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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.


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Going to Beautiful

- by Anthony Bidulka

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International chef Jake Hardy has it all. Celebrity, thriving career, plenty of friends, a happy family and faithful dog. Until one day when a tragic accident tears it all apart. Struggling to recover, Hardy finds himself in a strange new world--a snow-swept prairie town that time forgot--a place where nothing makes sense. Cold is beautiful. Simple is complex. And doubts begin to surface about whether Jake's tragedy was truly an accident after all. As the sun sets in the Land of Living Skies, Hardy and his glamourous, seventy-eight-year-old transgender neighbour find themselves ensnared in multiple murders separated by decades. In Bidulka's "love letter to life on the prairies" he delivers a story of grief and loss that manages to burst with joy, tenderness and hope. Redolent of his earlier works, Going to Beautiful brings us unexpected, under-represented characters in settings that immediately feel familiar and beloved. Beautiful--a place where what you need may not be what you were looking for.

Shelterbelts

- by Jonathan Dyck

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Progress isn't always a straight line. When a non-denominational megachurch opens on the edges of a rural Mennonite community, a quiet--but longstanding battle--begins to reveal itself. For years, the traditionalists in the community have held fast to the values and beliefs they grew up with, while other community members have begun raising important questions about LGBTQ+ inclusion, Indigenous land rights, and the Mennonite legacy of pacifism. Through a series of vignettes, Shelterbelts explores the perspectives, experiences and limitations of a wide range of characters who find themselves increasingly at odds with their surroundings. A pastor and his queer daughter learn that a family has left their church because of the "LGBT issue." Young activists butt heads with a farmer over the construction of a pipeline happening on his fields. A librarian leaves suggestive notes for readers inside popular library books. By pulling these threads together, artist Jonathan Dyck has woven a rich tapestry--one that depicts a close-knit community in the midst of defining its future as it reckons with its past.

Snake in the Raspberry Patch, A

- by Joanne Jackson

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It is the summer of 1971 and Liz takes care of her four sisters while waiting to meet the fifth Murphy child: a boy. And yet, something is not right. Adults tensely whisper in small groups, heads shaking. Her younger sister, Rose seems more annoying, always flashing her camera and jotting notes in her her notepad. The truth is worse than anyone could imagine: an entire family slaughtered in their home nearby, even the children. The small rural community reels in the aftermath. No one seems to know who did it or why. For Liz, these events complicate her already tiring life. Keeping Rose in line already feels like a full time job, and if Rose gets it in her head that she can solve a murder... The killer must be someone just passing through, a random horror. It almost begs the question: where do murderers live?

Flyway

- by Sarah Ens

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This Meditation on the impact of human and ecological trauma explores the cost of survival for three generations of women living between empires. Writing from within the disappearing tallgrass prairie, Sarah Ens follows connections between the Russian Mennonite diaspora and the disrupted migratory patterns of grassland birds. Drawing on family history, eco-poetics, and the rich tradition of the Canadian long poem, Flyway migrates along pathways of geography and the heart to grapple with complexities of home.

Inspiring Canadians

- by Mark Bulgutch

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Forty influential and diverse Canadians with expertise in subjects such as Indigenous rights, climate change, social justice and race, gun control, higher education and poetry reflect on everything Canada is getting right--and what still needs to change to make the country even better. Acclaimed journalist Mark Bulgutch collects inspiring stories and ideas from multifaceted Canadians whose love for Canada compels them to make this country a better place for all--ultimately revealing that equal parts critique and celebration is the key to a thriving nation. These chapters spotlight visions of a more sustainable, equitable, welcoming--and fun!--country from Canadians who believe in the possibility of an even better future. Including: Perry Bellegarde on upholding the rights of Indigenous people; Adam Fenech on adapting to climate change; Najma Ahmed on ending the contagion of gun violence; Mack Rogers on how literacy solves problems; Laura Tamblyn Watts on securing the future for seniors; Katie Ward on the innovations of Canadian agriculture; Santa Ono on how higher education keeps Canada competitive; Michael Levitt on the value of an MP; Paulette Senior on equal opportunity for women; Kenneth Sherman on poetry and the human spirit; Michael Prince on ensuring dignity for people with disabilities; Donald MacPherson on how drug overdoses can be dramatically reduced; Kwame McKenzie on mental health and happiness; Duff Conacher on improving Canadian democracy; and many more. This dynamic collection is sure to spark debate and showcase how the fabric of a country is defined by its multiplicity of voices, cultures, stories and ideas. Weaving together these diverse viewpoints, Bulgutch leads us into the future--urging us to do the most Canadian of things: change the world, and our nation, for the better.

Extraordinary Canadians

- by Peter Mansbridge

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The instant #1 bestselling book of personal stories about remarkable Canadians who embody the values of our great nation and inspire us to do the same, from Peter Mansbridge, the beloved former anchor of CBC's The National, and Mark Bulgutch, former CBC producer.

In this heartwarming volume of first-person stories, Peter Mansbridge and Mark Bulgutch bring together inspiring Canadians from all walks of life--advocates, politicians, doctors, veterans, immigrants, business leaders, and more--who in their own way are making Canada a better place for all.

Hear Gitksan activist Cindy Blackstock describe her childhood in northern British Columbia, where she straddled two communities--Indigenous and non-Indigenous--and her subsequent fight for equitable health care for all children as the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Meet Matt Devlin, the U.S. broadcaster who found a new home in Canada when he got a job with the Toronto Raptors, and read how he helped calm the crowd celebrating the team's NBA champion win in Nathan Phillips Square when a gunman began shooting. From the young woman living with Crohn's disease and proudly modeling her ostomy bag to the rabbi whose family fled Nazi Germany and who now gives the benediction on Parliament Hill each Remembrance Day, Extraordinary Canadians celebrates the people who have overcome adversity and broken down barriers to champion the rights and freedoms of everyone who calls Canada home.

This collection gets to the heart of what it means to be Canadian. These stories will change the way you see your country and make you fall in love with Canada all over again.

What Is Written on the Tongue

- by Anne Lazurko

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For readers of Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, a transportive historical novel about finding morality in the throes of war and colonization Released from Nazi forced labor as World War II ends, 20-year-old Sam is quickly drafted and sent to the island of Java to help regain control of the colony. But the Indonesian independence movement is far ahead of the Dutch, and Sam is thrown into a guerilla war, his loyalties challenged when his squad commits atrocities reminiscent of those he suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Sam falls in love with both Sari and the beautiful island she calls home, but as he loses friends to sniper fire and jungle malady, he also loses sight of what he wants most -- to be a good man.

Through Disassembled Houses of Perfect Stones

- by David Y. Williamson

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The weight of history lies on the spine of memory. That heft and delicate balance are palpable in these rich poems that echo with grief, longing, and observed beauty. From the silence and complexity of the northern wilderness to the vast prairie landscapes stretching across the province, Through Disassembled Houses of Perfect Stones explores self, ancestry, and community through poems which dwell on the page with a satisfying density of imagery. Combining careful observation with sensitive reflection, this work examines the poet's memory and experience as a father, son, husband, and descendent of European settlers married into an Indigenous family living in Northern Manitoba.

Stories I Might Regret Telling You

- by Martha Wainwright

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER
 
The singer-songwriter's heartfelt memoir about growing up in a bohemian musical family and her experiences with love, loss, motherhood, divorce, the music industry, and more.


Born into music royalty, the daughter of folk legends Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III and sister to the highly acclaimed, genre-defying singer Rufus Wainwright, Martha grew up in a world filled with incomparable musical legends--Anna McGarrigle, Leonard Cohen, Suzzy Roche, Richard and Linda Thompson, Emmylou Harris--and struggled to find her voice in a milieu in which every drama was refracted through song. Then, in 2005, she released her critically acclaimed debut album, Martha Wainwright, containing the blistering hit, "Bloody Mother F*cking Asshole," which the Sunday Times called one of the best songs of that year. That release, and the albums that followed, such as Come Home to Mama and I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too, showcased Martha's searing songwriting style and established her as a powerful voice to be reckoned with.
 
Martha digs into her life with the same emotional honesty that has come to define her music. She describes her tumultuous public-facing journey from awkward, earnest, and ultimately rebellious daughter, through her intense competition and ultimate alliance with her brother, Rufus, to finding her voice as an artist and the indescribable loss of their mother, Kate. With candor and grace, Martha writes of becoming a mother herself, finally understanding and facing the challenge of being a female artist with children. Stories I Might Regret Telling You is a thoughtful, moving account of the extraordinary life of one of the most talented singer-songwriters in music today.

The Gunsmith's Daughter

- by Margaret Sweatman

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1971. Lilac Welsh lives an isolated life with her parents at Rough Rock on the Winnipeg River. Her father, Kal, stern and controlling, has built his wealth by designing powerful guns and ammunition. He's on the cusp of producing a .50 calibre assault rifle that can shoot down an airplane with a single bullet, when a young stranger named Gavin appears at their door, wanting to meet him before enlisting for the war in Vietnam. Gavin's arrival sparks an emotional explosion in Lilac's home and inspires her to begin her own life as a journalist, reporting on the war that's making her family rich.

The Gunsmith's Daughter is both a coming-of-age story and an allegorical novel about Canada-US relations. Psychologically and politically astute, and gorgeously written, Margaret Sweatman's portrait of a brilliant gunsmith and his eighteen-year-old daughter tells an engrossing story of ruthless ambition, and one young woman's journey toward independence.

Return of the Trickster

- by Eden Robinson

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY CBC BOOKS AND THE GLOBE AND MAIL
 
In the third book of her brilliant and captivating Trickster Trilogy, Eden Robinson delivers an explosive, surprising and satisfying resolution to the story.


All Jared Martin had ever wanted was to be normal, which was already hard enough when he had to cope with Maggie, his hard-partying, gun-toting, literal witch of a mother, Indigenous teen life and his own addictions. When he wakes up naked, dangerously dehydrated and confused in the basement of his mom's old house in Kitimat, some of the people he loves--the ones who don't see the magic he attracts--just think he fell off the wagon after a tough year of sobriety. The truth for Jared is so much worse.

He finally knows for sure that he is the only one of his bio dad Wee'git's 535 children who is a Trickster too, a shapeshifter with a free pass to other dimensions. Sarah, his ex, is happy he's a magical being, but everyone else he loves is either pissed with him, or in mortal danger from the dark forces he's accidentally unleashed, or both. The scariest of those dark forces is his Aunt Georgina, a maniacal ogress hungry for his power, who has sent her posse of flesh-eating coy-wolves to track him down.

Even though his mother resents like hell that Jared has taken after his dad, she is also determined that no one is going to hurt her son. For Maggie it's simple--Kill or be killed, bucko. Soon Jared is at the centre of an all-out war--a horrifying place to be for the universe's sweetest Trickster, whose first instinct is not mischief and mind games but to make the world a kinder, safer, place.

Fifty-Four Pigs

- by Philipp Schott

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"A delicious read." -- Iona Whishaw, author of the Lane Winslow mystery series For readers of The Thursday Murder Club comes a lighthearted mystery with an incredible sense of place A swine barn explodes near a lakeside town, putting veterinarian Dr. Peter Bannerman on a collision course with murder and a startling conspiracy. Peter is an odd duck, obsessed with logic and measurable facts, an obsession he puts to good use in his veterinary practice. When a murder is connected to the swine barn explosion and his friend Tom becomes the prime suspect, Peter feels compelled to put his reasoning skills, and his dog Pippin's remarkable nose, to use to help clear him. The situation darkens with a second murder and a series of break-ins, including at Peter's house and clinic, but Peter has a hard time knowing when he is out of his depth, despite warnings from his brother-in-law Kevin, an RCMP officer. Ultimately Peter finds himself out in the middle of a frozen lake during a blizzard, fighting for his life and confronting a horrifying realization he had been blind to all along.

Synaptic

- by Alison Calder

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An award-winning poet attempts to map the brain's neural connections, raising fundamental questions about identity and interiority.

This intricate, yearning work from award-winning poet Alison Calder asks us to think about the way we perceive and the ways in which we seek to know ourselves and others.
 
In Synaptic, each section explores key themes in science, neurology, and perception. The first, Connectomics, riffs on scientific language to work with and against that language's intentions. Attempting to map the brain's neural connections, it raises fundamental questions about interiority and the self. The lyric considerations in these poems are juxtaposed against the scientific-like footnotes which, in turn, invoke questions undermining authority and power. The second section, Other Disasters, explores ways of seeing or and being seen, from considerations of folklore to modern art to daily life. 
 
The speakers in these poems are searching for knowledge. Everyone is looking for a miracle.
 

Bombing the Moon

- by Nancy Chislett

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At 24, Devin Rush's future is unknown and his parents don't support his dream of becoming a songwriter. Jobless and antagonistic, Devin feels like the world is rigged against him, and his parents, wondering if he'll ever man up, fear he'll depend on them for life. But when Devin's grandfather gives him a one-way ticket to Nairobi, Kenya, Devin believes it's his family that wants him gone; outraged and seeing no alternative, he leaves abruptly, and is thrust into a world unlike any he's ever seen.

Stunned by his sudden departure, Devin's parents and sister are pushed further afield of the control they crave. Resentment and guilt nudge his parent's marriage closer to collapse, and abandonment triggers his sister's long-buried shame. Meanwhile, when Nairobi's election approaches and tensions erupt, Devin is faced with choices and consequences that are all too real. Beautifully written, often subversive and darkly funny, Bombing the Moon is an honest, intimate exploration of the promises and limitations of tough love.

Burning Questions

- by Margaret Atwood

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

From cultural icon Margaret Atwood comes a brilliant collection of essays--funny, erudite, endlessly curious, uncannily prescient--which seek answers to Burning Questions such as:


Why do people everywhere, in all cultures, tell stories?
How much of yourself can you give away without evaporating?
How can we live on our planet?
Is it true? And is it fair?
What do zombies have to do with authoritarianism?

In over fifty pieces Atwood aims her prodigious intellect and impish humour at the world, and reports back to us on what she finds. This roller-coaster period brought the end of history, a financial crash, the rise of Trump, and a pandemic. From debt to tech, the climate crisis to freedom; from when to dispense advice to the young (answer: only when asked) to how to define granola, we have no better guide to the many and varied mysteries of our universe.

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