Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

The most anticipated books of the first half of 2018


Starting a new chapter

From hot debuts to heralded returns, novels to soon-to-be-dog-eared cookbooks, 2018 is lining up a bumper crop for bibliophiles

The Boat People

By Sharon Bala

Available Jan. 2, McClelland & Stewart, $24.95

With advance praise from Shyam Selvadurai and Lisa Moore, and fresh off winning the Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for a work of short fiction, debut novelist Sharon Bala is one to watch. In The Boat People, 500 Sri Lankan refugees reach the shores of British Columbia, only to find that their ordeal is far from over.

Story continues below advertisement


By Jordan Tannahill

Available Jan. 23, House of Anansi Press, $22.95

"The hottest name in Canadian theatre" (Montreal Gazette) turns his hand to the novel in this smart, assured debut. Billed as "part ontological thriller, part millennial saga," Liminal is the bold, emotional portrait of a young man in volatile times and a son with an enduring love for his mother.

Feel Free

By Zadie Smith

Available Feb. 6, Hamish Hamilton, $32

Containing previously published essays as well as new work, this collection – Zadie Smith's second after the brilliant Changing My Mind – includes writing on everything from Brexit to dance lessons, the library to Justin Bieber, all delivered in the trademark wry, heartfelt, incisive style readers love from this beloved author and thinker.

The Rule of Stephens

By Timothy Taylor

Story continues below advertisement

Available Feb. 6, Doubleday Canada, $22.95

If 2017's Giller Prize winner left you hungry for another doppelganger story, the third novel By Stanley Park author Timothy Taylor might be the next one for you. After Catherine Bach survives a plane crash, things start to get weird. And the person behind Catherine's sudden change in luck seems to bear an uncanny resemblance … to Catherine.


By Akwaeke Emezi

Available Feb. 13, Grove Press, $34.95

Narrated by the four selves within protagonist Ada, Freshwater is a fractured story about a young Nigerian woman with a fractured sense of self. Already heaped with advance praise from the likes of Taiye Selasi and NoViolet Bulawayo, Akwaeke Emezi's stand-out debut explores the ideas of identity and mental health and the mystery of being.

Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman who Changed the Monarchy

By Andrew Morton

Story continues below advertisement

Available Feb. 13, Grand Central Publishing, $36.50

Times were different the last time a beautiful, fashionable American divorcée prepared to marry into the House of Windsor. In Wallis in Love, royal and celebrity biographer Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story) presents a fresh, detailed and gossipy portrait of the American socialite for whom King Edward VIII infamously abdicated the throne.

Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men

By Daemon Fairless

Available March 6, Random House Canada, $26

Are men socialized to be violent? Or is it a dangerous, inherent desire? Part memoir, part scientific exploration, Daemon Fairless's debut tackles the hidden geography of male violence from the perspective of someone who struggles with violent impulses himself. Bonus: An audio book read by the author will be hitting stores too.

Find You in the Dark

By Nathan Ripley

Available March 6, Simon & Schuster, $24.99

Acclaimed fiction writer and journalist Naben Ruthnum debuts his alter-ego Nathan Ripley with this fast-paced, smart, unsettling thriller. In the vein of Dexter and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Find You in the Dark is the story of a family man obsessed with serial killers, and with digging up their victims' undiscovered remains. Until his macabre hobby catches a killer's attention.

Who Took My Sister?

By Shannon Webb-Campbell

Available March 20, BookThug, $18

In the tradition of contemporary voices such as Gregory Scofield, Liz Howard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Mi'kmaq poet, writer and critic Shannon Webb-Campbell delivers a provocative collection of poems and letters written to the many members of her community that hold and carry trauma. "A rallying cry in the wilderness of our tumultuous times," her publisher says.

That Time I Loved You

By Carrianne Leung

Available March 27, HarperCollins Canada, $22.99

Leung explores the lives behind the tidy front gardens of a 1970s subdivision populated By newcomers from all over the world. On the heels of acclaimed 2017 novels by David Chariandy and Catherine Hernandez, the literary love-in for Scarborough, Ont., continues with these linked stories from Carrianne Leung (her debut, The Wondrous Woo, was also set there).

Little Fish

By Casey Plett

Available April 1, Arsenal Pulp Press, $19.95

In Lambda Literary Award winner Casey Plett's debut novel, a 30-year-old trans woman learns her grandfather – a devout Mennonite farmer – may have been trans too. Drawn to the mystery, she sets out to assemble the lost pieces of her grandfather's life.

The Never-ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip

By Michael Barclay

Available April 3, ECW Press, $34.95

For this first print biography of "Canada's band," Michael Barclay interviewed dozens of the Tragically Hip's peers and friends. Covering the band up to and beyond their final Kingston performance that more than 11 million Canadians tuned in to watch, this treat for Hip fans also shows how pop culture can become a national moment.


By Sheila Heti

Available May 1, Knopf, $29.95

Five years after the internationally bestselling How Should a Person Be?, literary It Girl Sheila Heti returns. In a similarly genre-challenging novel, Heti's narrator struggles with the question of what is gained and what is lost if a woman becomes a mother, in a story set to become required reading for a generation of young women.

The Mars Room

By Rachel Kushner

Available May 1, Scribner, $36

This new novel from the author of 2013 favourite The Flamethrowers evokes the absurdity of institutional living in the story of a woman serving two consecutive life sentences. Outside: the world and family from which she has been severed. Inside: a new reality of hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive.


By Rabindranath Maharaj

Available May 8, Wolsak & Wynn, $22

In this disquieting, magical realist new work from the award-winning Rabindranath Maharaj (The Amazing Absorbing Boy), a man awakens in a strange institution with no memory of his past. As he searches for clues, he learns of Adjacentland, a primitive land of misfits and outsiders: the only place where imagination has survived.


By Michael Ondaatje

Available May 8, McClelland & Stewart, $34

Set in the decade after the Second World War, Ondaatje's first novel since The Cat's Table tells the dramatic story of siblings Nathaniel and Rachel, entrusted to the care of a mysterious figure named the Moth when their parents leave London for Singapore.


By Nick Drnaso

Available May 22, Drawn & Quarterly, $27.95

In his latest, award-winning graphic novelist Drnaso depicts an indictment of our modern state – a world devoid of personal interaction, responsibility and intimacy – and contemplates the dangers of a fake news climate. Zadie Smith has already called it, "The best book – in any medium – I have read about our current moment."

I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter

By David Chariandy

Available May 29, McClelland & Stewart, $19.95

Readers waited a decade for David Chariandy's second novel (Brother, Sept., 2017), but his third book – a work of non-fiction – comes racing up mere months behind. In the tradition of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me, Chariandy's latest discusses the politics of race in the form of a letter to his daughter.

Becky Toyne, Special to the Globe and Mail

Books for kids and teens

They Say Blue

By Jillian Tamaki

Available March 1, Groundwood Books, $19.95

This stunning picture book from Caldecott and Printz Honor-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki features sumptuous, brightly coloured illustrations on every page as the protagonist contemplates colour in the known ("black is the colour of my hair") and unknown ("I don't need to crack an egg to know it holds an orange yolk").

The Children of Blood and Bone

By Tomi Adeyemi

Available March 6, Henry Holt & Co., $24.99

Twenty-three-year-old Tomi Adeyemi scored both a major book and film deal for this much buzzed-about YA debut, the first in a trilogy. With a strong-willed heroine at the story's centre, Adeyemi conjures a world of dark magic and danger in this West African-inspired fantasy aimed at readers 14 to 18.


By Junot Diaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa

Available March 13, Dial Books, $23.99

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents his first picture book. Starring a little girl named Lola and set in a school where every kid comes from somewhere else, this is a vibrant, uplifting story about family, immigration and the concept of home.

Walking in the City with Jane: A Story of Jane Jacobs

By Susan Hughes, illustrated by Valérie Boivin

Available April 3, Kids Can Press, $19.99

Susan Hughes shares great urban thinker Jane Jacobs' vision for liveable cities (and her life story) in this charming picture book, introducing readers 6 to 9 to ideas of civic engagement, city planning and urban life, as well as the history of New York and Toronto.

A Storytelling of Ravens

By Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Natalie Nelson

Available May 1, Groundwood Books, $17.95

A sloth of bears, a smack of jellyfish, a nuisance of cats – just some of the weird and wonderful collective nouns we have for groups of animals. Filled with clever wordplay and gorgeous illustrations, this fun book about the oddities of the English language is aimed at readers 5 and up.

On the Come Up

By Angie Thomas

Available May 1, Balzer & Bray, $23.99

Expectations are high for Angie Thomas's second novel for teens, after her debut, The Hate U Give, became an instant bestseller. This follow up returns to the world of Garden Heights in a story about an aspiring teen rapper and what happens when you get everything you thought you wanted.

Becky Toyne, Special to the Globe and Mail


The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature's Edge

By Joanne Sasvari

Available May 8, Appetite By Random House, $45

On the furthest west coast of Vancouver Island, the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C., has been a destination for visitors from around the world since its opening in 1996, the Pointe restaurant a pillar of the town's flourishing culinary scene. Their first cookbook gathers signature recipes from former and current chefs and focuses on regional techniques and seasonal west coast ingredients.

Hot for Food Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes to Feed Your Face

By Lauren Toyota

Available Feb. 27, Penguin, $29.95

Former MuchMusic VJ and MTV Canada host turned vegan YouTube star Lauren Toyota has compiled more than 100 recipes in her first cookbook, piling it high with veganized versions of typically indulgent comfort food such as Southern fried cauliflower, mac & cheese onion rings, ramen bowls and raspberry funfetti Pop-Tarts – all made for sharing.

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Eating Harmoniously

By Steffi Knowles-Dellner

Available Feb. 6, Quadrille/Chronicle, $41

Lagom: n. just the right amount, balanced, harmonious. Steffi Knowles-Dellner, a Swedish cookery writer and blogger ( living in London, offers insight into the Swedish tradition of unfussy cooking and eating, embracing recipes in tune with the seasons, occasions and even time of day, and foods that nourish and sustain body and soul.

Feast: Food of the Islamic World

By Anissa Helou

Available May 29, HarperCollins, $75

Award-winning chef and food writer and educator Anissa Helou, an authority on food and cooking throughout the Middle East, explores the recipes, stories and cultural and culinary history of the Muslim world, delving into a wide range of Arab, Persian, Mughal and North African dishes, presenting them with stunning photography.

At My Table: a Celebration of Home Cooking

By Nigella Lawson

Available April 10, Appetite By Random House, $45

Lawson embodies what so many home cooks aspire to be. Her latest is all about the relaxed, approachable food she prepares to feed her friends and family from day to day. "It doesn't require technique, dexterity or expertise," she says, "none of which I lay claim to. Life is complicated; cooking doesn't have to be."

Julie Van Rosendaal, Special to the Globe and Mail

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to