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

By Susanna Moodie,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Roughing It in the Bush Or, Life in Canada. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Troublesome Berth

By Rosalyn Parker, R. Andrews,

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

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!”

A Troublesome Berth

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.


Kingston

By James A. Roy,

Book cover of Kingston: The King's Town

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. 

Kingston

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.


The Gentleman's Bottle Companion

By P. Harris Publishing,

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

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.   

The Gentleman's Bottle Companion

By P. Harris Publishing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gentleman's Bottle Companion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry,

Book cover of Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and it is a well-deserved honor. In a genre where most authors pass off gamblers, outlaws, lawmen, gunfighters, and other characters as “cowboys” even though there is seldom a cow in sight, McMurtry’s characters in Lonesome Dove are the real thing. He captures the essence of the historic cattle-drive era in powerful prose, and Gus McRae and Woodrow Call are timeless characters who ride an unforgettable trail. 

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry,

Why should I read it?

9 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,…


Muddy York Mud

By Chris Raible,

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

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!

Muddy York Mud

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


Canada and immigration

By Freda Hawkins,

Book cover of Canada and immigration: Public policy and public concern

This book, which was written when serious questions were being asked about Canadian immigration, is a gold mine of information on this delicate and emotional subject. The research is both extensive and meticulous. Moreover, the author does not just cite and explain facts about events and circumstances, she also provides clues as to what she feels constitutes an immigration policy.

Canada and immigration

By Freda Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Remarkable changes have taken place in Canadian immigration policy, law, and management since this book was first published. A long-awaited new Immigration Act was passed in 1976 and became law in 1978. This marked the beginning of a new, more liberal, and more co-operative era in Canadian immigration. The new Act established clear national objectives in immigration and refugee policy. The new edition of Canada and Immigration takes into account these major changes in Canadian attitudes and policies toward immigration. The author discusses what these changes have meant for Canada, considering the new laws, closer federal-provincial collaboration, more confident and…


Talking to Canadians

By Rick Mercer,

Book cover of Talking to Canadians: A Memoir

Rick Mercer is an authentic storyteller because all his stories are true. He has fought against the odds because he didn’t know he shouldn’t. He’s like a self-cleaning oven. He just shimmers every time he tells a tale of his climbing over the shards of a prior failure. They are his gold, that and his sharp wit and clear-eyed understanding of the human condition. He’s laugh-out-loud funny and deeply relatable as he doesn’t know to cover up any of the disasters that could have felled almost everyone else. All that and he is also whip-smart.

I am a dress designer, actress, author, and ‘inspirational’ speaker whose major talent is in revealing my failings. There are many… They are also what have given me a measure of success. I didn’t know any better not to. I like people who have taken chances against all odds. Rick Mercer is one of those…

Talking to Canadians

By Rick Mercer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Canada's beloved comic genius tells his own story for the first time.

What is Rick Mercer going to do now? That was the question on everyone's lips when the beloved comedian retired his hugely successful TV show after 15 seasons—and at the peak of its popularity. The answer came not long after, when he roared back in a new role as stand-up-comedian, playing to sold-out houses wherever he appeared.

And then Covid-19 struck. And his legions of fans began asking again: What is Rick Mercer going to do now? Well, for one thing, he's been writing a comic masterpiece. For…


The Game

By Ken Dryden,

Book cover of The Game

Given that I’m a fan of the Boston Bruins and Ken Dryden, the great Montreal goalie, broke my heart many times in the 1970s, I didn’t want to like this book. But I did, which is good because no list of the best hockey books is complete without this one. It’s the story of Dryden’s last year in the NHL with flashbacks to previous years as well as his thoughts on the state of the sport. My favourite parts are when he shows us what life is like as a professional hockey player, especially in the dressing room.

The Game

By Ken Dryden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, captures the essence of the sport and what it means to all hockey fans. He gives vivid and affectionate portraits of the characters—Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, and coach Scotty Bowman among them—who made the Canadiens of the 1970s one of the greatest hockey…


Habitat

By Roy Simon,

Book cover of Habitat

A generational ship fallen to ruin and tribalism? Sign me up! Roy spares no effort in bringing to life his vivid, action-packed book. The fun here is less the characters than the world-building and how artfully the past is revealed plot-point by plot-point like a delicious sci-fi strip-tease. Plus, Roy drew the shit out of this book.

Habitat

By Roy Simon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

All his life, Hank Cho wanted to join the ranks of the Habsec - the rulers of the orbital habitat his people call home. But when he finds a powerful, forbidden weapon from the deep past, a single moment of violence sets his life - and the brutal society of the habitat - into upheaval. Hunted by the cannibalistic Habsec and sheltered by former enemies, Cho finds himself caught within a civil war that threatens to destroy his world.

A new barbarian sci-fi adventure from SIMON ROY (Prophet, Jan's Atomic Heart, Tiger Lung). Collecting installments originally serialized in ISLAND MAGAZINE…


Animal Metropolis

By Joanna Dean (editor), Darcy Ingram (editor), Christabelle Sethna (editor)

Book cover of Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human-Animal Relations in Canada

This book is full of engaging and thoughtful essays focusing on the ways that human-animal histories have shaped so many aspects of life in Canada. From the horses on the streets of Montreal in the 19th century to more recent exploration of captive animals in Vancouver, this book presents an important range of topics that ask the reader to think differently about the histories, spaces, and species they may think they know. I also really appreciate that the University of Calgary Press has published an open access version of this book.

Animal Metropolis

By Joanna Dean (editor), Darcy Ingram (editor), Christabelle Sethna (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Animal Metropolis brings a Canadian perspective to the growing field of animal history, ranging across species and cities, from the beavers who engineered Stanley Park to the carthorses who shaped the city of Montreal. Some essays consider animals as spectacle: orca captivity in Vancouver, polar bear tourism in Churchill, Manitoba, fish on display in the Dominion Fisheries Museum, and the racialized memory of Jumbo the elephant in St. Thomas, Ontario. Others examine the bodily intimacies of shared urban spaces: the regulation of rabid dogs in Banff, the maternal politics of pure milk in Hamilton and the circulation of tetanus bacilli…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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