Off the Beaten Path

Books that have fallen out of the spotlight – but that remain excellent reads.

  • How Does It Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers interested in understanding what it's like to be Arab and living in the US. Fans of sociological studies. Anyone who enjoys broadening his / her perspective on an issue they may not be familiar with.


  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Readers interested in historical fiction set in a Japanese POW . Lovers of forbidden love stories. Fans of fiction that jumps between the past and the present in Australia.


  • Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of intellectual, non-fiction. Readers interested in learning more about a high-profile journalist who mysteriously disappeared. Fans of biography


  • The Disappeared

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of romantic, historical fiction. Readers interested in the story of a young Canadian compelled to travel to war-ravaged Cambodia in search of her first love. Fans interested in Pol Pot’s reign of terror.


  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of graphic novel memoirs Readers who enjoy the true story of a father’s death soon after he comes out of the closet. Anyone wondering what it would be like to grow up in a funeral home.


  • Not Wanted on the Voyage

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of social commentary Readers interested in an “alternative” version of the story of Noah’s ark Fans of irreverent satire


  • Caucasia

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of racial politics and civil rights issues Readers looking for a story about a girl of mixed race, separated from her sister and forced to hide her true ethnicity as she and her mother hide from the law. Fans of 1970’s politics and sisterly love


  • Fifteen Dogs

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Lovers of parables and allegorical fiction Readers interested in what happens when fifteen dogs are granted human intelligence Fans of clever, thought-provoking literature


  • Man Gone Down

    Book Dumpling Recommends For: Fans of anti-heroes and stories of redemption Readers interested in a once-promising writer who finds himself broke and estranged from his family Anyone interested in what happens when the American Dream just doesn’t work out


  • The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World

    Lucette Lagnado and her Jewish family live comfortably in Cairo until the fall of King Farouk makes way for Gamal Abdel Nesser’s industrialization of Egyptian industries. After losing everything, they make their way from Cairo to New York on a journey that forces them to abandon the only life they...


  • A Man Called Ove

    Ove is the grumpy neighbor who has more going on underneath than meets the eye. When a new family with two daughters moves in next door, Ove is in for a bit of an-eye-opener. And a flattened mailbox. Perfect for: Lovers of quirky characters. Readers looking for a light-yet-substantial read....


  • The Martian

    Astronaut Mark Watney is on Mars. The problem? He’s been stranded there for six days and has no contact with earth. In this gripping, clever tour de force, Weir brings us into a lonely world in which Mark must use his ingenuity before giving up completely. Perfect for: Lovers of...


  • Winter’s Bone

    In a harsh, rural setting, Ree Dolly is 16 years old and toughened by responsibility and poverty. Her father is facing meth-related charges and has disappeared while Ree cares for her two younger siblings and mentally-ill mother. If her father can’t be found in time for his court date, the...


  • A Single Man

    Wise and full of insight on the human condition, this novella contemplates the experience of loss from the perspective of an outsider: George is a British gay man living in 1960s California. We follow him through one day in his life after the sudden death of his partner. Perfect for:...


  • Cockroach

    In Montreal’s frigid winter, a thief has attempted suicide and failed. In subsequent sessions with a therapist, we begin to learn about his life. An immigrant from the Middle East, he leaves his war-torn country to become a self-described cockroach: dispossessed and alienated. Dark and nihilistic, with vivid imagery, it’s...


  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

    Not to be read during meals, Roach has made a name for herself as a quirky writer of niche micro histories. With Stiff, she turns her attention to, well, dead bodies: to how they’re used (and abused), their role in science, and their processing and disposal. With her trademark humour,...


  • Stanley Park

    Chef Jeremy Papier thinks you’re either a Crip or a Blood. Crips like fussy fusion cuisine, while Bloods – like Jeremy – stick with local ingredients. This quirky and satirical novel is set before the “eat local” movement was in full swing. It follows Jeremy’s attempt to succeed in the...


  • Instructions for a Heatwave

    It’s 1976, and London swelters in the midst of a heat wave. Gretta Riordan’s husband goes out for a newspaper and doesn’t return. The couple’s three children – who have their own dramas, resentments, and rivalries to contend with – return home to help with the search. The answers they...


  • A Pigeon and A Boy

    In this moving story about the power of love, loss and having a place to call home, Shalev cleverly intertwines two narratives from different time periods that unite the past and the present through a message carried by – you guessed it – a pigeon.Perfect for: • Readers who enjoy...


  • The Housekeeper and the Professor

    Set in modern-day Japan, a highly intellectual math Professor has only 80 minutes worth of memories, as a result of a terrible head injury. Every morning he is introduced to his housekeeper and her son – his caregivers. Still excellent at mathematical equations, he forms a special bond with the...


  • Baking Cakes in Kigali

    Set in post-genocide Rwanda, Kigali introduces us to Angel Tungaraza – mother, cake-baker and local shoulder-to-cry-on. Her passion for baking results in a bustling cake business supported by her local community of friends and neighbours. This heart-warming tale tackles disturbing issues (AIDS, female mutilation) while celebrating the endurance of the...


  • In the Orchard, the Swallows

    Set in Pakistan, the novella opens with our narrator – recently released from prison – rescued from a ditch by the kind and scholarly, Abbas, who encourages him to reenter the world of the living. To do this, the narrator walks, everyday, to visit his family’s former orchard where he...


  • Regeneration (Regeneration #1)

    In Barker’s masterful work, she explores the psychological effects of WWI on soldiers – and the harrowing experience of shock treatments conducted at military hospitals. Great for: • Those interested in learning more about WWI – through the soldier’s perspective. • Readers of PTSD literature. • Lovers of quality writing...


  • Alif the Unseen

    Meet Alif: as a brilliant internet hacker in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, he works to protect the government from censoring others unjustly on the web. When an unexpected twist, wrought by a love affair, forces him underground, he encounters the mystical realms of jinnis and the dark side of...


  • The Leopard (Il Gattopardo)

    Enter the world of over-the-top Sicilian nobility: Prince Fabrizio of the Salina family must come to terms with the changing world of Italy’s politics and his family’s aristocratic bearing. Offering historical insight into the Risorgimento, the reunification of Italy, and meditations on class structure and the beginning of the end...


  • Tepper Isn’t Going Out

    Murray Tepper lives in New York. And he won’t give up his parking spot. So he starts to read his newspaper. And, despite drivers pleading for the desirable piece of property, he refuses to leave. With his funny commentary on how people behave in big cities while doing absurd things,...


  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

    This was the LAST book that I thought I would love: it’s about endurance running. But that’s not really all it’s about. McDougall researches the Tarahumara Indian tribe in Mexico to understand how they’re able to run so far – and for so long. Through his research we meet wonderful...


  • The Dream of Scipio

    I don’t know how he pulls this off: in this brilliant interweaving of three stories during three critical times in Western history – the end of the Roman Empire; the Black Plague in France; Nazi-occupied Europe – Iain Pears brings us a philosophical novel about civilization – and how quickly...


  • Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

    When one of the neighbors is murdered in a culturally diverse apartment building in Rome, the readers gain access to the key players’ versions of events. Lakhous writes a fabulous study on immigrant life in Italy – one that investigates darkly comic misconceptions and their power to destroy relationships.Perfect for:• Readers...


  • Almost Gone

    In his sparse, elegant prose, Sousa offers up a fabulous collection of linked short stories that examine a family of Portuguese immigrants living in the U.S. Gone provides an excellent mediation on obsession, love and the elements that go into forming our identities over time.Great for:Readers looking for a new...