Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Canadian Book Challenge 3- 10th Roundup

Welcome to the 10th Roundup for the 3rd Canadian Book Challenge! After this, there's only 2 roundups to go. 14 of us have already reached the finish line, have you?

With just about 3 Canadian Book Challenges under our belts, and a 4th on the way, I thought it was time, once and for all, to settle a burning, subjective question that really can't be answered and shouldn't be asked: What is the best Canadian book of all time?

Where do all the young folks to find their opinions? The Google. As did I. Fishing the Google with search terms ranging from "The best Canadian book" to "favourite Canadian book," I came up with this top 1 list:

1. From, the number one essential Canadian book is Alice Munro's The Love of a Good Woman. If you ask me, they must be just overstocked on Munro books.

1. From the University of Toronto bookstore, the top Canadian book of all time is Margaret Laurence's The Diviners. I can possibly tolerate this choice, but the list quickly plummets into the depths of CanLit hell after that.

1. From the Literary Review of Canada, the most important Canadian book is Account of the Second Voyage of the Navigation of 1535 and 1536 by Jacques Cartier. Notice they didn't say the most read Canadian book.

1. From comes the results of a 2007 Indigo poll to note their favourite book of all time. The top Canadian book in the list (actually coming in at #8) was Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. (Number one? Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Dear. God.) According to Wikipedia, Anne of Green Gables is also the best selling Canadian book of all time.

1. From Lists of Bests, Christopher's top choice is Prochain Episode (Next Episode) by Hubert Aquin. I like when Canadian books try something different, but I found this one to be just about unreadable. I didn't have a sweet clue what was happening from beginning to end. The longest short book ever.

1. According to Raidergirl at Library Thing, Bernice Morgan's Random Passage is the best Canadian novel. Raidergirl is also a Canadian Book Challenge participant.

1. According to the book Atlantic Canada's 100 Greatest Books, the greatest book of Atlantic Canada (there must be a less redundant way to say that) is Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief.

1. The winner of the "My Favourite Saskatchewan" book is A Prairie Alphabet by Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet and Yvette Moore

1. Favourite Canadian fiction of Canada Reads 2010 winner Nicholas Dickner: Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler.

1. From AbeBooks' 10 Favourite Volumes of Canadian Poetry: Selected Poems of Irving Layton

1. (Again this one was actually #9, but the top Canadian of the list) From CBC Book Club, the top Canadian graphic novel is Chester Brown's Louis Riel. (I would have said so too, until I read Jeff Lemire's Tales From The Farm)

1. From's 100 Greatest Book's of All Time: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (coming in at #95, the only Canadian on the list)

1. Readers at The Modern Library: Moonheart by Charles de Lint (highest Canadian, #35)

So let's settle this once and for all. Please vote below:

And while you wait for those votes to pour in, make sure to add links to your Canadian reviews last month if you want them to count towards your Canadian Book Challenge total. Check the number beside your name in the sidebar and make sure your overall total is up to date.


PeachyTO said...

I bailed on the 2nd challenge, and didn't make it to the 3rd, but I'm excited and ready for the 4th!

John Mutford said...

My April reads:
25. Jeff Lemire: Ghost Stories

26. Jeff Lemire: The Country Nurse

27. Sarah Klassen: Simone Weil, Songs of Hunger and Love

Jacki said...

Whoo! I'm a grain elevator now, with 13 books read and reviewed. The latest "two" are:

Stanley Coren's The Modern Dog

Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin's Stanley's Party and Stanley's Wild Ride

I'm counting the two Stanley books as one read/review, since they are children's books. And, for the record, I will do at least one more: I am about half way through Brad Pattison Unleashed.

pussreboots said...

I'm up to #12 with My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath .

Chrisbookarama said...

I'm just one away from completing!

The Weed that String's the Hangman's Bag:

(It should win for most awkward title.)

Steve said...

Three books this month, two from an American who draws his inspiration from Canada, and one from an American now residing in Canada.

12. The Birth House by Ami MacKay (set in Nova Scotia)

13. The Northern Lights by Howard Norman (set in northern Manitoba and Toronto)

14. The Bird Artist by Howard Norman (set in Newfoundland)

BTW I invite folks to check out our new book trailer on Youtube.

gypsysmom said...

I skipped over being a dory and am now an igloo. I read two books for the challenge this month:
Heartbreaker by Laurence Gough, a mystery set in Vancouver, BC;
and going to the east coast
Foul Deeds by Linda Moore, which I enjoyed very much.

As an igloo I'm going to head to Nunavut for my next read.

Kate said...

Only one more this month, taking me to 18.

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Just barely under the wire, as I finished it on Thursday night, and got my review up yesterday!

Jules said...

Two more books for me. 6/13 read so far! Getting there!

Surfacing - Margaret Atwood

Molly Withers and the Golden Tree - Kent Allan Rees

Pooker said...

*Sigh* I have to admit to slothfulness yet again this month. Only one book actually reviewed in April:
Bitten: Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

Wanda said...

Two reviewed for April:

#13. The Paperboy's Winter ~ Tim Bowling.

#14. Ann and Seamus ~ Kevin Major

** If anyone is/plans on doing the cross country approach for the Canadian book challenge and is looking for a NS title, I have a new copy of Miss Elva by Stephens Gerard Malone available to be won. **

John: Poll Dancing now are we! ;)

Gavin said...

Didn't get one read this month. I have 3 coming from that I am really excited about including Galore!

Teddy Rose said...

How did Dan Brown get in there? Strange!!

I read 2: Grease Town by Ann Towell

The Summer Before the Storm by Gabriele Wills

That brings me up to 10, The Igloos.

My Novel Thoughts said...

I missed the 9th Round-Up..sorry! so I'll include March and April here:

5. Falling Angels - Barbara Gowdy
6. Human Amusements - Wayne Johnston
7. Oxygen - Annabel Lyon

Kerri said...

I snuck in one this month bringing me to twelve and only one away from finishing the challenge.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

Nikki in Niagara said...

Three more for me this month:

33. Vanishing Habitats by Robert Bateman with Nancy Kovacs
34. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
35. Grease Town by Ann Towell

Bringing me to a total of 35!

Jodie Robson said...

I’m up to 7 reviews, with The Secret Minsitry of Frost by Nick Lake, partly set in Canada. Got 3 still to review, so I’m on track to finish in time!

Barbara Bruederlin said...


I read no Canadian books this month! But I do have one queued up on my bedside pile for when I finish the current read.

Teena in Toronto said...

My April reads:

13. Toronto Book of Everything -

14. History of Marriage -

´´Saray´´ said...

I just voted in the poll :)

I read three this month but if you don�t mind John I will count them as May reading since I haven�t managed to write the reviews on my blog yet (job-hunting in other countries is driving me nuts...) and that reminds me to ask... can I count Wells Tower�s short story collection as a Canadian read? He was born in Vancouver but newspapers/media, wikipedia are saying he�s American, uh? I am confused... maybe he changed nationality?

That�s one of the three I read.

matilda said...

Various other 'Canadian(s)' read but only one written up... and that was February by Lisa Moore.

John Mutford said...

Saray: My usual response is that participants themselves decide who to count. I've counted Saul Bellow before, because he was born in Quebec. However, he did become an American citizen and identified as such. Was Wells Tower born in Vancouver, British Columbia or Vancouver, Washington?

Luanne said...

April Reads...

19. The One Week Job Project by Sean Aiken

20. Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

21. Cool Water by Dianne Warren

Heather said...

HI John,
One more to add for a total of 19:
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

Buried In Print said...

I only have one of her books left to read now, having finished Ethel Wilson's Love and Salt Water, and then only some biographical stuff. I've read one of those already too, but will count that for next month with the others. Finishing all of her works and her biographies will make me an Igloo, but I'm not there yet.

Lahni said...

I read The Weed that Strings that Hangman's Bag (no review - probably won't get to it now!) and The Cellist of Sarajevo which I reviewed here:

John Mutford said...

Jacki, Steve, Wanda, and Teena-- congrats on reaching 13!!!

Gypsysmom: What Nunavut book will you be picking?

B.Kienapple said...

Lucky #20 right here for April!

Boldface Names (Shinan Govani)

Unfortunately, I reviewed only one Canadian book. I also reviewed Beatrice & Virgil on EYE Weekly but I'm not counting that.

I voted for The Diviners as greatest Canadian novel but didn't feel great about that choice..the list feels CanLit musty.

John Mutford said...

B. Kienapple: Even though I like a few of the books on that list, I agree about its musty CanLit feel. That's part of the reason I included an "other" option. However, I think I should have put it near the top. I suspect many people voted before they realized they could have gone with none of the above.

B.Kienapple said...

No I saw the "other" option but I was trying to be decisive. :) Normally I would have voted for Anne but I'm resistant to it being the best book instead of just one that I love for nostalgia's sake.

´´Saray´´ said...

John - Thanks for the response. Wikipedia tells me Vancouver, British Columbia so I will count his collection as a Canadian read. It is just too amazing not to :)

Melwyk said...

A little late adding my April reads, but here they are, 2 more to bring me to 12 books. Oddly they are both Saskatchewan books, and I should add that despite the facts shared above, I would not have voted for A Prairie Alphabet as my favourite Saskatchewan book!

On to the books I read for the challenge:

Cool Water by Dianne Warren

As for me and my house by Sinclair Ross (I read it so you won't have to...)

Corey said...

#16 and #17!

Beatrice & Virgil, by Yann Martel

Come, Thou Tortoise, by Jessica Grant