Is there anything better than a summer afternoon spent reading? We think not!
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. Check out our picks for young readers here.
Half-Bads in White Regalia: A Memoir
By Cody Caetano
Penguin Random House Canada (May 2022)
The Caetanos move into a doomed house in the highway village of Happyland before an inevitable divorce pulls Cody’s parents in separate directions. As life yanks them from one temporary solution to the next, Cody and his siblings steal moments of joy and resist buckling under “baddie” temptations aplenty. Half-Bads in White Regalia is an unforgettable debut that unspools a tangled family history with warmth, humour, and deep generosity.
Cody Caetano is a writer of Anishinaabe and Portuguese descent and an off-reserve member of Pinaymootang First Nation. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, where he wrote this memoir under the mentorship of Lee Maracle.
By Marjorie Chan
Playwrights Canada Press (June 2022)
Lady Sunrise introduces us to six women who are risking everything, all motivated by the need for more money and the freedom it could buy. This play is a heartbreaking examination of the effects of today’s hyper-consumerist society that will challenge perspectives of strength and power, exposing painfully raw consequences.
Marjorie Chan is as a writer, director, and dramaturge. Her work has been seen and performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia, and across Canada. Her full-length works as a playwright include the plays The Madness of the Square, a nanking winter, Tails From the City, as well as libretti for various operas including, most recently, The Monkiest King. Marjorie has won many awards and is the Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto.
By Emma Donoghue
HarperCollins Canada (August 2022)
In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar priest named Artt has a dream in which God tells him to leave the sinful world behind. With two monks – young Trian and old Cormac – he rows down the River Shannon in search of an isolated spot in which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find the impossibly steep, bare island known today as Skellig Michael. In such a place, what will survival mean?
Emma Donoghue is a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. Her novel Room sold more than two million copies and won multiple prizes. Her fiction ranges from the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Akin) to the historical (Slammerkin, The Wonder, The Pull of the Stars). She has also written two books for young readers, The Lotterys Plus One and The Lotterys More or Less.
By Ariela Freedman
Linda Leith Publishing (March 2022)
How do you change the world? Meet Léa, polyglot, labour activist, farbrente feminist. Born to a large Jewish family and raised in a French Catholic town, Léa moves between languages and cultures. Her search for meaning and her instinct for justice place her at the centre of the great changes of the 20th century. She defies the expectations and limitations of women’s lives, wins historic victories for the union movement, and grapples with her own convictions.
Ariela Freedman was born in Brooklyn and has lived in Jerusalem, New York, Calgary, London, and Montreal. She has a Ph.D. from New York University and teaches literature at Concordia’s Liberal Arts College in Montreal. Her previous works include Arabic for Beginners and A Joy to be Hidden, both of which were recognized by literary awards.
the book of smaller
By rob mclennan
University of Calgary Press (May 2022)
Written while at home full-time with two small children under five, the book of smaller is a collection of short, sharp, incredibly dense prose poems. Created in moments snatched from chaos, these poems challenge the possibilities of language in very small spaces. Each poem is a still moment, a memory, a burst of observation, suspended outside time and held up to the light as the world whirls around it. Some are intimate, some are public, all are grounded personal, domestic space.
rob mclennan lives in Ottawa, where he is home full-time with two wee girls. He is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. He is the winner of the John Newlove Poetry Award, the Ottawa Council for the Arts Mid-Career award, and was inducted into the VERSe Ottawa Hall of Honour in 2014.
This Is How We Love
By Lisa Moore
House of Anansi (May 2022)
As the snowstorm of the century rages toward Newfoundland, twenty-one-year-old Xavier is beaten and stabbed in a vicious attack. His mother, Jules, must fight her way through the shuttered streets of St. John’s to reach the hospital where Xavier lies unconscious. When a video of the attack surfaces, Jules struggles to make sense of what she sees in the footage — and of what she can’t quite make out. A tour de force of storytelling and craft, this novel brings us a cast of characters so rich and true they could only have been written by Lisa Moore.
Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of the novels Caught, February, and Alligator, as well as two short story collections and a young adult novel. Her books have won and been nominated for multiple prizes. She is also the co-librettist, along with Laura Kaminsky, of the opera February, based on her novel of the same name. She lives in St. John’s, NL.
Abortion to Abolition: Reproductive Health and Justice in Canada
By Martha Paynter, illustrated by Julia Hutt
Fernwood Publishing (May 2022)
The history of abortion decriminalization and critical advocacy efforts to improve access in Canada deserve to be better known. Ordinary people persevered to make Canada the most progressive country in the world with respect to abortion care. But while abortion access is poorly understood, so too are the persistent threats to reproductive justice in this country. This beautifully illustrated book tells the empowering stories behind the struggles for reproductive justice in Canada and revealing how abolitionism is key to the path forward.
Martha Paynter is a registered nurse providing abortion and postpartum care in Halifax, the founder of Wellness Within, and a doctoral candidate at Dalhousie University. Martha has 20 years of experience working to advance gender health equity. A frequent contributor to Briarpatch, CBC, the Halifax Examiner, and more, Martha writes about publicly-funded health care, prison abolition, and gender equity.
Julia Hutt is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist residing in Kjipuktuk. Inspired by her own experience with pregnancy, birthing and baby-raising, Julia works with both traditional and digital illustration to create anecdotal scenes that portray snapshots of early parenthood. Her work challenges the capitalist devaluation of child rearing and traditionally gendered work.
Bedroom Rapper: Cadence Weapon on Hip-Hop, Resistance and Surviving the Music Industry
By Rollie Pemberton
Penguin Random House Canada (May 2022)
Bedroom Rapper is a book for obsessive music fans who are looking for the definitive take on what’s happened in the last two decades of hip hop, from Cadence Weapon, aka Rollie Pemberton: Pitchfork critic, award-winning musician, producer, DJ, and poet laureate. With a foreword by Gabriel Szatan, music fans and creators alike will relate to the dedication to craft, obsessive passion for what came before, and desire to shift the future that is embodied in every creative project Rollie takes on.
Rollie Pemberton is a writer, rapper, producer, poet, and activist who performs under the name Cadence Weapon. He won the 2021 Polaris Music Prize for his album Parallel World. His writing has been published in Pitchfork, The Guardian, Wired, and Hazlitt. Currently based in Toronto, Pemberton was a former Poet Laureate in his hometown of Edmonton.
Sari, Not Sari
By Sonya Singh
Simon & Schuster Canada (April 2022)
Manny Dogra is the beautiful young CEO of Breakup, a highly successful company that helps people manage their relationship breakups. As preoccupied as she is with her business, she’s also planning her wedding to handsome architect Adam Jamieson while dealing with the loss of her beloved parents. This delightful debut rom-com follows Manny’s adventures trying to connect with her South Asian roots and introduces readers to a memorable cast of characters in a veritable feast of food, family traditions, and fun.
Sonya Singh is a former entertainment reporter turned communications professional who has followed her dream of telling stories in front of the camera and now behind the scenes. Sari, Not Sari is an ode to her own personal dating experiences, during which she honed the art of writing the perfect break-up email/text. Sonya lives in Toronto.
What You Won’t Do For Love: A Conversation
By David Suzuki, Tara Cullis, Miriam Fernandes, and Ravi Jain
Coach House Books (June 2022)
When artist Miriam Fernandes approaches the legendary eco-pioneer David Suzuki to create a theatre piece about climate change, she expects to write about David’s perspective as a scientist. Instead, she discovers the boundless vision and efforts of Tara Cullis, a literature scholar, climate organizer, and David’s life partner. What You Won’t Do for Love transforms real-life conversations between David, Tara, Miriam, and her husband Sturla into a charmingly novel and poetic work that asks if we can love our planet the same way we love one another.
Dr. David Suzuki has made it his life's work to help humanity understand, appreciate, respect, and protect nature. A scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, he is a gifted interpreter of science and nature who provides audiences with a compelling look at the state of our environment.
Tara Cullis is an award-winning writer and former faculty member of Harvard University. She has been a key player in environmental movements in the Amazon, Southeast Asia, Japan and British Columbia. She was a founder of the Turning Point Initiative, now known as the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative, which brought First Nations of British Columbia’s central and northern coasts into a historic alliance, protecting the ecology of the region known as the Great Bear Rainforest.
Miriam Fernandes is a Toronto-based artist who has worked as an actor, director, and theatre-maker around the world. She has trained with the SITI Company and is a graduate of Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Directing and creation credits include Nesen and The First Time I Saw the Sea. Miriam is the recipient of the JBC Watkins Award and was nominated for the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize.