When spring finally hits is there anything better than sitting outside with the sun on your back, reading? With coffee in the backyard or with wine on a busy patio, we love getting lost in a book while the world hums by in the background. The voices of Canadian women are so important and so diverse. Some offer us an adventure; some teach; some offer professional growth while some entertain and allow us to dream. From fiction to non-fiction to poetry, here are nine titles we’re loving right now. —Jenn Wint

Astra By Cedar Bowers. Astra is a captivating story that explores the different faces of one woman, as seen through the eyes of ten people over a lifetime. Born and raised on a remote British Columbia commune, Astra Brine has long struggled to find her way in the world, her life becoming a study of the thin line between dependence and love, need and desire. Over the years, as her path intersects with others—sometimes briefly, but always intensely—she will encounter people who, by turns, want to rescue, control, become and escape her. Through the eyes of several diverse characters, Astra explores what we’re willing to give and receive from others, and how well we ever really know the people we love the most.

The MomBabes: A Motherhood Anthology 2 By Christina Walsh and Carolyn Turkington. The second book in the MomBabes Anthology series, this is a sisterhood. It’s 18 chapters from 18 moms who’ve been there, drank cold coffee and lived through the beautiful messes of womanhood and motherhood. This book explores the ways women persevere through the hilarious, surprising, and sometimes heartbreaking experiences life throws at them. Readers will see a little bit of themselves in these stories.

Burning Sugar By Cicely Belle Blain. Through activism and poetry this collection explores the connections between history and systemic oppression that show up in every human interaction, space, and community. Their poems demonstrate how the world is both beautiful and cruel, a truth that inspires overwhelming anger and awe – all of which spills out onto the page to tell the story of a challenging, complex, nuanced, and joyful life. The author, a Black, queer femme, revisits familiar spaces in geography, in the arts, and in personal history to expose the legacy of colonization and its impact on Black bodies.

The Greater Good: Social Entrepreneurship For Everyday People Who Want To Change The World By Madeleine Shaw. The Greater Good is a call to action for everyday people—particularly women and others who have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream business community—to tap their unique perspectives to found and lead successful social impact ventures. This book presents an inspiring look at the inner journey behind creating businesses and initiatives that make a difference. In addition to sharing frank insights from her own career, Madeleine Shaw highlights the journeys of a host of other successful social entrepreneurs, and in so doing surfaces an emerging movement of a just and sustainable future.

Hana Khan Carries On By Uzma Jalaluddin. A joyful, romantic comedy about a young woman’s growing love interest while striving to advance her radio and podcast dreams amongst the rivalry of a neighbourhood halal restaurant. Add a mysterious aunt and teenage cousin arriving from India for a surprise visit bringing a family secret to put more on Hana’s plate. A hate-motivated attack on their neighbourhood complicates the situation further, as does Hana’s growing attraction for Aydin, the young owner of the rival restaurant—who might not be a complete stranger after all.

Stay Woke, Not Broke: Protect Your Brand In Today’s Business Climate By Alison Tedford. This book is a social justice education for businesses big and small. The author, disability advocate and expert in cross-cultural communication shares her experience navigating and coaching on sensitive topics. Stay Woke, Not Broke explores how to create diversity statements, develop content plans for ongoing social justice topics, and support your communities in having important conversations around race, culture, gender and politics. 

Five Little Indians By Michelle Good. This multi-award-winning novel chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward. The story follows five children taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school. Years later they are released after years of detention.Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Swimming Back to Trout River By Linda Rui Feng. This book explores the repercussions on a family when a child refuses to emigrate. Author Linda Rui Feng is a professor of Chinese cultural history weaving music, history and immigration, through historical moments in America and in China.The story takes place the summer of 1986 in a small Chinese village. 10-year-old Junie receives a momentous letter from her parents, who had left for America years ago: that they will return home and collect her by her 12th birthday. But Junie’s growing determination to stay put in the idyllic countryside with her beloved grandparents threatens to derail her family’s shared future.This emotional story spans continents, resilience, hope, love and family.

Burning Questions: Essays And Occasional Pieces, 2004-2021 By Margaret Atwood. Culture icon Margaret Atwood offers over 80 years of life experience in this collection of over 50 essays. She asks hilarious, curious and well researched questions spanning 15 years of global change and sees where the answers lead her. Readers get Atwood’s answers to questions like: 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?What do zombies have to do with authoritarianism?

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