Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Canadian Book Challenge #3- 4th Roundup

Welcome to the 4th Roundup for the Canadian Book Challenge #3.

Four months in... anyone finished yet?

As the dark cold winter comes upon us, I imagine we'll soon see a spike in the number of books read.

In the meantime, a few items to address:

1. The Canadian Blog Awards are coming up again:

You can nominate blogs up until Nov. 21. I mention this not to be nominated, but because I'm happy they've included LitBlogs this year. Last year some of you may remember that I had contacted the hosts and asked them to include a LitBlog category and then a bunch of us sent them a huge list of Canadian lit-bloggers to show that we did, in fact, exist. Looks like we made it happen, so now let's follow through with as many great nominations as we can!

2. Want to play some Canadian book trivia games? I've added a few to Sporcle that might interest you...
- Name the Margaret Atwood Novels
- Name the Robert Munsch books
- Name the Canada Reads contenders

If you feel like creating one of your own while you're there, feel free to leave a link in the comments below.

3. The Governor General Literary Awards nominations came out in October. For fiction: Deborah Willis ( Vanishing and Other Short Stories), Alice Munro (Too Much Happiness), Michael Crummey (Galore), Annabel Lyon (The Golden Mean), and Kate Pullinger (The Mistress of Nothing). Besides Munro and Crummey, the others are new to me, so I'm looking forward to checking them out.

As well, the other biggie, the Giller Prize, also announced the finalists this month: Kim Echlin (The Disappeared), Annabel Lyon (The Golden Mean), Linden MacIntyre (The Bishop's Man), Colin McAdam (Fall), and Anne Michaels (Winter Vault). Again, with the exception of MacIntyre, I'm not familiar with these authors.

What do you feel about these two awards? Do you prefer one over the other? Much has been said about the fact that Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood didn't get this far. Not having read it, I can't say one way or the other if it's being overlooked unfairly. I do think that sometimes we're so eager to give new writers a chance that we don't look at which books are actually the better books. Still, as I said above, I am looking forward to reading some of the unfamiliar authors. So it works for that, but is that really what the awards are about? And how about the judges for the Giller? There are more non-Canadian judges on the panel than Canadians (American Russell Banks, Brit Victoria Glendinning, and Canadian Alistair Macleod.) I'm not opposed to having one non-Canadian in the bunch, nor would I be opposed to judges who have immigrated from the US or the UK, but a part of me feels insulted that the organizers went this route. Anyway, enough negativity, what are your predictions?

4. Finally, the results from last month's poll indicated that more people have visited Ontario than any other province, and fewer people have visited Newfoundland and Labrador out of all the provinces, and Nunavut was the least visited of all. No real surprises, I suppose. I mean Ontario is a nice place, it's almost in the middle, it's the biggest by population, and a hell of a lot cheaper for most people to visit than Newfoundland and especially Nunavut. But trust me, they're worth the effort and money!

Finally, since this is the round-up, don't forget to add any reviews of Canadian books you read in October in the comments below. Don't forget to:

1. Leave a link to the review posts themselves (not just to your blogs or wherever)- Remember you can drop the link code in if you know how, and if not just copy and paste the url address

2. Give me your Challenge grand total so far

On that note, good luck in November and I look forward to reading your reviews!!!


John Mutford said...

My October reads were
1. Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J Harvey
2. The Nobody by Jeff Lemire
3. The Ugly Truck and Dog Contest by Cathy Jewison
4. Rhymes of the Raven Lady by pj johnson

Which brings by overall total so far to 11, making me a zamboni (vroom!)

Debbie Mutford (my wife) read three this month:
1. Runaway Devil by Robert Remington and Sherri Zickefoose
2. The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism by David Lester
3. Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire

That brings her total so far to 4, making her a fiddle (Scring-screech).

Eva said...

My October reads (and September! didn't do this last month):
1 Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint (this one was in Sept.)
2 “The Rez Sisters” by Tomson Highway
3 The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland
4 The Devil’s Picnic by Taras Grescoe
5 Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
6 The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defeede

Since I didn't join until September, that's all the books I've read, so my overall total is 6. :)

pussreboots said...

I read and reviewed Wild Wood by Charles de Lint. That brings my total up to 4.

Steve said...

My no. 5 is a novel that made a splash when it came out in 2001, Saints of Big Harbour by Lynn Coady

Nikki in Niagara said...

My October reads were:

8. A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841 by Barbara Greenwood
9. Alligator Stew: Favourite Poems by Dennis Lee
10. Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner
11. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Bringing my grand total to 11. Almost there!

Year of the Flood does not deserve to be up for any awards imho.

Kate said...

I have read 3 more, for a total of 9.

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre

The Disappeared by Kim Echlin

As you can probably tell by some of the links above, I am reading my way through the Giller Shortlist (I actually finished Fall last night, but as I haven't had a chance to review it yet, it will appear next month). A couple of the GG winners in the past were real duds (in my opinion), but in general, I have enjoyed the Giller winner. I do disagree with having an international panel this year for a Canadian prize (though I did read an article explaining that it was to avoid favouritism - apparently the Canadian literary community is too small to have a truly independent jury). And I also enjoyed The Year of the Flood (Atwood) more than any of the shortlisted books I have read so far. Just a few of my opinions!

Lahni said...

I only got one read this month. But it was a good one! I read The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. ( That brings my total up to 5.

Pooker said...

Sigh. John I continue my slothful ways. While I've read 19 books for the challenge, I've now reviewed less than half of them. I have two more for this month:

Beatrice by Monica Kidd

Natasha and other stories by David Bezmozgis

So that brings my grand total to 9 making me a dory!

John Mutford said...

Nicola: And maybe Atwood's book truly doesn't deserve an award (again, I haven't read it, so I can't weigh in), but I did hear more than one person suggest that it was good that she wasn't in the shortlist simply because she's won enough of these things and it was nice for other people to have a shot, when I disagree-- that's not the point of those 2 prizes, from my understanding (though Munro might feel otherwise).

Kate: If that's the reason behind the international jury, I say they're just not trying hard enough to find anyone. Has a Canadian litblogger, for instance, ever been asked? Or how about going outside lit circles, but staying within Canada? Get a taxi driver from Thompson, Manitoba for all I care.

Unknown said...

So with nine Canadian novels under my belt, I am now up to Dory status and probably the least tec-savy of the bookmineset gang. I still have not figured out how to create a link form my reviews. They can easily be found on my blog under Canadian Books.
September and October Reads:
Shelf Monkey - Corey Redekop
The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood (I loved the Year of the Flood and was disappointed that it was not on the Giller Shortlist especially as I had to labour through Anne Michaels Winter Vault.)
and Good to a Fault - Marina Endicott

Kerri said...

I only read one book this month, but I really enjoyed it.

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay.

This brings me to a total of 6 books read.

Gavin said...

In October I read The Book of Secrets by M. G. Vassanji. I thoroughly enjoyed it. That brings my total number of books to four.

Ariel said...

Three books for October:

8. Rebel Angels, By Robertson Davies

9. The Heart Specialist, By Claire Holden Rothman

10. Red dog, Red dog, By Patrick Lane

This would bring my total to 10 so far. Thank you.

gypsysmom said...

Hi John,

I see you have me still as a timbit. I thought I had posted two links and I have read one more in October so that should make me a cowboy boot. Yee Haw! I should mention that I do read lots of Canadian books but for this challenge I have decided to read a mystery written by a Canadian set in each province and territory.

Here are my reads to date:
For NWT The River by Cheryl Kaye Tardiff
For SK Verdict in Blood by Gail Bowen
For NB Murder Goes Mumming by Alisa Craig (a pen name for Charlotte Macleod

As for the GG and Giller prizes, I think I have found in the past that I tend to like the Giller prize winners better than the GGs (for instance, last year Boyden won for Through Black Spruce while Nino Ricci won for The Origin of the Species). I didn't know that they had more non-Canadians than Canadians this year and, yes, that does bother me somewhat. I'm actually more interested this year in the non-fiction GGs as Trevor Herriot is nominated for Grass, Sky, Song. It's a fantastic book about how the decimation of prarie grasslands has had a devastating effect on the song birds.

Melwyk said...

My October reads are:

Holding my Breath by Sidura Ludwig

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

This brings my total up to 5, so I'm a snowshoe.

I don't usually read the prize lists but like to check up on them nonetheless, and I also feel like they shouldn't have a preponderance on non-Canadians on the Giller jury. Maybe in Toronto they feel like the lit community is too small. And perhaps the jury explains the shortlisted books being nearly all set in places other than Canada.

Jacki said...

I read and reviewed two this month, meaning I can zip past the fiddles and make my home with the other snowshoes (a total of 5). Since my blog is about my dogs, all the books I'm reading for this challenge are about dogs. Woof!

Farley Mowat's The Dog who Wouldn't Be

Brad Pattison's Synergy in Training between Man and Dog

Leya said...

In total I've read 4 books for the challenge but my October reads were:

3. Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam

4. Tempting Faith DiNapoli by Lisa Gabriele

Happy reading!

Corey said...

I added two last month for five in total. Did you miss one?

Chrisbookarama said...

I read 1. My joint review with Kailana:

The Year of the Flood:

Chrisbookarama said...

Oops- that brings me up to 3.

Teddy Rose said...

I read one in October, for a total of 3 read:

Where is Gah-Ning? By Robert Munsch, Illustrated by Helene Desputeaux:

Kate said...

John - here is the article that suggested that the reason behind the international Giller jury is to maintain impartiality. Mind you, on re-reading it today, it is just one person's opinion, not the official reason given by the Giller committee. The comment comes about 1/3 of the way down the article, just below the photo.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Holy newsy blog post, John Man!

I can't add any to last month's, because somebody said the Calgary Herald does not count.

Good to see a litblog category on the Canadian Blog Awards. I shall have to get my nominating pen warmed up.

August said...

I'm way behind on my posting this year. I'm six and a half books in as far as reading goes, but so far I only have one posted review:

1. Tempest Tost, by Robertson Davies

Wanda said...

Though my 9-y.o. liked it better than I did, my one book reviewed for the challenge this time was Peggy of the Cove.

This brings my total to 4. Fine by me, I feel right at home with the fiddles though by the sounds of things (Scring-screech), Debbie and John ought to get theirs tuned! ;)

B.Kienapple said...

October 09 for A Certain Bent Appeal:
Quarter Life Crisis
Still Life With June
The Perfection of the Morning

Good month, wootwoot! I'm up to seven.

Luanne said...

Just one for me this month - bringing me up to six - I'm a little lobster pot!

I read Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk.

And the author contacted me and has offered up a signed copy for giveaway - I'll have that giveaway up somethime next week. Just catching up from being away on holidays!

Rosalynn said...

My grand total so far is 4.

In October I read Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro and In The Place of Last Things by Michael Helm.

I'd also like to mention this is my first time doing the challenge and it's so much fun!

Teena in Toronto said...

I read three Canadian books in October:

1. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay -

2. High Chicago by Howard Shrier -

3. An Ordinary Decent Criminal by Michael Van Rooy -

This brings my grand total so far to seven.

Heather said...

I managed to get one read this month

February by Lisa Moore

which brings me to 5 in total.

Kailana said...

I'm finished! I just keep forgetting to get my links organized. Must do that tonight!

Anonymous said...

Eek, I'm late... but I read & reviewed Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood this month. Which brings me to, like, three or four this year. :/

I'm slow going...

Kailana said...

1. Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
2. Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
3. Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
4. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
5. The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
6. The Outlander by Gil Adamson
7.Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint
8. Haunted by Kelley Armstrong
9. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
10. As Nature Made Him by John Colapinto
11. War Brides by Melynda Jarratt
12. The Iambics of Newfoundland by Robert Finch
13. The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys

Heather said...

Hi John, i should be wearing snowshoes now not fiddling around. Thanks for continuing this challenge. Its been fun. I have even been sent some good reads by another challenge member.

John Mutford said...

For reading and reviewing 13 books first, Kailana wins the beautiful scarf designed and created by Chris! (See "The Prizes" on the sidebar).

Teddy Rose said...

Kailana, Congrats on finishing first and winning!