I Read Canadian
As a Canadian-owned and operated company, McNally Robinson has always put a special emphasis on Canadian authors and their books. Featured here are some of our booksellers' favourite Canadian books.
- by Tim Cook
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With compelling insight, Canada 1919 examines the concerns of Canadians in the year following the Great War: the treatment of veterans, including nurses and Indigenous soldiers; the rising farm lobby; the role of labour; the place of children; the influenza pandemic; the country's international standing; and commemoration of the fallen. Even as the military stumbled through massive demobilization and the government struggled to hang on to power, a new Canadian nationalism was forged. This fresh perspective on the concerns of the time exposes the ways in which war shaped Canada - and the ways it did not.
- by Jillian Horton
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When we need help, we count on doctors to put us back together. But what happens when doctors fall apart? Funny, fresh, and deeply affecting, We Are All Perfectly Fine is the story of a married mother of three on the brink of personal and professional collapse who attends rehab with a twist: a meditation retreat for burned-out doctors.
Jillian Horton, a general internist, has no idea what to expect during her five-day retreat at Chapin Mill, a Zen centre in upstate New York. She just knows she desperately needs a break. At first she is deeply uncomfortable with the spartan accommodations, silent meals and scheduled bonding sessions. But as the group struggles through awkward first encounters and guided meditations, something remarkable happens: world-class surgeons, psychiatrists, pediatricians and general practitioners open up and share stories about their secret guilt and grief, as well as their deep-seated fear of falling short of the expectations that define them. Jillian realizes that her struggle with burnout is not so much personal as it is the result of a larger system failure, and that compartmentalizing your most difficult emotions--a coping strategy that is drilled into doctors--is not useful unless you face these emotions too. Jillian Horton throws open a window onto the flawed system that shapes medical professionals, revealing the rarely acknowledged stresses that lead doctors to depression and suicide, and emphasizing the crucial role of compassion not only in treating others, but also in taking care of ourselves.
- by Kaleb Dahlgren
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An inspiring story of hope and resiliency On April 6, 2018, sixteen people died and thirteen others were injured after a bus taking the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team to a playoff game collided with a transport truck in a rural intersection. The tragedy moved millions of people to leave hockey sticks by their front door to show sympathy and support for the Broncos. People from more than eighty countries pledged millions of dollars to families whose relatives had been directly involved in the accident. Crossroads is the story of Kaleb Dahlgren, a young man who survived the bus crash and faced life after the tragedy with resiliency and positivity. In this chronicle of his time with the Broncos and the loving community of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Dahlgren takes a hard look at his experience of unprecedented loss, but also revels in the overwhelming response and outpouring of love from across Canada and around the world. But this book also goes much deeper, revealing the adversity Dahlgren faced long before his time in Humboldt and his inspiring journey since the accident.
From a childhood spent learning to live with type 1 diabetes to his remarkable recovery from severe brain trauma that astounded medical professionals, Dahlgren documents a life of perseverance, gratitude and hope in the wake of enormous obstacles and life-altering tragedy.
The author will donate a portion of his proceeds from this book to STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service).
- by Mark Carney
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A bold and urgent argument by economist and former bank governor Mark Carney on the radical, foundational change that is required if we are to build an economy and society based not on market values but on human values.
Our world is full of fault lines--growing inequality in income and opportunity; systemic racism; health and economic crises from a global pandemic; mistrust of experts; the existential threat of climate change; deep threats to employment in a digital economy with robotics on the rise. These fundamental problems and others like them, argues Mark Carney, stem from a common crisis in values. Drawing on the turmoil of the past decade, Mark Carney shows how "market economies" have evolved into "market societies" where price determines the value of everything.
When we think about what we, as individuals, value most highly, we might list fairness, health, the protection of our rights, economic security from poverty, the preservation of natural diversity, resources, and beauty. The tragedy is, these things that we hold dearest are too often the casualties of our twenty-first century world, where they ought to be our bedrock.
In this profoundly important new book, Mark Carney offers a vision of a more humane society and a practical manifesto for getting there. How we reform our infrastructure to make things better and fairer is at the heart of every chapter, with outlines of wholly new ideas that can restructure society and enshrine our human values at the core of all that we build for our children and grandchildren.
- by Camilla Gibb
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From the renowned author of Sweetness in the Belly, The Beauty of Humanity Movement and This Is Happy, comes a bold, urgent and richly imagined novel about what it means to be a family in our modern world.
Lila is on a long, painful journey toward motherhood. Tess and Emily are reeling after their ugly separation and fighting over ownership of the embryos that were supposed to grow their family together. And thousands of miles away, the unknown man who served as anonymous donor to them all is being held in captivity in Somalia. While his life remains in precarious balance, his genetic material is a source of both creation and conflict.
What does it mean to be a family in our rapidly shifting world? What are our responsibilities to each other with increasing options for how to create a family?
As these characters grapple with life-altering changes, they will find themselves interconnected in ways they cannot have imagined, and forced to redefine what family means to them.
- by Darrel J. Mcleod
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Mamaskatch, Darrel J. McLeod's 2018 memoir of growing up Cree in Northern Alberta, was a publishing sensation--winning the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction, shortlisted for many other major prizes and translated into French and German editions. In Peyakow, McLeod continues the poignant story of his impoverished youth, beset by constant fears of being dragged down by the self-destruction and deaths of those closest to him as he battles the bullying of white classmates, copes with the trauma of physical and sexual abuse, and endures painful separation from his family and culture. With steely determination, he triumphs: now elementary teacher; now school principal; now head of an Indigenous delegation to the UN in Geneva; now executive in the Government of Canada--and now a celebrated author. Brutally frank but buoyed throughout by McLeod's unquenchable spirit, Peyakow--a title borrowed from the Cree word for "one who walks alone"--is an inspiring account of triumph against unimaginable odds. McLeod's perspective as someone whose career path has crossed both sides of the Indigenous/white chasm resonates with particular force in today's Canada.
- by Alexandra Morton
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Alexandra Morton has been called "the Jane Goodall of Canada" because of her passionate thirty-year fight to save British Columbia's wild salmon. Her account of that fight is both inspiring in its own right and a roadmap of resistance.
Alexandra Morton came north from California in the early 1980s, following her first love--the northern resident orca. In remote Echo Bay, in the Broughton Archipelago, she found the perfect place to settle into all she had ever dreamed of: a lifetime of observing and learning what these big-brained mammals are saying to each other. She was lucky enough to get there just in time to witness a place of true natural abundance, and learned how to thrive in the wilderness as a scientist and a single mother.
Then, in 1989, industrial aquaculture moved into the region, chasing the whales away. Her fisherman neighbours asked her if she would write letters on their behalf to government explaining the damage the farms were doing to the fisheries, and one thing led to another. Soon Alex had shifted her scientific focus to documenting the infectious diseases and parasites that pour from the ocean farm pens of Atlantic salmon into the migration routes of wild Pacific salmon, and then to proving their disastrous impact on wild salmon and the entire ecosystem of the coast.
Alex stood against the farms, first representing her community, then alone, and at last as part of an uprising that built around her as ancient Indigenous governance resisted a province and a country that wouldn't obey their own court rulings. She has used her science, many acts of protest and the legal system in her unrelenting efforts to save wild salmon and ultimately the whales--a story that reveals her own doggedness and bravery but also shines a bright light on the ways other humans doggedly resist the truth. Here, she brilliantly calls those humans to account for the sake of us all.
- by Andre Picard
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It took the coronavirus pandemic to open our eyes to the deplorable state of so many of the nation's long-term care homes: the inhumane conditions, overworked and underpaid staff, and lack of oversight. In this timely new book, esteemed health reporter André Picard reveals the full extent of the crisis in eldercare, and offers an urgently needed prescription to fix a broken system.
When COVID-19 spread through seniors' residences across Canada, the impact was horrific. Along with widespread illness and a devastating death toll, the situation exposed a decades-old crisis: the shocking systemic neglect towards our elders.
Called in to provide emergency care in some of the hardest-hit facilities in Ontario and Quebec, the military issued damning reports of what they encountered. And yet, the failings that were exposed--unappetizing meals, infrequent baths, overmedication, physical abuse and inadequate personal care--have persisted for years in these institutions.
In Neglected No More, André Picard takes a hard look at how we came to embrace mass institutionalization, and lays out what can and must be done to improve the state of care for our elders, a highly vulnerable population with complex needs and little ability to advocate for themselves.
Picard shows that the entire eldercare system--fragmented, underfunded and unsupported--is long overdue for a fundamental rethink. We need to find ways to ensure seniors can age gracefully in the community for longer, with supportive home care and respite for family caregivers, and ensure that long-term care homes are not warehouses of isolation and neglect. Our elders deserve nothing less.
- by Louella Lester
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What does it mean to work for a living? Told in short prose, Glass Bricks tells the story of Lester's experience working both traditional and non-traditional jobs. Sometimes raw and often humourous, Lester shares stories about learning to work, working, and moving on. Glass Bricks explores the significance of our basic human right to work in an era where the struggle to find meaningful, full-time employment is all too real.
- by Thomas King
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Jeremiah Camp, a.k.a. the Forecaster, can look into the heart of humanity and see the patterns that create opportunities and profits for the rich and powerful. Problem is, Camp has looked one too many times, has seen what he hadn't expected to see and has come away from the abyss with no hope for himself or for the future. So Jeremiah does what any intelligent, sensitive person would do. He runs away. Goes into hiding in a small town, at an old residential school on an even smaller Indian reserve, with no phone, no Internet, no television. With the windows shut, the door locked, the mailbox removed to discourage any connection with the world, he feels safe at last. Except nobody told the locals that they were to leave Jeremiah alone. And then his past comes calling. Ash Locken, head of the Locken Group, the multinational consortium that Jeremiah has fled, arrives on his doorstep with a simple proposition. She wants our hero to formulate one more forecast, and she's not about to take no for an answer. Before he left the Locken empire, Jeremiah had created a list of twelve names, every one a billionaire. The problem is, the people on the list are dying at an alarming and unnatural rate. And Ash Locken wants to know why. A sly and satirical look at the fractures in modern existence, Sufferance is a bold and provocative novel about the social and political consequences of the inequality created by privilege and power--and what we might do about it.
- by Michael Smith
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Celebrity chef Michael Smith's extraordinary collection of recipes from his award-winning restaurant on Canada's east coast.
Famous for its miles of beaches, lighthouses, farmland, and seafood, Prince Edward Island is a destination for travelers and food-lovers alike. Nestled on forty-six acres of land overlooking the picturesque Fortune River near the eastern tip of Prince Edward Island, The Inn at Bay Fortune is a leading five-star country inn with the award-winning restaurant FireWorks offering a unique live-fire culinary experience with unforgettable meals enjoyed family-style at long feast tables.
The Inn at Bay Fortune is first an organic farm, encompassing eight fertile acres, multiple herb gardens, various permanent farm beds, five greenhouses, and a small orchard. As a restaurant with its own farm, award-winning chef Michael Smith brings his culinary knowledge and passion for flavour first to the restaurant and this stunning collection of recipes inspired by the ingredients of the Island and cooking with multiple fires daily to pull off the FireWorks Feast.
Featuring gorgeous food and location photography, Farm, Fire & Feast is an impressive cookbook. Smith's collection of unique recipes includes Iron-Seared Island Scallops, Oven-Baked Salt-Crusted Halibut, Beach Lobster, Wood Grilled Butchers' Steak, Smokehouse Pork Belly, Wood-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken and Vegetables, Fire Garden Tacos, Sunchoke Fries, Potato Bacon Cheddar Tart, Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake, and Wild Blueberry Grunt. Packed with recipes to cook over fire, wherever possible, alternative cooking methods are provided so a recipe can be pulled off in an indoor kitchen--and all are well within the reach of the home cook.
- by Fred Sasakamoose
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"Fred Sasakamoose played in the NHL before First Nations people had the right to vote in Canada. This page turner will have you cheering for 'Fast Freddy' as he faces off against huge challenges both on and off the ice--a great gift to every proud hockey fan, Canadian, and Indigenous person."
--Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP and author of The Reason You Walk
Trailblazer. Residential school Survivor. First Treaty Indigenous player in the NHL. All of these descriptions are true--but none of them tell the whole story.
Fred Sasakamoose, torn from his home at the age of seven, endured the horrors of residential school for a decade before becoming one of 120 players in the most elite hockey league in the world. He has been heralded as the first Indigenous player with Treaty status in the NHL, making his official debut as a 1954 Chicago Black Hawks player on Hockey Night in Canada and teaching Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his name. Sasakamoose played against such legends as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard. After twelve games, he returned home.
When people tell Sasakamoose's story, this is usually where they end it. They say he left the NHL to return to the family and culture that the Canadian government had ripped away from him. That returning to his family and home was more important to him than an NHL career. But there was much more to his decision than that. Understanding Sasakamoose's choice means acknowledging the dislocation and treatment of generations of Indigenous peoples. It means considering how a man who spent his childhood as a ward of the government would hear those supposedly golden words: "You are Black Hawks property."
Sasakamoose's story was far from over once his NHL days concluded. He continued to play for another decade in leagues around Western Canada. He became a band councillor, served as Chief, and established athletic programs for kids. He paved a way for youth to find solace and meaning in sports for generations to come. Yet, threaded through these impressive accomplishments were periods of heartbreak and unimaginable tragedy--as well moments of passion and great joy.
This isn't just a hockey story; Sasakamoose's groundbreaking memoir sheds piercing light on Canadian history and Indigenous politics, and follows this extraordinary man's journey to reclaim pride in an identity and a heritage that had previously been used against him.
- by Jordan Abel
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From Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel comes a groundbreaking, deeply personal, and devastating autobiographical meditation that attempts to address the complicated legacies of Canada's residential school system and contemporary Indigenous existence.
As a Nisga'a writer, Jordan Abel often finds himself in a position where he is asked to explain his relationship to Nisga'a language, Nisga'a community, and Nisga'a cultural knowledge. However, as an intergenerational survivor of residential school--both of his grandparents attended the same residential school--his relationship to his own Indigenous identity is complicated to say the least.
NISHGA explores those complications and is invested in understanding how the colonial violence originating at the Coqualeetza Indian Residential School impacted his grandparents' generation, then his father's generation, and ultimately his own. The project is rooted in a desire to illuminate the realities of intergenerational survivors of residential school, but sheds light on Indigenous experiences that may not seem to be immediately (or inherently) Indigenous.
Drawing on autobiography and a series of interconnected documents (including pieces of memoir, transcriptions of talks, and photography), NISHGA is a book about confronting difficult truths and it is about how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples engage with a history of colonial violence that is quite often rendered invisible.
- by Keith Cadieux
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Tim has recently passed away and left Lori with piles of expensive recording equipment and mountains of debt. Tim's family wants to move on from the loss but Lori can't let go, not while she can still hear Tim's laugh as though he's still there beside her. That is, until she begins to hear his laugh in odd places, like old recordings Tim never worked on.Can love transcend to keep us connected through death? Or do we just create our own reality when we're not ready to let go?
- by Ivan Coyote
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Beloved storyteller Ivan Coyote returns with their most intimate and moving book yet.
Writer and performer 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--letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig. Then came Spring, 2020, and, like artists everywhere, Coyote was grounded by the pandemic, all their planned events cancelled. The energy of a live audience, a performer's lifeblood, was suddenly gone. But with this loss came an opportunity for a different kind of connection. Those letters that had long piled up could finally begin to be answered.
Care Of combines the most powerful of these letters with Ivan's responses, creating a body of correspondence of startling intimacy, breathtaking beauty, and heartbreaking honesty and openness. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote's celebrated work--compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive, a giant love letter to the idea of human connection, and the power of truly listening to each other.