Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reader's Diary #513- Cathleen With: Having Faith in the Polar Girls' Prison


The worst thing about Cathleen With's Having Faith in the Polar Girls' Prison is the title. Faith is the daughter of Trista, a teenager who has landed herself in a juvenile detention centre. Faith is a fine choice for a name, but used this way in the title is a bit too cheeky for my liking. Plus, when you read the book, you realize that With has effectively summed up her theme: hope in the unlikeliest of places. As themes go, it's a respectable one, but having it spelled out in the title seems like cheating, like not giving the reader enough credit to figure it out on his own. However, there are plenty of great books with lousy titles. Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Percy Janes' House of Hate both spring to mind.

Still, the problems with Having Faith in the Polar Girls' Prison don't end with the title. There's also the distraction of Trista's poor grammar. In one way I respect With's brave choice to write in this way: a stream of consciousness style presenting Trista's grammar as she would have thought it. Initially I questioned why With didn't go all out and spell words incorrectly as well, but once I began thinking of With as merely a transcriber of thoughts, I understood: Trista has poor grammar, With is a good speller. However, there's also a question of authenticity. It's not as brave that With chose to set her book in the fictional town of Jackfish Bay. Supposed to be about halfway between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, With has created a town in which their atrocious grammar is the least of their problems. Not only does With avoid offending Inuvik residents (where she used to live) with a poor portrayal of their town, she also avoids anyone accusing her grammar choices of being unbelievable. Almost. I'm reminded of Annie Proulx's The Shipping News in which, story merits aside, she butchered the Newfoundland dialect, unbeknownst to readers unfamiliar with the island. I've taught in 3 Northern communities now and while I've noticed differences in grammar, I've never encountered anything remotely as terrible as Trista's. Being halfway being Inuvik and Tuk, one would assume the grammar of Jackfish Bay would be similar to those two places, and if so, they surely have the worst grammar in all of Canada.

Fortunately, the distraction was short-lived for me and I was soon able to adapt to the grammar, sometimes even forgetting there were problems until I intentionally looked for them. There is something to be said for the way With used the grammar to reinforce her point about hope in unlikely places. Despite Trista's obvious trouble with the rules of the English language, she still has a way with words, often expressing beautiful insight. This is a coup for With, that she could work so well within these confines, even if they are confines she herself has set up.

But for most readers, as was the case with me, With's major coup will be to instill a sense of empathy for a character most would not suspect. Faint of heart readers should be fairwarned that it is an emotional juggernaut with descriptions of abuse of just about every kind and the ramifications. But it's not gratuitous and personally I think we need more such books. It might take twice as many lighthearted books to balance things out, but that's okay.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reader's Diary #512- Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at Oak Creek Bridge



"A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. The man's hands were behind his back, the wrists bound with a cord."

So begins Ambrose Bierce's classic American short story "An Occurrence at Oak Creek Bridge." Not that I harbour any stereotypes about Alabamans (I don't need the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd writing a song about me, thank-you very much), but I first thought that the man in question was a black man and that this would be a story about poor race relations.

This was not the case, though the man on the bridge was sympathetic to the Confederate side and was a slave owner. To be honest, that was enough to make me not care a great deal for the man. Not that I wish hanging on anyone, but had Bierce been trying to create a character that reader's would care for, I don't think he was successful. Even without the political or personal values, I don't think the man's humanity was presented in effective depth.

Nonetheless, Bierce has told an interesting story in an intriguing way. Hoping not to give too much away, it reminds me of something I remembered learning years ago in a psychology class: sometimes what we perceive to be lengthy dreams, full of twisting and turning plots, did not take that much time to conjure up. It was theorized that the whole story gets planted into our brain, like a memory, in a matter of seconds. A fun idea for an author to play with, for sure, and though there was a risk of it turning into the infamous Dallas scenario*, Bierce did not make me feel cheated.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)

* At the end of Dallas, season 8, Pam woke up and discovered that the events of season 7's finale and the entire season 8 prior was "just a dream". This scenario has been parodied by dozens of shows since, most memorably in the finale of Newhart. It's not exactly what Bierce does, but you'll have to read it for yourself.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Word Play- Dammit Jim! I'm a doctor, not a writer!


So, I'm not a doctor. Nor am I a writer. Though I have played at both. The folks featured this week actually are (or were) both. Yesterday I reviewed a book by physician/poet Robbie Newton Drummond and it made me think of all those poor doctors who have had to moonlight as poets and novelists to make ends meet. I'll give you both the title and the author's name, but you still need to tell me who it is. The catch? The authors name has been written in that ol' barely legible prescription scrawl.

As always, feel free to do all 11 at home but please only answer one in the comment a section to allow 10 more people to play along.

Yo, is there a doctor in the house?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Reader's Diary #511- Robbie Newton Drummond: Arctic Circle Songs



I've lived in the north for 7 years now. When I first moved up, I'd tell friends in the south that I lived in the Arctic. However, years later I had someone tell me that since I didn't live above the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N) I have not lived in the Arctic. While I agreed that Yellowknife (62° 27’N) does not feel like the Arctic, Rankin Inlet (62° 48’N) and Iqaluit (63° 45’N) did. Perhaps it was the romantic notion of living in the Arctic, but I was disappointed to learn of my non-existing Arctic bragging rights. Fortunately, I've since found another definition that uses the climate and treeline to define it. By those standards, while I'm now in the subarctic, I did at least live in the Arctic while in Rankin and Iqaluit. (My Oxford Canadian Dictionary supports both definitions.)

I offer this information not as a geography lesson but as an illustration of my learning experience. In the afterword of Arctic Circle Songs, Robbie Newton Drummond writes "one of the peculiar aspects I discovered about the Arctic [was] in the first month in the Mackenzie Delta, I thought I knew everything about the North. By the end of two years I realized I understood very little indeed." This has certainly been my experience as well and I appreciate that wisdom and honesty from Drummond.

One of the more substantial things I've learned, not the rather trivial definition of arctic, is that the cultures are quite different. There isn't one Northern culture, nor is there one Aboriginal culture. So, despite Drummond's after-the-fact suggestion that he understood little after his two years in Inuvik and the surrounding area, I looked forward to getting some tiny bit of insight into what life in that area of the north was like in the early 90s. I looked forward to doing the compare and contrast game against my own experiences.

Arctic Circle Songs did not disappoint. While Drummond's physician background comes through in many of the images and scenarios, his poetic side is in charge. Amongst the narrative and descriptive poems are wonderfully acute observations of cultures and cultural change, the relationship between people and nature, and of a man coming to grips and simultaneously losing grips with an Arctic he thought he had all but figured out.

Here's one of my favourites. There's a control to Drummond's poetry that I first mistook as tightness. He knows what he wants to say, but lets the poem breathe.

Snail on a Whale's Back
Out of earshot
in the near distance
a truck gears down,
squirts a foul blast
of diesel into still air,
accelerates into ice fog:
a greasy snail on the broad back
of a beached white whale.

Absurd as a rope thrown to the moon,
the Dempster Highway scratches north
from Dawson to Inuvik:
a scar down the belly of an unwed girl,
a rip through the blank page
of the Yukon
where winter pulls
a sheet over the flat face
of spruce land,
muskeg meadow, rock country,
where the ancient tracks
are Arctic hare in drifting snow,
wind prints on massive drifts,
aurora on the field of night.


--Eagle Plains, Yukon

by Robbie Newton Drummond

(Read another poem by Drummond here.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reader's Diary #510- Mat Callahan: The Trouble With Music


Last year Mariah Carey surpassed Elvis Presley in number 1 Billboard hits, making her the top selling female artist of all time. Two more and she beats the Beatles.

Based on my own experience, people's reaction to the above news follows two lines of thought:
1. who cares?
2. HA HA HA!

No one seems all that pleased, outraged, or surprised. Basically it simply proves how out of touch and stupid top 40 charts have become. It is what we've thought since the early 90s when Wilson Phillips, Timmy T, Color Me Badd, and your friend Mariah Carey had number one singles while Nirvana and Pearl Jam, both with debut albums that year, did not.

Callahan's The Trouble With Music is about music, its historical importance and the path we've taken to end up where we are today: a world filled with, in Callahan's own term, "anti-music." I figured this would be a case of preaching to the choir.

Fortunately, I was wrong. I didn't agree with all of Callahan's points. But I like to be challenged and I like to think critically, so a little dissent is fine. Once I read the back of the book, I suspected there'd be trouble. Callahan states, "Like the replacement of essential nutriment by junk food, music lovers are expected to surrender their critical faculties and consume the phony McMusic that can be more effectively controlled and profitably sold than the genuine article." You see, I like junk food. I even, on occasion, like McDonalds. I also have, amongst my Hendrix, Clash, and Decemberists mp3s, a Rihanna song. I'm the first to complain when someone asks me about my "guilty pleasures." I don't feel guilty over music. I like what I like.

I just wanted a little more moderation with Callahan's stance. Just as I'm aware of the impact the junk food industry has had on agriculture and culture, I'm aware that contrived pop music has had a negative impact on music in general. So, Callahan's point is not lost on me. The problems arise when junk food and junk music take over.

But then, from the AK Press books I've read, moderation has never been their strong point. (Neither has editing!) Things are always black and white in their world. Also not surprising is where the finger gets pointed most often: capitalism. If you're a hard-core capitalist, I'd say avoid this one. Though if you're not, or if you're on the fence, Callahan does make a convincing case.

Sometimes Callahan's points are awash in philosophical and political jargon and other times his writing style, which relies heavily on sarcastic "quotation" marks, ANGRY CAPS! and identifying Ideals (versus ideals) with a capital letter, are beyond annoying.

But, in the end, I was left optimistic. For an author that calls the current situation a "crisis," Callahan seems to suggest that those of us who know, hear or play better, might simply have to wait this out. The powers that be will eat themselves and we'll have beautiful music about it in the end.

One of the most powerful passages in the book shows world sales of recorded music* falling by 10.9% in 2003. In the same year, in Britain anyway, sales of electric and acoustic guitars,** showed a staggering increase of 46%.

(*International Federation of the Phonograph Industry, **The Guardian)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Great Wednesday Compare #4- Island of the Blue Dolphins VERSUS Bridge to Terabithia



The winner of the last Great Wednesday Compare ( Robinson Crusoe vs. Island of the Blue Dolphins), with a final score of 6-4 was Island of the Blue Dolphins.

I recently attended a writer's workshop with Hayden Trenholm and at one point he asked if anyone knew what the first English novel was. Thinking I was being all literary and impressive, I put up my hand to say it was Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. "No," Trenholm corrected, "it was Tom Jones by Henry Fielding." That hadn't been what I had come to believe, but I wasn't confident on the publication dates or any supporting evidence, so I let it go, with the promise to look into when I got home. Turns out Trenholm was wrong. Robinson Crusoe was first published in 1719, while Tom Jones wouldn't be published for another 30 years, in 1749. So was I right? Depends on who you ask and what their definition of novel is. However, at the very least, my answer is a contender in the great debate while Trenholm's is not.

Supposing Robinson Crusoe was the first English novel, does that fact alone make it superior (over Island of the Blue Dolphins, or any other novel for that matter)? Rocket 88 is often cited as the first rock and roll song. The Jazz Singer is the first "talkie" movie. With no disrespect for either of those, there have certainly been better rock songs to come along and better movies. But Robinson Crusoe surpasses those two works. It is no mere Trivial Pursuit answer. Quick show of hands: how many have heard Rocket 88? How many have watched The Jazz Singer? Now, how many have read Robinson Crusoe? The fact that it's still read by so many people today suggests something of its quality. Is it better than Island of the Blue Dolphins? According to the last Great Wednesday Compare, no. It is possible that O'Dell took Defoe's premise and wrote a better novel. Then, O'Dell had over 200 years' worth of novels to study the form. Defoe's accomplishment cannot be denied.

These time around, we keep with a YA theme.

Remember, vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (August 4th, 2009), and if you want your book to get more votes, feel free to promote them here or on your blog!

Which is better?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guest Post: Debbie Mutford's Review of The Littlest Sled Dog by Michael Kusugak, Illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka


The story of Igvillu (the littlest sled dog) introduces children to various aspects of daily life in one of Canada's arctic communities. Set in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Kusugak uses his own personal experiences of adopting a cairn terrier to highlight both traditional and modern activities (fishing on Hudson Bay, dogsledding and leashes, dog-booties). Children will easily decipher between the functional purpose of sled dogs and dogs as house pets.

The ending is quite cute when Igvillu changes her dream of becoming a sled dog to being a movie star (of course, I'm a sucker for any Wizard of Oz references).

The black sketches/prints on the text pages add insight and detail not mentioned in the story or seen in the main illustrations. I enjoy this symmetrical art as it adds a traditional flair to a more modern story.

(Debbie's 1st for the Canadian Book Challenge 3)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reader's Diary #509: William Saroyan: Seventy Thousand Assyrians


Yesterday we were visiting our friends' campsite when their Armenian neighbours showed up and offered to cook us all a traditional Armenian meal. My first thought was great! But that was quickly followed by where the hell is Armenia? Promising to research that when I got home, I feared I'd forget what country it was once they started toast after toast with straight vodka. However, it turned out to be a wonderful evening. They were truly great, warm people and the food was just amazing.

And I did manage to find out more about Armenia today, even going so far as to look for an Armenian author for Short Story Monday. William Saroyan was actually born and raised in California but as his parents were Armenian immigrants, he was usually referred to as Armenian-American. Certainly Armenian identity is a focus point of the short story I've chosen today: "Seventy Thousand Assyrians".

My head is still reeling from this story. I really hope that doesn't scare anyone off, because I do recommend reading it. You may not have as much difficulty as I. In fact, I'm sure many would even say it's an easy read and his style is undeniably engaging and unique.

However, I'm convinced that there's a conundrum here and I'm going to attempt to work it out. Hold onto your hat, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

In the very first paragraph, Saroyan writes, "I am writing a very serious story, perhaps one of the most serious I shall ever write. That is why I am being flippant." Well how can this be? Doesn't it seem contradictory? Not necessarily. Consider being in a group about to discuss a subject that is important, but one you're not willing to contribute for whatever reason. I've been stuck in these situations before and I've often managed by throwing out irrelevant one liners to ease my tension and not seriously get involved. Is this what Saroyan is saying his approach is? If so, after reading the entire story, I'd question his honesty.

Saroyan also seems to make the point that truth comes from simple statements and everyday conversations, not ones that intentionally seek to solve life's mysteries and offer profundity. This implies that there is no such thing as being profound, for if profundity cannot offer truth, it isn't profound at all. What makes it even more complex to me is that Saroyan's supposed message seems itself profound. But, by the old definition of profound, that means his message is true and therefore impossible. But then, he told us upfront he was being flippant. Flippant does not equal profound. Oh wait, does flippancy equal make simple statements? So was it or wasn't it profound? Maybe it was stupid. Or maybe I'm the stupid one and am way off the mark. How much vodka did I have anyway?

Somewhere in the mess I've created is a beautiful story about cultures and global community. Ignore me, pay more attention to Saroyan and report back here.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave your link in the comments below.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Word Play- We Have A Poet What Now?



Reading Mat Callahan's The Trouble With Music recently I came across a chapter about rappers as poets. With Cadence Weapon's recent appoinment as Edmonton's poet laureate, people might question if acceptance has hit the mainstream. But is that acceptance for hip hop as poetry? Or acceptance for poetry in general? When cbc.ca ran the story people seemed just as shocked that Edmonton had a poet laureate in the first place as they did that a rapper was chosen.

I'll tell you 5 more places with poet laureates. Can you identify who they are? To help you along, I've given you a sample of their poetry, with some letters left out. Filling in the blanks will reveal the poet.

1. St. John's, Newfoundland
"If they left it -lone, Mike said,
and someone -ot hurt, the- th-y’d be blempt for it.

I hold onto before, before our
tongue- -ere twisted -round corrected speech.

He was so grand he couldn’t say Okay,
-ike the re-t of us,
-e said Oh Kah."

(Read the entire poem here.)

2. The United States
"Her trac- is gr-celess, like dragging
A packing-case places, and almost an- slope
Defeats he- modest hopes. Even being practical,
She’s often stuck up to the axle on her wa-
To something edible. With everything optim-l,
She skirts the ditch which would co-vert
Her shell into a serving dish."

(Read the entire poem
here.)

3. Toronto, Ontario
"It was shady deals and
Connie Francis on the jukebox
juni-ers and chevy convert-bl-s
pa-ked outside Dino's restaurant;
it was bri-hter sk-es, manageable
skyscrapers, gang-fights and Kennedy;
it was gambling at Atlantic City with
the F-u- Seasons, it was crabs and
Johnny Unitas and Connie Arena who
teased my heart throu-h ten school
years, her father pract-cing race-track
c-rnet every-ay dr-ving us nuts on
su-h bored summers of tee-shirts
with -igarette packs at the sleeve and
Beachb-ys and weights."

(Read the rest
here.)

4. Saskatchewan
"Six in the mo-ning
and dark -utside
Wind already -lowing
as I driv- you to the ai-por-
In pla-es snow
b-ilding again whe-e a blade
has channeled out the -oad
Open spots and ground dr-ft
pulling th- car toward the ditch"

(Read the rest
here.)

5. The U.K.
"I had grieved. I had wept for a night and a day
over my loss, ripped the -loth I was m--ried in
fr-m my breasts, how-ed, shrieked, cl-wed
at the burial sto-es u-til my han-s bled, retched
his name over and over again, dead, dead.

Gone home. G-tted the place. Slept in a single cot,
widow, one empty glove, white -emur
in the dust, hal-. Stuffed dark suits
into black bags, shuffled in a dead man's shoes,
noosed the double knot of a tie around m- bare neck,

gaunt nun in the mirror, touching herself."


(Read the rest here.)

Does your town/city or country have a poet laureate? Do you know who it is?

Friday, July 17, 2009

But first, here's a little poem...



I really enjoy it when writers introduce their book or better yet, each chapter, with a quote or a poem. I just came across this one from Shakespeare in Mat Callahan's The Trouble With Music:

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact...
The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven:
And as imagination bodies forth,
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

from
A Midsummer Night's Dream

Come across any in your latest reads?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reader's Diary #508- Mark Stamaty: Who Needs Donuts?

I had to make sure the cover was as big as I could possibly make it, just so you'd have some idea of the intricate pictures found in Mark Stamaty's brilliant Who Needs Donuts? Even at this size, I fear you'll miss some of the humour, eccentricity and wit. But to help you out, the billboard next to the title is advertising "String Bean Cola," that's a small tree growing out of a pipe, and one of the rare books for sale is titled 499 Ways To Simplify Your Life.

Oh how I love this book. I first got this from the library for my kids back in the winter. It was with great reluctance that I returned it on the due date. It's been checked out ever since but finally, I've managed to get my hands on it again. And this time when I need to return it, I'll be buying a copy of my own.

Who Needs Donuts? is the story of a boy named Sam who runs away to the big city in search of the ultimate supply of donuts. Upon his arrival he befriends a fellow donut collector, the zany, paisley-clad Mr. Bikferd. (My wife has some issues with this part, especially as Mr. Bikferd invites Sam back to his darkened warehouse. However, I think a simple, "in real life, you should never go with a stranger" message suffices when reading it to kids). As the two set off across the city to gather as many donuts as they can, the only one to question their actions is a Sad Old Lady who asks, "Who needs donuts when you've got love?" Predictably, the question becomes relevant as Mr. Bikferd falls in love with a pretzel lady and abandons Sam and the mission. However, Sam is kept busy as he finds himself rescuing the Sad Old Lady from a coffee flood. Finally, having his fill of adventure, Sam too gives up on donuts and returns home.

The story is fun enough but the real delight with this book is the artwork. I've read the book over a dozen times now and I still find new puns, interesting characters, and visual gags. Anyone who enjoys sitting in the heart of a busy city and simply taking in the wild sights and sounds will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it to everyone, even if you don't have kids!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reader's Diary #507- Bolesław Prus: A Legend of Old England (translated by Christopher Kasparek)



If you look up "short story" in Wikipedia, you'll no doubt see a lot of short story writers that are familiar. Most of those mentioned I've at least heard of, if not having read a story or two by them. However Bolesław Prus was new to me.

Prus was a Polish writer of the 19th century and is most notable for his novels The Doll and Pharaoh, the latter of which expanded on one of his earlier short stories, "The Legend of Old Egypt."

I'm glad Prus revisited his work, and I hope the novel made up for the problem of his short story.

"The Legend of Old Egypt" is well written in many ways: it is wonderfully paced, there's a clever use of repetition, and it has a great parable feel to it. Though it is flawed, and I would say fundamentally so. Beginning with the adage, "Behold, how vain are human hopes before the order of the world; behold, how vain they are before the decrees that have been written in fiery signs upon the heavens by the Eternal!..." it strips the story of any suspense right from the get go. If the reader doesn't see the ending coming a mile away, Prus hands him binoculars. The warning is repeated several times throughout the story and once again the end, for good measure. If I was to write, "A stitch in time saves nine" at the beginning of a story it wouldn't be all the surprising if my protagonist learned a valuable lesson about preparedness, would it? Not that Prus needed to write a short story with a twist at the end, but he did try to build the tension. Alas, by telling us the moral at the beginning, his efforts were in vain.

It is, however, interesting to read how the story was inspired by contemporary events in Germany.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave your link in the comments below!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

3rd Canadian Book Challenge- Prize update

Check out the awesome new prize donated by HarperCollins. As well, a Nova Scotian selection has been found for the Bannock Baker's Dozen prize pack. Click here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Great Wednesday Compare #4- Robinson Crusoe VERSUS Island of the Blue Dolphins



The winner of the last Great Wednesday Compare ( One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest vs. Robinson Crusoe), with a final score of 5-1 was Robinson Crusoe.

You know, I might never make it around to actually reading One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. While I know books are usually far superior to their movie counterparts, I'm still less likely to read the book when I've seen the movie. I'd almost say that I don't have an interest in a story I'm already familiar with, but I will watch a movie of a book that I've read, so that theory doesn't hold up. Maybe it's having the actors stuck in my head that I don't like. Or maybe it's the time commitment a novel takes-- I mean, if I already know the plot, am I going to spend a week or more rehashing it? At least with a movie, you have about an hour and a half to see how well or poorly it was adapted, then you move on. I did enjoy the One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest movie, though. And I didn't know until Remi pointed it out that Kesey's book is told from the perspective of Chief, the believed-to-be deaf and mute Native man. That's intriguing enough to put it back on the ol' tbr pile. Maybe once I hit 80 and have read everything else, I'll pick it up.

This week it's Gilligan's Island vs Lost vs Swiss Family Robinson vs Survivor vs... okay, so none of those, but close enough.

Remember, vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (July 21st, 2009), and if you want your book to get more votes, feel free to promote them here or on your blog!

Which is better?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Reader's Diary #506- Carson McCullers: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter


It's taken me just about forever to finish this book. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, it's just that life kept getting in the way.

I can see why this has become a classic. And to think that carson McCullers wrote it 23. I spent the entire book just gobsmacked that a 23 year old could write such a thing. It's a gorgeous piece of writing.

However, early into the book it occurred to me that the story might be a metaphor and I became, admittedly, way too fixated with that for the remainder of the book. I began to see John Singer's deaf mute character as representative of a reader and those that came to talk to him as representative of writers. Something about the one way communication that both parties seemed to find therapeutic made me think of the writer/reader relationship. Of course, as anyone who's read The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter knows, there are many details that cannot be worked into such a simple interpretation. But, if the novel wasn't controlled by a metaphor, I certainly was.

About the only thing I didn't like about the whole book was the title, which I found a little cheesy and not all that relevant or reflective. According to Wikipedia, it was an editor's suggestion. I bet McCullers could have come up with something better.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Reader's Diary #505- David Sedaris: It's Catching

"It's Catching" is the first story in David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed In Flames, which was a Father's Day present from my son. It's also found here at The New Yorker.

You may have noticed that I've reviewed a lot of New Yorker stories lately. It might be somewhat surprising to learn I've never actually held a New Yorker magazine. Long before I discovered their online offerings, I'd assumed it to be snooty (that's elitist, to the snooty). I don't know, maybe it's the top-hatted turtle-necked mascot squinting through a monocle that gave me that impression. I'd just about decided that guy was tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation, but wait...

Along comes my first Sedaris story. Hmmm. This is a tough call. On the one hand, there is a hint of mocking the yuppie set, but there's also a hint of pride in being ridiculously out of touch. Is Sedaris trying to make snobbery campy? If so, I'm not sure I'm in. Leg-lamps and velvet Elvis paintings might be fun, thinly disguised superiority not so much.

I just hope that New Yorker mascot isn't Sedaris himself.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments.)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Saturday Word Play- Ordering The Order of Canada


Please note: In an effort to reclaim my life, some of my regular weekly features are going to be scaled back for the summer, perhaps indefinitely. Short Story Monday, Poetry Friday and Saturday Word Play will not necessarily happen on a weekly basis and will only appear when I'm able to do so. I cannot be cramming in poetry books and short stories last minute-- it's sucking the fun out and it has become more work than pleasure. As for Saturday Word Play, when an idea for a word game strikes me, I'll prepare one, but again, I won't be forcing it. The Great Wednesday Compare will move from a weekly to biweekly basis. I hope you understand and continue to check in...

This week Jay Ingram was made a member of the Order of Canada. Since the Northwords Writers Festival, I see Jay as an author, not just "that science guy on TV." It made me question what other authors have been given the Order of Canada.

I'll tell you ten such authors, but I'll scramble the words in the titles of some of their books. Can you put them in order?

For instance, if I gave you

"Jay Ingram- Life Of Everyday Science, Cool Planet Daily Book of Ideas"

you could tell me that two of his book titles are Science of Everyday Life and Daily Planet Book of Cool Ideas.

Remember: Feel free to answer all 10 at home, but only answer one in the comment section, to allow 9 more people to play along.

1. M.G. Vassanji- Secrets of the Book, In-Between the World of Lall Vikram

2. Tomson Highway- The Sisters Rez, Kapuskasing Oughta Move Lips To Dry

3. Bernice Thurman Hunter- Booky That Scatterbrain, Her Way on Margaret

4. Harold Horwood- Beachy of the Cove Foxes, Eskimo White

5. Jack Hodgins- Grounds Broken, Bourne of the Joseph Resurrection

6. Lynn Johnston- Worse For or Better For, We're Pregnant David

7. Wayson Choy- The Peony Jade, Chinatown Shadows: A Paper Childhood

8. Leon Rooke- Dog Shakespeare's, Gravity of the Fall

9. Sinclair Ross- For As My House and Me, Memorial Sawbones

10. Ted Harrison- Yukon of the Children, Raven The Blue

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Canadian Book Challenge 3- The Prizes!

Here are just some of the prizes that will be up for grabs to people participating in the 3rd Canadian Book Challenge**. Please note that this post may be revised
from time to time as new prizes come up; so keep checking in! If you still haven't joined, follow the instructions in the sidebar.

1. The Bannock Baker's Dozen


The participant who reads the most books and leaves links for reviews up to and including July 1st, 2010, will receive a book* from each province and territory:
I. Newfoundland and Labrador- Death on the Ice by Cassie Brown
II. Prince Edward Island- The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate Macdonald and illustrated by Barbara Di Lella
III. Nova Scotia- Where White Horses Gallop by Beatrice MacNeil
IV. New Brunswick- Inter Alia by David Seymour
V. Quebec- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler
VI. Ontario- Fifteen Days by Christie Blatchford
VII. Manitoba- The Retreat by David Bergen
VIII. Saskatchewan- The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe
IX. Alberta- Ruby Tuesday by Mike Harrison (generously donated by Johnna Abdou)
X. British Columbia- Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor
XI. Yukon- Jack London's Dog by Dirk Wales and illustrated by Barry Moser
XII. Northwest Territories- White Bird Black Bird by Val Wake (generously donated and autographed by the author)
XIII. Nunavut- James Houston's Treasury of Inuit Legends

*Unless donated, these books are used but in great condition!

2. How Do I Love Poetry Prize


Generously donated by Brick Books, the person who reads the most poetry and leaves links for reviews up to and including July 1st, 2010 will receive:
I. one of my personal favourites, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs
II. Hooked by Carolyn Smart
III. Love Outlandish by Barry Dempster

3. The Olympians!

For the participant who's read the most books by midnight February 28, 2010 (the last day of the Vancouver Olympics) and leaves links for reviews, comes a prize pack generously donated by Random House that highlights British Columbian authors and/or settings:
I. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Alan Bradley
II. Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema
III. Border Songs by Jim Lynch
IV. Red Dog, Red Dog by Patrick Lane

As well, 3 runners up will receive Border Songs.

4. First Out Of The Gate

On August 1st, 2009 the very person to visit the 1st update post and leave a link to a reviewed book for the Canadian Book Challenge will receive Phantom Limb by Theresa Kishkan.

5. Fastest Tour Ever

The very first person to reach 13 books (and leave me links to all reviews), will receive this beautiful scarf designed and knit by Canadian Book Challenge participant Chris. If you start now you might just get it before the cold weather sets in!

6. The Long and The Short Of It

Generously donated by HarperCollins, the person who reads the most short story collections, by single or multiple authors (but all must be Canadian), up to and including July 1st, 2010, will receive copies of the following:
I. Natasha and Other Stories by David Bezmozgis
II. Leaning, Leaning Over Water by Francis Itani
III. We So Seldom Look On Love by Barbara Gowdy
IV. A Hard Witching by Jacqueline Baker
V. Forms of Devotion by Diane Schoemperlen

Most of these are from the HarperCollins "Summer Is Short" promotion. Check it out!

(**In the event of a tie for these prizes, a random winner will be drawn.)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Canadian Book Challenge 3 - On your marks, get set, go eh!



From Canada Day to Canada Day, can you read and review at least 13 Canadian books?

Starting July 1st, 2009 and ending July 1st, 2010, I challenge Canadians and non-Canadians to read 13 or more Canadian books. Pick fiction, pick nonfiction, pick poetry, graphic novels, picture books, plays, etc-- if it's Canadian and if it's a book, it's in. What makes a book Canadian? Let's ask Doug Webster:

"A Canadian book is defined as a book written by Canadians and/or about Canadians."

What makes a Canadian?

"Canadian refers to someone born in or immigrated to Canada."

But you know, Doug Webster isn't related to that other Webster. He's just some guy from Scarborough. Besides, this is your challenge. You decide which books make the cut and which ones don't.

Okay, so you know you have to read Canadian, but which ones? It's entirely up to you. I can think of at least four Canadian authors, so you have a little choice. No, no, no, there are so many possibilities, this should be the fun part. Pick authors and books at random or theme your challenge should you be so inclined. I like to pick at least one book from each province and territory (it's where the magic number 13 came from), but some themes from other participants in the past have included a single author approach (ex. just Lucy Maud Montgomery or Robert Munsch books), a single province approach (ex. British Columbia or Quebec), a single gender (ex. wait, do you need an example for this, really?), and an ABM approach (i.e., just autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs). Of course, you could decide on an entirely different theme, or no theme at all. You do not have to decide ahead of time what books to read, but do so if it helps.

For those participants who have been here before, there will be some small changes. I know I promised major changes, but after formatting issues, I decided against an entirely separate Canadian Book Challenge blog. The biggest change you will notice is with the monthly updates. I cannot provide links to all the reviews this time around. As much as I enjoyed compiling all of the links in the past, it was getting way too time consuming for me, especially as we neared the 1000 mark. But I know the monthly updates were a highlight and I don't want to scrap them entirely so here's what we're going to do:

After each book you read, you review it online as always, whether it be on your blog, Chapters or Amazon, BookCrossing, or wherever. But, instead of emailing me to say you've reviewed it, simply go to my blog at the beginning of each month and leave a comment that includes your last month's links AND the number of books you've read for the challenge so far. Don't worry about forgetting to visit each month, if I have your email I'll send out reminders the day before, and if you still forget, just add them the following month.

Another small change involves the prizes. While I will still be offering prizes, there will be less of an emphasis on them and they won't come monthly. Instead, I'll be rewarding people for certain feats: the first to make it to 13, the one who reads the most poetry, and so on. See the "Canadian Book Challenge Prizes" post.

Optional: Once you've finished each book, consider trading it in for another Canadian book. For more details, go to the Trading Post.

If you wish to join The Canadian Book Challenge 3, email me (jmutford [at] hotmail {dot} com) with the subject header "Sign me up, please!" and let me know where you reside on the internet (your blog page, your Chapters profile page, your BookCrossing profile, etc).

Let's explore, celebrate and promote Canadian books!

Happy Canada Day!!!

The 3rd Canadian Book Challenge begins today! Look for the inaugural post later this evening. It would have been up already but internet difficulties have slowed me down...

The 2nd Canadian Book Challenge- Grand Finale!



It's been one glorious year, with loads of amazing Canadian books being celebrated. Can you believe this year's total? 1137 reviews. My initial goal was to just beat the first year total of 415 reviews. Once that goal was crushed early on, I thought it would be nice to double it. When that happened earlier this spring I started to think of how cool it would be to break 1000. Well, here we are and that number was shattered. I am ecstatic!

And what a huge group of people finishing just in time! Congrats for finishing the Canadian Book Challenge last month goes goes out to Geranium Cat, Mary Ellen, Ripley, Nathan, Melanie, Kaitlin, 3M, Diabhan, April, Jazz, Claire H, Chris, Gautami, Teddy Rose, Claire, Bybee and Becky. Geranium Cat was actually done reading a while ago but held off with her final reviews since she was less than impressed with her final two. Mary Ellen brings us a handful of new reviews, including a review of a poetry book by Afua Cooper. Ripley brings in a bunch of new reviews, not the least of which is one of my new friend Richard Van Camp's book of short stories. Melanie finishes with a collection of short stories from Jessica Grant (you know, the one getting all the attention for her novel, Come, Thou Tortoise). Nathan finishes off with a review of The Gargoyle, making me the last Canadian alive not to have read it. Kaitlin pulls in with a Toews book and more Lucy Maud Montgomery books. I'm forever astounded by Montgomery's legacy. 3M finishes with Skim. Have I mentioned how pleased I am with the graphic novel coverage of this challenge? Daibhan rounds out her choices with a Nick Bantock trilogy. Bantock was one of those authors I'd not heard of until the book challenge started, but more than a few people reviewed him and now I'm intrigued. April puts the finishing touches on with a story set in my home: Late Nights On Air. Jazz, most surprisingly just joined us this past month, but still managed to bring 13 books and reviews to us, pleasantly representing YA authors in the process. Claire finishes with a review of Anosh Irani's debut novel. Chris finishes off with a Newfoundland book that also shares its title with a beer. Gautami rounds things off with a Vicki Delaney book and her 2nd Carol Shields book. Teddy, after taking a suggestion from Nicola, added picture books to her Canadian reading list and reached 16 books this months. Have I mentioned yet how pleased I am that children's writers were so well represented this time around? Claire wraps things up with 3 books, including one of my personal favourites, Steve Zipp's Yellowknife. Bybee has learned how much of a Robertson Davies fan she is with most of her final choices. Becky finishes her single author approach with five more Lucy Maud Montgomery books. Great job everyone!

Some highlights this month include:
- A review of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's new book (I wonder if it was inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
- A review of an Andrew Kaufman book (that's Andrew, not Andy)
- A new arctic book and first time novel for Cathleen With
- A review of Mark Leslie's One Hand Screaming. Mark is a Canadian Book Challenge participant and his book was a prize a few month's back.
- A thought-provoking post about what it means to be entertained while reading using Carol Shields' Unless to make a point
- A book by CBC radio's Jonathan Goldstein

Some authors new to me this month include Christian Cameron, Catherine Jenkins, Judith James, Gord Rollo, Emily St. John Mandel, David Carpentier, James Heneghan, Pamela Porter and Maggie Wheeler.

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful reviews. Keep those conversations happening!

Nunavummiut (13 Books...or more!)

GeraniumCat
- Dead Cold by Louise Penny*
- A Boy of Good Breeding by Miriam Toews*
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Anne of Windy Willows by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Unless by Carol Shields*
- Once Upon a Time: Myth, Fairy Tales and Legends in Margaret Atwood's Writings edited by Sarah A. Appleton
- Still Life by Louise Penny

Mary Ellen
- Copper Woman by Afua Cooper*
- Chester by Melanie Watt*
- Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt*
- Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt*
- Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje*
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood*
- Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
- Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Welcome To The Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother by Meg Federico
- The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
- Apologize, Apologize by Elizabeth Kelly
- Not Guilty by Debbie Travis
- Still Life by Louise Penny
- The Impact of a Single Event by R. L. Prendergast
- The Whirlpool by Jane Urquhart
- Margarita Nights by Phyliss Smallman

Ripley
- Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland*
- The Boy Must Die by Jon Redfern*
- No Such Creature by Giles Blunt*
- The Colour of Lightning by Paulette Jiles*
- Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy*
- Advice For Italian Boys by Anne Giardini*
- No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay*
- Step Closer by Tessa McWatt*
- Megiddo's Shadow by Arthur Slade*
- Amuse Bouche by Anthony Bidulka*
- One Hand Screaming by Mark Leslie*
- Angel Wing Splash Pattern by Richard Van Camp*
- Snitch by Allison van Diepen*
- Wicked Woods: Ghost Stories From Old New Brunswick by Steve vernon*
- The Slow Fix by Ivan E. Coyote
- Scarlet Rose by Julia Madeleine
- Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen
- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- The Line Painter by Claire Cameron
- Indigenous Beasts by Nathan Sellyn

Nathan
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- Scaredy Squirrel in the Dark by Melanie Watt*
- The Book of Stanley by Todd Babiak*
- The As It Happens Files by Mary Lou Finlay*
- Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant*
- The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong*
- A Simple Wedding by Lynn Johnston*
- Otherwise by Farley Mowat
- Bookweird by Paul Glennon
- Belle Moral by Ann-Marie MacDonald
- The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
- A Secret Between Us by Daniel Poliquin
-The Wars by Timothy Findley

Melanie
- Making Light of Tragedy by Jessica Grant*
- Coming Attractions '08 edited by Mark Antony Jarman*
- Come, Thou Tortoise Jessica Grant*
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson*
- Birth of a Bookworm by Michel Tremblay*
- A Thousand Shades of Blue by Robin Stevenson*
- Heave by Christy Ann Conlin
- The Hatbox Letters by Beth Powning
- Plainsong by Nancy Huston
- The Valley by Gayle Friesan
- Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner
- the Retreat by David Bergen
- Blasted by Kate Story
- The Brutal Heart by Gail Bowen
- Prarie Bridesmaid by Daria Salamon
- Saltsea by David Helwig

Kaitlin
- Emily Climbs by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Emily's Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews*
- Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Unless by Carol Shields*
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel*
- Baroque-A-Nova by Kevin Chong
- The Case of Lena S by David Bergen
- In The Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje
- The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro
- A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay
- The Concubine's Children by Denise Chong
- The Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson
- Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema

3M
- Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki*
- The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley*
- Yarrow by Charles de Lint*
- Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks*
- The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson*
- Natasha and Other Stories by David Bezmozgis
- The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
- Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks
- A Certain Mr. Takahashi by Ann Ireland
- Anne of The Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
- Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Daibhin
- Morning Star by Nick Bantock*
- Alexandria by Nick Bantock*
- The Gryphon by Nick Bantock*
- Canoe Lake by Roy MacGregor*
- Hippolyte's Island: An Illustrated Novel by Barbara Hodgson*
- Vinyl Cafe Unplugged by Stuart McLean*
- Vinyl Cafe Diaries by Stuart McLean*
- Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood*
- Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen
- Summer Gone by David MacFarlane
- Island by Alistair MacLeod
- The Ladies' Lending Library by Janice Kulyk Keefer
- Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

April
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay*
- Coventry by Helen Humphreys*
- Summer of My Amazing Luck by Miriam Toews
- Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
- The Time In Between by David Bergen
- Can You Hear The Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami
- Simple Recipes by Madeleine Thien
- The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
- The Art of Salvage by Leona Theis
- Crows: Encounters With The Wise Guys of the Avian World by Candace Savage
- The Order of Good Cheer by Bill Gaston
- The Birth House by Ami McKay
- The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

Jazz
- The Bully Boys by Eric Walters*
- Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby*
- Nothing To Lose by Norah McClintock*
- You Can Run by Norah McClintock*
- Voyageur by Eric Walters*
- Tweaked by Katherine Holubitsky*
- Out of the Cold by Norah McClintock*
- Dooley Takes The Fall by Norah McClintock*
- Gotcha! by Shelley Hrdlitschka*
- The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane by Polly Horvath*
- After River by Donna Milner*
- Frost by Nicole Luiken Humphrey*
- Payback by James Heneghan*

Claire H
- The Cripple and His Talisman by Anosh Irani*
- Tyrant Storm of Arrows by Christian Cameron*
- Blood Sports by Eden Robinson*
- Spook Country by William Gibson*
- Last Stop Sunnyside by Pat Capponi
- Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson
- Nine Planets by Edward Riche
- Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
- Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
- Ten Thousand Lovers by Ravel Edeet
- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Song of the Paddle by Bill Mason

Chris
- 1892 by Paul Butler*
- Ecoholic by Adria Vasil*
- Look at Me by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Mmm, Cookies! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Boo! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw*
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
- Getting Over Edgar by Joan Barfoot
- Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Negotiating With The Dead by Margaret Atwood
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
- Loyalists and Layabouts by Stephen Kimber

Claire
- Larry's Party by Carol Shields*
- Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel*
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp*
- De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage
- Dragonflies by Grant Buday
- It's A Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- Away by Jane Urquhart
- Ex-Cottagers In Love by J.M. Kearns
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Red Dog Red Dog by Patrick Lane
- Barnacle Love by Anthony de Sa
- Stunt by Claudia Dey

Becky
- Emily Climbs by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Emily's Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Tangled Web by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery*
- Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of Avonleaby Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of Windy Poplars by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Bybee
- Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies*
- Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland*
- The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies*
- The Manticore by Robertson Davies*
- World of Wonders by Robertson Davies*
- Larry's Party by Carol Shields
- Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- JPod by Douglas Coupland
- Anne of The Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Unless by Carol Shields
- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

Teddy
- Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sami Suomalainen*
- A Promise Is A Promise by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak and illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka*
- It's Raining, It's Pouring by Andrea Spalding and illustrated by Leslie Elizabeth Watts*
- Show and Tell by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko*
- Mister Got To Go and Arnie by Lois Simmie and illustrated by Cynthia Nugent*
- Gordon Loggins and The Three Bears by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Tracy Walker*
- Pigsby Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Mary of Mile 18 by Ann Blades
- Bamboo by Paul Yee and illustrated by Shaoli Wang
- Amos's Sweater by janet Lunn and illustrated by Kim LaFave
- Finklehopper Frog Cheers by Irene Livingston and illustrated by Brian Lies
- The Party by Barbara Reid
- Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Look for Me by Edeet Ravel
- Horseman's Grave by Jacqueline Baker

Gautami
- In The Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany*
- The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields*
- The Horseman's Graves by Jacqueline Baker
- the nine planets by Edward Riche
- Six Seconds by Rick Mofina
- The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
- The Murder Stone by Louise Penny
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- Larry's Party by Carol Shields
- The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
- Sir Cook, The Knight? by Erik Mortensen
- Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop
- The Time In Between by David Bergen

Ariel
- The Assassin's Song by M.G. Vassanji
- Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner and translated by Lazer Lederhendler
- The Tent by Margaret Atwood
- An Accidental Canadian: Reflections on My Home and (Not) Native Land by Margaret Wente
- The Meaning of Puck: How Hockey Explains Modern Canada by Bruce Dowbiggin
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- What We All Long For by Dionne Brand
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx
- The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
- At A Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlin
- The End of East by Jen Sookfong Lee

Gypsysmom
- Sacrament by Peter Gzowski
- Peace Shall Destroy Many by Rudy Wiebe
- Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
- A Carra King by John Brady
- The Difference Engine by William Gibson
- Murder in Montparnasse by Howard Engel
- The Lyre of Orpheus> by Robertson Davies
- The New Ancestors by Dave Godfrey
- Murther and Walking Spirits by Robertson Davies
- Itsuka by Joy Kogowa
- Since Daisy Creek by W. O. Mitchell
- Prospero's Daughter by Constance Beresford-Howe

Lynda
- Downhill Chance by Donna Morrissey
- City of Ice by John Farrow
- Ice Lake by John Farrow
- A Gentlewoman of Upper Canada by Anne Langton
- Vinyl Cafe Unplugged by Stuart McLean
- Black Fly Season by Giles Blunt
- Deafening by Francis Itani
- Sugarmilk Falls by Ilona Van Mil
- From Ink Lake: Canadian Stories Collected by Michael Ondaatje
- Life by Drowning: Selected Poems by Jeni Couzyn
- Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
- New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English editted by Margaret Atwood and Robert Weaver
- The Birth House by Ami McKay

Remi
- Spent by Joe Matt*
- Heaven Is Small by Emily Schultz*
- Poor Bastard by Joe Matt
- Overqualified by Joe Comeau
- Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig
- Not Yet by Wayson Choy
- Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
- Important Artifacts and Personal Property From The Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewellery by Leanne Shapton
- Selected Poems by Alden Nowlan
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- 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

Heather
- Bitten by Kelley Armstrong*
- Broken Wing by Judith James*
- Once Upon a Time by Barbara Fradkin
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Do or Die by Barbara Fradkin
- Little Voice by Ruby Slipperjack
- Helpless by Barbara Gowdy
- Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge
- Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
- White Jade Tiger by Julie Lawson
- Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy
- Origin of Species by Nino Ricci
- The Brat by Lynsay Sands
- The Inuit Thought Of It by Alootook Ipellie
- Two Trails Narrow by Stephen McGregor
- The Manitous: The Spiritual World of The Ojibway by Basil Johnston
- April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton
- Furious Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway by Drew Hayden Taylor
- Devil In Deerskins: My Life With Grey Owl by Anahereo
- The Curse of the Shaman by Michael Kusugak
- The Man Who Ran Faster Than Everyone: The Story of Tom Longboat by Jack Batten
- One Native Life by Richard Wagamese
- All My Relations: An Anthology of Contemporary Canadian Native Fiction editted by Thomas King
- Medicine River by Thomas King
- Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

Corey
- Overqualified by Joey Comeau
- Coventry by Helen Humphries
- The Town That Forgot How To Breathe by Kenneth J. Harvey
- Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey
- Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- Brother Dumb by Sky Gilbert
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- Entitlement by Jonathan Bennett
- Cockroach by Rawi Hage
- Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by John McFetridge
- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- The Order of Good Cheer by Bill Gaston

Mark
- POW! Right Between The Eyes: Profiting From The Power of Surprise by Andy Nulman*
- Crimson by Gord Rollo*
- Beneath The Surface by Simon Stanztas*
- Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff*
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Frozen Blood by Joel A. Sutherland
- Me Minus 173 by Alicia Snell
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- Cricket In A Fist by Naomi K. Lewis
- Wolf Pack by Edo van Belkom
- Lone Wolf by Edo van Belkom
- Cry Wolf by Edo van Belkom
- Wolf Man by Edo van Belkom
- In Tongues of the Dead by Brad Kelln
- Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
- Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott
- Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay

Barefootheart
- Gold Digger by Vicky Delany*
- Only In Canada, You Say by Katherine Barber*
- Early Ontario Gravestones by Carole Hanks*
- A Violent End by Maggie Wheeler*
- An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark*
- Red Fox by Charles G.D. Roberts
- Streets of Riches by Gabrielle Roy
- Front Yard Gardens: Growing More Than Grass by Liz Primeau
- The Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen
- Apples Don't Just Grow by Maida Parlow French
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
- Margarita Nights by Phyllis Smallman
- The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe
- Your Loving Anna by Louis Tivy
- Beaver Tales by Audrey Tournay
- Beavers Eh to Bea by Lil Anderson
- The War at Home: An Intimate Portrait of Canada's Poor by Pat Caponi
- Last Stop Sunnyside by Pat Caponi
- The Corpse Will Keep by Pat Caponi
- Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
- The Courtship by Budge Wilson
- A Fool and Forty Acres by Geoff Heinricks
- Rooms For Rent In The Outer Planets: Selected Poems 1962-1996 by Al Purdy
- Ragged Islands by Don Hannah

Splummer
- Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
- Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel
- Detective by Arthur Hailey
- Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
- Someone Else's Ghost by Margaret Buffie
- Spook Country by William Gibson
- Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy
- The Dark Garden by Margaret Buffie
- By The Time You Read This by Giles Blunt
- Golden Girl and Other Stories by Gillian Chan
- A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
- The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton
- The Ideal Wife by Mary Balogh

HistoriaABM
- Free Rider by John Lawrence Reynolds*
- Drifting Home by Pierre Berton
- Serendipity Road by Catherine DeVrye
- Starting Out In The Afternoon by Jill Frayne
- Straight From The Heart by Jean Chretien
- Gifted to Learn by Gloria Mehlmann
- Daring to Dream by Diane Dupuy
- Thumbs Up by Elizabeth Manley
- The Storyteller by Anna Porter
- Hope & Despair by Monia Mazigh, translated by Patricia Claxton and Fred Reed
- Mila by Sally Armstrong
- Flight of the Dragonfly by Melissa Hawach
- Time and Chance by Kim Campbell
- The Fight of My Life by Maude Barlow
- Farley: The Life of Farley Mowat by James King

John
- The Little Man: Short Strips 1980-1995 by Chester Brown*
- The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat*
- Field Marks by Don McKay*
- Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy*
- The Ghost of the Yellowknife Inn by Colin Alexander
- Children of the Yukon by Ted Harrison
- Speaking of Power by Di Brandt
- The Terror by Dan Simmons
- Heroes of Isle aux Morts by Alice Walsh and illustrated by Geoff Butler
- Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
- Songs Of The Great Land edited by John Robert Colombo
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler
- Mother Raven Nursery Rhymes by Peter Redvers and illustrated by Don Harney
- What Became of Sigvald, Anyway? by Mark Fremmerlid
- I thought elvis was italian by Domenico Capilongo
- Tom Three Persons by Yvonne Trainer
- Louis Riel: A Comic Biography by Chester Brown
- Fifteen Days by Christie Blatchford
- Grandmother by Elaine Woodward
- It's A Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth
- Visiting Hours by Shane Koyczan
- House of The Wooden Santas by Kevin Major and carvings by Imelda George
- Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa
- To The Top Canada by Chris Robertson
- Wolf Tree by Alison Calder
- Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs
- Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets edited by Zachariah Wells
- Weathers by Douglas Lochhead
- Hand To Hand by Nadine McInnis
- The Retreat by David Bergen
- Big Rig 2 b Don McTavish
- The Clockmaker by Thomas Chandler Haliburton
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
- Beatitudes by Herménégilde Chiasson
- The Anachronicles by George McWhirter
- King Leary by Paul Quarrington
- The Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton
- Beneath The Naked Sun by Connie Fife
- A Theft by Saul Bellow
- Arctic Migrants/ Arctic Villagers by David Damas
- White Eskimo by Harold Horwood

Raidergirl
- Remembering The Bones by Frances Itani
- No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay
- High Spirits by Robertson Davies
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
- Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot
- The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
- The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
- Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
- Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
- The Birth House by Ami McKay

Jo
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
- Rotten Apple by Rebecca Eckler
- The Retreat by David Bergen
- Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
- Watching July by Christine Hart
- The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- The Game by Teresa Toten

Framed
- Waiting For Gertrude by Bill Richardson
- The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
- Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
- Dragonflies and Dinosaurs by Kate Austin
- Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp
- Still Life by Louise Penny
- The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
- Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
- The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
- Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
- Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson
- Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan
- Niagara, A History of The Falls by Pierre Berton

Monica
- X in Flight by Karen Rivers
- Flight of the Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
- Y in the Shadows by Karen Rivers
- Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa
- For Now by Gayle Friesan
- First Time by Meg Tilly
- Getting The Girl by Susan Juby
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- 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

Tara
- The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong
- Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso
- The Birth House by Ami McKay
- Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregant by Michel Tremblay
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay
- Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
- Not Wanted On The Voyage by Timothy Findley
- King Leary by Paul Quarrington
- Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
- Lullabies For Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
- Living Room by Allan Weiss
- Elizabeth and After by Matt Cohen

Joanna
- Niceman Cometh by David Carpentier*
- Breaking Lorca by Giles Blunt*
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen*
- The Good Body by Bill Gaston*
- The Lost Highway by David Adams Richards
- The Ravine by Paul Quarrington
- The Retreat by David Bergen
- Icefields by Thomas Wharton
- No Such Creature by Giles Blunt
- Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
- No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod
- Good To A Fault by Marina Endicott
- The Secret World of Og by Pierre Berton
- Claudia by Britt Holmstrom
- The Only Snow in Havanna by Elizabeth Hay
- The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
- Wolf Tree by Alison Calder

Teena
- Too Close Too Home by Linwood Barclay
- Toronto: The Way We Were by Mike Filey
- Food Pets Die For by Ann N. Martin
- New Rules For Retirement by Warren MacKenzie and Ken Hawkins
- War Brides by Melynda Jarratt
- The New Retirement by Sherry Cooper
- Nova Scotia Drink-O-Pedia by Graham Pilsworth
- Write About Dogs by Keith Ryan
- Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and Why It's Necessary by Nicholas Pashley
- Here For A Good Time by Ra McGuire
- Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Tommy Chong
- Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema
- The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Sherry Torkos
- Down The Coal Town Road by Sheldon Currie
- The Story So Far... by Sheldon Currie
- Lauchie, Liza & Rory by Sheldon Currie
- I've Got A Home In Glory Land by Karolyn Smardz Frost
- The War On Women by Brian Vallee
- Truth and Rumors: The Truth Behind TV's Most Famous Myths by Bill Brious

PookerX
- Compalints Department by Susan Haley*
- Magic Eight Ball by Marion Douglas*
- Wild Dogs by Helen Humphreys*
- A Magical Story of the Gimli Trolls by Bonita Hunter-Eastwood and illustrated by Jerry Johnson*
- I Once Knew An Indian Woman by May Ebbitt Cutler*
- Turtle Valley by Gail Anderson-Dargatz*
- Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso
- Fierce by Hannah Holborn
- The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
- Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
- Having Faith in the Polar Girls' Prison by Cathleen With
- Good To A Fault by Marina Endicott
- The Tracey Fragments by Maureen Medved
- Fifteen Days by Christie Blatchford
- The Cure For Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
- Children of the Day by Sandra Birdsell
- The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life by Camilla Gibb
- Frogs and Other Stories by Diane Schoemperlen
- Sisters of Grass by Theresa Kishkan
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- A Certain Mr. Takahashi by Ann Ireland
- 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

PookerY
- DreadfulWater Shows Up by Hartley GoodWeather*
- Red Dog, Red Dog by Patrick Lane
- Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey
- Grass, Sky, Song by Trevor Herriot
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- The Christmas Tree by David Adams Richards
- Sparrow Nights by David Gilmour
- Precious by Douglas Glover
- Microserfs by Douglas Coupland
- Phantom Lake: North of 54 by Birk Sproxton
- This Business With Elijah by Sheldon Oberman
- More by Austin Clarke
- Murmel, Murmel, Murmel by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner
- The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
- Consolation by Michael Redhill

Sandra
- Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen*
- Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart*
- The Fat Lady Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay*
- The Disappeared by Kim Echlin*
- An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark*
- Last Night In Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel*
- No Such Creature by Giles Blunt
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richard
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- What We All Long For by Dionne Brand
- The Museum Guard by Howard Norman
- Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
- Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel
- Red Dog Red Dog by Patrick Lane
- The Retreat by David Bergen
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- The Boys In The Trees by Mary Swan
- The Letter Opener by Kyo Maclear
- The Lizard Cage by Karen O'Connell
- Alligator by Lisa Moore
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay
- At A Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlen
- Mister Sandman by Barbara Gowdy
- Twice Born by Pauline Gedge
- Quintet by Douglas Arthur Brown
- Coventry by Helen Humphreys
- Ex-Cottagers in Love by J. M. Kearns

Wanda
- Turvey by Earle Birney*
- The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter*
- Mary of Mile 18 by Ann Blades
- Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop
- Coventry by Helen Humphreys
- Belle Moral by Ann-Marie MacDonald
- Bookweird by Paul Glennon
- The Friends of Meager Fortune by David Adams Richards
- Down The Coaltown Road by Sheldon Currie
- You Went Away by Timothy Findley
- Mostly Happy by Pam Bustin
- The House of Wooden Santas by Kevin Major
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
- The Divine Ryans by Wayne Johnston
- Whale Song by Cheryl Kaye Tardif
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Ramasseur by Richard deMuelles
- 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

Richard
- The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek by Sid Marty
- Winging Home: A Palette of Birds by Harold Rhenisch
- An Ecology of Enchantment by Des Kennedy
- Nature By Design: People, Natural Process, and Ecological Restoration by Eric Higgs
- Malahat Review #165 by various contributors
- The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
- Vancouver Matters editted by Jamse Eidse, Mari Fujita, Joey Giaimo, Lori Kiessling, and Christine Min
- Saudade by Anik See
- Pathways Into Mountains by Ken Belford
- Interwoven Wild by Don Gayton
- Little Hunger by Philip Kevin Paul
- Almost Green by James Glave
- The Flight of the Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
- The Perfection of the Morning by Sharon Butala
- lan(d)guage by Ken Belford
- Medicine River by Thomas King
- ecologue by Ken Belford
- A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright
- The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
- Spook Country by William Gibson
- Pear Tree Pomes by Roy Kiyooka
- 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

Kailana
- The Golden Phoenix and Other Fairy Tales From Quebec edited by Marius Barbeau and Michael Hornyansky*
- Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life, Volume 1 by Bryan Lee O'Malley*
- Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley*
- The Lights Go On Again by Kit Pearson*
- The Unwritten Girl by James Bow*
- Dust by Arthur Slade*
- JPod by Douglas Coupland*
- Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston*
- Turtle Valley by Gail Anderson-Dargatz*
- Only In Canada, You Say by Katherine Barber
- Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
- Cats I Have Known and Loved by Pierre Berton
- Santa Claus: A Biography by Gerry Bowler
- I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors by Bernice Eisenstein
- The Gargoyleby Andrew Davidson
- Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong
- Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa
- What They Wanted by Donna Morrissey
- Conceit by Mary Novik
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- Jolted by Arthur Slade
- Coventry by Helen Humphreys
- Extraordinary Canadians: Lord Beaverbrook by David Adams Richards
-The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
-Don't Lets Go The Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
-Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland
-Traveling Music by Neil Peart

Nicola
- Awakening by Kelley Armstrong*
- The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong*
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
- The Third Eye by Mahtab Narsimhan
- The Talking Cat and Other Stories of French Canada by Natalive Savage Carlson
- The Golden Phoenix: Eight French-Canadian Fairy Tales by Marius Barbeau and retold by Michael Hornyansky, illustrated by Arthur Price
- Otherwise by Farley Mowat
- Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography by Chester Brown
- The Meanest Doll In The World by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, Illustrated by Brian Selznick
- The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, Illustrated by Brian Selznick
- The Line Painter by Claire Cameron
- Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay
- The Great Karoo by Fred Stenson
- Coventry by Helen Humphreys
- The Ruby Kingdom by Patricia Bow
- The Prism Blade by Patricia Bow
- Red Dog Red Dog by Patrick Lane
- All The Colours of Darkness by Peter Robinson
- Milrose Munce and the Den of Professional Help by Douglas Anthony Cooper
- My Name Is Number 4 by Ting-Xing Ye
- The Shadow of Malabron by Thomas Wharton
- Bookweird by Paul Glennon
- Night Runner by Max Turner
- Getting the Girl by Susan Juby
- Jolted by Arthur Slade
- 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

Joy
- Big City Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
- Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock
- Sabine's Notebook by Nick Bantock
- The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock
- Forty Words For Sorrow by Giles Blunt
- Hate You by Graham McNamee
- The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
- Runaway by Alice Munro
- Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood
- Gallows View by Peter Robinson
- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
- Charley's Web by Joy Fielding
- Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

HistoriaSA
- Up, Up, Down by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Playhouse by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Class Clown by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- Just One Goal by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- More Pies! by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
- 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 Alan 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

Steve
- The Museum Guard by Howard Norman*
- Pelagie by Antonine Maillet*
- We Were Not The Savages by Daniel Paul*
- Down Home by Harry Bruce*
- Nova Scotia Shaped By The Sea by Leslie Choyce*
- Bluenose Magic by Helen Creighton*
- The Channel Shore by Charles Bruce
- Barometer Risingby Hugh MacLennan
- The Clockmaker by Thomas Haliburton
- My Famous Evening by Howard Norman
- Rockbound by Frank Parker Day
- Roger Sudden by Thomas Raddall
- The Mountain and the Valley by Ernest Buckler
- 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

JK
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
- February by Lisa Moore
- Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland
- The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels
- Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
- Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart
- Beyond The Horizon by Colin Angus
- The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper
- Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- King Leary by Paul Quarrington
- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay
- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
- The Romantic by Barbara Gowdy
- Imagining Canadian Literature: The Selected Letters of Jack McCelland editted by Sam Soleki
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- An Imperfect Offering by James Orbinski
- Look For Me by Edeet Ravel
- Cereus Blooms At Night by Shani Mootoo
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clark
- The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan
- Silver Salts by Mark Blagrave
- Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler
- A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel
- The Wars by Timothy Findley
- Too Close To The Falls by Catherine Gildiner
- The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart
- The Rules of Engagement by Catherine Bush
- Happenstanceby Carol Shields
- 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

August
- Cockroach by Rawi Hage
- Rust and Bone by Craig Davidson
- Once by Rebecca Rosenblum
- Adult Entertainment by John Metcalf
- Flight Paths and the Emperor by Steven Heighton
- Dancing Nightly in the Tavern by Mark Antony Jarman
- 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

HistoriaFS
- Wake by Robert J. Sawyer*
- Paddle To The Arctic by Don Starkell
- When We Were Young editted by Stuart McLean
- The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong
- 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

Kathleen
- The Tattooed Woman by Marian Engel
- Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen
- Moonbeams From the Larger Lunacy by Stephen Leacock
- First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women by Eric McCormack
- Firewing by Kenneth Oppel
- Mud City by Deborah Ellis
- Jeux D'adresseseditted by Julie Huard, Michel-Remi Lafond, and Francois-Xavier Simard
- Slow Lightning by Mark Frutkin
- 13 by Mary-Lou Zeitoun
- Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen
- 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

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians
(12 Books)


Scribacchina
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson*
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway*
- The Friday Night Knitting Club (O Clube de Tricô de Sexta à Noite) by Kate Jacobs and translated into Portuguese by Isabel Alves
- A Coyote Columbus Story by Thomas King and illustrated by William Kent Monkman
- What's The Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? by Richard Van Camp and illustrated by George Littlechild
- Medicine River by Thomas King
- Canadian Stars by Maxine Trottier
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
- By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept by Elizabeth Smart
- The Actual by Saul Bellow
- The Song of Kahunsha by Anosh Irani

Ragdoll
- Help Me, Jacques Cousteau by Gil Adamson
- The Sad Truth About Happiness by Anne Giardini
- Once by Rebecca Rosenblum
- The Almost Archer Sisters by Lisa Gabriele
- A Hard Witching by Jacqueline Baker
- The Boys In The Trees by Mary Swan
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- Whetstone by Lorna Crozier
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- Quick by Anne Simpson
- Runaway by Alice Munro
- Away by Jane Urquhart

PeachyTO
- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
- The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
- Generation X by Douglas Coupland
- The Landing by John Ibbitson
- Rhymes With Useless by Terence Young
- An Audience of Chairs by Joan Clark
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
- Acceleration by Graham McNamee

Albertans (11 Books)

Sam Lamb
- Swimming in the Ocean by Catherine Jenkins*
- The Line Painter by Claire Cameron
- Sweetness In The Belly by Camilla Gibb
- What It Takes To Be Human by Marilyn Bowering
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
- The Body's Place by Elise Turcotte
- Streak of Luck by Richelle Kosar
- Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
- The Given by Daphne Marlatt
- A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart

Jo-Ann
- The Quilt of Belonging by Janice Weaver*
- Travels With My Familyby Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel*
- On The Road Again by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel*
- Sindbad in the Land of Giants retold and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman
- Some of the Kinder Planets by Tim Wynne-Jones
- 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

MelanieO
- Clockmaker by Thomas Chandler Haliburton
- The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay
- Fruit by Brian Francis
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- As For Me and My House by Sinclair Ross
- Literary Lapses by Stephen Leacock
- Over Prairie Trails by Frederick Philip Grove
- Such Is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan

Saskatchewanies (10 Books)

Tanabata
- Still Life by Louise Penny*
- The Museum Guard by Howard Norman*
- No Great Mischief by Alistair Macleod*
- Last Night In Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel*
- Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
- Mother Superior by Saleema Nawaz
- Lighting The Dark Side by William R. Potter
- Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock
- Dingo by Charles de Lint
- How To Be a Canadian by Will Ferguson and Ian Ferguson

Reader Rabbit
- One Lonely Degree by CK Kelly Martin*
- The Ashbury-Brookfield Series by Jaclyn Moriarity
- The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
- Getting the Girl by Susan Juby
- I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin
- Shine Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
- Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
- Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers
- Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby
- Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
- Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by Amy Bleason and Jacob Osborn

Traveler One
- Swing Low: A Life by Miriam Toews
- Easton by Paul Butler
- Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam
- Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
- Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- 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

Yukoners (9 Books)

Sam
- Border Songs by Jim Lynch*
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Yellowknife by Steve Zipp
- Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
- Consumption by Kevin Patterson
- The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
- No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

Violette
- Sundowner Ubunto by Anthony Bidulka
- House Report by Deborah Nicholson
- The Chinese Alchemist by Lyn Hamilton
- Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields
- Burden of Desire by Robert MacNeil
- Barrington Street Blues by Anne Emery
- Black Ice by Linda Hall
- Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla
- Bone To Ashes by Kathy Reichs

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)

Laurie
- Children of my Heart by Gabrielle Roy*
- Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood
- The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley
- Generation X by Douglas Coupland
- Unless by Carol Shields
- All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland
- Sailor Girl by Sheree-Lee Olson
- What We All Long For by Dionne Brand

British Columbians (7 Books)

Lizzy
- All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman*
- The Emperor of Ice-Cream by Brian Moore
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson
- Helpless by Barbara Gowdy
- Catholics by Brian Moore
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay

Scott
- Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
- The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardon
- King Leary by Paul Quarrington
- The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Icefields by Thomas Wharton

Callista
- The Bite of The Mango by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland
- In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You by Shari Graydon
- Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton
- Dear Toni by Cyndi Sand-Eveland
- Leslie's Journal by Allan Stratton
- The Reading Solution by Paul Kropp
- Pact of the Wolves by Nina Blazon and translated by Sue Innes

Lesley
- The Museum Guard by Howard Norman
- Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark
- Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
- The Girls by Lori Lansens
- The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
- The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson
- Open Secrets by Alice Munro

Northwest Territorians (6 Books)


Lara
- Broken by Kelley Armstrong
- That Scatterbrain Booky by Bernice Thurman-Hunter
- Ontario Murders by Susan McNicoll
- Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler
- Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
- Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Manitobans (5 Books)

Barbara
- Ladies and Gentlemen: The Bible by Jonathan Goldstein*
- Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent by Andrew Nikiforuk
- The As It Happens Files by Mary Lou Finlay
- The Retreat by David Bergen
- Tales From Firozsha Baag by Rohinton Mistry

Jules
- The Wars by Timothy Findley
- The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood
- The Moons of Jupiter by Alice Munro

Charlotte
- A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel
- Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards
- Robertson Davies: A Portrait in Mosaic by Val Ross
- Widdershins by Charles de Lint
- Roughing It in the Bush by Susanna Moodie

L.Hill
- Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
- 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

Shereadsbooks
- 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)

DebbieM
- Having faith in the Polar Girls' Prison by Cathleen With*
- The Girl From Away by Claire Mowat
- The Sky Is Falling by Kit Pearson
- Dressing Up For The Carnival by Carol Shields

Mrs. Peachtree
- A Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson*
- The Singing Stone by O.R. Melling
- An Earthly Knight by Janet McNaughton
- Stella Fairy of the Forest by Marie-Louise Gay

Aaron
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay
- Fruit by Brian Francis

Orchidus
- Obasan by Joy Kogawa
- The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
- The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Elizabeth
- 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)


Miriam
- By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Giles Blunt
- Blue Girl by Charles de Lint
- DeNiro's Game by Rawi Hage

Cheryl
- A Victim of Convenience by John Ballem
- Six Seconds by Rick Mofina
- Honour Among Men by Barbara Fradkin

Bookfool
- Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland
- The Best of Robert Service by Robert Service
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Tracy
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
- Rollbackby Robert J. Sawyer
- The Birth House by Ami McKay

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

Quebecois (2 Books)


Stephanie
- The Dreaming Place by Charles de Lint*
- Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Jen
- Broken by Kelley Armstrong
- Burning Chrome by William Gibson

Paul R
- The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore
- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

Kimiko
- Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Linda/CT
- Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart
- Caedman's Song by Peter Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

Ontarians (1 Book)


Susan
- Wolf Moon by Charles de Lint

Carla
-Coventry by Helen Humphreys

Wayne
-Beaverbrook: A Failed Legacy by Jacques Poitras

Lisa
- Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Kayleigh
- Alice, I Think by Susan Juby

DebbieS
- An Imperfect Offering by James Orbinsky

Literary Mom
- Late Nights On Air by Elizabeth Hay

Jake
- Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler

Before we leave, a few facts about the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge:
1. The most popular book was Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle, followed by Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes and a three way tie for third between Brian Francis' Fruit, David Adams Richards' Mercy Among The Children and Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo

2. But don't worry, the women authors were left out in the cold. The most popular author was Lucy Maud Montgomery, followed by Robert Munsch and Margaret Atwood who tied for 2nd, and again Andrew Davidson in 3rd.

3. Of the 100 participants, 45 completed the challenge (13 or more), while many of the rest put in valiant efforts

A few survey questions for the participants, if you wouldn't mind...
1. What was your least favourite book and most favourite read for the challenge?
- My least would be Thomas Chandler Haliburton's The Clockmaker, while my favourite would be either Randall Maggs' Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems or Chester Brown's Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography

2. Any authors or books you want to read more because of the challenge?
- Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle and not just because so many people read it, but almost all the reviews were glowing.

3. Any comments or complaints about how to make the challenge better?

Now, how could I forget the prizes*?

1. The winner of the Breakwater Books Prize pack is Joanna!

Joanna wins copies of Georges Lafontaine's Ashes on Ice, Thomas Rendell Curran's the rossiter file, The March Hare Anthology edited by Adrian Fowler, Jack Fitzgerald's Ghosts, Heroes, and Oddities, and J.M. Sullivan's Newfoundland Portfolia: A History in Portraits

2. The winner of the Lobster Press Prize Pack is Gautami!

Gautami wins copies of Shannon Cowan's Tin Angel, Linda DeMeulemeester's The Secret of Grim Hill, Daren Krill's The Uncle Duncle Chronicles: Escape From Treasure Island, The Hockey Card by Jack Siemiatycki, Avi Slodovnick and illustrated by Doris Barrette, and When Pigs Fly by Valerie Couman and illustrated by Rogé.

3. The winner of the New Canadian Library Prize Pack is Mark Leslie!
Mark wins copies of The Luck of Ginger Coffey by Brian Moore, The Clockmaker by Thomas Chandler Haliburton, and Such Is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan.

4. The winner of the ECW Prize Pack is Ariel!

Ariel wins copies of Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess, To Be Continued...Volume 1 by Gordon j. h. Leenders, and Joyland by Emily Schultz and illustrated by Nate Powell.

5. The winner of the tuque, designed and created by Canadian Book Challenge participant Sam Lamb, is Claire H!


6. The winner of the the maple syrup is Richard!


Winners, to claim your prizes, please email me jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com with your mailing addresses.

Thanks to the following people and businesses for donating prizes throughout the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge: Breakwater Books, ECW Press, Lobster Press, McClelland and Stewart, Mary Novik, Susan McMaster, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Clark-Nova Books, Patricia Storms, Random House, Daron Letts, Mark Leslie, Johnna, and Chumley & Pepys Used Books.

Please help Cheryl Kaye Tardif by giving the thumbs up to "Lancelot's Lady" here. She's been a long time supporter of the Canadian Book Challenge and could use some support in return. The prize is a publishing contract! Sweet, n'est pas?

And of course, thanks to all the participants who made this such a fun challenge! Looking forward to seeing most of you in the Canadian Book Challenge (3rd edition)...