Happy Canada Day folks! The 4th annual Canadian Book Challenge starts TODAY!
It's time once again to explore, celebrate and promote Canadian books. You have one year to read 13 Canadian books* and review them somewhere online**, Canada Day, July 1st, 2010- Canada Day, July 1st, 2011. There will be check-ins at the beginning of each month to see how everyone is progressing and have their current status marked in the sidebar of this blog. Participants are encouraged to read each others' reviews, discuss the books, and cheer one another on.
It's the fourth year of the challenge and we've had a lot of fun. Participants are mostly Canadian but we've had participants from the U.S., the U.K., India, South Korea, Spain and more. In true Canadian fashion, all are welcome! Except Venezuela. (Just kidding Venezuelans. You can come too.)
1. How do I join?
Send me an email with the subject line "Sign Me Up!" and I'll add you to the list. At the beginning of each month, I'll send you an email telling you that a check-in point has been posted on this blog. You will then visit the post and let me know what books you read AND reviewed the previous month (with links to your reviews) and your count so far.
2. Do I need to know ahead of time which books I'll be reading?
No. But by all means, if you want to plan ahead, do so. Some people find it's more of a challenge to do it this way, and others prefer to find their next book as it comes. If you do make a list and decide to alter it along the way, that's fine.
3. Do I need to have a theme?
No. I personally like to read at least one book from each province and territory (it's the whole reason 13 has become the goal number). Over the past 3 editions of the challenge, there have been lots of different themes. Some people have chosen to read authors exclusively (Robert Munsch, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Ethel Wilson, and Brian Moore have each had a run). Others have gone for specific parts of the country (Quebec and the prairies have been chosen). There's even been a challenge themed around dogs! Certainly a theme could make it more difficult, but then again, it could also make it more fun. In any case, the majority of participants opt to have no theme at all, just pushing for 13 random Canadian books. They feel they can still read what they want, when they want and aren't too confined by restrictions. The choice is up to you.
4. What if I don't reach 13 books or if I do?
If you don't, but you've had fun, it's still good. Your reviews will still be read by other participants. And you'll have a chance again when the next edition comes around. Some people ask if it's okay to fill up the remainder with children's books since they're shorter. I, personally, think children's books (picture books) are just as valid and need to be read and discussed as much as novels. Others think that it's a challenge, and as such, shouldn't be easy. Again, this is a participant's decision to make.
If you do reach 13, you may stop, or keep going. Remember, it's 13 or more. I love to see how many I can squeeze in. And there will be a prize for the person reading the most...
5. Can my books count towards other challenges?
Of course! That's half the fun! I read some this past year that counted in the Graphic Novels Challenge and the Canadian Book Challenge.
6. I don't live in Canada and am finding it difficult to get my hands on Canadian books. Any recommendations or solutions?
It'll probably be easier to find some of our "big names" at your library (Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields, for example). Of course, you can always order online. And if you ask nicely enough, Canadian participants have been known to ship books far and wide to help out.
7. What if I read a book and don't have time to review it?
Sorry, that's one point I'm sticky on. I don't count it until it's reviewed. By all means, feel free to read 13 Canadian books, but the reviewing part is an equal component of the challenge. I want the books celebrated and promoted and talked about even if you didn't enjoy it. While I say "review" I don't mean anything necessarily lengthy and I don't mean necessarily a review as much as I mean your thoughts on the book, questions about why an author said something, memories it stirred up. Anything, just something.
8. Will there be prizes?
Yes!*** For starters there's an Uncharted Territories Prize: Two signed copies of Roderick Benn's Mystery of the Moonlight Murder given away to two lucky participants who, during the month of July, read an review a book by an author NOT read at all for the Canadian Book Challenge 3. If more than 2 people qualify, random winners will be chosen. See the final update post for a complete list of who was read.
There's also an Awards Prize Pack from Random House. By September 30th, if you've read any author that won a Canadian literary award in 2010, let me know (include the name of the author and/or book and the award won). A winner will be chosen randomly from those that qualify-- but you have to let me know that you qualify! The prize includes:
Fauna by Alissa York
The Beauty of the Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
Sanctuary Line by Jane Urquhart
Ape House by Sara Gruen
There will be more prizes as the challenge progresses, to be announced. Some will be new donations, others may be used books (will be indicated), all designed to merely increase the fun and add to your book collection!
9. How can I help?
By joining, reading and reviewing, obviously. And checking in once a month. I also need help with promotion. If you know someone (author, publisher, or bookseller) that can donate a prize, that would be just dandy. Also, promote the challenge on your blog. Feel free to write a post that tells your readers that your joining and why, and if you've participated before, how much fun it is. Also, use the logo above, feel free to place it permanently in your sidebar.
As you can see above, the Lawren Harris inspired logo is the official logo of this edition, by popular vote. And in keeping with a mountain theme, participant progress will be measured by peaks, the tallest peaks in each province and territory.
1 book: Glen Valley (actual peak unnamed, PEI) 142m/466ft
2 books: White Hill (Nova Scotia) 532m/1745ft
3 books: Ishpatina Ridge (Ontario) 693m/2274ft
4 books: Mount Carleton (New Brunswick) 817m/2680ft
5 books: Baldy Mountain (Manitoba) 832m/2730ft
6 books: Cypress Hills (actual peak unnamed, Saskatchewan) 1468m/4816ft
7 books: Mont D'Iberville (Quebec) 1651m/5417ft
8 books: Mount Caubvick (Newfoundland and Labrador) 1652m/5420ft
9 books: Barbeau Peak (Nunavut) 2616m/8583ft
10 books: Mount Nirvana (Northwest Territories) 2773m/9098ft
11 books: Mount Columbia (Alberta) 3747m/12,293ft
12 books: Mount Fairweather (British Columbia) 4663m/15,299ft
13 or more books: Mount Logan (Yukon) 5959m/19,591ft
But not to worry, if the mountain logo isn't your cup of tea, and since the vote was so close, I've decided to let you use the other logo, the Hudson Bay Blanket inspired logo, if you wish:
On that note, sit back in your muskoka chair with a nanaimo bar and a double double, and start your reading.
The fine print:
* Canadian books can include any genre or form (children's books, poetry, novels, non-fiction, plays, anthologies, etc), can be written by Canadian authors (by birth or immigration) or about Canadians. Ultimately, participants must decide for themselves whether or not something fits the description of Canadian.
** Reviews do not have to be lengthy, but must be done online to be counted. Most participants typically review books on blogs, but others do so at Chapters.ca, BookCrossing, and other sites. As long as other participants can have free access to the review (i.e., without signing up or requiring special passwords), the review site is up to the participant.
***Prizes only available for Canadian Book Challenge 4 participants.