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Updated by 49th Shelf on Jun 22, 2017
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100 Canadian Books: Now Chime In!

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Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 769
The Handmaid's Tale (by Margaret Atwood)

It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 709
The Stone Diaries (by Carol Shields)

The Stone Diaries is the story of one woman's life; a truly sensuous novel that reflects and illuminates the unsettled decades of our century.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 599
The Book Of Negroes (by Lawrence Hill)

Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.”

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 658
Pathologies (by Susan Olding)

In these fifteen searingly honest personal essays, debut author Susan Olding takes us on an unforgettable journey into the complex heart of being human. Each essay dissects an aspect of Olding’s life experience—from her vexed relationship with her father to her tricky dealings with her female peers; from her work as a counsellor and teacher to her persistent desire, despite struggles with infertility, to have children of her own.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 812
Practical Jean (by Trevor Cole)

"A jaw-dropping, near-perfect satire." - Chatelaine " Practical Jean should be a starred pick for every book club. . . . [A] biting and black comedy of middle-class mores gone murderously wrong [that] combines diamond-cut social satire with thoughtful contemplations of friendship's burdens, meaning and purpose. . .

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 753
Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (by Tomson Highway)

Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing tells another story of the mythical Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve, also the setting for Tomson Highway's award winning play The Rez Sisters. It is a fast-paced story of tragedy, comedy, and hope.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 718
Obasan (by Joy Kogawa)

This powerful, passionate and highly acclaimed novel tells, through the eyes of a child, the moving story of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 803
In the Skin of a Lion (by Michael Ondaatje)

In the Skin of a Lion is a love story and an irresistible mystery set in the turbulent, muscular new world of Toronto in the 20s and 30s. Michael Ondaatje entwines adventure, romance and history, real and invented, enmeshing us in the lives of the immigrants who built the city and those who dreamed it into being.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 804
Fionavar Tapestry Omnibus (by Guy Gavriel Kay)

Celebrated worldwide as a fantasy classic since the release of The Summer Tree (Book I in the series), The Fionavar Tapestry has conjured up sales of more than 100,000 in Canada, and has been translated into 12 languages. No Canadian work in the field of fantasy fiction has ever come close to achieving the international impact of The Fionavar Tapestry. Now available in a single volume, this new edition of the celebrated trilogy is sure to create new worlds of Guy Gavriel Kay fans.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 684
Eating Dirt (by Charlotte Gill)

Eating Dirt journeys across mountain roads, ocean swells and raw Canadian wilderness, unearthing the unique subculture of tree planters. - The Martlet In her new book, Eating Dirt, [Charlotte Gill] questions whether the intricate relationships between species that have developed over centuries in old-growth forests can be replaced through the efforts of an army of shovels.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 760
Come, Thou Tortoise (by Jessica Grant)

"Jessica Grant's Come, Thou Tortoise should be issued with a health warning: you will split your sides laughing, your eyes will leak, your heart rate will accelerate, and the abundance of wit will rewire the synapses in your brain. This book is astoundingly unique.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 786
Who Do You Think You Are? (by Alice Munro)

Rose and her stepmother, Flo, live in Hanratty-across the bridge from the "good" part of town. In these stories of Rose and Flo, Alice Munro explores the universal story of growing up-Rose's struggle to accept herself tells the story of our lives.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 650
The Inconvenient Indian (by Thomas King)

Nominated for the Canadian Booksellers Association Non-Fiction Book of the Year FINALIST 2013 - Trillium AwardFINALIST 2013 - Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction " The Inconvenient Indian may well be unsettling for many non-natives in this country to read. This is exactly why we all should read it.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 820
The Diviners (by Margaret Laurence)

TThe culmination and completion of Margaret Laurence’s celebrated Manawaka cycle, The Diviners is an epic novel. This is the powerful story of an independent woman who refuses to abandon her search for love. For Morag Gunn, growing up in a small Canadian prairie town is a toughening process – putting distance between herself and a world that wanted no part of her.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 803
Light Lifting (by Alexander MacLeod)

In Light Lifting, Alexander MacLeod’s long-awaited first collection of short stories, the author offers us a suite of darkly urban and unflinching elegies for a city and community on the brink. Anger and violence simmer just beneath the surface and often boil over, resulting in both tragedy and tragedy barely averted.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 709
Belles Soeurs, Les (by Michel Tremblay)

Written in 1965, it took three years for Michel Tremblay to get a first production of Les Belles Soeurs in 1968. Premiering at the Théâtre du Rideau-Vert in the same year that René Lévesque founded the nationalist Parti Québécois, this first of what was to become more than a dozen plays in Tremblay’s Cycle of Les Belles Soeurs became an overnight success.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 607
Hark! A Vagrant (by Kate Beaton)

FEATURED ON MORE THAN TWENTY BEST-OF LISTS, INCLUDING TIME, AMAZON, E! AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY! Hark! A Vagrant takes readers on a romp through history and literature - with dignity for few and cookies for all - with comic strips about famous authors, their characters, and political and historical figures, all drawn in Kate Beaton's pared-down, excitable style.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 642
February (by Lisa Moore)

Here is writing that examines the richness of the everyday with an incredibly keen eye and renders it without sentimentality but with profound empathy...Like standing in the February winter wind, reading this novel is harrowing, almost painful, but once you step out of it, you appreciate the warmth in your world that much more.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 763
Fall on Your Knees (by Ann-Marie Macdonald)

“What a wild ride — I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough,” Oprah Winfrey told her viewers as she announced Fall on Your Knees as her February 2002 Book Club selection.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 821
Annabel (by Kathleen Winter)

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret — the baby's parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 684
Virginia Wolf (by Kyo MacLear & Isabelle Arsenault)

Vanessa's sister, Virginia, is in a "wolfish" mood -- growling, howling and acting very strange. It's a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing "so that what was down could climb up."

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 632
This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall! (by Gordon Korman)

Gordon Korman's classic, bestselling series celebrates its 35th anniversary! Macdonald Hall's ivy-covered buildings have housed and educated many fine young Canadians. But Bruno Walton and Boots O'Neal are far from being fine young Canadians. The roommates and best friends are nothing but trouble! Together they've snuck out after lights-out, swapped flags, kidnapped mascots . . . and that's only the beginning.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 803
The Blue Castle (by L.M. Montgomery)

Valancy lives a drab life with her overbearing mother and prying aunt. Then a shocking diagnosis from Dr. Trent prompts her to make a fresh start. For the first time, she does and says exactly what she feels. As she expands her limited horizons, Valancy undergoes a transformation, discovering a new world of love and happiness. One of Lucy Maud Montgomery's only novels intended for an adult audience, The Blue Castle is filled with humour and romance.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 684
The Antagonist (by Lynn Coady)

. a readable, quixotic coming-of-age story, a comedy of very bad manners, and a thoughtful inquiry into the very nature of self. It's the sort of novel -- and Coady the sort of writer -- deserving of every accolade coming to it. ... [a] strong new comic novel.

Sep 29, 2014 - 49thshelf.com - 684
Louis Riel (by Chester Brown)

Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography is the book that launched the graphic novel medium in Canada. Brown received the Harvey Award for best writing and best graphic novel, and made several Best of the Year lists. Publishers Weekly hailed the book as a "contender for best graphic novel ever."