So, Canada celebrated 150 since since confederation last weekend. Living in the capital, this is something we’ve been talking about for YEARS and I had gotten a little tired of it all. (Especially since, in my opinion, if your going to celebrate 150 years for a whole year, at least start on July 1 and end on July 1).
I love this country, I am proud and glad to have been born here. I believe in this country, and I also know that she has many failings and has made outrageous mistakes. I am of the mind that I can celebrate the good and criticize the bad without giving up one iota of my patriotism.
And it occurred to me today, after watching the pros and cons of Canada being debated all weekend, after watching Indigenous peoples stand up and say that this country is NOT okay, that they have NOT been treated fairly, that they and their children are suffering the consequences of these 150 years, that the best way for me to quietly celebrate my Canada is to lift up those voices, and other Canadian voices. To listen.
And one of my favourite ways to listen is through the written word. So here I will share books that I have read, and books that I know I should read – and will read, hopefully by the end of this year.
Great Books I have read, so see these as recommendations:
- Fall On Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald (when I started reading, I was unprepared for the story and the beauty of it)
- An Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King (Humour surrounding a history lesson and a serious issue)
- Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood (One of the first Atwood’s that I read, and my lasting favourite)
- The Underpainter, Jane Urquhart (I read this years ago, and sometimes still think about it)
- The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill (Just a harrowing journey)
- Birdie, Tracey Lindberg
- Essex County, Jeff Lemire
- The Right to be Cold, Sheila Watt-Cloutier
- The Promise of Canada, Charlotte Gray
- The Game, Ken Dryden
- The Birth House, or virtually anything else by Ami McKay, even books she hasn’t written yet
Books for Young Canadians, which Canada does so well
- The Macdonald Hall series by Gordon Korman (I have already bought the full set for my daughter)
- The Anne series by LM Montgomery (Rilla of Ingleside being my personal favourite, with Anne of the Island a close second)
- Any and all things Munsch
- The Beaver, Moose and Bear books by Nicholas Oldland
- The Hockey Sweater, Roch Carrier (but really the NFB short)
- Spork, Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault
- Different Dragons and Mine for Keeps by Jean Little (I read both multiple times. Jean Little has a way of making you feel less alone)
- All Marie-Louise Gay’s Stella books, but particularly When Stella was Very, Very Small
- Red is Best, Kathy Stinson
Great Canadian Books I Must Read
- The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields
- The Diviners, Margaret Laurence
- Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese
- The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje
- The Break, Katherena Vermette
- Two Solitudes, Hugh McLennan, and also probably Barometre Rising
- The War That Ended Peace, Margaret MacMillan
If you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to add to my list. More fiction, history, biographies, I’ll read it all.