Previous Books of the Year

Visit the Book of the Year Wall of Fame, located on the second floor of the City Centre Campus library. Previous Books of the Year are available to purchase at mstore.

This Accident of Being Lost
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

This Accident of Being Lost is the knife-sharp collection of stories and songs from an award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer. Provocateur and poet, Simpson continually rebirths a decolonized reality, one that circles in and out of time and resists dominant narratives or comfortable categorization

Michael Crummey Sweetland2018/19
Michael Crummey

Sweetland is a beautiful prayer for a dying island and an elegy for the titular character, who is both haunted and haunting, besieged by ghosts and yet trying to stop himself from becoming one.

Love Enough
Dionne Brand

At once lucid and dream-like, Love Enough is a profoundly modern work that speaks to the most fundamental questions of how we live now. The novel draws us effortlessly into the intersecting stories of Dionne Brand’s characters caught in the middle of choices, apprehensions and fears. Each of the tales here—June’s, Bedri’s, Da’uud’s, Lia’s—opens a different window on the city they all live in, mostly in parallel, but occasionally, delicately, touching and crossing one another.

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel

This critically acclaimed, bestselling novel weaves together several stories that take place before, during and after a plague that wipes out life as we know it. From the actor who dies on stage before the end of the world, to the travelling theatre troupe that encounters a self-proclaimed prophet in the aftermath, the novel tells a story about fate, beauty and hope during times of darkness and tragedy.

Kim Thuy

Mãn is the story of the title woman, who has had three mothers: her birth mother, a nun and Maman, who becomes a spy to survive and, to save her grown daughter, pairs Mãn with a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal. While living in her new city with her new husband, Mãn discovers her talents as a chef and her passion for food—but soon her passion extends to another chef, through whom Mãn encounters the obsessions and dangers of a love affair.

The Sisters Brothers
Patrick DeWitt

The Sisters Brothers is the critically acclaimed novel about two brothers – Eli and Charlie Sisters – henchmen for the powerful Commodore. It's the Commodore's bidding that the two track down marked man Hermann Kermit Warm. As Eli narrates the brothers' journey from Oregon City to a gold-mining claim in California, it's abundantly clear that Eli and Charlie are cut from different cloths, and Eli begins to question the dark, dirty job he does for a living – and for whom he does it.

Indian Horse
Richard Wagamese

Saul Indian Horse is a reluctant resident in an alcohol treatment centre, who grudgingly comes to see that the only way to achieve peace in his life is to tell his story. Indian Horse traces Saul's early days as a northern Ojibway, when he's forcibly taken from his land and family to a residential school, where he finds salvation -- for a while -- through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But acceptance doesn't come easily as Saul faces the harsh realities of racism, cultural alienation and displacement in 1960s Canada.

The Cat's Table
Michael Ondaatje

The Cat’s Table is an account of life on board an ocean liner bound for England – and adulthood – in 1954. The story follows a young boy and his friends who are shunned from the captain’s table to instead take up company, and find adventure, with a cast of eccentric characters relegated to dine at the lowly “cat’s table.”

The Bone Cage
Angie Abdou

Wrestler Digger and speed swimmer Sadie stand on the verge of realizing every athlete’s dream – winning gold at the Olympics. Both athletes are nearing the end of their athletic careers, and are forced to confront the question: what happens to athletes when their bodies are too old and injured to compete?

The Golden Mean
Annabel Lyon

On the orders of his boyhood friend, now King Philip of Macedon, Aristotle postpones his dreams of succeeding Plato as leader of the Academy in Athens and reluctantly arrives in the Macedonian capital of Pella to tutor the king’s adolescent sons. An early illness has left one son with the intellect of a child; the other is destined for greatness but struggles between a keen mind that craves instruction and the pressures of a society that demands his prowess as a soldier.

The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway

This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst.

Lullabies for Little Criminals
Heather O’Neill

Lullabies for Little Criminals is the heartbreaking and wholly original debut novel by This American Life contributor Heather O’Neill, about a young girl fighting to preserve her bruised innocence on the feral streets of a big city. Baby, all of thirteen years old, is lost in the gangly, coltish moment between childhood and the strange pulls and temptations of the adult world.

Sweetness in the Belly
Camilla Gibb

Lilly, the main character of Camilla Gibb’s stunning novel, has anything but a stable childhood. The daughter of English/Irish hippies, she was born in Yugoslavia, breast-fed in the Ukraine, weaned in Corsica, freed from nappies in Sicily and walking by the time they got to the Algarve. The family’s nomadic adventure ends in Tangier when Lilly’s parents are killed in a drug deal gone awry. Orphaned at eight, Lilly is left in the care of a Sufi sheikh, who shows her the way of Islam.

Oryx and Crake
Margaret Atwood

Nearing starvation and losing his memory of language, narrator Snowman attempts to review the past to understand how his world ended up this way – a post-plague society stripped of vegetation and all other human life except for the green-eyed Children of Crake. No doubt this is the very question Margaret Atwood’s novel poses as both she and her readers are forced to consider the consequences of the direction in which we are headed.

Black Bird
Michel Basilieres

In this wholly original novel alive with misfortune and magic, Michel Basilières uncovers a Montreal not seen in any other English-Canadian work: a forgotten blue-collar neighbourhood in between the two solitudes. Gothic, outrageous, yet tender and wise, Black Bird is as liberating as the dreams of its wayward characters, and as gripping as the insurgencies that split its heart.

Frances Itani

In Deafening, Canadian writer Frances Itani’s American debut novel, she tells two parallel stories: a man’s story of war and a woman’s story of waiting for him and of what it is to be deaf. Grania O’Neill is left with no hearing after having scarlet fever when she is five. She is taught at home until she is nine and then sent to the Ontario Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, where lifelong friendships are forged, her career as a nurse is chosen, and she meets Jim Lloyd, a hearing man, with whom she falls in love.

Life of Pi
Yann Martel

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behaviour and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

Monkey Beach
Eden Robinson

Set on the rugged northwestern coast of British Columbia, Monkey Beach is the coming-of-age story of a young Haisla girl who, while searching for her lost brother, learns about herself, her family, and her complex cultural world. The novel was nominated for both the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award in 2000.

Mercy Among the Children
David Adams Richards

Winner of the 2000 Giller Prize, Mercy Among the Children is strongly rooted in the Miramichi Valley of late 20th century New Brunswick, yet in the conflict of the characters, we see Richards’ fiercely moral vision at work. 

Chorus of Mushrooms
Hiromi Goto

Hiromi Goto’s award-winning novel traces the stories of three generations of Japanese Canadian women living on a mushroom farm in southern Alberta.

The Englishman’s Boy
Guy Vanderhaeghe

Two narrative streams merge in this novel about the Cypress Hills Massacre of 1873 and the phenomenon of early Hollywood in the 1920s. Thoroughly researched, the novel is rich with historical texture and beautifully crafted prose. 

Thomas Wharton

In 1898, a British doctor visiting the Rocky Mountains near Jasper falls into a crevasse. The story that Wharton lyrically unfolds is mysterious and intriguing.


Medicine River
Thomas King

The story of one man’s discovery of family and community, Thomas King’s debut novel is by turns funny and poignant.