Canada Reads 2016 Books, Ranked by How Much I Like Them

Because Canada is awesome, every year we have a battle of the books that is aired on public radio and television. Five Canadian celebrities defend five Canadian books. This year's theme is "starting over." Herein I rank my favourites.
  1. 1.
    Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz
    This utterly gorgeous and heartbreaking novel is about the relationship between two sisters who were orphaned as teenagers. The older sister, Beena, is reflecting on their lives after the unexpected death of Sadhana.
  2. 2.
    The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami
    This colourful novel is peopled by the Raos, a once wealthy Brahmin family. Their uneasy routine has been interrupted by the death of the estranged daughter of the house, Maya, and her white husband. The patriarch travels to Canada to bring home Nandana, the granddaughter he has never met.
  3. 3.
    The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
    A large cast of characters surround Keita Ali, a man who is literally and figuratively running for his life. He dreams of the Olympic marathon, but as an undocumented refugee, he has no legal standing. This is an extremely timely novel about the refugee crisis.
  4. 4.
    Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
    Lindberg experiments with timelines and verb tenses as a bed-ridden Cree woman reflects on her journey from her home in northern Alberta to her new life on the coast of British Columbia. She tried to start over, but her past is still haunting her.
  5. 5.
    Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter
    Feeling guilty about the death of his friend in Afghanistan, Henry takes responsibility for his widow and the repair of the family home she has inherited in Newfoundland. Winter's prose is sparse and emotionally distant.