Five Years of Consumed by Ink: 100 Recommended Canadian Books

When I was in my first year or two of blogging, I would marvel at the bloggers who were hitting five years plus. But now I know how fast the time goes by.

In celebration of my 5th year, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best Canadian books I’ve read and reviewed on Consumed by Ink. You can follow links to my thoughts on each book by clicking on the title.

This is, by no means, a definitive list. On another day, the list might have been different. To help narrow down my choices, I’ve included no more than one book per author.

I’m sad for the books that are not on this list because I haven’t read them yet… I will just have to make a second list in another 5 years!

Here they are in alphabetical order, by author. (Atlantic Canadian Books are in bold.)

  1. Abdou, Angie – Between
  2. Alexis, Andre – Fifteen Dogs
  3. al Rabeeah, Abu Bakr – Homes
  4. Atwood, Margaret – Alias Grace
  5. Badami, Anita Rau – The Hero’s Walk
  6. Bala, Sharon – The Boat People
  7. Barbeau, Melissa – The Luminous Sea
  8. Barwin, Gary – Yiddish for Pirates
  9. Berry, Michelle – The Prisoner and the Chaplain
  10. Boyden, Joseph – The Orenda
  11. Brennan, Binnie – Harbour View
  12. Bruneau, Carol – A Circle on the Surface
  13. Bryan, Ali – The Figgs
  14. Buffie, Erna – Let Us Be True
  15. Butler, Paul – The Widow’s Fire
  16. Cameron, Claire – The Bear
  17. Canning, Bridget – The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes
  18. Carter, Lauren – Swarm
  19. Chariandy, David – Brother
  20. Clark, Joan – The Birthday Lunch
  21. Clarke, George Elliott – George and Rue
  22. Comeau, Joey – Malagash
  23. Conlin, Christy Ann – The Memento
  24. Crummey, Michael – Sweetland
  25. Davis, Lauren B. – The Empty Room
  26. Davison, Nicola – In the Wake
  27. Dimaline, Cherie – The Marrow Thieves
  28. Domet, Stephanie – Fallsy Downsies
  29. Drake, Aaron Cully – Do You Think This Is Strange?
  30. Dumont, Claudine – Captive
  31. Dumont, Dawn – Nobody Cries at Bingo
  32. DuPont, Eric – Songs for the Cold of Heart
  33. Edugyan, Esi – Washington Black
  34. Endicott, Marina – Good To A Fault
  35. Ferguson, Will – Happiness
  36. Fishbane, Melanie J. – Maud
  37. Fowles, Stacey May – Infidelity
  38. Gault, Connie – A Beauty
  39. Gibb, Camilla – Sweetness in the Belly
  40. Graham, Genevieve – Promises to Keep
  41. Greer, Darren – Advocate
  42. Hardcastle, Kevin – In the Cage
  43. Hawley, Alix – All True Not A Lie In It
  44. Heiti, Matthew – The City Still Breathing
  45. Henstra, Sarah – The Red Word
  46. Hill, Lawrence – Black Berry, Sweet Juice
  47. Huebert, David – Peninsula Sinking
  48. Hynes, Joel Thomas – We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night
  49. Itani, Frances – Deafening
  50. King, Thomas – The Inconvenient Indian
  51. Kogawa, Joy – Obasan
  52. Kutsukake, Lynne – The Translation of Love
  53. Laffoley, Steven – The Blue Tattoo
  54. Laurence, Margaret – The Stone Angel
  55. Leroux, Catherine – The Party Wall
  56. Leung, Carrianne – That Time I Loved You
  57. Lindberg, Tracey – Birdie
  58. Lovegrove, Jennifer – Watch How We Walk
  59. Lye, Harriet Alida – The Honey Farm
  60. Mandel, Emily St. John – Station Eleven
  61. Mian, Sarah – When the Saints
  62. Michaels, Sean – Us Conductors
  63. Montgomery, L.M. – The Blythes are Quoted
  64. Moore, Lisa – Flannery
  65. Morgan-Cole, Trudy – Most Anything You Please
  66. Nason, Riel – The Town That Drowned
  67. Nawaz, Saleema – Bone & Bread
  68. O’Neill, Heather – The Lonely Hearts Hotel
  69. Page, Kathy – Dear Evelyn
  70. Pelley, Chad – Every Little Thing
  71. Peterson, Zoey Leigh – Next Year, For Sure
  72. Phinney, Sandra – Waking Up in My Own Backyard
  73. Raddall, Thomas H. – The Nymph and the Lamp
  74. Redhill, Michael – Bellevue Square
  75. Rice, Waubgeshig – Moon of the Crusted Snow
  76. Robinson, Eden – Son of a Trickster
  77. Rosenblum, Rebecca – So Much Love
  78. Ross, Cecily – The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie
  79. Samuel, Sigal – The Mystics of Mile End
  80. Saucier, Jocelyne – And the Birds Rained Down
  81. Schofield, Anakana – Malarky
  82. Scott, Genevieve – Catch My Drift
  83. Selecky, Sarah – This Cake is for the Party
  84. Shields, Carol – Unless
  85. Snyder, Carrie – Girl Runner
  86. Strube, Cordelia – Lemon
  87. Tacon, Claire – In the Field
  88. Theriault, Denis – The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman
  89. Thien, Madeleine – Do Not Say We Have Nothing
  90. Thuy, Kim – Vi
  91. Toews, Miriam – All My Puny Sorrows
  92. Unwin, Peter – Nine Bells For a Man
  93. Vermette, Katherena – The Break
  94. Vryenhoek, Leslie – Ledger of the Open Hand
  95. Wagamese, Richard – Medicine Walk
  96. Watt, Alison – Dazzle Patterns
  97. Wesley, Gloria Ann – If This Is Freedom
  98. Wharton, Thomas – Every Blade of Grass
  99. Whittall, Zoe – The Best Kind of People
  100. Winters, Michelle – I Am a Truck

At the risk of sounding sappy (but if not now, when?), I want to thank all of you for visiting, commenting, and reading over the past five years. I have had so much fun getting to know you and feeling part of the book blogging community. Whether you’ve made yourself known or have been a quiet visitor, I appreciate every one of you. Let’s keep reading! xo

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75 thoughts on “Five Years of Consumed by Ink: 100 Recommended Canadian Books

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    Congratulations! It’s a great achievement, and I really like the way you’ve chosen to commemorate it with a must-read list of CanadianLit. I wish I could say that I’ve read more than the three from your list, but I have read 60+ books from Canada and I’m pleased to have here your recommendations for the best to chase up and read in future.
    All the best for the next five years and more!

    • Naomi says:

      Thank you, Sarah!
      I’m looking forward to seeing you, too. It’s been too long! I hope the weather cooperates – it’s been unpredictable these days.

  2. Kristilyn says:

    Congratulations on 5 years! And I have to say, when I think of Canadian books I think of you! I love finding other people who love Canadian reads as much as I do – though I’m definitely nowhere near where you are. lol. Here’s to another 5 years and many more Canadian reads!

  3. Mary Holmes Dague says:

    I wish more Canadian books were available in the U.S. Canada has so many wonderful writers we never see in the lower 48. I’m happy to see Carol Bruneau on your list, though. She is one writer I do follow!

    • Naomi says:

      I’m so happy to hear you follow Carol Bruneau! But, yes, some CanLit is hard to come across in other countries. Some of it is even hard to come across in this one!

  4. Geoff W says:

    Happy Five Years! (And I’m even somewhat timely in commenting :-D) I have no idea how you only got one Atwood on here though, that’s a feat in and of itself.

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks, Geoff!
      I limited myself to one book per author to help narrow down my choices. There are a few authors on the list I could have included more than one of their books!

  5. Cathy746books says:

    Congratulations to one of my favourite book bloggers! I feel like we have grown up together! This list is a great resource – I’ll definitely be checking loads of these titles out xx

  6. Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis says:

    Congratulations, Naomi – and thanks so much for putting together this list. So many books I’ve read and loved – and so many waiting to be discovered! I’m very happy that you chose Flannery out of all of Moore’s wonderful books, and The Nymph and the Lamp for Raddall. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks, Debra! There is so much out there to discover, isn’t there?!
      And thanks for dropping by. I have recently discovered your blog, which looks like one I’d like to spend more time perusing!

      • BookerTalk says:

        Alias Grace ( a long time ago); The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman (the Haiku aspect was extremely well done I thought); Do Not Say we Have Nothing (why this didn’t get the Booker Prize baffles me) and Carol Shields (though I confess I don’t recall much about it)

  7. Grab the Lapels says:

    Wait, you read and reviewed all of these books? That must mean you’re almost exclusively reading Canadian works! I didn’t realize your blog was that focused on one aspect of reading. How cool! Happy 5th birthday, Naomi. I started in June of 2013, which means we must have met each other right when you started blogging. We’re, like, from the same litter, lol.

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks, Melanie! Litter mates – I love it! 🙂
      I really think I am now reading almost all CanLit. It didn’t start out quite that focused, but the more I read, the more I want to read, and now I have a hard time fitting in things that aren’t Canadian. The Literary Wives club is good for that! And there are a few others…

  8. Vishy says:

    Congratulations Naomi! Happy 5th Blogiversary! Wonderful list! I knew that Margaret ‘Alias Grace’ would be there 🙂 I am so happy to see Denis Theriault’s ‘The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman’ on your list! It is one of my favourite books! Why isn’t Beth Powning’s ‘The Sea Captain’s Wife’ there on your list? 🙂 I thought you loved that too. Thanks so much for sharing this list. I am saving this and will take its help to explore Canadian literature.

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks so much, Vishy! I can’t believe you remember about The Sea Captain’s Wife! I would love to have included it, but I read it pre-blog and the books one this list have all been written about somewhere on my blog. My hope is to re-read it (and a few others) sometime so I can write about them – maybe it’ll be on the next list! 🙂

      • Vishy says:

        I remember you mentioning ‘The Sea Captain’s Life’ in one of your recommended lists 🙂 I added it to my TBR after that. Hoping to read it one of these days.

  9. carin says:

    Marvellous list! So many here I want to read. (And I’ll definitely come back to compare thoughts!) Thank you for this and for your wonderful work… (and congrats on five years! break open the cake!!)

  10. kimbofo says:

    This is a great list, Naomi. I’ve read 17 (mainly the Giller nominees / winners) but there’s loads more on here I’d love to read. Thanks for being such a devoted CanLit champion. It helps people like me navigate our way around bookshops, hunting out the good stuff you recommend to broaden our reading palette.

  11. The Paperback Princess says:

    Congratulations on five years!!!

    This is an amazing list. And I’ve actually read some of these! I’m pretty sure you are a huge reason why I’ve been more open-minded about actually reading CanLit, so thank you. I always love reading your insightful, brilliant reviews.

    The Blythes Are Quoted is your favourite Montgomery! I find that such a surprising choice! I’m going to click on that link now to find out why.

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks, Eva! You must be coming up to 5 years now too, unless you’ve already passed it!

      The Blythes are Quoted is not necessarily my favourite LMM, but I chose it for this list because it’s one that might not be as familiar to readers as her others.

  12. Brona says:

    A huge congrats on 5 yrs of blogging – well done.
    I’ve loved your Canadian perspective – so many of us keen to seek out good literature from countries outside of the US/UK publishing block and you’ve made that job a little easier for us.

    Sadly, I’ve only read 3 of the books on your list, although not from want of trying….I’ve been trying to source The Blythes are Quoted to finish of my Anne journey, to no avail.

    • Naomi says:

      Oh no… it’s too bad you haven’t been able to get a copy of The Blythes are Quoted. Being Montgomery, I wouldn’t have thought it would be difficult.

      I feel the same way about your perspective (along with a few others) on Australian literature. And I’ve got about the same track record. The funny thing is, I probably read more Australian books before I started my blog. But now I just can’t stop reading the CanLit – there’s so much good stuff out there! Which is a good “problem” to have, right? 🙂

  13. Lorilin says:

    What an interesting and impressive list of books! I found a couple suggestions in there for my TBR. And wow, congrats on five years! That is no small accomplishment. 🙂

  14. susan says:

    Wow great list! You are an inspiring blogger & reader to many across Canada. Thanks for your thoughtful reviews. I enjoy them. Congrats on 5 years.

  15. buriedinprint says:

    This is amazing! (I kept it in a tab to read when I could pay attention and then, somehow, the tab got closed, and I only just remembered and got around to searching for it again today – oops, I shouldn’t count on tabs to keep me organized. *snorts*) After seeing that everyone else was counting, I went back to do so as well, and we have 60 overlapping, which might seem like a lot but I actually thought it would be higher because we often like similar stories/writers. But, then, I realized just how many of the other 40 were books that I actually think of as Naomi-reads, so that when I see them on a shelf somewhere I say to myself, “right, Naomi recommended that one – I really must get to it soon”, and that’s just a lovely feeling to have! Here’s to another five years and more!

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