Reading Recs: 20 Books by Canadian Women Writers That Will Inspire Women to be Their Best Selves
Whether on a beach, poolside, or by the dock at a cottage, summertime is the perfect time to dream big, dig deeper, and push yourself further. With that in mind, we spoke to Indigo staff to see which Canadian women writers inspired them to be their best selves. Here is our top 20 summer reads roundup:
Dirty Work: My Gruelling, Glorious, Life-changing Summer In The Wildernessby Anna Maxymiw
Published: May 7, 2019
About: This vibrant memoir is explores a young woman’s decision to step away from the relative comforts of the familiar and into the challenges that wilderness innately presents. When master’s student Anna Maxymiw takes on a summer job as a housekeeper of a fishing lodge in Northern Ontario, she boards a floatplane bound for the remote boreal forest, and steps into a “fierce, filthy, exhausting, and joyous experience” - all while working at a wilderness lodge.
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Mistakes To Run With: A Memoirby Yasuko Thanh
Published: April 2, 2019
About: This “devastatingly frank” memoir examines how our circumstances and choices we make determine what kind of people we become. Yasuko Thanh goes from the closest thing Victoria, B.C. has to a slum, to an honour-roll teen runaway, who subsequently turns to drugs and sex for money, until she finally emerges as an award-winning author.
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He Said, She Said: Lessons, Stories, And Mistakes From My Transgender Journeyby Gigi Gorgeous
Published: April 2, 2019
About: You might know Gigi Gorgeous from her YouTube channel, where she shares her outrageous sense of humour, her no-holds-barred honesty, and her glam Hollywood lifestyle. You might even have seen her critically-acclaimed documentary. But ten years ago Gigi was an awkward Canadian teen named Gregory. In “He Said, She Said,” Gigi shares her journey, with every struggle and triumph along the way, with her signature humour.
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A Good Wife: Escaping The Life I Never Choseby Samra Zafar
Published: March 5, 2019
Pages: 352 pages
About: Samra Zafar was a teen living in Pakistan, when at 17 she suddenly found herself a to-be-bride in a hastily-arranged marriage to man she never met living in Canada. She had dreams of what her life would look like before any of this, and those dreams turned to hope at the promise of a new life. Her new husband and his family assured the move would be a fulfilling one. But as time gave way, Samra slowly realized these promises were empty ones, and the walls of her home slowly became a prison. Desperate to get out from an abusive relationship, she plots her escape for herself and her daughters, risking everything along the way.
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Cat And Nat's Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories And Brutally Honest Advice On The Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhoodby Catherine Belknap, Natalie Telfer
Published: March 12, 2019
About: Hilariously frank, and audaciously colourful, “Cat And Nat’s Mom Truths” dishes it as it is: the end of the delivery is just the beginning. Sorry ladies. From stitches in your vagina to immediate regret, this occasionally-R-rated stroll through the mom-trenches will leave you feeling delirious and light with laughter, and finally, like you’re not the only one.
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Let That Sh*t Go: Find Peace Of Mind And Happiness In Your Everydayby Nina Purewal, Kate Petriw
Published: January 15, 2019
Pages: 352 pages
About: Life can be (neigh! IS) stressful, hectic, and unfair. There is never enough time in the day. It’s easy to get hung up on every detail and every to-do. No wonder so many of us feel anxious at the idea of it all. But Kate Petriw and Nina Purewal put decades of experience practicing and teaching others to find piece of mind no matter how busy they may be. Learn to keep perspective of what really counts, to take things one step at a time, and to seek out moments of calm amid the chaos.
Living Debt-free: The No-shame, No-blame Guide To Getting Rid Of Your Debtby Shannon Lee Simmons
Published:December 18, 2018
About: For the generations that have arguably more debt than any other before it, this book offers a guide to help rid you of your debt without giving up your life. With good reason too: debt can be a huge cause of stress that affects both your emotional and financial wellness. Learn how to understand your spending triggers, and develop a debt plan that is realistic and that works over the long haul. Take control of your finances with no shame, no blame, and no scare tactics.
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We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoirby Samra Habib
Published: June 4, 2019
About: If this is a record of what it was like living as a queer in Lahore, Pakistan during political and cultural turmoil, but Samra Habib offers so much more. She narrates her life as economical, crisp, and beautiful observations, offering insight for people of all ages, persuasions, and backgrounds. Ultimately, this piece is about learning to treasure one another and ourselves in all our glorious complexities.
Every Boy I Ever Kissedby Nellwyn Lampert
Published: July 27, 2019
About: This examination picks up at the end of the question “what does it mean when our experiences fail to live up to who we think we should be as liberated, postmodern women?” From losing her virginity, to thinking the battle for sexual equality has been won, to porn-induced erectile dysfunction, to other crises of masculinity, it turns out the answer is anything but simple. But it can be fun.
High Schoolby Sara Quin, Tegan Quin
Published: September 24, 2019
About: Music icons and identical twins, Tegan and Sara, bring readers into an intimate and raw account of their most formative years living in and attending high school at the height of grunge and rave culture in 90s Calgary, Alberta. From first loves, first songs, drugs, and countless other exploits, they share their struggles as they came to terms with their identities. This is an origin story of the celebrated musicians and LGBTQ+ icons they are today.
Love Lives Here: A Story Of Thriving In A Transgender Familyby Amanda Jette Knox
Published: August 13, 2019
About: There are no manuals on how to create a perfect family. Amanda Jette found even less guidance when her familiar world turned upside down: Her middle child’s struggle with depression gradually gave way to a deeper revelation: The person she knew as her son came out as transgender. Unprepared, but knowing how important it was to support her daughter, Jette became an ardent advocate for trans rights. But there was more. Her own spouse’s chronic unhappiness was starting to take a toll on their marriage, and a little over a year after their child came out, her partner too came out as transgender. Seeking positive examples of marriages surviving transition she found no role models. That’s when she decided her family would become one. This is a story of transition, frustration, support, acceptance, and, yes, love.
Nobody Cares: Essaysby Anne T. Donahue
Published: September 18, 2018
About: Dubbed as “the internet’s best friend,” Anne T. Donahue is your wise, funny friend who holds little back as she navigates work, failure, friendship and the mess of being alive in your twenties and thirties.
One Day We'll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter: Essaysby Scaachi Koul
Published: August 7, 2018
About: Bestselling cultural observer Scaachi Koul shares a collection of irreverent and funny essays about growing up the daughter of Indian immigrants in Canada. Addressing "a land of ice and casual racism," Koul tackles sexism, cultural stereotypes and the universal miseries growing up and letting go. From heavy expectations by her immigrated parents, to stories of returning to India, this is ultimately about finding your own place in the world.
All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forwardby Tanya Talaga
Published: October 16, 2018
About: Tanya Talaga explores the difficult and necessary topic of how Indigenous children continue to experience colonial oppression in Canada and beyond, and how that oppression takes shape in the alarming rise of youth suicides. From Northern Ontario to Nunavut, Norway, Brazil, Australia and the United States, the experience of colonialism in Indigenous communities is startlingly similar; “a violent, involuntary separation of Peoples from the land, the separation of families, and the separation of individuals from traditional ways of life.” Still, Talaga evokes examples of a shared history of resistance, resilience, and civil rights activism that pushes for better, more equitable world.
the sun and her flowersby Rupi Kaur
Published: October 16, 2018
About: From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “milk and honey”, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. If you haven’t yet had the chance to read Kaur’s latest work, summer is the perfect time to do so. A vibrant journey about growth and healing, “the sun and her flowers” is a celebration of love in all its forms.
Lands Of Lost Borders: Out Of Bounds On The Silk Roadby Kate Harris
Published: May 7, 2019
About: A work packed-full of “wide-awake” wonder and innate curiosity, “Lands of Lost Borders” brings into question the significance of political borders and what it means to cross them. Kate Harris packs her disarming wit, and observations as she moves along on her journey, and her readers come out the wiser for it.
I'm Afraid Of Menby Vivek Shraya
Published: August 28, 2018
About: Dubbed “cultural rocket fuel,” “I’m Afraid Of Men” explores Vivek Shraya’s experiences navigating a masculinity that never felt her own. From misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, Shraya reflects on the trauma caused by oppression on a body that refused to assimilate to someone else’s wants. As Rupi Kaur notes, Shraya will “Widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one - one we must all take up.”
The Beauty Of Discomfort: How What We Avoid Is What We Needby Amanda Lang
Published: April 3, 2018
About: How can embracing discomfort fuel your life for good? Find out why the most successful people not only cope with it but seek it out. Sometimes they learned this lesson through no choice of their own - a life-altering illness, a business fiasco - and other times challenging yourself was seen as the best means to grow and achieve goals. Whatever the root reason, “The Beauty of Discomfort” touts and highlights why learning to tolerate and embrace discomfort can make us more resilient, more successful, and ultimately happier.
It Begins With The Bodyby Hana Shafi
Published: September 10, 2018
About: Hana Shafi’s poems and graphic illustrations dive into the experience of finding yourself in the midst of anxiety, unemployment, heartbreak, relationships, identity and faith, and leading yourself to the other side. From arguing with your mom about wanting to wax off your unibrow to getting drunk in a bar for the first time you threw up in a bar in your twenties, “It Begins With The Body” delivers the words you wish you had when you needed them most.
Heart Berries: A Memoirby Terese Marie Mailhot
Published: March 13, 2018
About: Winner of numerous prizes, “Heart Berries” delves into Terese Marie Mailhot’s struggle to balance the beauty of her Indigenous heritage with the chaotic reality of life on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. “Heart Berries” chronicles Mailhot’s traumatic childhood, and her dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II. Mailhot is given a notebook and she begins to write her way out of trauma. “Heart Berries” is the resulting narration of a memory that may not be exact, but is “melded to imagination, pain and what we can bring ourselves to accept.”