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July 11, 2018
What’s better than a good laugh? We’ve collected a handful of Canadian gems that’ll have you in stitches. From gender to class to ethnicity, no topic is too personal for these writers.
Zarqa Nawaz is the creator of hit sitcom Little Mosque On The Prairie—and also the author of this book! In Laughing All The Way To The Mosque Zarqa Nawaz explores how she straddles Muslim and Canadian identities. Between school, the mosque, and her family, Zarqa Nawaz’s book is full of funny and insightful stories.
Dance, Gladys, Dance won the 2013 Stephen Leacock award for humour writing. In the book, Frieda Zweig is a struggling artist trying to settle into a more “ordinary” life. That doesn’t work out. Instead she moves in with a ghost named Gladys, a woman who has also given up on her dreams of being a dancer. Dance, Gladys, Dance is delightfully Canadian, set in Winnipeg, and brings together a cast of odd and quirky characters.
Drew Hayden Taylor is well known for his humorous approach to Indigenous issues. In Take Us To Your Chief, Taylor combines humour and science fiction in this collection of short stories. Aliens, time travel, and government conspiracies: familiar tropes that are transformed by a refreshing new perspective.
Colin Mochrie of Whose Line Is It Anyways? fame translates his improv comedy into the written word. In this anthology of short stories, Mochrie parodies classic tales like Sherlock Holmes and A Tale of Two Cities. Each story begins and ends with the same sentences as the original work, but everything in between is an absurd comedy playing on the style and characters of classic authors.
Scaachi Koul take on racism, immigration, rape culture, and a number of other important social issues with humour and wit. Each essay explores a different aspect of Scaachi Koul’s life—from her education to her immigrant parents to her relationships. These personal essays are boldly honest and warmly heartfelt.
In another collection of essays, Ivan Coyote tackles living in Canada’s Yukon while trying to fit in the gender binary. Each essay recounts Ivan’s experience as a tomboy and explores what it takes to step towards accepting that sometimes labels just don’t work. Their stories are at once tender and hilarious as they recount memories of their childhood, first loves, and so much more.
The writer of Canadian humour books like How To Be Canadian and Why I Hate Canadians, Will Ferguson has also published this surprisingly different book. It follows an editor who gets tasked with editing an enormous self-help manuscript—a manuscript that might actually help people. Happiness (formerly titled Generica) is a poignant and humorous look at the role of despair in happiness.