The most recommended Montreal books

Who picked these books? Meet our 24 experts.

24 authors created a book list connected to Montreal, and here are their favorite Montreal books.
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Book cover of Monday Mourning

Colin Cotterill Author Of The Coroner's Lunch

From my list on reads whilst awaiting radiology and/or death.

Who am I?

When you write a book, it’s natural to put yourself in it. You’re the avenger, the rookie agent, the hard-drinking detective. But how many of us volunteer to be the corpse? I sit here every day in the cancer unit at a public Thai hospital and smile at folks who won’t be around much longer. I wrote fifteen books in a series about a coroner. I painted the victims colorfully when they were still alive but how much respect did I show them once they were chunks of slowly decaying meat? From now on my treatment of the souls that smile back at me will take on a new life.

Colin's book list on reads whilst awaiting radiology and/or death

Colin Cotterill Why did Colin love this book?

I’m cheating here a bit. I know Kathy and I like her a lot. Unlike me, she is a genius. I don’t need to tell any of her readers that. She is a well-respected forensic anthropologist who goes out of her way to uncover the secrets that the remains conceal. She writes about bones with the same affection we usually reserve for loved ones. I would be delighted to have her run her massive intellect over my skeleton when I’m gone.

By Kathy Reichs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

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A gripping Temperance Brennan novel from world-class forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, the international no. 1 bestselling crime thriller writer and the inspiration behind the hit TV series Bones.

Three skeletons are found in a Montreal basement.

The building is old, and the homicide detective in charge dismisses the remains as historic. Not his case. Not his concern.

Forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan is not so sure. Something about the bones of these three young women suggests a different message: murder.

Soon she finds herself drawn ever deeper into a web of evil from which there may be no escape.…


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.

Who am I?

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 End of East

Valerie Green Author Of Providence

From my list on fiction by British Columbia authors.

Who am I?

I've loved writing since childhood when I lived in an 18th-century farmhouse in England that I was convinced was haunted. I'm now passionate about the history of British Columbia where I live today, and have written over twenty non-fiction historical books, true crime books, historical columns, and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers. My own forthcoming fictional trilogy, The McBride Chronicles, tells the story of a fictional family from the beginnings of British Columbia until present day so I can truly say I love all fiction set in our beautiful province by BC writers. I'm delighted that we have so many talented fiction writers in the province including the ones I recommend. 

Valerie's book list on fiction by British Columbia authors

Valerie Green Why did Valerie love this book?

Jen Sookfong has written a debut novel that held my attention throughout. She describes three generations of a Chinese-Canadian family in Vancouver beginning in 1913 when Chan Seid Quan emigrates to Vancouver at the age of 17. Years later after his death at age 94, his grand-daughter, Samantha, is forced to leave Montreal in order to take care of her mother in Vancouver. She feels resentment until she begins to delve into her family’s past and discovers alienation and hardship. Author Sookfong is an expert on immigration and the fate of many Chinese people. This is a beautiful tale of family conflicts set in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

By Jen Sookfong Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Amy Tan and Jhumpa Lahiri, a moving portrait of three generations of family living in Vancouver's Chinatown

From Knopf Canada's New Face of Fiction program--launching grounds for Yann Martel's Life of Pi and Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees--comes this powerfully evocative novel.

At age eighteen, Seid Quan is the first in the Chan family to emigrate from China to Vancover in 1913. Paving the way for a wife and son, he is profoundly lonely, even as he joins the Chinatown community.

Weaving in and out of the past and the present, The End of East…


Book cover of Dandelion Daughter: A Novel

Christopher DiRaddo Author Of The Geography of Pluto

From Christopher's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Furry Gay Canadian

Christopher's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Christopher DiRaddo Why did Christopher love this book?

The first work of autofiction published in Quebec by a trans woman, Dandelion Daughter, tells the story of a young trans girl growing up in Charlevoix, a rural region in Canada, in the 1990s.

At one point in the novel, she writes: “During disasters, people often bring the things that are most precious to them before leaving their house to its fate.” The thing that Boulianne-Tremblay chooses to salvage – and honour – in these pages is her childhood.

The book is filled with love, anger, and confusion, but ultimately it is a story of hope. The dandelion metaphor is beautiful. Often mowed down by eager gardeners, these flowers have second lives when allowed to grow into adulthood.

The book won the prestigious Prix de Libraires in 2022.

By Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner 2022, Prix des Libraires Rights for TV adaptation purchased by Zone 3 A runaway bestseller in QuEbec, where it has captured the hearts of readers and pushed trans-identity into the mainstream conversation, Dandelion Daughter is an intimate, courageous portrait of what it's like to grow up having been assigned the wrong sex at birth. Set against the windswept countryside of the remote Charlevoix region some five hours north of Montreal, Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay's autobiographical novel immortalizes her early years as an alienated boy trapped in a world of small-town values and her parents' dissolving marriage, through complex adolescent years of…


Book cover of A Taste of Quebec

John Allore Author Of Wish You Were Here

From my list on to fall down a rabbit hole.

Who am I?

I chose these books because a theme in my writing is standing up, and being a champion for things that get forgotten – books, music, events, people. Also, for anyone who has done investigative reporting, the sense is always like you’re going down a rabbit hole and penetrating a dark, undiscovered country. Also – and I don’t think many people know this – I was an English Lit major in college at the University of Toronto. In my early days I did a lot of reading, on a disparate field of interests. 

John's book list on to fall down a rabbit hole

John Allore Why did John love this book?

That’s right, a cookbook. Julian Armstrong was the long-time food editor for The Montreal Gazette, Quebec’s largest English-language newspaper. I lean heavily on this book to re-connect with my French heritage. What I love about A Taste of Quebec is its economy – one page, a short description, a list of ingredients with measurements, and a small insert telling you where the recipe originated and a little about that region. That’s it, on to the next page. Unlike online recipes – which can be convenient – there are no ads or long narratives about the author’s personal and complicated relationship with fennel. 

By Julian Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover Quebec's cuisine in this cookbook.


Book cover of How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired

Kendra Allen Author Of The Collection Plate: Poems

From my list on finding inspiration and motivation.

Who am I?

As a person who reads solely for pleasure regardless of research, I make it a mission while writing to read books I actually enjoy on topics I wanna learn more about. I chose the books on this list because I’m also a person who reads multiple books at once in various genres, it keeps me honest; aware of holes and discrepancies in my own work and pushes me towards some semblance of completion. All the writers on this list do multiple things at once and I admire their skill and risk in coupling creativity with clarity.

Kendra's book list on finding inspiration and motivation

Kendra Allen Why did Kendra love this book?

Of course this title will catch anyone’s attention, but I’m including it here because of how mundane the plot is. It’s just people people’ing and therefore experiencing and learning. They just happen to be all the things they are. It’s a fun and funny ride living in a small Parisian apartment with these characters, eating their food, and laying with their friends. 

By Dany Laferrière, David Homel (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brilliant and tense, Dany Laferrière's first novel, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, is as fresh and relevant today as when it was first published in Canada in 1985. With ribald humor and a working-class intellectualism on par with Charles Bukowski's or Henry Miller's, Laferrière's narrator wanders the streets and slums of Montreal, has sex with white women, and writes a book to save his life. With this novel, Laferrière began a series of internationally acclaimed social and political novels about the love of the world, and the world of sex, including Heading South and I…


Book cover of Lullabies for Little Criminals

Who am I?

My life and work have been profoundly affected by the central circumstance of my existence: I was born into a very large military Catholic family in the United States of America. As a child surrounded by many others in the 60s, I wrote, performed, and directed family plays with my numerous brothers and sisters. Although I fell in love with a Canadian and moved to Canada, my family of origin still exerts considerable personal influence. My central struggle, coming from that place of chaos, order, and conformity, is to have the courage to live an authentic life based on my own experience of connectedness and individuality, to speak and be heard. 

Caitlin's book list on coming-of-age books that explore belonging, identity, family, and beat with an emotional and/or humorous pulse

Caitlin Hicks Why did Caitlin love this book?

A novel with a disarming protagonist who notices small flowers in dirty rugs, peeling wallpaper, and snow-covered sidewalks. Baby (her ‘ironic’ name) observes her marginal existence with her single twenty-something-drug-addicted Dad in Montreal’s red light district with wisdom and optimism.

I loved her voice, her resilience, and the innocence of her character. Accessible and fun to read, I became aware that Baby’s simple observations were exquisitely detailed and had the effect of lifting the prose to a level of insightfulness without being showy.

As a reader, I immediately relaxed in the presence of this charming teen/narrator and her sometimes scary adventures. As a writer, I became addicted. She deals with themes of being human, vulnerable, and yet empathetic. The narrative is fun and suspenseful to read (my level of suspense, ha ha) Also funny! Again, a low-status character who, through her struggles with the day-to-day challenges of being alive, is…

By Heather O'Neill,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lullabies for Little Criminals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baby is twelve years old. Her mother died not long after she was born and she lives in a string of seedy flats in Montreal's red light district with her father Jules, who takes better care of his heroin addiction than he does of his daughter. Jules is an intermittent presence and a constant source of chaos in Baby's life - the turmoil he brings with him and the wreckage he leaves in his wake. Baby finds herself constantly re-adjusting to new situations, new foster homes, new places, new people, all the while longing for stability and a 'normal' life.…


Book cover of The Song of Roland

François Vigneault Author Of Titan

From my list on graphic novels from Quebec no matter your taste.

Who am I?

I’m an American-born cartoonist who’s been living and working in Montreal since 2015. My mother is from Quebec, and when I immigrated here I was looking to reconnect with my cultural roots. Reading graphic novels from here was a huge part of how I got to know my adopted community. I might be a bit biased, but I have to say Quebec has one of the world’s most vibrant comic arts scenes; a blend of American comic books mixed with Franco-Belgian bande dessinée. With more and more graphic novels from Quebec getting translated into English you’re sure to find something you’ll dig, whether you’re looking for slice-of-life or science fiction.

François' book list on graphic novels from Quebec no matter your taste

François Vigneault Why did François love this book?

No list of Quebecois graphic novels would be complete without an entry from Michel Rabagliati’s excellent Paul series, which is a beloved publishing phenomenon in the province. In all honesty, you can’t go wrong with any of his books, each volume in Rabagliati’s semi-autobiographical series offers a discrete tale of a different moment in his alter-ego Paul’s life, from light childhood adventures through very intense stories of middle age, so you can easily pick up any of them and go from there. This emotionally rich stand-alone volume (the basis of the 2015 film Paul à Québec) explores the life and death of the protagonist’s gruff father-in-law and is a deep exploration of family, history, and legacy that is truly moving.

By Michel Rabagliati,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Song of Roland focuses on the life and death of the father-in-law of Rabagliati’s alter-ego Paul, who has been called “The Tintin of Quebec” By Le Devoir. The French edition, Paul à Québec, was critically hailed, winning the FNAC Audience Award at France’s Angouleme festival, a Shuster Award for Outstanding Cartoonist, and was nominated for the City of Montreal’s Grand Prize, and the Audience Award at Montreal’s Salon du Livre. The book is currently in production by Caramel Films. In his classic European cartooning style Rabagliati effortlessly tackles big subjects. As the family stands vigil over Roland in his…


Book cover of Still Life

Nicole Dieker Author Of Ode to Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries for music and math nerds.

Who am I?

I’m the author of The Larkin Day Mysteries, a cozy-comedy-nerdy-mathy-theater-geeky mystery series set in Eastern Iowa. I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for over a decade, and you may have seen my work in Vox, Morning Brew, Dwell, Lifehacker, Popular Science, and/or The Billfold. I live in a small Midwestern town with the Great Love of My Life and we spend our time practicing the piano, playing chess, and cultivating our garden. I spent a few years working in both amateur and professional theater, including a semester teaching Shakespeare at the University of Hyderabad. By the time I was ready to become a full-time freelancer and part-time novelist, I had plenty of experiences to draw from.

Nicole's book list on cozy mysteries for music and math nerds

Nicole Dieker Why did Nicole love this book?

Imagine a tiny village in Quebec, hidden from both maps and memories, visible only to those who cannot fit in anywhere else.

Imagine the artists, poets, doctors, philosophers, musicians, artisans, and murderers who might gather there—and then imagine the man from Montréal who is tasked, again and again, with uncovering their crimes. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, fallen from grace for reasons of his own, traveling one more time to a secret village of geniuses—or, perhaps, a village of secret geniuses.

Either way, he’ll have to outsmart at least one of them before they kill again.

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Still Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Still Life, bestselling author Louise Penny introduces Monsieur L'Inspecteur Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, a modern Poirot who anchors this beloved traditional mystery series.

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain…


Book cover of The Lion and the Bird

Sandra Nickel Author Of Big Bear and Little Fish

From my list on friends that bring on all the best feelings.

Who am I?

I hold a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. In addition to the usual two-year program, I studied an extra semester, where I read all the best children’s books about friendship. I wanted to learn how the great authors such as A. A. Milne, James Marshall, and Arnold Lobel wrote stories full of so much heart and humor. My love of friendship stories burgeoned from there. And now, it’s with great delight that I offer you my Best Children’s Books About Friendship—and, of course, my very own friendship story, Big Bear and Little Fish.  

Sandra's book list on friends that bring on all the best feelings

Sandra Nickel Why did Sandra love this book?

The Lion and the Bird is the perfect friendship book for quiet times, for easing into the day after just waking up or for calming down when it’s time to say goodnight. Adults and children alike, will be drawn into this sweet story, where the lion discovers an injured bird, nurses it back to health, then waits for it to return the next year. The combination of the gentle text with the charming illustrations makes my heart swell every time.

By Marianne Dubuc,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lion and the Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

One autumn day, a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden. With the departure of the bird's flock, the lion decides that it's up to him to care for the bird. He does and the two become fast friends. Nevertheless, the bird departs with his flock the following autumn. What will become of Lion and what will become of their friendship? Note: some pages in this book are intentionally blank to represent snow. Marianne Dubuc received her degree in graphic design from the University of Quebec, Montreal. She has created many different kinds of books for readers of all…