Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Canadian Book Challenge 4- 2nd Roundup!

Two months down!

Welcome to the 2nd round-up for the Canadian Book Challenge 4, where we get to check out all those Canadian books you read and reviewed in August.

Before we get to that, have you heard about the most recent controversy with Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean cover?
I find it almost amusing. In the world of book banning, I thought Canada was pretty much a small player. The liberal ones. Open-minded and accepting, you know? But the Golden Mean? A man's butt? It's even from the side! It's not like it's a close-up of the guy's sphincter. I'm guessing B.C. Ferries doesn't sell this book either:

I mention this because last month I asked the Canadian Book Challenge participants to send me their photos and stories of meeting Canadian authors. I met Annabel Lyon back in June and she was a very sweet woman (our kids are roughly the same age so we swapped parenting stories). I didn't get a photo taken with her as I'd forgotten my camera and she insisted on me getting nude atop a horse. However, over the past few years in Yellowknife, as followers of my blog probably know, I've been fortunate enough to meet a handful of people whose writing I admire. Since I've blogged about them before, I won't bore you again but here are a few highlights:

(Steven Galloway, Joseph Boyden, Cathleen With)

Enough about me. Here are some participant stories:

Steph, over at Bella's Bookshelves has met a great many great authors, and I have to admit being a little envious: Margaret Atwood, Thomas King, Alistair Macleod, Al Purdy and many more of my idols. To find out who else and the anecdotes that accompany these meetings (the Ann Marie MacDonald one is a hoot) read her post here.

Lizzy at Lizzy's Literary Life met Argentinian-Canadian author Alberto Manguel and Filipino author Miguel Syjuco (now living in Montreal) and was lucky enough to get a photo of the two of them together. To see that photo, and read how David Foster Wallace fits in, read her post here.

I also had a wonderful conversation with Emilie over at C'est la vie about the awkward moment of asking a for a photo. Here's her chickening out photo "with" Margaret Atwood:

Amusing as that photo is, fortunately her friend (the one behind the camera), finally convinced her introduce herself:
Emilie tells me that more details of this meeting are forthcoming on her blog.

Jonita at the Book Chick writes that while she hasn't met any Canadian authors yet, she has come up with a wishlist:
1. Catherine McKenzie (author of Spin)
2. Lori Ann Bloomfield (with whom she'd struck up an email correspondence and discovered that their parents live just 5 minutes apart)
3. Heather Wardell (a self-published author with some pretty interesting ideas, according to Jonita)

(My own wish list right now-- and it changes often would include Michael Crummey, Stacey May Fowles, and Leonard Cohen)

Nicola at Back to Books has written a post about going to her very first book signing to meet The Day the Falls Stood Still author Cathy Marie Buchanan. Just getting up the nerve to go was a very big deal for her. Find out why and whether or not her bravery paid off by checking out her post.

Teena from Teena in Toronto writes that the only celebrity she's gotten her picture taken with is Weird Al. She acknowledges that he is is neither an author nor a Canadian. I acknowledge that I'm jealous beyond belief. Wait... this just in... it looks like he's going to be an author after all. According to his blog, his first children's book is scheduled to be published this March by HarperCollins.

Teddy from So Many Precious Books, So Little Time also met and posed with Margaret Atwood and Michael Crummey. She met them at the Vancouver International Readers and Writers Festival, as well as John Irving who for some reason, no one was allowed to photograph. See more photos and details here.

Heather from Books and Quilts met a quartet of teen and young adult authors at the Words Worth Books' Turning Pages Literary Festival back in May: R. J. Anderson, Lesley Livingston, Alyxandra Harvey and Kelley Armstrong. Check out a picture and all the details here.

And I think that's all the responses I received. If you did send me something, I apologize for my lack of organizational skills, I may have lost your email. Now, as I promised, there's a special prize for one lucky winner chosen randomly from those that contributed to last month's special request...drumroll.... Teddy Rose! Congratulations, you've won an autographed copy of Norbert Rosing's The World of the Polar Bear:
Norbert Rosing isn't Canadian by the way, but the bears in this book are. (As are the publishers, Firefly Books). The photos, taken in Churchill, Manitoba are stunning. I've not met Rosing, but I may have met some of the bears. In '01, my wife and I were fortunate enough to see wild polar bears in Churchill:

I apologize for the grainy picture, but it was 9 years ago. It wasn't a digital photo and I don't have a scanner, so you'll have to settle for a picture of a photograph. If you ever get a chance to go to Churchill to see the bears, I'd recommend it above anything else in Canada. We saw over 50 bears that day and were even licked by one. Did you ever see the Tundra Buggies on National Geographic shows? They have these cool balcony things on the back that have steel mesh floors. If you're lucky, as we were, the bears come right up underneath it to sniff your feet. And if you you put your hands flat against it (I wouldn't recommend sticking your finger through), it will lick it. An amazing experience, being tasted.

Next month, I'll finally be giving away the Random House Awards Prize Pack. Let me know (by email) before September 30th, if you've read any author that won a Canadian literary award in 2010 (include the name of the author and/or book and the award won). It has to have been reviewed online in either July, August, or September of this year, and it's only open to Canadian Book Challenge 4 participants. A winner will be chosen randomly from those that qualify-- but you have to let me know that you qualify! The prize includes:

by Alissa York

The Beauty of the Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

Sanctuary Line by Jane Urquhart

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Finally, I've got a few more awesome prizes to announce in the months to come including books from both Harper Collins and Goose Lane Editions. You won't want to miss them!

And now, the real reason why we're here: The Round-up. What Canadian books did you read and review for the Canadian Book Challenge 4 in August? Let everyone know in the comments below.

- Make sure you tell me how many you've completed so far so that I can record it in the sidebar progress report
- It doesn't count as complete until the review is done!
- When people leave links, try to visit one another's blogs and read what they had to say. Comment. Encourage. The discussion of Canadian books is what this challenge is all about.


Carina said...

Yay for author pictures! I wish I had met some Canadian authors. Or, really, any authors. Sadly, the closest I've come to that was meeting Kurt Browning and having him sign my copy of A is for Axel as well as my ancient, battered copy of his longer memoir-ish book.

As for the challenge - I've read 7 in total so far! (including the ones listed on last month's post)

5. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
6. Reflections on Islam: Ideas, Opinions, Arguments by George Jonas
7. Belonging and Banishment: Being Muslim in Canada edited by Natasha Bakht

Teddy Rose said...

OMG, that's like a perfect book for me. You know how much I love animals. Thanks so much for the book! I'm so jealous that you got to se so many bears. I've seen lots of scat while hiking here in BC but never bears. Perhaps that's a good thing, I would probably try to hug them. LOL!

Bernadette said...

This is my first entry into my first ever Canadian Book Challenge is a Review of APRIL FOOL by William Deverell. This is an environmentally themed work of crime fiction set in British Columbia. I was late to sign up to this challenge so have some catching up to do so hopefully I will get through several more Canadian books during September.

I haven't met any Canadian authors I'm afraid though I was once in the same building at the same time as Margaret Atwood (but I didn't know it until afterwards)

gautami tripathy said...

Loved the author photos.

I read and reviewed Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Corey said...

Just one this month - Peter Darbyshire's The Warhol Gang.

Kate said...

Two more books for me, for a total of 4. It's been a good month for reading for me, but a smaller percentage of Canadian than usual.

3. The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown

4. Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor

I also re-read and reviewed The Diviners by Margaret Laurence, but I'm not counting it towards the challenge as it was a re-read.

Wanda said...

Congratulations, Teddy! :)

In August, I sat at the computer just long enough to review one book. The Winterhouse by Robin McGrath is my 3rd selection for CBC4 and is available as a giveaway to U.S. and Canadian challenge participants.

Steve said...

My 2nd book is the concluding novel of Howard Norman's "Canadian Trilogy," The Haunting of L.

Chrisbookarama said...

Congrats Teddy!

Loved the photos. That Margaret really gets around.

I finally read 2 books for the challenge, bringing my total up to 2 ;)

Folly by Marthe Jocelyn

Damaged by Pamela Callow

Teena in Toronto said...

Ha! Had I known you were going to mention my meeting with Weird Al (I had to wait in line for about two hours!), I would have scanned the picture and emailed it to you. It was in a Canadian music store, though. Ha!

I've read 6 books this month bringing my total to 9.

"Tyler's Cape" (2003) Darren Greer

"Never Look Away" (2010) Linwood Barclay

"Last Stop Sunnyside" (2006) Pat Capponi

"The Corpse Will Keep" (2008) Pat Capponi

"Lament for a Lounge Lizard" (2003) Mary Jane Maffini

"Organize Your Corpses" (2007) Mary Jane Maffini

Shan said...

Oh man, I couldn't think of any authors I'd met, and then I read Carina's comment about Kurt Browning and I realized that 25 years ago I met Brian Orser and I have his biography on my bookshelf. But I was 4 then, and I don't think I've actually read the book, so I'm not sure it counts :)

I read two books this month for a total of 5 so far in the challenge:

Here's the Deal Don't Touch Me by Howie Mandel

A Year of Living Generously by Lawrence Scanlan

Steph said...

Thanks for doing that little bit about my post and the authors I met! It was cool seeing pics (grr, about not having my camera with me except for one time) and reading about the others as well (Emilie, I'm so glad you were brave!)

Atwood is one author I could meet again (and again).

One Canadian novel I highly recommend adding to your list to read, everyone, is Mark Sinnett's The Carnivore. I reviewed it on my blog if you want to check it out... The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark by Christopher Meades is another (and his review is up too). And Annabel, by Kathleen Winter! Excellent.

That Random House prize pack is mine!! I want it!! :) Must get to work on that.

Got to get to work. Will be back to properly answer the actual challenge question!

The Book Chick said...

What a great bunch of author meetings! I hope to be able to meet some Canadian authors myself someday, but so far I've only had the opportunity to meet an American one (in Toronto, though!).

I read three more Canadian books this month, which puts me up to a total of four. This is what I read:

2. Sima's Undergarments for Women by Ilana Stanger-Ross
3. Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
4. The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

Nikki in Niagara said...

Congrats Teddy! Looks like a great book!

I read 6 more this month putting me up to 9 books.

4. Terry Fox: A Story of Hope by Maxine Trottier
5. Neil Young's Greendale by Joshua Dysart
6. Wilfred Grenfell: Adventurer to the North by Vernon Howard
7. The Secret Fiend by Shane Peacock
8. Lukey Paul from Labrador by Adelaide Leitch
9. Death on the River by John Wilson

Heather said...

I'm not in the side bar likely because I haven't had a chance to update my blog and for that I understand. I'm following along anyway, reading a book by a Canadian author each month and in August read Green Guide by David Suzuki. What an engaging and informative book!! Lots of information and hints on how to be more green. 5 Library Ladder Rungs out of 5!


Melwyk said...

I forgot to send in my pictures! Aargh. I've met a few Canadian authors, but haven't taken a lot of photos. I saw Margaret Atwood at a book signing once but didn't get a photo like some of the others here!

But -- I read 3 books this month, for a total for four. Here are the ones I chose:

Fauna by Alissa York

Hey, Waitress! by Helen Potrebenko

Heaven is Small by Emily Schultz

Gavin said...

Two challenge books read in August:

3. The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel.

4. Animals by Don LePan

pussreboots said...

Just one: The Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef by Meomi.

Luanne said...

Just one for me this month, bringing my total to ....2.....

2. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Anonymous said...

Congrats Teddy! I love the way your shirt matches Atwood's ;)

As for the challenge, I've read a few books but have only managed to review two so far. You can find the links to the review on the page I've dedicated to the book challenge:


Swordsman said...

Hi everyone. After 3 Challenges I finally got aboard for the 4th. Glad to be here.

I thought that I not met any authors but did meet BB King, who obviously is more famous for his music. He wrote one of the best autobiographies that I have read called "Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B.B. King" I got his autograph, but on a CD.

This month I have 3 books,which is my total to date: Tecumseh: Shooting Star, Crouching Panther, Niagara 1814: The Final Invasion and Bear Child: The Life and Times of Jerry Potts.

See you next month.

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

I'm feeling rather jealous and inadequate looking at all these pictures of readers with Canadians authors. Aside from meeting Kit Pearson once and writing devoted fan letters to Gordon Korman as a child, my exposure to authors has been rather limited. I'm hoping to attend either the Calgary or Vancouver writers festivals this fall, so that might soon change!

As for the challenge, I just joined in August and I've only read three so far:

1. Why We Act Like Canadians by Pierre Berton
2. Great Expectations: Twenty-Four True Stories About Childbirth edited by Dede Crane and Lisa Moore
3. Women of the Raj by Margaret MacMillan

Anonymous said...

Hi! I recently joined the challenge, and have read and reviewed one book: Cockroach by Rawi Hage

Anonymous said...

Only one, alas.

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

Suzanne said...

Heading up to Churchill to see the polar bears is on my bucket list -- that is a great photo.

I only read/reviewed one Canadian book this month: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

The only author encounters I have had have been at book readings and other similar events. The Canadian Consulate in Chicago partnered with the Chicago Humanities Festival for a few years and held a twice annual Books and Brunch featuring a Canadian author, and through that I met Barbara Gowdy (The Romantic), Douglas Glover (Elle), Wayne Johnston (Baltimore's Mansion), Miriam Toews (a complicated kindness) and Jane Urquhart (A Map of Glass). Sadly they don't do them anymore.
I also met Margaret Atwood at a book signing in Chicago and I felt as if I were having an audience with the Queen.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm surprised you aren't kissing that polar bear, John. In every other picture you are planting a big smooch. I'm not sure if I should feel slightly slighted that you are merely smiling in the photo of us together.

But, I read one Canadian book last month, bringing my grand total for the year to ... one.

Miracle at Indian River

John Mutford said...

Hi everyone, I was so busy writing the post that I forgot to add my own progress. I'm now up to 6 (Baldy Mountain) adding:
4. Stacey May Fowles- Fear of Fighting (Ontario)
5. Joe Welsh- Jackrabbit Street (Saskatchewan)
6. Jill Foran- Mary Schaffer: An Adventurous Woman's Exploits in the Canadian Rockies (Alberta)

Anonymous said...

I got only one down this month and it's The Agency: A Spy in the House (

pooker said...

Too much work and not enough play for me this month. Just one to add for a total of five.

5. The Last Cowboy by Lee Gowan

Anonymous said...

I have three additional books to report this month. Reviews are linked.

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Girl Crazy by Russell Smith.

These bring my total to six.

Also, Come, Thou Tortoise won the First Novel Award in April 2010. I sent an email regarding this previously.

Anonymous said...

I have three additional books to report this month. Reviews are linked.

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Girl Crazy by Russell Smith.

These bring my total to six.

Also, Come, Thou Tortoise won the First Novel Award in April 2010. I sent an email regarding this previously.

jeanne said...

I read books by several Canadian authors in August, but only got around to reviewing one of them, The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Stephen Galloway. An amazing book that I encourage everyone to read:

That brings me to a grand total of 2 so far!

Anonymous said...

Did you see that post by Atwood on her blog about Yellowknife?
Immediatly thought of you!


Kerrie said...

I'm going to be slow John ,ut I've now read two. Mine will all be crime fiction.
4.9, A RULE AGAINST MURDER,  Louise Penny


Ordinary Reader said...

I haven't received any of the monthly emails, but I signed up in July so I'll try to remember to come back once a month and post what I've read. So far I've read
1. The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
2. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery,
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
4. Glass Voices by Carol Bruneau.

Glass Voices isn't on my original list of books to read for this challenge and I'm still committed to reading those so I'll just include this as an extra. It puts me at a total of 4 for now.

I must say that The Book Of Negroes is one of the best books I've ever read. I emailed Lawrence Hill to tell him that and he replied with a very kind email. What impressed me the most is that he recommended two other book titles that he had found to be good reads, both by other authors. In a world where self-promotion is almost a religion, it was refreshing to see such generosity. This guy is a class act.