The most recommended books about Toronto

Who picked these books? Meet our 57 experts.

57 authors created a book list connected to Toronto, and here are their favorite Toronto books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of Toronto book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of Going to Beautiful

Sue Jaskula Author Of Tangled Lies

From my list on romantic suspense with real-life characters.

Who am I?

My administrative career covered a mix of legal and hospital work which provided a wealth of real-life scenarios to fuel my own convoluted story ideas. Thrilled to take early retirement and pursue a writing career, I have since published five romantic suspense novels. I strive to produce quality stories on par with the countless amazing romantic suspense authors I have enjoyed since my teen years. Storyline prompts surround us. A dark bunkie, screaming neighbor, or even an oddly shaped bag of garbage can trigger my suspicion. My favorite spot to walk is the peaceful shores of Lake Huron, where my twisted imagination soars, and my best stories come to life.

Sue's book list on romantic suspense with real-life characters

Sue Jaskula Why did Sue love this book?

Diverse characters who feel like friends; a picturesque town that will have you checking Google maps for your next road trip; a murder; an unexpected love story; what is not to love about this book?

This is my favorite read of the year. I still envision the characters months after reading, as if I visited “Beautiful” on a wild adventure to solve a mystery and met an eclectic bunch of new travel mates along the way. The ending will surprise you in more ways than one. An easy, solid 5+ stars for this one.

By Anthony Bidulka,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Going to Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

International chef Jake Hardy has it all. Celebrity, thriving career, plenty of friends, a happy family and faithful dog. Until one day when a tragic accident tears it all apart. Struggling to recover, Hardy finds himself in a strange new world—a snow-swept prairie town that time forgot—a place where nothing makes sense. Cold is beautiful. Simple is complex. And doubts begin to surface about whether Jake’s tragedy was truly an accident after all. As the sun sets in the Land of Living Skies, Hardy and his glamourous, seventy-eight-year-old transgender neighbour find themselves ensnared in multiple murders separated by decades. In…


Book cover of Fight Night

Kerri Schlottman Author Of Tell Me One Thing

From my list on fierce female protagonists.

Who am I?

My sister and I were raised by our single mother in Southeast Detroit, who worked hard to put herself through law school when we were kids. We had a lot of financial struggles growing up, and I had to overcome many obstacles to get where I am today. Because of that, I am drawn to fierce female protagonists who overcome challenges and don’t shy away from struggle. In my own creative writing, I tend to feature strong female characters who have faced some type of instability and have worked hard to better their circumstances. I love an underdog and think there’s a lot of unsung narratives to tell.

Kerri's book list on fierce female protagonists

Kerri Schlottman Why did Kerri love this book?

Miriam Toews has an incredible writing style that is somehow whimsical and also serious, and this book is no exception.

I fell so in love with the characters in this book that I didn’t want the story to end. The novel follows young Swiv, a quirky and fierce kid who is dealing with a lot of very grown-up issues as she navigates an absent father, a feisty grandmother, and a single mother.

While this might sound like a Young Adult novel, it is very much a book for adults, which just shows how talented Toews is at using the voice of young protagonists to unearth some very heavy and serious adult topics. Still, even with the heavy content, Swiv’s special spirit gives the book a welcomed lightness. 

By Miriam Toews,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FROM THE WRITER OF THE OSCAR-WININNG WOMEN TALKING
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR
LONGLISTED FOR THE DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD

'Go Grandma Elvira!' Margaret Atwood
'Wickedly funny and fearlessly honest.' The New Yorker
'Glorious.' Sarah Moss
____________
You are a small thing, and you must learn to fight.

Swiv has taken this advice too literally. Now she's suspended from school, in the care of her foul-mouthed, hilarious grandmother.

Mom is busy being pregnant, so Grandma gives Swiv a very different education. Swiv learns maths with Amish jigsaws and How to Dig a Winter Grave. Grandma's methods may be unorthodox, but she has faced…


Book cover of The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes

Laura Fenton Author Of The Little Book of Living Small

From my list on small space design.

Who am I?

I know small spaces from first-hand experience. As a writer based in New York City, I have lived in a series of impossibly small spaces, including a 6’ x 8’ bedroom in an apartment with no living room and a teeny-tiny studio that was made livable by installing a Murphy bed. Today I live in less than 700 square feet with my husband and son. When I set out to write my own book, I wanted to inspire readers to make the most of their own small homes and discover the freedom that living small provides. I have an extensive personal library of books about small space design, but these five are my all-time favorites.

Laura's book list on small space design

Laura Fenton Why did Laura love this book?

There are dozens of small-space books that I could have chosen for decor inspiration, but this one from Monocle is a personal favorite, in part because the photos, while gorgeous, are not overly styled. It features homes from around the world, including many in Europe, and most are primary residences, not guest houses or weekend homes that often fill small-space books. Much like the magazine, this book opens with several thoughtful essays on what it means to live in a “cosy” space. With its linen cover and hefty size, it would make a great housewarming gift for anyone living in a small space.

By Monocle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Monocle book tells us how to turn a house into a home. Both a practical guide and a great source of inspiration, The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes presents the interiors, furniture, and locations you need to know about along with portraits of the people who can make it happen. The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes celebrates the durable and the meaningful through a collection of homes that tell a story. Most architecture and interior books show houses polished to perfection, manicured to the extent that it is hard to imagine anybody acually lives there: they seem to miss…


Book cover of I Married the Klondike

Richard G. Lipsey Author Of Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth

From Richard's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Emeritus professor Policy maker Policy analyst. Author Trans-Atlantic sailor

Richard's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Richard G. Lipsey Why did Richard love this book?

This wonderful autobiography tells of Laura Burton in 1907 at the age of 29 leaving Toronto to teach in the Klondike where she lived for decades.

In a preface, Robert Service, “Bard of the Yukon,” wrote: “This is a brave book... It is the gallant personality of the author, which shines on every page and makes her chronicle a saga of the High North…. All this told with humour [and] with graphic detail…” Burton, who knew Service and Jack London, shows that much that I thought was fiction about these times was truth.

For example, the famous sequence in the movie Gold Rush where the starving Charlie Chaplin eats his boots was not fiction but a recreation of the reality that many starving miners boiled and ate their leather boots.

By Laura B Berton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Married the Klondike as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1907, Laura Beatrice Berton, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher, left her comfortable life in Toronto Ontario to teach in a Yukon mining town. She fell in love with the North--and with a northerner--and made Dawson City her home for the next 25 years. I Married the Klondike is her classic and enduring memoir.

When she first arrived by steamboat in Dawson City, Berton expected to find a rough mining town full of grizzled miners, scarlet-clad Mounties and dance-hall girls. And while these and other memorable characters did abound, she quickly discovered why the town was nicknamed the "Paris of the…


Book cover of Bellevue Square

Jeff Beamish Author Of No, You're Crazy: A Novel

From my list on questioning the nature of reality.

Who am I?

As someone who spent his days working as a journalist and his nights writing novels and short stories, I've always been fascinated by the fine line separating fact and fiction. We live our lives conforming to the rules of our universe, yet sometimes feel brave enough to ask what’s that? and watch with delight as reality transforms into fantasy. What, exactly, is that brilliant sunset? Billions of bits of light being processed by our survival-evolved brain as a reminder to seek shelter before the perilous darkness descends? The wondrous work of God’s hand? A pleasing distraction from the brutality of our brief existence? Something else we may never comprehend? Great stories help us decide.

Jeff's book list on questioning the nature of reality

Jeff Beamish Why did Jeff love this book?

When Toronto bookstore owner Jean Mason hears she may have a doppelganger, it sets off a strange series of events that show how fragile our grip on reality really is. Equal parts psychological horror, ghost story, warm family drama, and literary look at mental illness, this dizzying and at times difficult novel asks if we genuinely know ourselves and the nature of our existence. It may leave you like its bewildered main character: full of questions about identity and struggling to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t.

By Michael Redhill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize*

A darkly comic literary thriller about a woman who fears for her sanity—and then her life—when she learns that her doppelganger has appeared in a local park.

Jean Mason has a doppelganger. She's never seen her, but others swear they have. Apparently, her identical twin hangs out in Kensington Market, where she sometimes buys churros and drags an empty shopping cart down the streets, like she's looking for something to put in it. Jean's a grown woman with a husband and two kids, as well as a thriving bookstore in downtown Toronto, and…


Book cover of Architecture of the Absurd: How "Genius" Disfigured a Practical Art

Laura Dushkes Author Of The Architect Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom

From my list on architecture for non-experts.

Who am I?

When I was young, my parents gave me a book of quotations. I was hooked. Now I’m the solo librarian for NBBJ, a design firm with 12 offices worldwide and I select and buy books for all 12 offices. I search for the best books to inspire the designers I work with. But I’m aware that not everyone who works for an architectural firm is an architect. We have people in accounting, facilities, tech services, and more. I try to have a selection of books for these people, too – people who are interested in architecture, but aren’t experts. I have a Master’s in medieval history and a Master's in Library and Information Science.

Laura's book list on architecture for non-experts

Laura Dushkes Why did Laura love this book?

Although not an architect or critic, Silber takes on the “Starchitect” who designs, not for the user, but for ego. Offering examples such as Liebeskind’s Royal Ontario Museum and Gehry’s Stata Center at MIT, Silber offers a bold argument that many of our leading lights too enmeshed in Archi-speak and have convinced clients to approve projects that don’t work. You may disagree with the author, but this slim volume will get you to think.

By John Silber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Have you ever wondered why the Guggenheim is always covered in scaffolding? Why the slashes on the exterior of Libeskind's Jewish Museum, supposed to represent Jewish life in prewar Berlin, reappear, for no reason, on his Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto? Or why Gehry's design for an MIT lab for sensitive research has glass walls? Not to mention why, for $44.2 per square foot, it doesn't keep out the rain? You're not alone.
In Architecture of the Absurd, John Silber dares to peek behind the curtain of "genius" architects and expose their willful disdain for their clients, their budgets, and…


Book cover of Old City Hall

Norman Bacal Author Of Odell's Fall

From my list on fantastic mysteries by Canadian novelists.

Who am I?

For thirty-five years I spent my life in boardrooms, financing motion pictures with major Hollywood studios and learning the inside-out of law firms. I’ve also had a love for mysteries where I have to guess what’s going to happen next. My favorite authors keep me in suspense and stay a step ahead of me to the very end. I began my career as an author seven years ago. I added my own dose of modernized Shakespearean stories and the twists, turns, and suspense of life at the highest echelons of corporate America. I don’t aim to shock, but I do aim to surprise and keep you turning the pages. Obsessively.

Norman's book list on fantastic mysteries by Canadian novelists

Norman Bacal Why did Norman love this book?

This is the first of his seven novels all based in Toronto, which introduces a cast of characters who wind their way through the justice system: prosecutors, defense attorneys, politicians, detectives, police, and judges in a series which not only tracks a murderer, but provides an insight into issues that have become so problematic in society, whether it’s homelessness, schizophrenia, holocaust survival, or other current social issues. 

There is a twist behind every turn and if you enjoy police procedurals this has been written by the ultimate insider, a Toronto practicing criminal lawyer who has seen it all and has a gift for story-telling.

By Robert Rotenberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Robert Rotenberg does for Toronto what Ian Rankin does for Edinburgh' Jeffery Deaver

A talk-show host confesses to the brutal murder of his young wife.

The evidence is cast iron.

But when a determined detective, an ambitious rookie prosecutor and a defence lawyer keen to make her mark piece together the details of the case, nothing fits.

An intricately plotted web of lies, half-truths and hidden motives emerges - along with a secret no one could have suspected.


Book cover of A Dark and Hollow Star

Erin Grammar Author Of Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl

From my list on YA fantasy with “unlikeable” heroines.

Who am I?

I firmly believe that everyone, especially teenage girls, should own their right to pick and choose. Life guarantees you’ll run across the opportunity to make “bad” decisions, but these are so much more fun to read about than a path that’s straight and narrow. Cultivating radical empathy for my fellow humans, even those I don’t agree with, is a passion that makes me a kinder person and a more nuanced writer. Plus, I like shouting at books as much as the next reader. It makes my cats come running, which makes them tired, which makes them sit and cuddle. Diabolical, indeed.  

Erin's book list on YA fantasy with “unlikeable” heroines

Erin Grammar Why did Erin love this book?

This Final Fantasy and DnD-inspired contemporary fantasy has 5 POVs, but we’re really here for prickly leather queen Nausicaä. Nos is a sarcastic ex-Fury with a short temper, a sword, and a serious grudge against the Deities who exiled her to the mortal realm. She’s old, she’s cranky, and she’s totally soft for Arlo, an adorable half-fae girl on a mission to uncover the mystery behind unsolved magic murders in Toronto. I seriously can’t resist a grump and sunshine team-up. 

By Ashley Shuttleworth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Dark and Hollow Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Beautifully written and deliciously complex…I couldn’t get enough.” —Nicki Pau Preto, author of the Crown of Feathers series

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The…


Book cover of Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphanas Rescue from Waraa

Sylvia McNicoll Author Of Revenge on the Fly

From my list on friendly, feel good historical fiction.

Who am I?

When I was invited to write a historical fiction that appealed to male readers, I wanted to showcase the struggles and dramas in peacetime rather than in war. Scientists vilifying the fly in order to demonstrate the connection between microbes and disease—and enlisting children to kill the flynow that was a battle I could get behind. Revenge on the Fly, in all the forty books I’ve written, is my only foray into historical fiction. However, like most writers, I read across the genres voraciously. What I most love to read and write about are strong characters who demonstrate unwavering resilience.

Sylvia's book list on friendly, feel good historical fiction

Sylvia McNicoll Why did Sylvia love this book?

Many authors like to use the drama of battle to engage readers in history but instead in Last Airlift Marsha Skrypuch uses the emotional aftermath and upheaval. This is the real-life story of Son Thi Anh Tuyet at eight years old when she is rescued from a Saigon orphanage and airlifted to Toronto in April of 1975. Tuyet has survived polio and feels her limp will prevent her from being adopted so she makes herself useful and looks after the orphan babies. When she arrives in Canada, she expects to continue her role as a caregiver for children but instead finds a family that cares about her.  

By Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Airlift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A true story about life in a Saigon orphanage, a dramatic rescue flight from Vietnam to Canada, adoption by a Canadian family, and growing up in Canada.

Last Airlift is the true story of the last Canadian airlift operation that left Saigon and arrived in Toronto on April 13, 1975. Son Thi Anh Tuyet was one of 57 babies and children on that flight. Based on personal interviews and enhanced with archive photos, Tuyet's story of the Saigon orphanage and her flight to Canada is an emotional and suspenseful journey brought to life by award-winning children's author, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.…


Book cover of A Clubbable Woman

Catherine Maiorisi Author Of A Matter of Blood

From my list on mysteries that feature two detectives.

Who am I?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.

Catherine's book list on mysteries that feature two detectives

Catherine Maiorisi Why did Catherine love this book?

I seem to be addicted to long-running series with British detectives, though not all written by British authors, and A Clubbable Woman is the first book in this twenty-one-book series by Reginald Hill.

When I began to write fiction and worked on creating Corelli and Parker, Hill was one of the authors I looked to for inspiration. Although his Yorkshire detectives, the abrupt and rude Detective Superintendent Andrew "Andy" Dalziel and the educated, calm, and well-mannered Detective Sergeant Peter Pascoe, did not fit my vision for my own characters, I enjoyed their antics and read the entire series. The books are fun and challenging and this is a great beginning.

By Reginald Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel investigates a murder close to home in this first crime novel featuring the much-loved detective team of Dalziel and Pascoe.

'So far out in front that he need not bother looking over his shoulder' Sunday Telegraph

Home from the rugby club after taking a nasty knock in a match, Sam Connon finds his wife more uncommunicative than usual. After passing out on his bed for a few hours, he comes downstairs to discover communication has been cut off forever - by a hole in the middle of her forehead.

Andy Dalziel, a long-standing member of the…