It’s time for part two of the Canada Reads series. Below you will find the other half of the long list.
Remember, the shortlist will be announced soon, and with that, the Battle of the Books will begin!
An Ocean of Minutes, Thea Lim
A deadly flu pandemic has struck, and Polly will do anything to help her boyfriend, Frank. As time travel is a possibility, Polly has agreed to travel 12 years in the future to work as a bonded labourer in exchange for the company to pay for Frank’s much-needed treatment. Unfortunately, Polly is rerouted an extra 5 years. Where is Frank? Has their love endured? Polly, alone in a world much-changed endeavours to find out.
Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot
This memoir is about Terese Mailhot coming to terms with her family, her traumatic childhood, her struggles with mental health, and her struggles with the discrimination Indigenous women face daily. The book is a powerfully told story of Mailhot’s life, and a tribute to her family – but it is more than that, it carries with it a message of hope.
The Crazy Game, Clint Malarchuk with Dan Robson
I am not a huge sports fan, but even I have heard of Malarchuk – or, more specifically, I have heard of his nearly fatal injury during a hockey game. He was a goaltender for the Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. Malarchuk had always suffered from anxiety and OCD, and it even impacted his hockey training. Everything changed when an on-ice collision resulted in a skate slashing his jugular vein, and him nearly dying on ice. This book details his subsequent struggles with PTSD, substance abuse, and an attempted suicide.
In an interview with Quebec Am, Malarchuk stated, “When you wake up in a hospital out of a coma with a bullet in your head, and you’re a suicide survivor, you start to reflect on ‘Why am I alive? What is my reason?’ …Once I got well, I started to think I’d like to help people and tell my story and say ‘Hey, you know what, there is hope.”
Life on the Ground Floor, James Maskalyk
James Maskalyk is an activist and a humanitarian doctor who has practiced emergency medicine around the world. During that time, he discovered that for all our differences – from culture to resources – there is one thing every hospital has in common: emergency rooms are always on the ground floor. In his book, he discusses what he found there – the struggles to survive, death and mourning, resilience and hope. He also writes about what it means to be a doctor.
All Our Wrongs Today, Elan Mastai
This book is a unique twist on the typical story of a dystopian society. Tom’s 2016 is exactly what people in the 1950s imaged what life would be like – a utopian paradise with flying cars, moon bases and all. Tom, however, never really fit in. When Tom’s life accidentally goes sideways with a time-travelling mishap, Tom lands in our very own 2016. The problem is, to him our world seems rather dystopian. Through his adventures, he discovers other versions of himself, his family, and his career. He also may have found his soulmate. The question is, should he fix his mistake and bring back his utopian world or start a new life in our dystopian world?
This Accident of Being Lost, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Betasamosake Simpson is an award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer. This book is a collection of short stories and songs where Betasamosake Simpson uses storytelling elements, science fiction, and realism to tell her stories. These songs and tales are inspired by the missing and murdered Indigenous women, and they explore Indigenous identities and experiences.
In an interview with CBC Books, Betasamosake Simpson states, “I wanted it to be a taking stock of sort of all of the things that had been erased and stolen from me as an Indigenous woman in 2017, so things like land, culture, language, a sense of well-being, a feeling of safety and freedom.”
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Sort of Resilience and Recovery, Andrew Westoll
Fauna Sanctuary is a refuge for 13 chimps rescued from lab research. Andrew Westoll spent a number of months at the sanctuary acting as a volunteer caregiver. This book tells the tale of his adventures there, his interactions with the chimps, and the chimps road to recovery. But it discusses more than just that – it talks about the human capacity for compassion.
In an interview with CBC News, Westoll said, “I feel like the sort of aggression and competitiveness of us is only half the human story and compassion makes up the other half — and empathy. And the other thing I really want people to understand is how resilient animals — humans included — can be.”
The Woo-Woo, Lindsay Wong
This fascinating and comedic memoir is about Wong’s dysfunctional childhood with a family who blame all their troubles on ghosts and demons. Her grandmother was schizophrenic, her aunt has a psychotic break, and her mother was afraid of the “woo-woo,” Chinese ghosts who visit during periods of personal trouble. When Wong begins to experience the symptoms the woo-woo causes – she worries that she, too, is being bothered by the woo-woo. In this memoir, Wong attempts to break down the taboos that surround mental illness.