the summertime sun, but as long as we're all stuck inside for a few weeks longer, why not read a good book or two? Below, I've compiled a list of Canadian books that people have been talking about as well as a few I think people should be talking about. Choose a title or two from the list to pass the time with a good literary adventure before all the slow melts and we can go off to have some adventures of our own.

1) The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

Many of us may have had to read Boyden's well-known novel, Three Day Road, for an English class over the years which might make the name sound familiar. This novel is the third to be published in the trilogy that started with Three Day Road, but the novel takes place first chronologically in the story so don't let the fact that it's a trilogy let you shy away from reading. Boyden continues to do what he does best as he brings historical material into the story of The Orenda. I have heard people talking about this book for months, but its popularity increased even more since it was declared winner of Canada Reads 2014. If a group of panellists took the time to agree on this being the book Canadians should read then I definitely think it should be one to take a look at.

2) Worst. Person. Ever. by Douglas Coupland

Author of over a dozen novels, Douglas Coupland continues to write about issues of fame, technology, and contemporary culture in this novel. The novel follows Raymond Gunt, an obnoxious and impulsive Englishman who finds himself entangled in the production of a superficiality of an American reality television show. His ex-wife gets him the job as a cameraman for the show which leads him to enlist a charming homeless man as his assistant and take off to America in hopes of collecting money and women along the way. I don't know if you have ever read a book where you hate the narrator as much as you will hate Grunt, but it's worth the experience to read through chapters almost hoping bad things happen to him so we will learn how to be a respectably citizen of the world.

3) All the Broken Things by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

All the Broken Things is the second novel by university professor, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. The novel tells the story of a young boy named Bo who gets recruited by a carnival worker to take part in the bear fighting part of the travelling show. Despite his love for the thrill of the fights, Bo soon finds himself in a strange position as his boss becomes increasingly interested in making his younger sister part of the show because she has been disfigured from the effects of Agent Orange before moving to Toronto. Reading the back summary of this book got me so excited about reading this unconventional adventure novel that I could not resist adding it to my list of books to read next. With all of the interesting plot elements, the novel leaves you wondering what will happen in the end.

4) Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Set in Newfoundland in the late 1960s, Kathleen Winter's Annabel deals with a family trying to cope with the difficult decisions associated with raising a baby with atypical sexual anatomy. Wayne's parents choose to raise him a boy, but he begins to identify with feminine traits in early childhood. The subject matter addresses what many still have a hard time talking about which makes it an interesting read. This is Winter's first novel, though she has another book of short stories. As a new writer, I find this to be a good choice for a book because she offers a distinct voice many readers might not be familiar with. After growing up in Newfoundland, Winter began her writing career writing for Sesame Street and then moved to settle in Montreal. Between the topics explored in the book and the background Winter brings to her writing, I think Annabel offers readers the chance to experience something completely new.

5) Cockroach by Rawi Hage

This novel hits home in how the action takes place in Montreal. Hage writes about a young man and thief in a bad place both physically and emotionally. The man attempts suicide and fails in the opening pages of the novel which sets the stage for the whirlwind of poverty, dark memories, and misdeeds. This is not Hage's first and writing is not his first career. Having lived in many different parts of the world, Hage has a background in photography, visual art, and even spent some time working as a cab driver in Montreal. Following the trouble protagonist in Cockroach gives readers an emotional journey not to be forgotten, but that just might help distract away from the daily struggles of their own lives.

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