100 books like Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada

By Susanna Moodie,

Here are 100 books that Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada fans have personally recommended if you like Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of A Troublesome Berth: The Journal of First Lieutenant Charles Allan Parker, Royal Marines: The Canada Years, 1838-1840

Morgan Wade Author Of Bottle and Glass

From my list on frontier life in 19th century Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I moved to Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2001 I was amazed to find how this city, unlike many North American cities, has preserved and celebrated its past. It’s in the architecture, the streets, the fabric, and the soil. As someone with a deep love of reading and exploring history, I immediately began to research my new home. I didn’t discover the sort of bloodless accounts often taught in school, replete with dates and facts. This history simmers and boils; full of tales of pirates and officers, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells, countless plucky frontiersmen and women. There is enough raw material for a thousand novels. 

Morgan's book list on frontier life in 19th century Canada

Morgan Wade Why did Morgan love this book?

I used Parker’s journal extensively in my research for Bottle and Glass.  It is the account of a British officer arriving in the Canadian wilderness for the first time. Parker’s style is very much modern and journalistic, giving an immediacy to the wonder and apprehension he has for his new surroundings.  The reader is right there with him marveling over the rudeness of frontier life.  A representative quote: “Kingston is one of the dirtiest, or rather muddiest places I have ever been in, even in my extensive peregrinations; it is the worst lighted, and most miserably paved place I have ever been in… the number of masterless dogs prowling about the streets at all times is abominable, the quantity of pigs laying in every corner is disgusting in the extreme, and the number of cattle roaming about the streets with their inexpressive countenances is really, really past bearing!”

By Rosalyn Parker, R. Andrews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Troublesome Berth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Kingston: The King's Town

Morgan Wade Author Of Bottle and Glass

From my list on frontier life in 19th century Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I moved to Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2001 I was amazed to find how this city, unlike many North American cities, has preserved and celebrated its past. It’s in the architecture, the streets, the fabric, and the soil. As someone with a deep love of reading and exploring history, I immediately began to research my new home. I didn’t discover the sort of bloodless accounts often taught in school, replete with dates and facts. This history simmers and boils; full of tales of pirates and officers, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells, countless plucky frontiersmen and women. There is enough raw material for a thousand novels. 

Morgan's book list on frontier life in 19th century Canada

Morgan Wade Why did Morgan love this book?

Roy’s history of Kingston is a fiction writer’s dream.  It is crammed with colourful anecdotes and amazing descriptions of life two hundred years ago, each one a possible starting point for a novel.  This is not your dry, elementary school history; Roy’s account sweats and stinks, crackles and clangs, chews and spits. He writes of revolting spectacles such as “disfigured or putrified or naked human bodies lying exposed on the shores of the town, or kept afloat and fastened by a rope while the preparations for interment were being made.” Life in a frontier town was not for the faint of heart. 

By James A. Roy,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Gentleman's Bottle Companion: A Collection of Eighteenth Century Bawdy Ballads

Morgan Wade Author Of Bottle and Glass

From my list on frontier life in 19th century Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I moved to Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 2001 I was amazed to find how this city, unlike many North American cities, has preserved and celebrated its past. It’s in the architecture, the streets, the fabric, and the soil. As someone with a deep love of reading and exploring history, I immediately began to research my new home. I didn’t discover the sort of bloodless accounts often taught in school, replete with dates and facts. This history simmers and boils; full of tales of pirates and officers, gadflies and ne’er-do-wells, countless plucky frontiersmen and women. There is enough raw material for a thousand novels. 

Morgan's book list on frontier life in 19th century Canada

Morgan Wade Why did Morgan love this book?

Bottle and Glass is set in actual, historical Kingston taverns from the early 1800’s. It is said that there was then a drinking shop in town for every seventh male adult and one visitor claimed that two thirds of the people he passed on the road were drunk. In 1812, when Kingston had a population of less than four thousand, it had about eighty taverns.  So, the Bottle Companion, published in 1768, is a perfect pairing. It is filled with all manner of ribald drinking songs and saucy lyrics, paeans to drink and revelry; it helps set the tone for what early 19th century life was really like. A number of characters in Bottle and Glass, at particular moments of high spirits and ever-expanding mayhem, belt out selections from the Companion.   

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From my list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

David Z. Pyke Why did David love this book?

I chose this for characters and setting. Larry McMurtry was one of the greatest American writers and a chronicler of life in Texas, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove, the story of two aging Texas Rangers on a final adventure together.

McMurtry immerses the reader in his world, but more importantly he immerses his characters in that world. The relationships are amazing: between characters who face deeply personal and tragic life-or-death decisions, but also between characters and the novel’s savage, lethal world.

McMurtry’s stories are character-driven slices of life, but authors of plot-driven books can learn from McMurtry when it comes to characters and their world.

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Lonesome Dove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning novel is a powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. From Texas to Montana, it follows cowboys on a grueling cattle drive through the wilderness.

It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande.
It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived . . .

More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America.

Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws,…


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 Athabasca

Brian Clifford Author Of Venomous

From my list on adventures for young teens inspiring imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a middle school science teacher, and many of my students are “readers,” the ones that constantly have their heads in books when they aren’t dragged away by classwork. I created this list because they remind me of what I enjoyed about reading when I was their age, the environment. Characters and plots were great, but I wanted a book to take me somewhere I’d never been. Whether it was the Klondike or soaring through clouds, I needed to believe it was real, someplace I might see for myself. Vivid descriptions that provide fuel for imagination make reading more dynamic.

Brian's book list on adventures for young teens inspiring imagination

Brian Clifford Why did Brian love this book?

Have you ever been cold, in your bones cold? That’s what I felt reading Athabasca. Growing up in northern Utah, I thought I knew cold. Then Alistair MacLean introduced me to a true, icy, desperate cold. The atmosphere is so much a part of this story, it’s like a character. I’ll admit, this book challenged me as a young reader. It tends to plod along at glacial pace until the last third of the book, but that end is feverishly spectacular. This book is the first I read by this author and I rapidly devoured all his other titles.

By Alistair MacLean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reissue of the nail-biting tale of sabotage set in the desolate frozen wastes of two ice-bound oil fields, from the acclaimed master of action and suspense.

SABOTAGE!

THE VICTIMS
Two of the most important oil-fields in the world - one in Canada, the other in Alaska.

THE SABOTEURS
An unknown quantity - deadly and efficient. The oil flow could be interrupted in any one of thousands of places down the trans-Alaskan pipeline.

THE RESULT
Catastrophe.

One man, Jim Brady, is called in to save the life-blood of the world as unerringly, the chosen targets fall at the hands of a…


Book cover of To Speak for the Trees: My Life's Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest

Ellen Dee Davidson Author Of Wild Path to the Sacred Heart

From my list on women’s true stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a woman, I am passionate about valuing the voices of women equally with those of men. When we listen to each other, we will be able to come into a better balance that will help us restore ourselves and our Earth. We need the visions of women to help guide us through these challenging times! I’m also passionate about the wild beauty of nature, especially trees, and spend lots of time hiking and meditating in the ancient redwood forests near my home. This has helped me heal and expanded my perception. In a way, being in the forest has brought me home to myself. 

Ellen's book list on women’s true stories

Ellen Dee Davidson Why did Ellen love this book?

To Speak for the Trees is one of my favorite books ever, partly because I love trees, and partly because of my own Celtic heritage from my maternal line. Diana Beresord-Kroeger, a scientist in biochemistry and botany, begins with her childhood in Ireland. After losing her parents at a young age, she is raised in the ancient Celtic nature wisdom and Druid beliefs by an entire community, and literally taught the language of trees: Ogham. Blending scientific discoveries about trees and the importance of forests to our species' survival, this book is a fast and delightful read that I won’t forget. I feel enriched from having been blessed to spend time with such a brilliant woman through the pages of her book. 

By Diana Beresford-Kroeger,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked To Speak for the Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Diana Beresford-Kroeger - a world-recognised botanist and medical biochemist - has revolutionised our understanding of the natural world with her startling insights into the hidden life of trees. In this riveting memoir, she uncovers the roots of her discoveries in her extraordinary childhood in Ireland. Soon after, her brilliant mind bloomed into an illustrious scientific career that melds the intricacies of the natural world with the truths of traditional Celtic wisdom. To Speak for the Trees uniquely blends the story of Beresford-Kroeger's incredible life and her outstanding achievement as a scientist. It elegantly shows us how forests can not only…


Book cover of Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related: A Memoir

Yong Takahashi Author Of Observations Through Yellow Glasses: A Memoir Through Poems

From my list on to tickle your funny bone and break your heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in South Korea and moved to The United States when I was three years old. I grew up in Detroit where I was often the only yellow face in school. The trauma of trying to fit in played a significant role in my adult life. I have thought about writing a memoir for years. Several family members asked me not to name them. I decided to tell my truth through brief snapshots of a feeling or event. This way, I could show my journey from my perspective as I learned to walk between two opposing cultures. Observations Through Yellow Glasses: A Memoir Through Poems is the result.

Yong's book list on to tickle your funny bone and break your heart

Yong Takahashi Why did Yong love this book?

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in South Korea and adopted by a white Canadian family. She not only had to navigate being Asian in a white world, but she also struggled to find her place within a family that sought to give her a safe home. In her twenties, she returned to Korea to meet her birth family. Told in diary form, Wills navigates her journey to find home while fighting language and cultural barriers. It is a raw and emotional story. It makes me think of my own struggles growing up in Detroit. The faces I saw at home were like my own but that also had its own set of problems.

By Jenny Heijun Wills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

A beautiful and haunting memoir of kinship and culture rediscovered.

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul where she spent four months getting to know other adoptees, as well as her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. At the guesthouse for transnational adoptees where she lived, alliances were troubled by violence and fraught with the trauma of separation and of cultural illiteracy.…


Book cover of The Robber Bride

Zosia Wand Author Of Once Upon A Place

From my list on wonderful women behaving badly.

Why am I passionate about this?

Women who behave badly delight me. My mother is Polish and I was raised by a formidable group of great aunts who gathered in flannelette nighties and curlers, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, to play cards into the early hours, fuelled by vodka shots and ginger cake. Survivors of Nazi invasion and atrocities, they were loud, effusive, argumentative, unapologetic, loving, and fiercely loyal. I explore difficult territory through my stories, but I have great faith in humanity. My characters are strong women, bold in the face of challenges. Love and loyalty are the keys to their survival.

Zosia's book list on wonderful women behaving badly

Zosia Wand Why did Zosia love this book?

Another book with a delicious cover. I have long since lent my copy out and it never made its way back to me, but I remember the distinctive image of a woman in a black mask. Fairy tales offer dark female characters with a complexity that lends itself to further exploration. Zenia is the Robber Bride of the title and you don’t have to know the fairy tale to guess the story. Three friends share their accounts of how Zenia betrayed them in different ways. The reader forms a vivid picture of Zenia, but also the individual narrators. And there is a thrilling contemporary element to the narrative that propels the story. 

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Robber Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Zenia is beautiful, smart and greedy, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless; a man's dream and a woman"s nightmare. She is also dead. Just to make sure Tony, Roz andd Charis are there for the funeral. But five years on, as the three women share an indulgent, sisterly lunch, the unthinkable happens; 'with waves of ill will flowing out of her like cosmic radiation', Zenia is back...


Book cover of Search Out the Land: The Jews and the Growth of Equality in British Colonial America, 1740-1867

David S. Koffman Author Of No Better Home?: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging

From my list on Canadian Jewish life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised as both an anglophone Canadian and a diaspora Jew. After living in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York for a total of about 15 years, I returned to my hometown of Toronto and took up the position of the J. Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry at York University, where I work as a professor of history. I teach undergraduate students, graduate students, fellow academics, community leaders, and the wide public about all sorts of dimensions of this very religiously diverse, culturally diverse, socio-economically diverse, and politically diverse community of 400,000+ souls, with its 260+-year-old history. 

David's book list on Canadian Jewish life

David S. Koffman Why did David love this book?

I love this book’s choc-a-block presentation of actual archival fragments from Jewish life in the British colonies that would eventually become Canada.

I also like that the book’s husband-wife, antiquarian, author team aimed to fuse together two objectives in one book: on the one hand, to paint a relatable picture of what Jewish life looked like during this period when Upper Canada was still being formed, and on the other hand, to account for the step-by-step process of Jews gaining civil rights in the new world.

When I teach Canadian Jewish history, I not only read this book with my students but also bring them into the archives that contain Godfrey’s trove of archival fragments of early Jewish Canadiana, which they collected before and while writing the book.

By Sheldon J. Godfrey, Judith C. Godfrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Search Out the Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mapping the history of Canadian Jews from the arrival of the first settlers before 1750 through to the 1860s, Search Out the Land introduces a new set of colourful players on Canada's stage. Ezekiel Solomons, John Franks, Jacob Franks, Chapman Abraham, Rachel Myers, Moses David, Samuel Hart, Elizabeth Lyons, and a host of others now take their appropriate place in Canadian history. Focusing on the significant role played by Jews in British North America in the fight for civil and political rights, the authors compare the development of Canadians' rights with that in other British jurisdictions of the time and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Canada, the gold standard, and George W. Bush?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, the gold standard, and George W. Bush.

Canada Explore 387 books about Canada
The Gold Standard Explore 27 books about the gold standard
George W. Bush Explore 36 books about George W. Bush