Canadian Living staffers love a good book— and we know you do, too! Here's our roundup of titles to tempt you into enjoying a peaceful hour or two spent in solitary splendour during this season of social events.
In a remote sylvan Swedish town, three things are true: Everyone knows everyone, hockey is king and something truly horrible is about to happen. When the star of the juniors, who is set to take his team to a big win, is accused of assault, the town is torn apart. As intimate and compelling as it is devastating and heart-wrenching, this novel delivers an important commentary on rape, rape culture and the dangers of allowing celebrity idolization to dictate right and wrong. It harks back to so many headlines in the news these days and is hands down one of the best books I read this year. —Sara Cation
Sunday's father is dying. She's only an adolescent but old enough to know she's sad and she's angry and she doesn't want him to go. So, in her grief, she starts a project and begins to record everything her father says in the hopes of having him "live" forever. A glimpse into Sunday's family was all it took for me to be invested in this pre-teen girl and her introspective journey through the pain of a parent's illness. —Alexandra Donaldson
THE SHOE ON THE ROOF (Fiction)
Trying to emerge from his revered psychiatrist father's shadow, Harvard medical student Thomas Rosano has started an experiment in an effort to cure three homeless men who claim they're Jesus Christ by bringing them together—there can't be three saviours in the world. When his father finds out, all goes awry and Thomas starts to unravel. From miracles and messiahs to madness and murders, this tale teeming with irreverent charm and tragic heroism is another gem from this Giller Prize–winning author. —SC
THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS (Poetry)
Have tissue at hand because this book of short and sweet poetry will tug at your heartstrings. Taking readers on a lovelorn journey through chapters such as "Wilting," "Falling," "Rooting," "Rising" and "Blooming," Canadian author (and illustrator) Rupi Kaur touches on themes of weakness and resilience, loneliness and community, history and legacy. The kind of book you can digest in the tiniest morsels and still feel nourished, it's something you'll want to read aloud to anyone around—my friends can attest to that! —SC
RECKLESS DAUGHTER: A PORTRAIT OF JONI MITCHELL (Biography)
I first discovered Joni Mitchell's 1971 album, Blue, as a preteen while rooting through my parents' music collection. It was simple and honest and yearning, and I was hooked—the sad, soulful love songs are ripe for a teenager's angst. But adult me loves Joni Mitchell more, and as I read about her life—detailed meticulously and with love in David Ya e's biography—it's hard not to be amazed by her success. An Alberta- born Canadian who inspired awe in everyone she met, Mitchell mastered music in a way that resonates with us all. National treasure, indeed. —AD
READ IT, SEE IT: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
The National Theatre's Olivier and Tony Award–winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is taking Canada by storm. Adapted from Mark Haddon's beloved 2003 novel about Christopher Boone, it's about an autistic 15-year-old whose world is turned upside down when he works to uncover who's behind the mysterious death of his neighbour's dog. —Amanda Etty
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Doubleday) by Mark Haddon, $21.
OUR STAFF REVIEWERS
Alexandra Donaldson loves reading literary fiction, essay collections, dark humour, Canadian authors and magical realism. This, and the fact that she's one of our resident fashion editors, makes her the closest thing we have to Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Sara Cation has wept-in-public her way through a litany of literary heartbreaks, from The Little Prince to A Little Life, but she's buoyed by the humour of Shteyngart and the prose of Safran Foer. She'll read anything set in North Korea or India but never touches self-help books or cheesy romances...not that there's anything wrong with that.
Amanda Etty has an affinity for nail-biting thrillers and smart, funny books written by smart, funny women. She's always on the hunt for her next favourite novel, although she's currently working her way through a stack of parenting books (toddlers, right?).