The bestselling books in Canada for 2021

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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…

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