100 books like Out of School

By Adam Lauder,

Here are 100 books that Out of School fans have personally recommended if you like Out of School. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

Largely recognized as McLuhan’s first major work, this book provides a trenchant analysis of 1940’s popular culture in the United States, with particular reference to print-media advertising. To this end, it consists of x chapters, each of which consists of an image culled from newspapers and magazines, accompanied by an insightful—and often ironictext. Dismissed by some as lacking in direction and coherence, the book actually has a tightly woven narrative that sheds considerable light on the gender issues, technology, and power structures of the day. 

By Marshall McLuhan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mechanical Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OURS is the first age in wruch many thousands of the
best-trained individual minds have made it a full-time
business to get inside the collective public mind. To
get inside in order to manipulate, exploit, control is
the object now. And to generate heat not light is the
intention. To keep everybody in the helpless state
engendered by prolonged mental rutting is the effect
of many ads and much entertainment alike.
Since so many minds are engaged in bringing
about this condition of public helplessness, and since
these programs of commercial education are so much
more expensive and influential than…


Book cover of The Medium and the Light: Reflections on Religion

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

Mention has often been made of the extent to which Marshall McLuhan was a devout adherent of the Catholic faith. But little has been known about how he viewed the place of religion in the world particularly with reference to the fate of the Catholic Church. This carefully selected collection of McLuhan’s writings on religion provides one with clarifying insights into his views on a broad range of Church-related issues including the nature of conversion, the spiritualism of youth, the impact of technology on liturgy, and Vatican II.  Overall, by revealing that McLuhan viewed faith as a sense, the volume illuminates the connections he made between religion and media.  

By Marshall McLuhan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Medium and the Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Say the name Marshall McLuhan and you think of the great discover's explorations of the media. But throughout his life, McLuhan never stopped reflecting profoundly on the nature of God and worship, and on the traditions of the Church. Often other intellectuals and artists would ask him incredulously, "Are you really a Catholic?" He would answer, "Yes, I am a Catholic, the worst kind -- a convert," leaving them more baffled than before. Here, like a golden thread lining his public utterances on the media, are McLuhan's brilliant probes into the nature of conversion, the church's understanding of media, the…


Book cover of Distant Early Warning: Marshall McLuhan and the Transformation of the Avant-Garde

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

This book explores McLuhan’s relationship with avant-garde art. While McLuhan’s engagement with artistic endeavours, has received some attention, Kitnick examines in detail not only how McLuhan’s work on art developed over an extended period, but how his views on artistic practice came to inform the work of others. He builds on McLuhan’s contention that art was not primarily a means of self-expression, but rather the basis for cultural exploration and environmental change. Drawing inspiration from figures such as James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and Wyndham Lewis. McLuhan, according to Kitnick, saw members of the avant-garde as artists who work within conventional structures in order to disrupt them, thereby throwing them into relief. 

By Alex Kitnick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Distant Early Warning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) is best known as a media theorist-many consider him the founder of media studies-but he was also an important theorist of art. Though a near-household name for decades due to magazine interviews and TV specials, McLuhan remains an underappreciated yet fascinating figure in art history. His connections with the art of his own time were largely unexplored, until now. In Distant Early Warning, art historian Alex Kitnick delves into these rich connections and argues both that McLuhan was influenced by art and artists and, more surprisingly, that McLuhan's work directly influenced the art and artists of his…


Book cover of Re-Understanding Media: Feminist Extensions of Marshall McLuhan

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

Using McLuhan’s classic Understanding Media as a point of reference, the editors have assembled an impressive collection of essays that succeed in critically extending his ideas into a range of new directions. These include the biases of contemporary urban planning, transport (from a race perspective), gendered domestic and office space, and Black feminist activism. While remaining true to the exploratory spirit of McLuhan’s “probes,” the essays demonstrate both the shortcomings and potentialities of his body of work.

By Sarah Sharma (editor), Rianka Singh (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Re-Understanding Media as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The contributors to Re-Understanding Media advance a feminist version of Marshall McLuhan's key text, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, repurposing his insight that "the medium is the message" for feminist ends. They argue that while McLuhan's theory provides a falsely universalizing conception of the technological as a structuring form of power, feminist critics can take it up to show how technologies alter and determine the social experiences of race, gender, class, and sexuality. This volume showcases essays, experimental writings, and interviews from media studies scholars, artists, activists, and those who work with and create technology. Among other topics, the…


Book cover of Canzone di Guerra

Brian Castro Author Of The Garden Book

From my list on writing that falls between the cracks of genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an aficionado of lost objects, lost time, afterlives; of writing which never “fitted” its era. Examples would be that of John Aubrey, Herman Melville, Fernando Pessoa, Djuna Barnes, Elizabeth Hardwick, Ralph Ellison… the list goes on. I look for writing that has stood the test of time, not celebrated for the fame and bling of the moment. I look for the futile products of those who possessed genius, but who never earned enough readers until decades or centuries later, once they were released from the prison-house of genre. I look for the posthumous brilliance of language; the phosphoric glow of its offerings and of the buried treasures found therein.

Brian's book list on writing that falls between the cracks of genre

Brian Castro Why did Brian love this book?

I just love the way she is so contemptuous of people telling false “stories”. Her writing falls between every genre imaginable, a collage of well-researched facts and the indelible list of the horrors of war. She makes lists as monuments to dead victims; she names names; she calls out nationalism and racism. Wry and ironic, she has composed a battle-hymn against the barbarity of the Yugoslav wars between 1991 and 2001. To my lasting regret, I missed meeting her in Melbourne not long before she died. 

By Daša Drndić,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Canzone di Guerra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tea Radan, the narrator of the novel Canzone di Guerra, reflects on her own past and in doing so, composes a forgotten mosaic of historical events that she wants to first tear apart and then reassemble with all the missing fragments. In front of the readers eyes, a collage of different genres takes place - from (pseudo) autobiography to documentary material and culinary recipes. With them, the author Dasa Drndic skillfully explores different perspectives on the issue of emigration, the unresolved history of the Second World War, while emphasizing the absurdity of politics of differences between neighboring nations. The narrator…


Book cover of The Water Rat of Wanchai

Rosemary McCracken Author Of Uncharted Waters

From my list on Canadian mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian writer who started writing fiction after a career as a journalist at newspapers across the country. I’ve always marvelled at the diversity of Canada, and I try to portray that diversity in my own stories set in Toronto, one of the world’s most multicultural cities. And I revel in stories by fellow Canadian crime writers, tales filled with First Nations characters, and characters with Ukrainian, Russian, Asian, African, and British backgrounds, stories set in various parts of our far-flung country. The five novels I have focused on here are just a few of my favorites.

Rosemary's book list on Canadian mysteries

Rosemary McCracken Why did Rosemary love this book?

The Water Rat of Wanchai is the first book in the Ava Lee crime thriller series. Tough, fearless Ava is a forensic accountant who travels to exotic locales (all well-known to author Ian Hamilton) chasing bad debts. The settings aren’t Canadian, but Ava is: she immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong as a child, and grew up in Richmond Hill, outside Toronto. Her current home is in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville neighborhood, but she has strong business ties to Asia. In many ways, she’s a typical Canadian—raised and educated in Canada, with ties to another part of the world, and fluent in a language other than Canada’s two official languages, English and French. All 15 Ava Lee books deliver on two fronts: they are crime thrillers and delightful armchair travel.

By Ian Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Water Rat of Wanchai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Ava Lee — the smartest, most stylish heroine in crime fiction since Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salandar — in the first installment of the wildly popular Ava Lee novels. 

Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant, who specializes in recovering massive debts and works for an elderly Hong Kong–based “Uncle,” who may or may not have ties to the triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razor-sharp intelligence and unorthodox rules of engagements allow her to succeed where traditional methods have failed.

In The Water Rat of Wanchai Ava is persuaded to help an old…


Book cover of Until the Night

Venezia Miller Author Of The Find

From my list on Nordic Noir to get you hooked on this genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an engineer with a PhD in electrical engineering and have spent more than twenty years of my career in the nanoelectronics industry researching how to create better electronic chips. The need to tell stories has always been there, but I never really envisioned a career as a writer. It wasn't until my 40s that I decided it was time to rekindle that passion for writing. I've always loved the dark atmosphere of Scandinavian noir TV series like The Killing and The Bridge with their often flawed and intriguing characters. So when I decided to write my first novel, it was almost a given that it was going to be a Nordic Noir thriller.

Venezia's book list on Nordic Noir to get you hooked on this genre

Venezia Miller Why did Venezia love this book?

Giles Blunt's books show that Scandinavia does not have a monopoly on Nordic Noir. In 2017 we were on vacation in Canada and quite by chance I saw an episode of Cardinal on TV. Only one episode from the first season, but enough to keep me captivated by the story set in the snowy landscapes of Algonquin Bay in Canada. I knew it was based on a book series. When I got home, I immediately found the author and started reading. I chose this book because of some amazing passages that capture the essence of Nordic Noir, among others a frozen body in the ruins of an abandoned hotel in the woods. The book presents a clever plot where seemingly unrelated threads are ingeniously weaved together. 

By Giles Blunt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Until the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's not unusual for John Cardinal to be hauled out of a warm bed on a cold night in Algonquin Bay to investigate a murder. And at first this dead body, sprawled in the parking lot of Motel 17, looks pretty run of the mill: the corpse has a big bootprint on his neck, and the likely suspect is his lover's outraged husband. But the lover has gone missing. And then Delorme, following a hunch, locates another missing woman, a senator's wife from Ottawa, frozen in the ruins of an abandoned hotel way back in the woods. Spookily, she was…


Book cover of No Place Like Home

Landra Jennings Author Of Wand

From my list on middle grade with fresh takes on portal fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Middle grade always takes a big portion of my TBR pile. I love the hopefulness that kids this age have. And for a child reader, a book can be a way to work out big emotions in a place far removed from their own life. I love the function of a portal in taking the reader that much further away from their reality. As a child, the fantasy A Wrinkle in Time got me through a difficult period. This love of fantasy and children’s literature is the reason I started writing in the first place. And why I got an MFA in writing specifically for children and young adults. 

Landra's book list on middle grade with fresh takes on portal fantasy

Landra Jennings Why did Landra love this book?

I read the Canadian printing of this book, but hopefully the publishers won’t be changing too much for the American printing.

Like the heroine in The Wizard of Oz (and I’m assuming the title is a nod to that classic line, “There’s no place like home.”), Lan is whisked away by a mysterious wind, but I really like the fact that she discovers she has called for the wind herself. I also love that the wind takes her into the novel she’s reading (I’m sure you can see a theme here with one of my other picks!) and that she can then change the story’s outcome. 

By Linh S. Nguyễn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Place Like Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Sweeping in scope and timeless in tone, No Place like Home is a middle-grade portal fantasy unlike any other

Lan, a teenager who recently came to Canada from Vietnam, spends every day searching for a sense of belonging. Books are the only things that make her feel at ease. But it comes as a shock when a mysterious wind whisks her right into the pages of her latest fantasy read. More shocking still is the fact that she herself summoned this wind!

Plunged into the magical world of Silva, Lan realizes she has much to offer protagonists Annabelle and Marlow.…


Book cover of Muddy York Mud: Scandal & Scurrility In Upper Canada

Ann Birch Author Of A Daughter Rebels

From my list on brave women who dared to challenge the norms.

Why am I passionate about this?

For a number of years, I was a historical interpreter at two of Toronto’s oldest and finest houses. While looking at the furniture, paintings, and below-stairs bells and open-hearth cooking in these upper-class mansions, I became immersed in the lives of the people who once lived in these places. I have always been interested in history, and I have a post-graduate degree in Canadian literature, but my schooling in history seemed confined to the Tudor period and Greek and Roman times. Working in Toronto’s fine homes led me to a deep understanding of the fascinating history we have right here on our doorstep!

Ann's book list on brave women who dared to challenge the norms

Ann Birch Why did Ann love this book?

I found this book at a sale about 20 years ago, and it opened my eyes to the fascinating early history about my city, Toronto. It’s filled with information about the scandals, tragedies, and courtroom clashes of the prominent families of the times, the problems faced by early immigrants, and the attempts of a government elite to control the town’s inhabitants. Some of it seems very relevant for today!

By Chris Raible,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Muddy York Mud as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Raible, Chris


Book cover of The Rez Sisters

Drew Hayden Taylor Author Of The Night Wanderer

From my list on Indigenous plays on the people and community.

Why am I passionate about this?

Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist, and filmmaker. Born and raised on the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario (Anishnawbe), Drew has had over a hundred productions of his plays and enjoys spreading the gospel of Indigenous literature across the world. 

Drew's book list on Indigenous plays on the people and community

Drew Hayden Taylor Why did Drew love this book?

Perhaps one of the most seminal plays to come out of the First Nations community, if not the Canadian theatre community in general. It starts off with the simplest of plots, seven Indigenous women plan to leave their community on Manitoulin Island to participate in the world's largest bingo game in Toronto. It’s funny, tragic, and a wonderful introduction to the colourful world which we come from. 

By Tomson Highway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rez Sisters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play

Nominated for the Governor General's Award

This award-winning play by Native playwright Tomson Highway is a powerful and moving portrayal of seven women from a reserve attempting to beat the odds by winning at bingo. And not just any bingo. It is THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD and a chance to win a way out of a tortured life.

The Rez Sisters is hilarious, shocking, mystical and powerful, and clearly establishes the creative voice of Native theatre and writing in Canada today.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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