Friday, October 01, 2010

The Canadian Book Challenge 4- 3rd Roundup!

Three months down!

Welcome to the 3rd round-up for the Canadian Book Challenge 4, where we get to check out all those Canadian books you read and reviewed in September.

It's award season once again. Did you check out the longlist for the Giller announced on the 20th?

* David Bergen for his novel THE MATTER WITH MORRIS, Phyllis Bruce Books/Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.
* Douglas Coupland for his novel PLAYER ONE, House of Anansi Press
* Michael Helm for his novel CITIES OF REFUGE, McClelland & Stewart
* Alexander MacLeod for his short story collection LIGHT LIFTING, Biblioasis
* Avner Mandelman for his novel THE DEBBA, Other Press/Random House of Canada
* Tom Rachman for his novel THE IMPERFECTIONISTS, The Dial Press/Random House of Canada
* Sarah Selecky for her short story collection THIS CAKE IS FOR THE PARTY, Thomas Allen Publishers
* Johanna Skibsrud for her novel THE SENTIMENTALISTS, Gaspereau Press
* Cordelia Strube for her novel LEMON, Coach House Books
* Joan Thomas for her novel CURIOSITY, McClelland & Stewart
* Jane Urquhart for her novel SANCTUARY LINE, McClelland & Stewart
* Dianne Warren for her novel COOL WATER, Phyllis Bruce Books/Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.
* Kathleen Winter for her novel ANNABEL, House of Anansi Press

Alas, I've read none of these books. I'm sure they might be fine picks, but I'm quite disgusted with the jury choice again. It features not one, but two non-Canadian jurors. We can't judge our own books now? A population of over 33 million and we can't find a juror that wouldn't be biased? Do we need outside validation? Worse, over at the Giller website, it states, "This is the 17th year of the prize and the second year that the prize has featured two non-Canadians as jurors." They're even bragging about it! As if this is a point of pride! Look how special our award is; non-Canadians are judging it!!! Grrr. But, I'm happy for the authors and wish them luck. The shortlist is announced on the 5th of this month.

Then there's the other giant of Canadian book awards: the Governor General's Literary Awards, with the finalists being announced on the 13th of this month.

Last month, as you'll recall, I asked people to read books that had won a Canadian Book Award this year, which means, with the two biggies above not yet awarded, we'd be able to highlight some of the other, perhaps smaller, perhaps lesser known awards. People who did so, and let me know that they were interested, qualified for an awesome prize pack from Random House, Canada:

Fauna by Alissa York

The Beauty of the Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

Sanctuary Line by Jane Urquhart

Ape House by Sara Gruen

And picking randomly from those that qualified, the winner is... BuriedInPrint. BuriedInPrint read Michael Crummey's Galore, which won the Canadian Author's Association Literary Award this year. Congratulations all around!

For next month's giveaway, I have 2 novels from Goose Lane Editions up for grabs (special thanks to author and Canadian Book Challenge participant Corey Redekop!):

1. Elaine McCluskey: Going Fast
"For this punchy, uproarious debut novel, Elaine McCluskey has created a world in which each character is in search of something — success, legitimacy, a way to deal with demons from the past — while the worlds they know — boxing, newspapers, athletic glory — are disappearing all around them.

Ownie Flanagan, a boxing trainer from the old days, is looking for “one real fighter” before he retires. He is not ready to give up or give in, to spend his days at home where his wife runs a cake-decorating business. He works at Tootsy’s, a Dartmouth gym that supports itself by training men with big ambition and vanity but little talent.

Scott MacDonald is a sports reporter with the local paper, assigned to the boxing beat and looking for a story when he meets Ownie. A former competitive kayaker, Scott knows what it is to win and what it is to push oneself to the limits of physical endurance. Yet, he’s stuck, unable to get over his glory days as a paddler, unsure what to do with his future. And he thinks he has found something in the boxing gym where Ownie trains. As he spends more and more time around Ownie and the fighters he trains, he spends less and less at the paper. Like the gym, the newsroom seems like something from a bygone era, whose inhabitants must adapt or be forced out.

Both Ownie and Scott are forced to re-examine themselves and their desires when Turmoil Davies arrives on the scene. A charismatic heavyweight from Trinidad with huge potential, Turmoil is larger-than-life, excessive, and enigmatic. With Ownie’s help, Turmoil moves up through the rankings and seems to single-handedly revive the sport of boxing in the region, until be begins to display some odd behaviour. Peopled with characters from the margins of society, Going Fast rings with devastating insight and wicked humour that displays all of the toughness of the sport. Employing a full measure of linguistic dexterity, McCluskey has created a larger-than-life world where illusions are as real and as unpredictable as the next ten-count


2. Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer: Perfecting
"With blood on his hands, Curtis Woolf flees his home in New Mexico for Canada, where he starts a religious commune, the Family. There he heals others and preaches pacifism while enduring the torment of his own damaged soul.

Then his lover, Martha, finds his gun and goes south to discover the truth, whatever that might be. Curtis sets out to bring her back, lest the Family fall apart.

In the half-light of a nursing home sits Hollis, dragon lord of a lost Mormon line, who has anointed Curtis, damned him, and now awaits his return.

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer's writing is full of dark humour and razor-sharp insight. Catching human fallibility head-on, she demands examination, confrontation, and a reckoning of pain with beauty.

In an effort to prove that I'm not xenophobic, despite my earlier rant against the choices for this year's Giller Jury, I want to offer one of these two books, which feature characters from Trinidad and New Mexico respectively, to someone who reaches out to those few non-Canadian participants in the 4th Canadian Book Challenge. Here's how it works: Find out who amongst us in a non-Canadian and visit their blog to leave a friendly comment. Come back here and let me know you've done so. I'll pick a random winner from those who qualify. If you win, you and your non-Canadian partner will each get one of the books above. The catch? You have to work together to decide who gets which. Good luck!

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 September? 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...

Woohoo, I like this month's pseudo-mini-challenge! I'll be doing that later on this weekend, I think.

For now, here's what I read this month:

8. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
9. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
10. Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley
11. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley
12. Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley
13. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley
14. Lucy Unstrung by Carole Lazar
15. Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming An Activist by Jane Drake & Ann Love

Which means that I've officially read 15 Canadian books so far in total!

John Mutford said...

Wow Carina! The first to finish! Good on you! (Now keep going!)

As for me, I'm up to Mont D'Iberville, 7 books:
7. Richard Comely and George Freeman: Captain Canuck

gautami tripathy said...

I have read three till date:

1)The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley

2)Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

3)The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan

Will check out some of the books read/reviewed by others!

Bernadette said...

OK so Carina's comment is kinda intimidating given she has read more books than needed and I have read a paltry three (well three and a half I'm being pedantic but that half won't count 'til next month). On the bright side I read double the amount of Canadian books in September as I did in August so I'm improving ;) This month's titles

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

The Devil's in the Details by Mary Jane Maffini

By my calculations this puts me on Ishpatina Ridge

pussreboots said...

One for me this month. Queen of Candesce by Karl Schroeder. That brings me up to a whopping 2.

Bybee said...

All the books up for the Giller look really good.

I didn't get anything Canadian read this month! I'm still at 4 books, but I picked up two things to read.

Anonymous said...

Like you say, if you haven't reviewed it, it doesn't count. I have finally gotten around to actually reviewing some of the books that I've read. My total reviewed books would be 11, so far. More to come.

1. Coal and Roses by P.K. Page

2. Jimmie Dale and the Blue Envelope Murder by Frank L. Packard

3. Love You To Death by Gail Bowen

4. Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock

5. The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick by Morley Torgov

6. Shall We Join the Ladies? by Eric Nicol

7. A Scar is Born by Eric Nicol

8. Rhymes of a Red Cross Man by Robert W. Service

9. The Curse of the Labrador Duck by Glen Chilton

10. Anatomy for the Artist by Jessica Hiemstra-Van der Horst

11. Motorcycles & Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor

The Book Chick said...

I'm doing the "slow but steady" thing for this challenge, and have read one new book, for a total of 5. My new addition this month was:
5. YOU comma Idiot by Doug Harris.

Nikki in Niagara said...

I've read 9 more Canadian authored books this month which puts me at 17 books total. I didn't include one book in my official count as the author was Canadian but the non-fiction topic was too American.

This is what I read in Sept:

x. The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start by Elizabeth MacLeod
10. The Dark Deeps by Arthur Slade
11. Brain Camp by Susan Kim. Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
12. Hudson by Janice Weaver
13. The Body in the Tower by Y.S. Lee
14. All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine by Monica Kulling
15. Ticket to Curlew by Celia Barker Lottridge
16. The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines by Jo Ann Yhard
17. Room by Emma Donoghue

Corey said...

Three more, so six so far:

The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce

Seven Good Reasons Not to Be Good by John Gould

The World More Full of Weeping by Robert J. Wiersema

Chrisbookarama said...

Just 2 this month for me bringing me up to 4:

Her Mother's Daughter

Witchcraft: Tales, Beliefs and Superstitions from the Maritimes

Jodie Robson said...

Very tentatively, might the inclusion of non-Canadian judges for the Giller Prize be an attempt to increase international interest in Canadian books? If it were, and it worked, I'd support the idea...

I've just been looking at what other people have been reading and discovered that Room, which I have on my wishlist, is Canadian! I've heard/seen several people talking about it here in the UK and not once has that been mentioned. So I think my suggestion stands, and Can Lit really does need more international attention.

I’ve reviewed another four books, taking my total to six. They are here:

Neuromancer by William Gibson
Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

Nikki in Niagara said...

Geranium, Emma Donoghue's citizenship is probably not discussed much in the UK as they are sure to want to claim her as one of their own. Which they have a right to do. She was born in Ireland, moved to England as an adult and is now an immigrant, living in Canada for over 10 years. So we claim she's Canadian and I'm sure "over there" she's claimed as Irish or British.

I know we Canadians like to make noise and still claim our ex-pats as Canadian! LOL

Anonymous said...

Many of you are flying through this challenge. Soon, reading your reviews might be like reading a book!
I've read a few but this month I reviewed only 2 books: Good Bones and Strange Things by Atwood, which brings me to a total of 4.
You can find links to the reviews on this page:
That mini-challenge should be fun too!


Anonymous said...

Nicola, there is no doubt about it, Emma Donoghue is Irish! ;)

Steve said...

My third book is the wonderful Galore by Michael Crummey.

Kate said...

I've read 3 more for a total of 7.

5. The Gunny Sack by M. G. Vassanji

6. Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

7. Room by Emma Donoghue

Astute readers will note that I am considering Emma Donoghue to be Canadian! Though the book was set in America.

I too have not read any of the Giller Longlist; and there are a few books that I have read that I am a bit surprised not to see on it. Once the shortlist is announced next week, I will try to read my way through it before the prize is announced. Stay tuned for my reviews!

pooker said...

Congrats to Carina and Nicola for finishing. I'm feeling quite slothful in comparison. Just two more for me bringing me to a total of seven:

6. The Circus Performers' Bar by David Arnason

7. Juliana and the Medicine Fish by Jake MacDonald

Teena in Toronto said...

I read five Canadian books this time, all mysteries by Mary Jane Maffini:

"The Cluttered Corpse" (2008)
"Speak Ill of the Dead" (1999)
"The Icing on the Corpse" (2001)
"The Devil's in the Details" (2004)
"The Dead Don't Get Out Much" (2005)

That brings my total read to 15. Whoohoo!

Shan said...

I read only one Canadian book this month, which brings my total to 6.

Room by Emma Donoghue

I was debating the "Canadian-ness" of this book but then it was nominated for the Rogers Writer's Trust prize so that sealed it for me!

Not many this month, but I'm working through the Giller longlist so watch out for me next month!

Anonymous said...

Out of a long list of Canadian books TBR, I've managed to read and review two:
The Outlander by Gil Adamson and
Hey Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland.

Buried In Print said...

Here are the books I've read so far:
1. Keith Oatley's Therefore Choose (2010)
2. Maureen Jennings' Except the Dying (1997)
3. Nicole Brossard's Fences in Breathing (2007) Trans. Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood (2009)
4. Noelle Broughton’s Margaret Laurence: A Gift of Grace (2006)
5. Shyam Selvadurai’s Swimming in the Monsoon Sea (2005)
6. Michael Crummey's Galore (2009)
7. Giles Blunt's Blackfly Season (2005)
8. Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall's Ghosted (2010)
9. Doug Harris' You comma Idiot (2010)

So far I haven't read any of the ones that I specifically intended to read for the challenge (isn't that always the way, once you list something it taints it somehow), but I've really enjoyed the books listed above.

And, wow, I am t-h-r-i-l-l-e-d to have been randomly drawn to receive the Random House books. Absolutely thrilled. Thank you very much indeed!

Gavin said...

I only managed to read one Canadian book in September but there are many titles on the Giller list that I want to read. I'm waiting for them to be published in the U.S. ( I am one of those foreigners.)

5.Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King

Anonymous said...

I reviewed two interesting debut novels, both published in 2009. I'm at five books now.

The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha by Andrea Gunraj

The Strike by Anand Mahadevan

The Gunraj review appeared in the Canadian feminist magazine Herizons.

Unknown said...

I haven't forgotten about The Book Mine Set Canadian Book Challenge. I have been reading but not reviewing. This month, I got off my duff and reviewed one of the Giller Longlist Annabel by Kathleen Winter. (Yeah me!) I am determined to write some more reviews for next month's total. Alas, now I sit shamefully at only ONE Canadian book read and reviewed.

Janet in Toronto said...

I've got nothing to add to my Canadian content this month either, but I must give a two-thumbs-up for Diane Warren's COOL WATER, an extremely enjoyable read that was one of my early entries.

My review is here:

Suzanne said...

I've read Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

And if it counts as Canadian I've also read Room by Emma Donoghue

I live in the US and have dual US/Canadian citizenship -- does my blog count towards the visit?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm all the way up to a grand total of 2 Canadian books now! Yay me.

Here's the one I read last month:
The Year of the Flood by the always sexy Margaret Atwood.

Amy said...

I have two Canadian reviews this month (and I read Annabel, but will review it next month - SUCH a great book!).

1. Losing Faith by Denise Jaden, a YA novel about a girl trying to find the truth behind her sister's death.
2. Footprints to the Stars by Thommy Thrasher, a biography of growing up in remote Northern Canada, in the Northwest Territories.

Wanda said...

Two more from me for this roundup:

4. The Ladies Lending Library by Janice Kulyk Keefer

5. Dream Wheels by Richard Wagamese

Melwyk said...

I agree with Janet in Toronto about Dianne Warren's Cool Water. It's an amazing book & I was so glad to see it longlisted; I read it for the last CBC and it was one of my favourites.

Anyhow, on to my reads for this month -- bringing me up to a total of 9 books read, or to Barbeau Peak.

The Factory Voice by Jeanette Lynes (2009)

The Hunting Ground by Lise Tremblay (2006)

Where the River Narrows by Aimée Laberge (2003)

The Wind Seller by Rachael Preston (2006)

The Sky is Falling by Caroline Adderson (2010)

Unknown said...

Oh I am just soooooo good! Got another review done -- so I guess I am now at two read and reviewed.
Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen was a lovely read. She is an amazing writer.

Steph said...

Congrats, BooksInPrint on winning the prize!

My books for Sept were:
ROOM by Emma Donoghue,
Sandra Beck by John Lavery,
Plain Kate by Erin Bow.

I think my total is 6, then.

The others were:
The Carnivore by Mark Sinnett
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark by Christopher Meades

...and I can't for the life of me remember how to make these titles link to my reviews!! Grrr. If you go to and click on book reviews in the category widget, you'll find them. I'm sorry!

Steph said...

LOL! Whoops, that should have been a congrats to BuriedInPrint, not BooksInPrint! :)

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

Only one for me in September. It was a tough reading month but October is shaping up nicely: I just finished Douglas Coupland's Player One yesterday and am starting on Sanctuary Line.

4. The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

Anonymous said...

Got a few more done this month!
2. Watching Jimmy
3. Watch This Space

raidergirl3 said...

I feel like I've crossed some major Canadian Classics off my list, including one Giller winner.

3. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams - Wayne Johnston
4. Barney's Version - Mordecai Richler
5. The Blue Castle - LM Montgomery
6. The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood

Swordsman said...

Hey, I just 1 book read this month bringing my total to 4. I decided to read a Giller list book for next month, Douglas Coupland's PLAYER ONE. This month I read The Canadian Century, moving out of America's shadow.

Luanne said...

Chugging right along - I'm up to #3- but what a read it was!
Room by Emma Donoghue

The only one I've read off the Giller long list was Cool Water, I really enjoyed it.

Jules said...

I read two books this month bring my total up to 7. So far so good!

My Books

6) Bitten - Kelly Armstrong

7)Chef - Jaspreet Singh

gypsysmom said...

I only read one book that counts for my challenge (i.e. to read Canadian authors that I have never read before)
The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren

gypsysmom said...

Sorry, I forgot to say that that puts me a 4 books read.

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

I finished my first Canadian fiction book since the challenge started:

1. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

I also read Maude Barlow's Blue Covenant but that's not lit! :)

Giraffe Days

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

Uh, I see other people are counting Emma Donoghue's Room towards their goal, so I will too! That makes 2 books read for the challenge so far. :)

Lesley said...

My first comment must have had some bad html in it. Here goes again:

I've read two books thus far for the challenge and reviewed them both in September:

Cape Random AKA Random Passage by Bernice Morgan

Theatre of Fish by John Gimlette

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

Okay, so I went back and read what constitutes a Canadian Lit book and saw that we can include non-ficiton too, so here's my third from September:

3. Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water by Maude Barlow

Giraffe Days

Heather said...

I have one to add, my total now is 2.

2. Motorcycles & Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor

Carina said...

@John: Thanks! And I definitely will.

@Bernadette: Please don't feel intimidated! I just happened to read almost exlusively Canadian books for a few weeks this month, since I was trying to read the Scott Pilgrim series. (Plus, those 6 are manga, so they're really short.)

@Everyone: Thank you for the congratulations, and good luck to everyone!

Kerrie said...

John, I've made 3 so far
I have a summary post here
3. FEAR THE WORST, Linwood Barclay

Inkslinger said...

Somehow (what with moving house) I missed last month's roundup (I read The Cellist of Sarajevo by Galloway and Sharon McCartney's For and Against ), but my grand total is up to six so far.

For this roundup: Guy Gavriel Kay's
and Practical Jean by Trevor Cole.

Chrisbookarama said...

Ok John, I left Gautami a friendly comment on her Tricking of Freya review. I've heard her say it's hard to get books in India so pick us!

jeanne said...

Hi John, Didn't know if this is the right place to comment on the book giveaway, but I did visit a non-Canadian's blog and left a nice note! I looked at Bernadette's review of The Taken and now I am dying to start this series by Inger Ash Wolfe. Nice to find a new mystery writer.

Zoë said...

I don't know how to make links in my comment but this is what I have read so far for the challenge:

1) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
2) Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis
3) Ape House by Sara Gruen
4) Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories by Vincent Lam

My updates are posted here:

So who is a non-Canadian anyway?

Heather said...

Ho John, thanks for the reminder. I went over to visit Bybee. I have been a follower of her's for quite a while now and enjoy her selection of books and her subsequent reviews. It would be great for her to win as she does seem to have a bit of a challenge finding books at times.

Here's the post I commented on :

gypsysmom said...

Hey John, I just visited Leslie's blog, A Life in Books, and left a comment. Any chance we can qualify for those Goose Lane books?

raidergirl3 said...

yes, thanks for the reminder!

I left a comment on Kerrie's Mysteries in Paradise, suggesting another Canadian crime novel. She's going all mysteries in her CBC challenge.

Also on my list of read books:
7.Room - Emma Donoghue
8.You Comma Idiot - Doug Harris

Teddy Rose said...

John, I left a friendly comment (I'm always friendly) on Gautami's post:

I picked her not only because I follow her blog but I also know that it is hard for her to get Canadian books.

Teddy Rose said...

I made it to BALDY MOUNTAIN in October. It took me awhile but was a great climb with great views. Here's what I read in October:

1.Ape House by Sara Gruen
2.Bow Grip by Ivan E. Coyote
3.Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving
4.Tales From the Farm by Jeff Lemire