During high school, most of us read through the venerable CanLit canon. Atwood. Roy. Richler. Munro. There’s nothing wrong with these fine writers. But, as with any venerable canon, it isn’t particularly modern or appealing to teenagers. So it left me with an aversion to anything that smacked of CanLit.
It doesn’t need to be like that.
This month, Indigo launches the Read The North movement (also #ReadTheNorth). All your favourite CanLit is there but so are new voices from Canada in 2016. There is some INCREDIBLE Canadian writing out there, and its not all angsty, snowy, Mountie literature. These great reads have convinced this CanLit doubter to give it another shot.
fiction | The Orenda by Joseph Boyden: an historical novel about a Jesuit among the Hurons treads familiar CanLit ground, but does so with a fresh take, a realistic portrayal of the period, and at a breakneck pace. It singlehandedly restored my faith in Canadian fiction.
biography | A House In The Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett: I confess I haven’t read this one. But all I ever hear is how I’m missing out. This is a hard, but great Canadian story about a young woman who followed a dream, suffered, but didn’t let that stop her from trying to make the toughest places in the world a little better.
business | Double Double by Douglas Hunter: the story of our national shrine, Tim Hortons. Started as the retirement plan of a hockey player it grew into the dominant coffee chain in the country and, today, is so iconic it travels with the Canadian Army and hosts political photo ops. Now that’s a successful brand.
history | The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King: first of all, Canadian history isn’t boring. Secondly, it has never been so well told. I challenge anyone who dismisses First Nations history, culture, and place in modern Canada to think the same after reading this passionate book.
politics | The Longer I’m Prime Minister by Paul Wells: a snarky, clever, balanced look that explains the Harper years. Written just a few years before he lost government, it explains why Canada gave him with the country for so long, and how he tried to change it permanently.
fantasy | Sailing To Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay: I’m convinced that Mr Kay is our own J.R.R. Tolkien or G.R.R. Martin. With just a little fantastical twist of history, he crafts incredible worlds that suck you in and leave you wanting more.
nature | Bee Time by Mark Winston: no polar bears or Canada geese here. Instead, a poetical book about the hidden life of bees and what human societies might learn from them.
So, this Canada Day weekend, find a Canadian book and Read The North.