Oh Canada, exotic neighbor to the north, land of mounties, maple leaves, and strange but delicious potato chips (seriously, what are you magical All-Dressed chips?!).
All joking aside, Canada is more than just poutine (eat it), five-pin bowling (play it), and hockey-fiends (run!); Canada is a country as vast and diverse as the United States and, if the rumors are to be believed, a much friendlier disposition.
One of our favourite authors, Kate Beaton, helps illustrate this point:
While we’re talking about Kate Beaton, you need to read her book. You won’t be able to stop laughing. And she’s Canadian.
David Rakoff was Canadian, too.
You can read his books and listen to this This American Life episode about the Canadians among us. Because Canadians are among us. They blend well, but they’re here. One of our favourite booksellers hails from the great white north (it’s Justus, you can tell because she’s the nice one).
With much more pronounced British and French influences than our country has maintained, Canada is not only a fun, fairly easy to access, vacation destination but also the setting to several excellent books. Whether you’re looking for historical fiction, young adult adventure, or puzzling detective mysteries, the big red maple leaf has something you’re sure to read again and again.
And our Canadian bookseller would probably speak sternly to us if we failed to mention her favourite book first:
Quite simply, you need to read this book.
You need to read this book.
Set in the mid-1600s, The Orenda tells the story of a time wrought with cultural clashes, conflicting identities, and struggles to determine place in a quickly changing world. Boyden is a rare writer at his peak: his visceral sense of character and place leave you breathless, and his ability to navigate the historical novel’s complicated and rich history is impressive. This could very well be the best book you read, ever.
This book is pure adventure. A fantastical train is setting off on its maiden voyage across Canada in the mid-1800s and it must survive sabotage. That is if it survives the perils of the Swamp Witch, the muskeg, and the sasquatch. This book has a hint of The Night Circus but for kids. Trust me when I say that you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this tale.
by Brian Brett
One of the best parts about reading Trauma Farm is knowing how close Saltspring Island is to Seattle — a relatively quick trip compared to other places in our neighbour’s vast northern wilds. This is a stunning narrative told over the course of a day but also over the entire history of agriculture. If you want a work that grounds you in this world, broadens your awareness, and allows your soul to grow, this is it.
Anne of Green Gables series
Classics. If you remember the tales of spunky, carrot-haired Anne Shirley (breaking her slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head!) and the other inhabitants of Avonlea from your childhood, read them again. If you’ve never delved deeper than the film versions, pick up these books now!
Temperance Brennan series
by Kathy Reichs
Unlike the television series, Bones, these mysteries set in the southeastern United States and in Quebec. They follow the crime-solving exploits of forensic anthropologist Temperance “Tempe” Brennan. Start of with Déjà Dead.
Other notable suggestions:
by Emma Healey
Inspector Gamache series
by Louise Penny
Murdoch Mysteries series
And now you should be ready for the Great White North.
Don’t forget to stop by our Travel Section in the mezzanine for more fantastic recommendations, whether you’re traveling by armchair or truly transporting yourself over that border.