Not long ago, a bookseller friend of mine shared a five-book set with the audacious title of “Best Canadian Books of all Time”. Perhaps it was the addition of “all time” that threw me for a loop. But disagreeable as I am, I had to disagree.
True, there were some very fine titles in this set, but “best” of anything is also so subjective. My best and yours are likely to be different. But no matter. It got me thinking… just what would I classify as the “best” Canadian books.
Here’s my entirely subjective top 30 Canadian books - but not necessarily, of all time.
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Strangers by Katherine Vermette
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Sleeping Car Porter - Suzette Mayr
An Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
Fight Night by Marian Toews
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hill
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill
The Wars by Timothy Findley
River Thieves by Michael Crummey
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie Macdonald
No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod
In the Skin of a Lion by Michel Ondaatje
The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
The Englishman’s Boy by Gus Vanderhaeghe
The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
Remembering the Bones by Frances Itani
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Do Not Say we Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
The Ash Garden by Dennis Bock
What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
If you have a book lover on your list - and really, isn’t everyone a candidate for a book - and you’re still scratching your head, you can’t go wrong with any of these great Canadian titles.
Happy holidays my friends and thanks so much for allowing me to bring my reading & writing thoughts into your day. It’s an honour to share my passion for books with you and for keeping me connected to other readers like yourself.
Have a very happy and safe holiday season!
In the meantime, happy reading!