With Canada Day right around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to bring back our Savvy Suggestions feature to highlight a few of the books that make us proud to call Canada home. With some new releases and some truly genre-defining novels, there’s a little something for every type of reader on this list.
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill
This is the first coming-of-age story that I remember reading and it has stuck with me since I first read it ten years ago. It’s a heartbreaking story that’s beautifully written and is the perfect book club book.
A Good Wife by Samra Zafar
This is a must-read memoir that I think is especially important for woman of all ages to read. It’s a harrowing tale by an inspiring woman that shows how you can find strength in the face of oppression. It’s about female empowerment and the importance of education. This is one of the first memoirs I read that inspired me to keep reading books in this genre.
Let That Sh*t Go by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw
I don’t read self-help often but I found this book to be so beneficial in helping me change my outlook on life. It has helped me put emotions into perspective and have helped me work toward finding peace in the chaos that is life. It’s helped me work through emotions stemming from anxiety and I think is a great book for anyone struggling with their mental health.
The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King
If you’ve been following the Savvy Reader for quite some time, it will come as no surprise that I am a gigantic fan of Thomas King. Fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, I’ve read it all. This book was actually the first time I had ever read anything by Thomas King, and it’s a major reason why he’s one of my favourite authors today. Equal parts smart, funny, and moving, The Back of the Turtle should be a must-read for all Canadians.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
I will NEVER stop talking about how much I love this book. Emily St. John Mandel is one of my favourite authors, and I honestly thought that nothing would ever touch Station Eleven for me, but then a little book called The Glass Hotel came along and blew me out of the water. If someone were to sit me down and force me to come up with a list of my top five favourite books of all-time, it would have a place on that list. I was lucky enough to read it last spring and it has stuck with me ever since.
Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
Like many Canadians, I first “met” Birdie when Bruce Poon Tip was defending it on CBC’s Canada Reads. I was working at a bookstore at the time, and my manager encouraged us to read all of the shortlisted books so we could more accurately recommend them to customers. I read Birdie in one day (and I am typically a painfully slow reader), staff picked it the next, and haven’t shut up about how good it is since then. Birdie’s story is remarkably well-crafted and expertly told, and I encourage everyone to pick this book up.
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
Oddly enough, Lawrence Hill is one of the first Canadian authors I remember reading! I read The Book of Negroes several years ago but it’s stayed with me ever since. A truly epic story following an incredible female character, Hill’s book follows Aminata Diallo, from the age of eleven when she is abducted by slavers to her eventual path to freedom and return to Sierra Leone years later. A gripping account of the slave trade, I couldn’t put this one down when I first read it and it’s been one of my most highly-recommended reads ever since!
The Birth Yard by Mallory Tater
If you’re looking for the perfect page-turner, I have a recommendation for you! Mallory Tater’s The Birth Yard is a suspenseful debut, akin to The Handmaid’s Tale (and I need a sequel!). Following Sable Ursu whose eighteenth birthday signals that she’s “ready to breed” The Birth Yard presents a dystopian world within our own and is so intense right up until the very last page!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Chances are you’ve heard about Emily St. John Mandel, but if you still haven’t picked up her novel Station Eleven, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Pandemic fiction at its finest, her sweeping dystopian novel follows several groups of survivors who continue to roam the Great Lakes region years after civilization as we know if has been snuffed out by a fatal flu. A truly stunning book that is eerily reminiscent of current events, I can’t recommend this one enough.
There you have it, Savvy Readers, our CanLit staff picks! Which books would you recommend Savvy Readers read to celebrate Canada Day? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader, and be sure to keep an eye out on the site on Tuesday, where will be sharing your responses!
The Savvy Reader Team