Is there anything better than a summer afternoon spent reading? Whether you gravitate towards page-turners, introspective drama, or exploratory nonfiction, summer is the perfect time to make some iced tea and lose yourself in a book. To celebrate the season, we’ve curated a collection of new or recently released books to fill out your “to be read” list. Pick up these titles at your local independent bookstore.
This list features books for adult readers. To check out our picks for young readers, click here!
The Rebellious Tide
Written by Eddy Boudel Tan
Published by Dundurn Press
Sebastien has heard only stories about his father, a mysterious sailor who abandoned his pregnant mother thirty years ago who now commands a luxury liner sailing the Mediterranean. Posing as a member of the ship’s crew, Sebastien stalks his unwitting father in search of answers as to why he disappeared so many years ago.
After a public assault triggers outrage among the ship’s crew, Sebastien finds himself entangled in a revolt against the oppressive ruling class of officers. As the clash escalates between the powerful and the powerless, Sebastien uncovers something his father has hidden deep within the belly of the ship — a disturbing secret that will force him to confront everything he’s always wondered and feared about his own identity.
Eddy Boudel Tan writes stories that uncover how strange and extraordinary life can be. He thrives while exploring the world, drawing inspiration for his work along the way. He lives in Vancouver.
Park Bagger: Adventures in the Canadian National Parks
Written by Marlis Butcher
Published by Rocky Mountain Books
Marlis Butcher has “bagged” all of Canada’s national parks. She has canoed, kayaked, mountain biked, backpacked, hiked, snowshoed, snorkelled, and trekked by whatever means of travel she could devise. She’s encountered wild and sometimes dangerous animals, survived incredible storms, fallen off mountainsides, investigated uncharted lands, and travelled down quaint country roads. In Park Bagger, Marlis shares her adventures with the objective to encourage others to explore the national parks and to protect Canada’s vast wilderness.
Marlis Butcher grew up in Montreal and discovered a love for the outdoors early in life. Over the course of 30 years, Marlis travelled the world, exploring the wild places of Canada and the curiosities on every continent. Her detailed travel journals and photography became the basis for several published magazine articles. Marlis lives in Burlington, ON.
Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures
By Ivan Coyote
Published by McClelland & Stewart, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada
Ivan Coyote has spent decades on the road, telling stories around the world. For years, Ivan has kept a file of the most special communications received from readers and audience members. Care Of combines the most powerful communications with Ivan’s responses, creating a body of correspondence of startling intimacy, breathtaking beauty, and heartbreaking honesty.
Taken together, these letters become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Ivan’s celebrated work—compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive.
Ivan Coyote is a writer and storyteller. Born and raised in Whitehorse, they are the author of thirteen books, the creator of four films, six stage shows, and three albums. Coyote’s books have won the ReLit Award, been named a Stonewall Honour Book, been longlisted for Canada Reads, shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and awarded BC and Yukon Book Prize’s inaugural Jim Deva Prize.
Written by Hollay Ghadery
Published by Guernica Editions
Drawing on her own experiences as a woman of Iranian and British Isle descent, Hollay Ghadery dives into conflicts and uncertainty surrounding the bi-racial female body and identity, especially as it butts up against the disparate expectations of each culture.
Painfully and at times reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in bi-racial women.
Hollay Ghadery is a writer living in small-town Ontario. She has her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews have been published in various literary journals, including The Malahat Review, Room, Grain, and The Fiddlehead.
Written by Ian Hamilton
Published by House of Anansi
As a boy, Jack Anderson was abandoned by his mother in a Glasgow movie theatre. Now living in the United States and facing his impending retirement, Jack and his wife Anne travel to Scotland to track down his long-lost sister. Their journey takes them from their home in a quiet Boston suburb to the impoverished mill towns of Ayrshire, the gray cobbled streets of Glasgow, and the majestic Scottish Highlands. Along the way, Jack gets entangled in local affairs and must confront uncomfortable truths about family, legacy, and the wife he thought he knew.
Bonnie Jack is a compelling story about the importance of family, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to protect the ones we love.
Ian Hamilton is the acclaimed author of fourteen novels in the Ava Lee series and three in the Lost Decades of Uncle Chow Tung series. His books have been shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Arthur Ellis Award, the Barry Award, and the Lambda Literary Prize, and are national bestsellers. Bonnie Jack is his first standalone novel.
Hana Khan Carries On
Written by Uzma Jalaluddin
Published by HarperAvenue, an imprint of HarperCollins Canada
Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the neighbourhood where Hana waitresses part-time while pouring her thoughts into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners. Mysterious family members draw Hana into a long-buried family secret and a hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana's growing attraction to the young owner of a new, competing restaurant. As life unravels, Hana must learn to use her voice, draw on the strength of her community, and decide what her future should be.
Uzma Jalaluddin is the author of Ayesha at Last and Hana Khan Carries On. A high school English teacher, she is also a Toronto Star columnist and contributor to The Atlantic.
In Praise of Retreat: Finding Sanctuary in the Modern World
Written by Kirsteen MacLeod
Published by ECW Press
In the 21st century, disengaging, even briefly, is seen by many as self-indulgent, unproductive, and antisocial. Yet to retreat is as basic a human need as being social and is something from which everyone can benefit.
From pilgrim paths to forest cabins, and from rented hermitages to arts temples and quiet havens for yoga and meditation, In Praise of Retreat explores the pleasures and powers of this ancient practice for modern people. Kirsteen MacLeod draws on the history of retreat and personal experiences to reveal the many ways readers can step back from society to reconnect with their deepest selves — and to their loftiest aspirations in life.
Kirsteen MacLeod is a writer and yoga teacher. Her debut collection of short stories, The Animal Game, was published in 2016. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction have appeared in prominent literary journals, including The New Quarterly and The Malahat Review and her work has been a finalist for the CBC Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction.
Take d Milk, Nah?
Written by Jivesh Parasram
Published by Playwrights Canada Press
Jiv is “Canadian.” And “Indian.” And “Hindu.” And “West Indian.” “Trinidadian,” too. Or maybe he’s just colonized. He’s not the “white boy” he was teased as within his immigrant household. Especially since his Nova Scotian neighbours seemed to think he was Black. Except for the Black people—they were pretty sure he wasn’t. He’s not an Arab, and allegedly not a Muslim—at least that’s what he started claiming after 9/11. Whatever he is, the public education system was able to offer him the chance to learn about his culture from a coffee table book on “Eastern Mythology.” And then he had a religious epiphany while delivering a calf in Trinidad.
In this fresh take on the identity play, Jivesh Parasram blends personal storytelling and ritual to ask the gut-punching questions: What divides us? Who is served by the constructs of cultural identity? And what are we willing to accept in the desire to belong?
Jivesh Parasram is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist of Indo Caribbean descent (Cairi/Trinidad & Tobago). He co-founded Pandemic Theatre and he has won awards for his service to the independent theatre community. Jivesh also won the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award. He lives primarily in the unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver).
Last Hummingbird West of Chile
Written by Nicholas Ruddock
Published by Breakwater Books
A stunning work of imaginative fiction, Last Hummingbird West of Chile spins a tale of adventure that is in turn comedic, violent, poignant, and thoughtful. Through the exploits of a young sailor and a pair of murderous servants, as well as an assortment of other 19th century regulars, the vital subjects of today are framed in history and human culture. Through narration by human protagonists, a tree, a hummingbird, various beasts, and the landscape itself, Nicholas Ruddock tells a story of colonialism and environment, brutality, and privilege, and the best and worst of human nature.
Nicholas Ruddock is a Canadian physician and writer. He has won and been shortlisted for numerous international prizes. His first novel, The Parabolist, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award and the Arthur Ellis Award. His second novel, Night Ambulance, was a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist. He lives in Guelph, ON.
Life is Like Canadian Football and Other Authentic Folk Songs
Written by Henry Adam Svec
Published by Invisible Publishing
Henry Adam Svec has been pushing boundaries in Canadian folklore since he unearthed songs by CFL players in Library and Archives Canada. Those spartan poems are finally included in this anthology, in addition to the fruits of his subsequent expeditions, but there is much more, including honest accounts of the folklorist’s myriad trials and tribulations.
This experimental and genre-defying book mixes the adventurous energies of Alan Lomax and Stompin’ Tom, the intertextual conceptualism of Vladimir Nabokov and Mark Z. Danielewski, and the searing intensity of Elizabeth Smart and Chris Kraus.
Henry Adam Svec is the author of American Folk Music as Tactical Media. His writing has appeared in The New Quarterly, C Magazine, MOTHERBOARD, and elsewhere, and his musical performances have been presented in galleries and festivals. He was raised on a cherry farm near Blenheim, ON, and has also lived in New Brunswick and Mississippi.