As part of a Goodreads challenge in the group CanadianContent, I have been reading Canadian for the month of July as a way of celebrating Canada Day! It has helped me read through a number of the books from CBC’s 100 Novels that Make You Proud to be Canadian and reinforced the fact that Canada has many amazing writers!! Here is a list of the Canadian books that I enjoyed:
- Celia’s Song (Lee Maracle) – I enjoyed this beautifully written novel after meeting this outspoken, feisty author with a large sense of humour. It deals with the struggles of indigenous people relating to the treatment by the Canadian government and the aftermath of residential schools.
- Indian Horse (Richard Wagamese) – This is a difficult but important story to read, shares the dreadful story of residential schools through historical fiction. I really enjoyed this but if you are going to read just one novel by Richard Wagamese, choose The Medicine Walk which is probably the best book that I have read in 2016!
- The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields) – This story shares the story of a lifetime which in the end is reduced to a drawer with a few important items. The novel is a slower paced but thought-provoking.
- Essex County (Jeffrey Lemire) – Reading a graphic novel is outside my comfort zone but reading this genre was part of a book challenge. It was set in the Essex County farmland which is familiar but I admit that I will not be rushing to read more graphic novels.
- Runaway (Alice Munro) – in celebration of the author’s 85th birthday, I enjoyed this collection of short stories based on the lives and struggles of women. As part of a box set, I will be reading through more of her short stories in the months to come.
- Certainty (Madeleine Thien) – This novel is part of the CBC list and shares a talk of loss, grieving and regret. Since reading this novel, Thien has been nominated for the Booker Prize with her newest novel Do Not Say Anything.
- Obasan (Joyce Kogwa) – This is story that should be part of a high school curriculum and shares through historical fiction based on the author’s own experience the Japanese internment through WWII.
- Mercy Among the Children (David Adams Richards) – As part of an online monthly book discussion, the consensus was that this was a bleak novel yet it showed hope and resilience as a family struggles with deep rooted stigma and poverty.
- The Antagonist (Lynn Coady) – The Antagonist, written through a series of emails is a coming of age story with the main character coming to terms with mistakes of his past. I enjoyed the overall story but struggled with the slower pace of this novel.
- George and Rue (George Elliott Clark) – Based on a true story of two brothers who murdered a taxi driver, this story is another bleak tale of growing up in poverty. The main characters were black growing up in extreme poverty in New Brunswick. The had little education and had lived in a home of abuse and alcoholism.
- Ragged Company (Richard Wagamese) – this is the third novel that I have enjoyed by Richard Wagamese and describes 4 homeless individuals who support in the grittiness of living on the streets. They start watching movies as a way of staying warm forming a bond which leads them to new lives after finding a winning lottery ticket.
- The Cellist of Sarajevo – This novel is also based on a historical event when a cellist plays an adagio each day for 22 days, risking his life, as a tribute to 22 individuals killed while lined up to buy bread during this civil war. It is told from the perspective of 4 others who are impacted by this beauty during war.
- The Prison Book Club – I am in the process of finishing this memoir which provides contrasting details of a woman’s experience participating in inmate book clubs as well as her own women’s book club.
It has been rewarding to enjoy so much Canadian writing for the month of July and I would love to hear your comments about which Canadian authors you enjoy!
As per your suggestions I read Birdie and Three Day Road this summer- both excellent books. I wonder, Susan, have you come across any historical fiction that talk about deportation of the Acadians or marginalization of French Canadians ? I’d be interested to add those to the list as well.
Thanks for the recommendations. You’re always right on the money.
Going to finish The Illegal now, also one of your reccos!
interesting question and i will ask my goodreads group if they have any suggestions!! Glad you liked Birdie and Three Day Road!! You would likely enjoy The Medicine Walk too!!
Here are some suggestions from my goodreads group:
The Acadians: In search of a homeland
The Acadian Exiles : a Chronicle of the Land of Evangeline
Not In My Father’s Footsteps
French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest
I have Two Solitudes on my list of TBR!
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Wow what a fantastic reading month! I’ve not hear of any of these books before, so obviously my Canadian author game is lacking!
It helped to have a couple of vacation weeks!! If i could recommend one Canadian book it would be The Medicine Walk!!
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“A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion. Wagamese’s writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.”
Sold! Thanks for the recommendation! I have added it to my TBR list… now to find the time to actually read it haha
It is one of those books that you just can’t put down so you will likely read it in a day or two!!