Nearly everyone in my critique group has at least one book published with a small Canadian publisher. While I’m excited to join their ranks, I’m also very aware that most Canadian-authored books are barely read by an audience broader than their family and friends. In fact, Canadian-authored books only account for about 13% of total book sales in Canada, with the vast majority of the market being occupied by multinational bestsellers.
So to encourage you to buy more Canadian books, here are a few CanLit books that you might not have heard of… and are definitely worth reading.
7 Recommended CanLit Books
- In Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, Greek Gods make a bet over whether human intelligence leads to unhappiness. They grant human consciousness and language to 15 dogs spending the night at a veterinarian clinic. The result is both funny and devastating.
- I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind by Marianne Apostolides is literary Sci-Fi. The lead character is part of a study where her entire life is being watched by an AI device that also maps her brain and to some extent, is able to read her mind.
- I wanted to read Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette because it is in the 2nd person. And you don’t often get to read novels written in the 2nd person. Bordering on non-fiction, the book explores why the author’s maternal grandmother abandoned her children. It fully embraces the complexity of human choice and experience.
- Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay is an unusual love story set in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories.
- The Birth House by Ami McKay is set during World War I and explores what happens to the midwives when a doctor comes to an isolated village in Nova Scotia, promising to deliver babies using the latest technologies to ensure a painless birth.
- I LOVE the Trickster Trilogy (affiliate link) by Eden Robinson. It’s such a heartwarming exploration of community trauma and a suspenseful page-turner at the same time. I haven’t seen the TV series, but I can definitely recommend the books!
- A Complicated Kindness (affiliate link) by Miriam Toews is a coming-of-age story set in a modern Mennonite community.
And Two Children’s books
I also wanted to give you two kids books… because CanLit can include children’s literature.
- Bloom (affiliate link) by Kenneth Oppel is a middle-grade reader set on an Island pretty close to mine. It is a suspenseful story of three teens with suddenly surprising abilities in the middle of an alien plant invasion.
- Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt is a humorous picture book that was perfect for talking about fear and anxiety with my slightly anxious preschooler.