Monday, September 01, 2008

The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge- 2nd Update

Only two months in and already we're up to 204 books!

Before getting into the update, I'll throw a question out there that's been asked of me many times now: What books should be included in the Challenge? Children's books? Rereads? My quick answer is yes and yes. But, that's just me, and while I might be the host, the Challenge by and large was meant as an individual challenge. Any decisions about what to include and what to rule out, is entirely your own. Richard recently decided against using Harold Reinisch's Tom Thomson's Shack since he had already read it earlier this year and had just reread it for work. Personally, I would have been fine with it, but can understand his reservations. What criteria do you use? Somewhat entwined with this question, what do you think constitutes a Canadian book? I once thought I had it reasonably defined as a book written by a Canadian (past or present, to include such authors as Saul Bellow and Carol Shields), or about Canadians (to include such books as E. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News). Then Kathleen asked me if translations by Canadians counted. Hmmm. And after reading Zachariah Wells' postscript to Jailbreaks, an anthology of Canadian sonnets, he points out that even the definition of a Canadian is fuzzy. Despite Malcolm Lowry's Governor General's Award in 1961, Wells recalled a similar anthology that omitted his work because he had never held a Canadian passport. I thought that was a bit too exclusive, and was glad to see Wells added him in. However, I'm also reminded of a This Hour Has 22 Minutes sketch that poked fun of Entertainment Tonight Canada because of their tendency to play Six Degrees of Canadian Bacon. If Helen Fielding's neighbour once vacationed in Banff, does this mean Bridget Jones's Diary should count towards the Challenge? Again, this should be your call.

Here are the standings so far (* indicates a new review). Interesting that so many have read Jane Urquhart and Timothy Findley already in this Challenge, when only a few people read them in the 1st edition. I'm also amazed by the number of people having read Andrew Davidson's Gargolye already when it was only released in August.

Nunavummiut (13 Books)

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians (12 Books)

Albertans (11 Books)

Saskatchewanies (10 Books)

- I Married The Klondike by Laura Beatrice Berton*
- After by Francis Chalifour*
- Going Inside by Alan Kesselheim
- Laughing on the Outside: The Life of John Candy by Martin Knelman
- Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of The Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Unknown Shore by Robert Ruby

- Run of the Town by Terrence Rundle West*
- Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin*
- Natasha and Other Stories by David Bezmozgis*
- An Acre In Time by Phil Jenkins*
- Kiss The Sunset Pig by Laurie Gough
- Psyche's Children by Catherine Joyce
- The Lidek Revolution by James Stark
- Pure Springs by Brian Doyle
- Speak Ill of the Dead by Mary Jane Maffini
- Without Vodka by Aleksander Topolski

Yukoners (9 Books)

Paul P
- Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb*
- The Wars by Timothy Findley*
- Famous Last Words by Timothy Findley
- As For Me And My House by Sinclair Ross
- Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen
- Pilgrim by Timothy Findley
- The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
- Effigy by Alissa York
- Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

Prince Edward Islanders (8 Books)

British Columbians (7 Books)

- Red Plaid Shirt by Diane Schoemperlen*
- The Girls Who Saw Everything by Sean Dixon*
- Degrees of Nakedness by Lisa Moore*
- The Tracey Fragments by Maureen Medved*
- Exotic Dancers by Gerald Lynch*
- Stunt by Claudia Dey*
- A Week of This by Nathan Whitlock*

- Passion Fruit Tea by Elenore Schonmaier*
- Turtle Valley by Gail Anderson-Dargatz*
- a week of this: a novel in seven days by Nathan Whitlock*
- The Birth House by Ami McKay*
- Baltimores Mansion by Wayne Johnston*
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- The Skating Pond by Deborah Joy Corey

Northwest Territorians (6 Books)

- Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel*
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- The Horseman's Grave by Jacqueline Baker*
- Newton and the Time Machine by Michael McGowan*
- The Shooting of Dan McGrew by Robert W. Service and illustrated by Ted Harrison*
- The Seance by Iain Lawrence

- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill*
- lullabies for little criminals by Heather O'Neill*
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay*
- A History of Forgetting by Caroline Adderson*
- JPod by Douglas Coupland*
- The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee*

- No Clean Clothes! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Boo! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Get Out of Bed! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Allan and Lea Daniel
- We Share Everything by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Look At Me! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko

- The Film Club by David Gilmour*
- Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner*
- What Happened later by Ray Robertson*
- King Leary by Paul Quarrington
- The Game by Ken Dryden
- Midnight Hockey by Bill Gaston

- Hero of Lesser Causes by Julie Johnston*
- Lisa by Carol Matas*
- Ticket to Curlew by Celia Barker Lottridge*
- Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Thumb In The Box by Ken Roberts
- Dippers by Barbara Nichol and illustrated by Barry Moser

- Innercity Girl Like Me by Sabrina Bernardo
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- Beautiful Girl Thumb by Melissa Steele
- An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark
- Where The Pavement Ends by Marie Wadden
- Naomi's Road by Joy Kogowa and illustrated by Matt Gould

Manitobans (5 Books)

- The Witness Ghost by Tim Bowling*
- Forage by Rita Wong*
- Slash by Jeannette Armstrong*
- Ontological Necessities by Priscilla Uppal
- Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer

- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah*
- Conceit by Mary Novik
- Forage by Rita Wong
- Porcupine by Meg Tilly
- The Alchemist's Dream by John Wilson

- The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence*
- The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields*
- Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson*
- The Birth House by Ami McKay
- Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp*
- The Wars by Timothy Findley*
- Great Canadian Short Stories edited by Alec Lucas*
- The Fire Dwellers by Margaret Laurence*
- The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro*

New Brunswickers (4 Books)

- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- Surfacing by Margaret Atwood*
- As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross*
- A Bird In The House by Margaret Laurence*

- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper*
- Fast Forward and Other Stories by Delia de Santis*
- The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland*
- Selected Poems (1972) by Al Purdy

- Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje*
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- Look for Me by Edeet Ravel
- Horseman's Grave by Jacqueline Baker

- Clauda by Britt Holmstrom*
- The Only Snow in Havanna by Elizabeth Hay
- The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
- Wolf Tree by Alison Calder

- Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs*
- Consumption by Kevin Patterson
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

Traveler One
- Random Passage by Bernice Morgan
- Kiss The Joy As It Flies by Sheree Fitch
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay
- The Mountain and The Valley by Ernest Buckler

- Kit's Law by Donna Morrissey
- Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark
- A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay
- The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe

Nova Scotians (3 Books)

- Anne of The Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Unless by Carol Shields
- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

- Black Ice by Linda Hall*
- Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla
- Bone To Ashes by Kathy Reichs

Sam Lamb
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews*
- The Given by Daphne Marlatt*
- A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart*

- The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis*
- At A Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlin*
- The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee*

- The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway*
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp*
- Consolation by Michael Redhill*

- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood*
- Icefields by Thomas Wharton*

-Don't Lets Go The Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller*
-Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland*
-Traveling Music by Neil Peart*

- Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by John McFetridge*
- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- The Order of Good Cheer by Bill Gaston

- Nova Scotia by Tanya Lloyd Kyi*
- Tottering in My Garden by Midge Ellis Keeble*
- The Pioneers of Inverness Township by Gwen Rawlings

- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood*
- Charley's Web by Joy Fielding
- Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- The Line Painter by Claire Cameron
- Indigenous Beasts by Nathan Sellyn

Quebecois (2 Books)

- Prarie Bridesmaid by Daria Salamon*
- Saltsea by David Helwig*

- The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson*
- Open Secrets by Alice Munro*

- The Birth House by Ami McKay*
- The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart*

- Arctic Migrants/ Arctic Villagers by David Damas*
- White Eskimo by Harold Horwood*

- My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath*
- All-Season Edie by Annabel Lyon*

- Stolen by Kelley Armstrong*
- Bitten by Kelley Armstrong*

- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood*
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

- The Best of Robert Service by Robert Service*
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

- Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb*
- The Droughtlanders by Carrie Mac*

- Since Daisy Creek by W. O. Mitchell*
- Prospero's Daughter by Constance Beresford-Howe

- Claudia by Britt Holmstrom*
- The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou*

- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- Song of the Paddle by Bill Mason*

- The War On Women by Brian Vallee*
- Truth and Rumors: The Truth Behind TV's Most Famous Myths by Bill Brious*

Mary Ellen
- The Whirlpool by Jane Urquhart*
- Margarita Nights by Phyliss Smallman

- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The Cure For Death by Lightning

- Memories Are Murder by Lou Allin
- Pandemic by Daniel Kalla

- Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop
- The Time In Between by David Bergen

- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- The Game by Teresa Toten

Nathan Smith
- A Secret Between Us by Daniel Poliquin
-The Wars by Timothy Findley

- Runaway by Alice Munro*
- Away by Jane Urquhart

Ontarians (1 Book)

- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen*

- How To Be a Canadian by Will Ferguson and Ian Ferguson*

- Alice, I Think by Susan Juby*

- Niagara, A History of The Falls by Pierre Berton*

- The Birth House by Ami McKay

- An Imperfect Offering by James Orbinsky

Literary Mom
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay

- Loyalists and Layabouts by Stephen Kimber

- Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler

- Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Mrs. Peachtree
- Stella Fairy of the Forest by Marie-Louise Gay

(Note: If these standings are not correct, please accept my apologies. I've tried as much as possible to visit each and everyone's links on a regular basis, but I may have overlooked something. Please continue to email me whenever you finish a book and review it somewhere online, providing me with a link. Also make sure your link is active on the sidebar-- I'm having trouble accessing some of them. Let me know if this update is innaccurate. If it's any consolation, last month I even forgot to include my own review!)

And now for the goodies...this month I have three autographed Cheryl Kaye Tardif novels up for grabs, for three lucky winners. The first is Whale Song.

(from Kunati Books)

To win Whale Song, locate these three comments from the reviews marked by * above. Email me (jmutford at hotmail dot com) and for each comment, tell me a)who said it b)whose review and c)which book:

1. Today during lunch, my dear girlfriend Dunn confessed that she might love her garden more than she loves her beau.

2. I was underwhelmed by Monday Mourning...there was an idiot subplot I saw five miles away.

3. I really liked this one too!! I thought it was fantastic, and I'm really not much of a non-fiction reader.

As an added bonus, the winner of Whale Song will have a chance to interview the author! Check out the Shereadsbooks review of Steve Zipp's Yellowknife above. It's quite a great opportunity to be able to discuss the book you've just read with the author. I'll pick a random winner from all those who respond correctly by midnight Sept 7th, and announce the winner on the 8th.

For those of you not yet reading the other reviews, I encourage you to do so. Not only are most very well written, but I guarantee you'll vastly increase your tbr piles! Also, when you're visiting another blog, it's a good idea to leave a comment. We love to know who our readers are.

To win Tardif's The River or Divine Intervention, this contest, which I like to call "The Spotter," is a bit more complicated, so pay attention:

1. Look in the sidebar of this blog and find someone who has yet to begin the challenge, i.e., somewith with a goose-egg by their name.

2. Pick one, and only one, of these people to "spot". In the comment section of this post, tell me who your selection is. If someone else has already chosen that person, you'll have to choose another. Choose wisely; some of those with a "0" have links/blogs that haven't been updated in a while...

3. If that person reads and reviews one book for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge by midnight of September 13 -and notifies me so that I can change the number to "1"- both names will be put into a random draw so that you and your "partner" could each win a book. The spotter (you) can choose between The River or Divine Intervention, and the spotted will get the other.

4. Feel free to increase your odds: Cheer your partner on, coax them. Just remember, there's a fine line between encouragement and harassment and if the partner complains, I'll have to disqualify you!

5. The winners will be announced on September 14th.

In other challenge news:

I. Mel, of Ontario, was latest to install a 2nd Canadian Book Challenge Display at the library where she works. Check it out:

In case you missed some of my previous posts, this makes 3 libraries to help promote the challenge now. The first was here in Yellowknife and the 2nd was the Jane Dundas branch of the Toronto Public Library. If you work in a library or bookstore and would like to make a display of your own, please be my guest. If you want ideas or promotional flyers, email me at jmutford AT hotmai DOT com, but feel free to improvise.

II. The Canadian Book Challenge Touque is finished. Knitter Sam Lamb has created the touque of touques. I won't lie, it's going to be hard to give this prize away (I want one for myself!) This is her husband Jay modeling said touque.

III. If you're a member of BookCrossing, Kathleen Molloy has 14 Canadian novels to trade. Check out her titles here.

Until next month, have fun celebrating, promoting and exploring Canadian books!


Teddy Rose said...

I love your updates John! You are so organized!

I'm going to sit out of the goodies this time, since I won what I really, really wanted last time. Smile. Thanks for all that you do to make this such a wonderful challenge!

Thoughts of Joy said...

It's probably in this post somewhere and I missed it, but could you please explain what the asterisk represents after some of the authors?

Chrisbookarama said...

I was just under the deadline: I finished Yellowknife at 1 am last night. I haven't got my review up yet though. Hopefully some time today.

John Mutford said...

Teddy: Thanks! Are you sure you want to abstain? There's nothing in the rules saying you can't win twice in a row.

Joy: It indicates a new review (one that didn't appear in the last update). I forgot to explain that in the post. It also indicates where the answers to one of this month's contests might be found. As well, if anyone is wondering why certain books appear under the provincial headings that they do, please refer to the first update.

Chris: Since the review will appear in September, if it's okay with you, I'll just add in the next update if that's okay. It just makes it easier to organize if I do it that way.

Nan said...

I am so impressed with the care you take. You visit everyone, you comment, you make these lists, you really are happy that people have taken on the challenge. Quite the fellow, John!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Six degree of Canadian Bacon - haha! It is a fine line that determines what constitutes a Canadian book, but I would agree that rereads and kids' books should qualify. How about if we read reviews of Canadian kids' books in the papers? Those should be good for a couple of points.

Wanda said...

Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic mirror, tell me today. Have all my friends had fun at play? I can see, "bookgal" and she hasn't posted about any Canadian books yet? Nudge, nudge ... ;)

My TBR list grows and grows; I consider this the best perk as a participant of The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge! Thanks for being such a great host, John.

Cheryl Tardif said...

Hi John:

You can find my review for Honour Among Men by Canadian author Barbara Fradkin at:


Jo-Ann said...

Once again a great update John. Displays are growing. A note about my library it is Jane Dundas not Dundas.

John Mutford said...

Nan: Getting as many others I can to read Canadian is my own personal challenge, so yes, it makes me happy!

Barbara: Wow, that's really pushing the envelope isn't it? How about if you spot a Canadian on a bus reading War and Peace? Can you include that, too?

Wanda: Great! If Bookgal reads and reviews a book before the 14th, you and her could each win a book.

Cheryl: And you're in. Good one to start with?

Jo-Ann: Thanks for getting the ball rolling. I've fixed the post to say Jane Dundas now. My lack of Toronto knowledge showed through I guess.

praymont said...

Thanks for the update. Lots of good links and suggestions for future reading. As for my own progress, well, every great challenge requires procrastination (which makes the ultimate conquering of the challenge all the sweeter). I've stopped procrastinating and embarked on Davies' 5th Business and Atwood's Surfacing.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with the numbers! Very inspiring! Going on holidays and guess what I'm going to be doing, aside from camping and hiking - Yep, reading, reading and more reading! Can't wait. Terrific challenge - thanks for all the support, John.

Anonymous said...

Thank you John. You have done an amazing job orgnaizing this fun and encouraging competition. Cheers.

Teddy Rose said...

Yes John I'm sure, but thanks.

Teena in Toronto said...

I just finished my third book ... whoohoo!!

I'm in Ontario, though, not Quebec.

John Mutford said...

Paul: Thanks! And I'm looking forward to your thoughts on those.

April: I'm very pleased.

Ariel: Thank-you!

Teddy: No worries.

Teena: Actually, with 2 books, that puts you in the Quebecois category. For an explanation on the use of province names (note: it's not based on the author's home province, your home or where the book is set) please refer to the 1st update.

Teena in Toronto said...

Thanks for your note, John! Now I understand :)

And so with three books read, I become a Nova Scotian ... which is where I'm originally from. Whoohoo!

Chrisbookarama said...

No problem. I have my review up now:

Bybee said...

John, Thanks for updating me...I was just on my way over here to let you know I'd finished another Canadian book this month!

Corey said...

My 4th one is up:

Anonymous said...

re: what makes a book Canadian.

I tend to go with what the author thinks. For example, I would not include William Gibson as a Canadian author, because though he has lived in Vancouver for the better part of his career (and holds dual citizenship), he still by and large self-identifies as an American author living abroad. Also, Claire Messud holds a Canadian passport (as many of have learned thanks to the recent Penguin anthology controversy), but does not identify herself as a Canadian. Carol Shields was born in the United States, and lived much of her early life there, but she clearly spoke and wrote about herself as a Canadian, therefore she would qualify.

Using other criteria can be dangerously sketchy. An article in N+1 last year identified Alice Munro as one of the masters of the American short story (presumably because she mostly publishes in the New Yorker), and Vladimir Nabokov is often identified as an American author, despite his unwillingness to think of himself as such; he only went to the US in the first place because he was fleeing the Nazi war machine. It's true he eventually got American citizenship, though he was a Russian expat in an exceptionally paranoid time for the US; it would have been dangerously stupid of him not to make a show of assimilating--and it's also true that once he made his bankroll he left the US at the first opportunity and never went back.

I think the author him or herself will always be the best touchstone for inclusion.

John Mutford said...

August: If one has access to that information, it's a good system to go by. Though, I'm currently reading a Saul Bellow book, and including it in the Challenge, even though I'm pretty sure he identified himself as American (he was born in Quebec and moved to the U.S. when he was 9). I'm just curious if there's a noticible different.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the update! I haven't begun this year's challenge as I was catching up on non-Canadian reading, but I just requested a book from my library so this weekend I should certainly find time to begin!

Anonymous said...

John, you are the glue that holds the Canadian book blog scene together! I'm so impressed with your organization, inclusion, inventiveness and of course your passion!


Teddy Rose said...

Hey John,

I received Conceit today in the mail! Thanks a ton!! The Canadian Tire money was a nice bonus. I wonder what I can get with 5 cents? LOL!

John Mutford said...

Jen: Still loads of time. The original challenge didn't even begin until October.

JK: My big ol' head is now blushing! Thanks.

Teddy: Excellent! And I'll give credit to Kathleen for the Canadian Tire money idea.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take the Spotter Challenge!

I spot Greg.

Anonymous said...

Wow, John, I don't know how you keep track of all these and do the Wednesdays challenge and all the reading you do. But I really appreciate it.

I had read Book #3 in August but I was on holidays and didn't have much access to internet. The book was Itsuka by Joy Kogawa and my review is here on BookCrossing:

For the spotter challenge, I am going to choose Jen since she says she is about to begin.

Corey said...

5th one done!

John Mutford said...

Okay, since I didn't get any takers on the first contest, but three on the spotter challenge that didn't pan out out, there are three Cheryl Kaye Tardif books as prizes for Wanda, Lara and Gypsysmom for playing along. I'll do this on a first come first serve basis. These three lucky winners should email me with their mailing addresses as well as their first, second and third choices for books out of Tardif's Whale Song, Divine Intervention and the River. jmutford At hotmail DOT com.

Kailana said...

Well, I didn't notice you were keeping track of what I read! You are doing a better job than I am because I am not really reviewing all that well... Anyway, I reviewed book number four here:

Book five is reviewed but it needs to wait its turn to be posted on my other blog.

Anonymous said...

I have another book reviewed here: I didn't like it so I am going to read another book for my Nova Scotia selection, Bob MacNeil's Burden of Desire.

Sandra said...

I hope I'm doing this in the right place. And I've joined late but I assume I can count anything read and reviewed since July 1? If so, I have reviewed Twice Born by Pauline Gedge(Alberta) here:
I've also reviewed Quintet by Douglas Arthur Brown(Nova Scotia) here:
Coventry by Helen Humphreys here:
Ex-Cottagers in Love by J. M. Kearns (Canadian protagonist and setting)here:
Mine is a free spirit list. I'm going to assume also that you don't require an advance list from us? Is there something I have to do to qualify for a book prize? I'm impressed with the number who've signed up, book challenges are new to me but I can say that reading a great deal is not. Thank you.

Sandra said...

#5 I have just posted my review of Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy here:

Sandra said...

#6 I have just read and reviewed At a Loss for Words by Diane Schoemperlen, fiction here:

I give away most of my reviewing copies by the way if it interests anyone. At least two every week. Giveaways for this one and Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy are still running:

Corey said...

6th one done -