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The bestselling books in Canada for 2022

The bestseller list, first and foremost, is a tip sheet, the most accurate gauge we have to know what books Canadians are buying. Maybe they’re not the titles about which literary critics are enthusing. But they are the books that ordinary people are reading.

And that leads to the secondary benefit of bestseller lists: they offer a good sense of social trends, the issues and topics that right now people care about most. They reflect the national mood.

This year offers a great example of this. The top-selling non-fiction book on this year’s list is “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, an American ethnobotanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

At first glance, it seems a surprising bestseller. It was published in 2013, but it was only in early 2020 that its message started to resonate with mainstream readers — rocked by the beginning of a pandemic, heightened concerns about climate change and a racial reckoning that buffeted Canada and the United States.

“Braiding Sweetgrass” ended 2020 as the No. 9 bestselling non-fiction title. Early this year it really took off. And no wonder. It is difficult to imagine a book that better reconciles hard science and the innate knowledge of people who have lived on the land for millennia. Fact embraces feeling. An essential book for our times.

Other reflections on the year just past:

  • Canadians are better represented on this year’s Original Fiction and Non-Fiction List than they have been in the recent past. Five titles by Canadian writers are on the Original Fiction list, with two novels by Louise Penny (including her collaboration with Hillary Clinton). Nine of the 20 Original Non-Fiction titles were by Canadians. (The Original lists include all books in their original printing, before paperback reissues; the Canadian lists include all books, original and reprint, written by Canadians.)
  • Black and Indigenous writers and issues were well-represented in both fiction and non-fiction in 2020, with 12 bestselling titles across the four lists. In the 2022 lists, Black-themed books by Black authors are absent, save for the “The Vanishing Half,” the novel by Brit Bennett, and “Gutter Child” by Jael Richardson; in non-fiction we have Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” and “Will” by Will Smith. First Nations themes, meanwhile, remain strong, with 10 titles represented in the fiction and non-fiction lists.

  • Writing novels continues to be a space where women are well-represented, with 16 out of 20 titles on the Original Fiction list and 16 out of 20 on the Canadian list.
  • Readers might naturally assume that the Top 10 fiction and non-fiction lists include all books sold in Canada. Truth is, the books that sell best are not aimed at a general audience but are targeted at niche readers: children’s books, self-help titles, cookbooks and the like. This year, as in most, the bestselling book across all categories is a children’s book: “Dog Man: Mothering Heights” is the 10th cartoon book in the “Dog Man” series by Dav Pilkey (also famed for his “Captain Underpants” franchise). It is aimed at kids in grades 1 to 3. No. 2 is “Big Shot,” the 16th book in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, by Jeff Kinney, recommended for children in grades 3 to 7. No. 3 this year is “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones,” a 2018 business self-help book by James Clear. Why do we have these subcategories? Because if we didn’t, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie would have been on the list for the past 85 years. Boring.
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  • A trend in fiction in recent years involves heroic young women performing acts of bravery during the Second World War. That theme persists, though muted, with just three novels this year. But that figure includes the No. 1 bestseller “The Rose Code,” about three clever young women toiling in Britain’s fabled Bletchley Park.
  • And finally, the previously inexhaustible Trump book industry looks as though it has collapsed. Not a single book about the former U.S. president is on the bestselling lists for 2022 (there were three at year end 2020).

Source: The Star compiles its bestseller list from sales data supplied by BookNet Canada. It tracks English-language print book sales reported from Canadian booksellers each week. As always, the bestseller lists are compiled by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited from information provided by BookNet Canada’s national sales tracking service, BNC SalesData.

ORIGINAL FICTION

1. The Rose Code, Kate Quinn, William Morrow

2. The Midnight Library, Matt Haig, Harper Avenue

3. State of Terror, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Louise Penny, Simon & Schuster

4. The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave, Simon & Schuster

5. It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover, Atria

6. The Push, Ashley Audrain, Viking

7. Five Little Indians, Michelle Good, Harper Perennial

8. The Apollo Murders, Chris Hadfield, Random House Canada

9. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, Diana Gabaldon, Doubleday Canada

10. Malibu Rising, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Doubleday Canada

11. Billy Summers, Stephen King, Scribner

12. People We Meet on Vacation, Emily Henry, Berkley

13. The Madness of Crowds, Louise Penny, Minotaur

14. The Judge’s List, John Grisham, Doubleday

15. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, V.E. Schwab, Tor

16. The Paris Library, Janet Skeslien Charles, Simon & Schuster

17. The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Heller, Riverhead

18. The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett, Riverhead

19. The Four Winds, Kristin Hannah, St. Martin’s

20. American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins, Flatiron

ORIGINAL NON-FICTION

1. Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Milkweed

2. Guinness World Records 2022, Craig Glenda, Guinness World Records

3. Beyond Order, Jordan B. Peterson, Random House Canada

4. Untamed, Glennon Doyle, Dial

5. Keep Sharp, Sanjay Gupta, Simon & Schuster

6. Indian in the Cabinet, Jody Wilson-Raybould, HarperCollins Canada

7. A Promised Land, Barack Obama, Crown

8. Talking to Canadians, Rick Mercer, Doubleday Canada

9. The Bomber Mafia, Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown

10. The Storyteller, Dave Grohl, Dey Street

11. Between Two Kingdoms, Suleika Jaouad, Random House

12. Crossroads, Kaleb Dahlgren, Collins

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13. Atlas of the Heart, Brené Brown, Random House

14. 21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act, Bob Joseph, Indigenous Relations

15. No One Wins Alone, Mark Messier, Jimmy Roberts, Simon & Schuster

16. Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey, Crown

17. Will, Will Smith, Mark Manson, Penguin

18. From the Ashes, Jesse Thistle, Simon & Schuster

19. World Travel, Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever, Ecco

20. Off the Record, Peter Mansbridge, Simon & Schuster

CANADIAN FICTION

1. State of Terror, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Louise Penny, Simon & Schuster

2. The Push, Ashley Audrain, Viking

3. Five Little Indians, Michelle Good, HarperCollins Canada

4. The Apollo Murders, Chris Hadfield, Random House Canada

5. The Madness of Crowds, Louise Penny, Minotaur

6. Home Body, Rupi Kaur, Simon & Schuster

7. Not a Happy Family, Shari Lapena, Doubleday Canada

8. The Strangers, Katherena Vermette, Hamish Hamilton

9. Fight Night, Miriam Toews, Knopf Canada

10. The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline, Dancing Cat

11. Our Darkest Night, Jennifer Robson, William Morrow

12. Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead, Arsenal Pulp

13. Letters Across the Sea, Genevieve Graham, Simon & Schuster

14. The Vinyl Cafe Celebrates, Stuart McLean, Viking

15. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood, McClelland & Stewart

16. How to Pronounce Knife, Souvankham Thammavongsa, McClelland & Stewart

17. Gutter Child, Jael Richardson, Harper Avenue

18. All the Devils Are Here, Louise Penny, Minotaur

19. What Strange Paradise, Omar El Akkad, McClelland & Stewart

20. Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur, Andrews McMeel

CANADIAN NON-FICTION

1. Beyond Order, Jordan B. Peterson, Random House Canada

2. Indian in the Cabinet, Jody Wilson-Raybould, HarperCollins Canada

3. Talking to Canadians, Rick Mercer, Doubleday Canada

4. The Bomber Mafia, Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown

5. Crossroads, Kaleb Dahlgren, Collins

6. 21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act, Bob Joseph, Indigenous Relations

7. No One Wins Alone, Mark Messier, Jimmy Roberts, Simon & Schuster

8. From the Ashes, Jesse Thistle, Simon & Schuster

9. Off the Record, Peter Mansbridge, Simon & Schuster

10. Values, Mark Carney, Signal

11. Yearbook, Seth Rogen, Viking

12. The Menopause Manifesto, Jen Gunter, Random House

13. 12 Rules of Life, Random House Canada

14. Call Me Indian, Fred Sasakamoose, Viking

15. Best Wishes, Warmest Regards, Daniel Levy, Eugene Levy, Black Dog & Leventhal

16. Finding the Mother Tree, Suzanne Simard, Allen Lane

17. The Forever Dog, Rodney Habib, Karen Shaw Becker, Collins

18. The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King, Anchor Canada

19. Seven Fallen Feathers, Tanya Talaga, House of Anansi

20. Teachers these Days, Jody Carrington, Laurie McIntosh, Impress

CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT

1. Dog Man: Mothering Heights, Dav Pilkey, Graphix

2. Big Shot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #16), Jeff Kinney, Amulet

3. They Both Die at the End, Adam Silvera, Quill Tree

4. Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories, Jeff Kinney, Abrams

5. Cat Kid Comic Club, Dav Pilkey, Graphix

6. The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia and the New Girl, Ann Martin, Gabriela Epstein, Graphix

7. I Love You to the Moon and Back, Amelia Hepworth, Tim Warnes, Tiger Tales

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8. We Were Liars, E. Lockhart, Ember

9. Roald Dahl Collection (16-book box set), Roald Dahl, Penguin Random House Canada

10. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo, Square Fish

BUSINESS AND PERSONAL FINANCE

1. Atomic Habits, James Clear, Avery

2. Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert T. Kiyosaki, Plata

3. Twelve and a Half, Gary Vaynerchuk, HarperBusiness

4. The Intelligent Investor (revised edition), Benjamin Graham, HarperBusiness

5. Think Again, Adam Grant, Plata

6. Dare to Lead, Brené Brown, Random House

7. Start with Why, Simon Sinek, Portfolio

8. The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel, Harriman House

9. The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman, Portfolio

10. Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss, Tahl Raz, Harper Business

COOKING

1. Mandy’s Gourmet Salads, Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, Meredith Erickson, Appetite by Random House

2. Together, Jamie Oliver, HarperCollins Canada

3. Sheet Pan Everything, Ricardo Larrivée, Appetite by Random House

4. Joshua Weissman: An Unapologetic Cookbook, Joshua Weissman, Alpha

5. Oh She Glows for Dinner, Angela Liddon, Penguin Canada

6. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat, Wendy MacNaughton, Simon & Schuster

7. Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Tieghan Gerard, Clarkson Potter

8. Cravings: All Together, Chrissy Teigen, Adeena Sussman, Clarkson Potter

9. Cook This Book, Molly Baz, Clarkson Potter

10. Air Fryer Cookbook, Jenson William, independently published

HEALTH AND FITNESS

1. What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Heidi Murkoff, Workman

2. When the Body Says No, Gabor Maté, Vintage Canada

3. The Obesity Code, Jason Fung, Greystone

4. Come as You Are (revised and updated), Emily Nagoski, Simon & Schuster

5. Medical Medium Cleanse to Heal, Anthony William, Hay House

6. Becoming Sugar-Free, Julie Daniluk, Penguin Canada

7. Joy, Debbie Travis, Random House Canada

8. The Body Reset Diet (revised edition), Harley Pasternak, Penguin Canada

9. The Wim Hof Method, Wim Hof, Sounds True

10. The Diabetes Code, Jason Fung, Nina Teicholz, Greystone

MYSTERY

1. State of Terror, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Louise Penny, Simon & Schuster

2. The Push, Ashley Audrain, Viking

3. A Time for Mercy, John Grisham, Dell

4. Billy Summers, Stephen King, Scribner

5. The Madness of Crowds, Louise Penny, Minotaur

6. The Judge’s List, John Grisham, Doubleday

7. Camino Winds, John Grisham, Dell

8. The Night She Disappeared, Lisa Jewell, Atria

9. The Sentinel, Lee Child, Andrew Child, Dell

10. Pretty Little Wife, Darby Lane, William Morrow

SELF-IMPROVEMENT

1. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy, HarperOne

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson, Harper

3. How to Do the Work, Nicole LePera, Harper Wave

4. Burn after Writing (pink edition), Sharon Jones, TarcherPerigee

5. Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty, Simon & Schuster

6. The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene, Joost Elffers, Penguin

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie, Pocket

8. The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle, New World

9. Wreck This Journal (black expanded edition), Keri Smith, Penguin

10. 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think, Brianna Wiest, Thought Catalog

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