As summer draws to a close, we’re anticipating crisper weather that’s perfect for cozy reading under the stars.
This season we're spoiled for choice with a bumper crop of amazing books by homegrown talent. From myth and mystery to memoir and manifesto, these smart reads by smart Canadian writers—some familiar, some future favourites—are all unputdownable pleasures.
Cloud Cuckoo Land
(SCRIBNER) BY ANTHONY DOERR, $40 SEPTEMBER 28
Write a book around the thought that our planet is like a kind of library and you have us at page 1. Dedicate said book to librarians, Anthony Doerr, and you have us till the end and beyond. The master storyteller that brought the world the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See in 2014 is back with another luminous, expansive novel that successfully brings together three different time periods and five disparate characters in a moving narrative about stewardship of the elements—including books—that connect us.
(HAMISH HAMILTON) BY KATHERENA VERMETTE, $30 SEPTEMBER 28
With its relevant subject matter and poignant prose, Vermette’s second novel is poised to be as triumphant as her first (2016’s award-winning The Break). Here, the author crafts another strong, emotional portrait of Indigenous women—this time those of the Métis Stranger family. You’ll meet Elsie, a mother struggling with addiction, and her daughters Cedar and Phoenix, each with problems of her own. Although they may feel detached (like strangers) in their own worlds, the power of the women is found in the matrilineal bonds that refuse to be broken.
The Bookseller's Secret
(GRAYDON HOUSE) BY MICHELLE GABLE, $14 AUGUST 18
As fascinating in their time as, say, the Kardashians are in ours, the Mitford sisters, Bright Young Things of the interwar years, remain endlessly intriguing. The Bookseller’s Secret follows Nancy Mitford, acclaimed author of Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love, as she steps out of the relentless spotlight in 1942 to run a local bookshop. In a dual narrative, Katie, a present-day writer looking for inspiration, finds a spark in the rumour of a lost Mitford manuscript. As Katie joins the search, she discovers a new side to both Ms. Mitford and herself.
You Got Anything Stronger?
(DEY STREET BOOKS) BY GABRIELLE UNION, $35 SEPTEMBER 14
When actor and activist Gabrielle Union opened her heart to readers in 2017’s We’re Going to Need More Wine, she revealed a smart, strong, brave—and endearingly human—woman with a wise personal take on everything from fem inism and fame to sexual assault and compassion for its victims. In this followup, she doubles down with more of her signature frank, funny and honest tales that tackle her journey to motherhood via surrogacy, equality in Hollywood, aging and more. Grab your glass— we’ll drink to that.
The Collector's Daughter
(WILLIAM MORROW) BY GILL PAUL, $22 SEPTEMBER 7
The woman behind the man (or woman) is always a great hook for a book, as the success of recent novels such as Hamnet & Judith, The Kingdom of Back and The Woman Before Wallis shows. The latest woman to come out of the literary shadows is Lady Evelyn Herbert, daughter of Lord Carnar von—the financial backer of arch aeologist Howard Carter—and one of the first people to enter Tut ankhamun’s tomb in 1922. This fictional tale based on her life is an evocative read redolent of time and place, in a world full of glam our, mystery and adventure.
Notable New Releases: All-Canadian Edition
(KNOPF CANADA) BY KATHERINE ASHENBURG, $23 JULY 27
POWER, FOR ALL
(SIMON & SCHUSTER) BY JULIE BATTILANA AND TIZIANA CASCIARO, $37 AUGUST 31
THE MOST PRECIOUS SUBSTANCE ON EARTH
(MCCLELLAND & STEWART) BY SHASHI BHAT, $25 AUGUST 24
THE SLEEP OF APPLES
(INANNA PUBLICATIONS) BY AMI SANDS BRODOFF, $23 SEPTEMBER 30
(ECW PRESS) BY ANNE EMERY, $33 SEPTEMBER 21
(MCCLELLAND & STEWART) BY TERRY FALLIS, $22 AUGUST 31
THE VOYAGE OF FREYDIS
(ONE MORE CHAPTER) BY TAMARA GORANSON, $24 AUGUST 31
THE PERFECT FAMILY
(SIMON & SCHUSTER) BY ROBYN HARDING, $25 AUGUST 10
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
(SIGNAL) BY MARIE HENEIN, $33 SEPTEMBER 28
(ECW PRESS) BY HELEN HUMPHREYS, $33 SEPTEMBER 21
THE WINTER WIVES
(RANDOM HOUSE CANADA) BY LINDEN MACINTYRE, $35 AUGUST 10
PRAYING TO THE WEST
(SIMON & SCHUSTER) BY OMAR MOUALLEM, $35 SEPTEMBER 21
THE MADNESS OF CROWDS
(MINOTAUR BOOKS) BY LOUISE PENNY, $37 AUGUST 24
(KNOPF CANADA) BY MIRIAM TOEWS, $30 AUGUST 24
AUGUST INTO WINTER
(MCCLELLAND & STEWART) BY GUY VANDERHAEGHE, $35 SEPTEMBER 21
(HARPERAVENUE) BY ZOE WHITALL, $25 AUGUST 24
(KNOPF CANADA) BY KATHLEEN WINTER, $32 AUGUST 17