The Greatest "Canada, Coming of age" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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The "Canada" category for books would encompass literature that is set in, written by, or about Canada and its people. This category would include a wide range of genres, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and memoirs, and would explore various themes related to Canadian culture, history, and identity. Books in this category would offer readers a unique perspective on Canada and its diverse communities, landscapes, and experiences.

Coming of age

The "Coming of age" category of books typically refers to stories that explore the transition from adolescence to adulthood. These books often focus on the challenges and experiences that young people face as they navigate the complexities of growing up, including issues such as identity, relationships, sexuality, and personal growth. Coming of age stories can be set in any time period or cultural context, and may feature protagonists of any gender, race, or background. Overall, the genre offers readers a glimpse into the universal struggles and triumphs of youth, and the process of becoming a fully realized adult.

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  1. 1. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

    The book follows the life of a young orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to live with an elderly brother and sister who originally wanted to adopt a boy to help them with their farm in Prince Edward Island. Despite the initial disappointment, the girl's charm, vivacity, and imagination soon win over her new guardians. The story details her adventures and mishaps in her new home, her struggles and triumphs at school, and her gradual maturing into a smart, independent young woman.

    The 269th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

    A young Indian boy named Pi Patel survives a shipwreck and finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Over the course of 227 days, Pi uses his knowledge of animal behavior and survival skills to coexist with the tiger, ultimately leading to an unusual and deeply spiritual journey. The story explores themes of faith, survival, and the interpretation of reality.

    The 566th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Obasan by Joy Kogawa

    The book is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of a Japanese-Canadian woman named Naomi, who reflects on her experiences during World War II. As a child, Naomi was forced into internment along with thousands of other Japanese-Canadians, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The narrative explores the themes of racism, identity, silence, and the power of memory, as Naomi grapples with the trauma of her past and the impact of her cultural heritage on her present life.

    The 841st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

    The novel follows the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman, from her birth in Canada in 1905 to her death. It explores her experiences as a mother, wife, and widow, as well as her work as a gardener and her later years as a columnist. The book is unique in that it is written in a variety of styles including letters, diary entries, and third-person narrative, and it explores themes of identity, love, and the often overlooked lives of women.

    The 1039th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro

    "Lives of Girls and Women" is a coming-of-age story about a young girl growing up in a small town in Canada during the 1940s. The novel explores the protagonist's journey towards self-discovery and understanding of the world around her. The protagonist grapples with societal expectations, familial relationships, and her own burgeoning sexuality, all while navigating the complexities of adolescence and the transition into adulthood. The book offers a profound exploration of the female experience, delving into themes of gender, identity, and the intricate dynamics of human relationships.

    The 1209th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

    This novel revolves around the life of a controversial painter, Elaine Risley, who returns to her hometown, Toronto, for a retrospective of her art. Haunted by her past, she reminisces about her childhood and the complex relationships she had, especially with her best friend Cordelia. The story delves into themes of memory, identity, and the often painful experiences of childhood and adolescence. The protagonist's journey is one of self-discovery, as she navigates through the complexities of female friendship, bullying, and the struggle to fit in.

    The 1402nd Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro

    "Who Do You Think You Are?" is a collection of short stories that follow the life of a woman named Rose from her childhood in rural Ontario through her adulthood as she navigates the complexities of relationships, personal identity, and social class. The stories explore themes of self-discovery, the nature of memory, and the impact of personal history on one's present. The narrative is a deep exploration of the human condition, revealing the intricacies of the protagonist's experiences, emotions, and perceptions.

    The 1693rd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

    The novel follows the life of Dunstan Ramsay, a man haunted by a childhood accident that he believes he caused. The book explores his guilt and its impact on his life, as well as his relationships with others, including a woman he loves but cannot have, a brilliant but troubled friend, and a saintly fool. Throughout his life, Ramsay seeks redemption and understanding in the realms of history, mythology, and religion.

    The 1814th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

    "The Diviners" is a novel about a woman named Morag Gunn who grows up in small-town Manitoba, Canada, and becomes a successful novelist. The story follows Morag's life from childhood to adulthood, exploring her relationships, struggles, and personal growth. The narrative delves into themes of identity, memory, and the importance of understanding one's past. The protagonist's journey to self-discovery and acceptance is interwoven with the broader cultural and historical context of Canada in the mid-20th century.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. The Wars by Timothy Findley

    "The Wars" is a historical novel that follows the life of a young Canadian soldier, Robert Ross, during World War I. The narrative explores Ross's experiences in the war, his struggles with his own morality, and the harsh realities of the battlefield. The book also delves into the psychological impact of war on soldiers, as well as the effects of war on animals, which Ross is particularly sensitive to. Through non-linear storytelling, the novel provides a visceral and poignant commentary on the brutality and senselessness of war.

    The 2739th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    A 13-year-old boy survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness and is left to fend for himself with only a hatchet his mother gave him as a present. Over the course of several months, he learns to hunt, fish, and forage for food while also dealing with wild animals, harsh weather, and loneliness. Through a series of flashbacks, he also confronts painful memories from his past, and ultimately, he emerges stronger and more mature from his ordeal.

    The 2877th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. In Praise Of Older Women by Stephen Vizinczey

    The book is a candid and provocative exploration of the romantic and sexual relationships of a young man, particularly with older, more experienced women. Through a series of intimate encounters and personal reflections, the protagonist embarks on a journey of emotional and sensual education. Set against the backdrop of mid-20th century Europe, the narrative delves into themes of love, passion, and the complexity of human connections, challenging societal norms and offering a fresh perspective on the dynamics between the sexes and the transformative power of relationships.

    The 2942nd Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

    The novel is a poignant exploration of an elderly woman's life as she reflects on her past with a mixture of pride, bitterness, and regret. The protagonist, a feisty and independent 90-year-old, grapples with her impending death and the loss of her autonomy while recounting her life's journey. Through her eyes, readers experience the struggles of growing up in the prairies of Western Canada, her rebellious youth, the challenges of marriage and motherhood, and the weight of societal expectations. The narrative delves into themes of pride, aging, and the search for self-identity, as the protagonist confronts the stone angel monument that serves as a metaphor for her own unyielding nature and emotional isolation.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven

    In this poignant novel, a young vicar is unknowingly sent to a remote Native American village in British Columbia after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Unaware of his fate, he immerses himself in the lives of the Kwakiutl community, learning their traditions, struggles, and the encroaching pressures of the modern world. As he forms deep connections and confronts the meaning of life and death, he experiences a profound personal transformation. The story is a tender exploration of cultural understanding, spiritual growth, and the poignant beauty of human connections in the face of mortality.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Purple Springs by Nellie L. McClung

    "Purple Springs" is a novel that continues the journey of its spirited protagonist, a young woman from the Canadian prairies who is determined to fight for women's rights and social justice. Set in the early 20th century, the narrative follows her as she navigates the challenges of political activism, advocating for suffrage, and pushing against the societal norms that restrict women's roles. Through her personal growth, community involvement, and unwavering commitment to her cause, the story captures the essence of the feminist movement of the time, highlighting the importance of perseverance, education, and the power of collective action in effecting change.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

    "Fall On Your Knees" is a multi-generational saga set in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, that explores themes of family, love, betrayal, and secrets. The story revolves around the Piper family, specifically four sisters, their father James, and their mother Materia. The narrative weaves through time, revealing the family's complex relationships, the impact of racial and cultural tensions, and the dark secrets that have shaped their lives. This novel is a deep exploration of family dynamics, love, and the power of secrets.

    The 4474th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

    "Crow Lake" is a compelling novel that explores the dynamics of a rural Canadian family dealing with tragedy. After the death of their parents, the Morrison children struggle to stay together and maintain their family farm. The story is narrated by the youngest daughter, who is now a successful zoologist, reflecting back on her childhood. The narrative delves into themes of love, loss, survival, and the power of education, all set against the backdrop of the harsh, yet beautiful, northern Ontario landscape.

    The 5370th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

    This novel is a semi-autobiographical exploration of friendship, art, and the question posed by the title. The protagonist, a young playwright, struggles with her art and personal life, navigating complicated relationships and seeking answers about how to live a good and meaningful life. The narrative blends elements of fiction, memoir, self-help, and philosophy, resulting in a unique and thought-provoking exploration of identity, creativity, and the human condition.

    The 5682nd Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

    "Washington Black" is a historical novel by Esi Edugyan that tells the story of a young slave named George Washington Black, who is forced to flee a plantation in Barbados with the help of his master's brother. The two embark on a journey that takes them across the globe, from the Caribbean to the Arctic, and Washington Black discovers his talent for scientific illustration. Along the way, he faces challenges and struggles with his identity as a black man in a world dominated by white men. The novel explores themes of freedom, identity, and the impact of colonialism on individuals and societies.

    The 6559th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

    In this introspective novel, a diary washes ashore on a remote Canadian island, bridging two disparate worlds. The journal, written by Nao, a troubled Japanese teenager, chronicles her life, her contemplation of suicide, and her relationship with her great-grandmother, a Zen Buddhist nun. The diary is discovered by a novelist, who becomes engrossed by Nao's story and is compelled to unravel the mysteries of Nao's fate and her own connection to the young girl. As the novelist reads, the boundaries between writer and reader, past and present, fiction and reality blur, creating a meditation on time, loss, and the intricate threads that connect human lives across the globe.

    The 6621st Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Canada by Richard Ford

    The novel follows the story of fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons, whose life is irrevocably changed after his parents commit a bank robbery in 1960s Montana. After the heist goes awry, Dell is left to fend for himself, and he crosses the border into Saskatchewan, Canada. There, he encounters a new world of isolation and hardship, and a series of characters who will shape his understanding of life. As Dell navigates his new reality, he reflects on the events that led to his family's downfall and his own coming of age in a foreign land. The narrative is a profound exploration of destiny, self-reliance, and the indelible impact of one's family and past.

    The 6624th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

    All My Puny Sorrows is a poignant exploration of the complex relationship between two sisters, one a successful concert pianist battling severe depression and the other a struggling writer trying to support her. The narrative delves into themes of mental illness, suicide, love, and the power of familial bonds. It grapples with the moral and ethical questions surrounding assisted suicide, the struggle to understand a loved one's pain, and the lengths to which one might go to help them find peace.

    The 6668th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley

    The graphic novel follows the life of a slacker and part-time musician, Scott Pilgrim, who falls for an enigmatic American delivery girl named Ramona Flowers. However, to win her heart, Scott must defeat her seven evil exes in a series of surreal video game-inspired battles. Set in Toronto, Canada, the story combines elements of romance, comedy, and fantasy, as Scott navigates the complexities of relationships, self-identity, and adulthood, all while showcasing the unique visual style and cultural references that have made the series a cult favorite.

    The 6934th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Fault Lines by Nancy Huston

    "Fault Lines" is a novel that delves into the complex layers of family history and the impact of past traumas on the present. The narrative unfolds through the eyes of four different children from successive generations of the same family, each chapter moving back in time to reveal the secrets and challenges faced by their ancestors. The story explores themes of identity, memory, and the inherited nature of suffering, as the protagonists grapple with the legacies of war, displacement, and personal tragedy that ripple through their lineage. The novel's unique structure and poignant storytelling invite readers to reflect on how the fault lines of history can shape individual lives and relationships across generations.

    The 8328th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Lullabies For Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

    The novel follows the life of Baby, a twelve-year-old girl navigating the complexities of growing up in the seedy underbelly of Montreal. With her mother deceased and her father, Jules, struggling with heroin addiction, Baby is thrust into a world of instability and neglect. As she grapples with her longing for love and security, she becomes entangled in a series of troubling relationships and dangerous situations. Through her eyes, the story explores themes of innocence, resilience, and the harsh realities of life on the margins of society.

    The 9710th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.