Monday, January 31, 2011

Reader's Diary #684- Langston Hughes: Thank You, M'am

I've long considered myself a fan of Langston Hughes' poetry, but it was only recently that I discovered that Hughes also wrote short stories.

So, like all curious readers, I had to check it out. "Thank you, M'am" is about a teenage boy who tries to steal a purse from a lady named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. However, he soon finds that he has bitten off more than he can chew.

It's not a bad story, it's well written in terms of description, dialogue and premise, but Jones' character is somewhat cliched. Tough, wise, spunky and yet kind black women aren't necessarily boring, but when we've seen them this often in TV shows and movies, it's hard to take such a character seriously anymore. Perhaps when Hughes wrote this story, characters such as Jones were unknown to many people in the world, but I can't say she holds up well today.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reader's Diary #683- Liam O'Donnell (writer), Mike Deas (illustrator): Wild Ride

I've learned a lot through fiction, I really have. I don't set out to learn anything from such books but sometimes it's the gravy. You have to be able to determine which facts are facts, of course, but that's part of the fun.

However, when a novel sets out to teach, it's icky. It's boring, it's forced, and annoying. It feels like the author is trying to pull a fast one over on me. "I would have written non-fiction, but you never would have read that, so I've cleverly disguised it as something entertaining."

I don't think kids are any less attuned to these attempts either. Sure they'll tolerate it. Aunt Rosalyn gave it to them for Christmas. Mr. Greenham read it to them in school. But it's never going to have the appeal of say Harry Potter, nor the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, and they'll learn more from both of those titles because they are genuinely interested!

O'Donnell and Deas's Wild Ride is basically a Danger Bay episode with all too frequent interruptions about how to survive in the woods. Devin, Marcus, and Nadia are siblings on their way to visit their environmentalist parents in the BC wilderness when their plane crashes. Their pilot is killed and their only adult companion is a government official named Wiley who... here's how you make an arm sling... carries a brief case. Devin's father has told them never to trust a guy who carries a briefcase into the woods, and it turns out, he's right! Fat, bald Wiley's been taking bribes from those mean ol' logging companies, don't you know. Maybe predictable has become the new unpredictable, I'm not sure... and here's how to walk safely across a stream... and here's how to signal a rescue plane... here's how to fend off a bear... Yes, it's full of great advice, but good Lord, so are Girl Guide/ Boy Scouts handbooks. And they're far more entertaining.

As for Deas's illustrations? Average comic book fare. I suspect overzealous teachers thinking they'll be hip to the graphic novel craze will think this book is the cat's pajamas. But just like all novels are not created equal, nor are all graphic novels. Kids know. Graphic novel fans know. Anyone not pushing an educational and/or environmentalist agenda knows.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Wednesday Compare #8- Tom Sawyer VERSUS Holden Caulfield

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Huckleberry Finn VERSUS Tom Sawyer), with a final score of 3-2 was Tom Sawyer.

In all honesty, I can't really weigh in on whom I think is better between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I remember more about Tom Sawyer and know that I read about him first, so I guess I'd vote along those lines. Though, sorry to say Barb, I've never been into Rush. I know, it's akin to saying I don't watch hockey and I spell colour without a u, but I've just never been able to get into Geddy Lee and co. Their "Tom Sawyer" almost convinces me that I should have voted for Finn. Anyway, while I move into a protective bunker somewhere between Arviat and Bobcaygeon, consider next week's challenger.

Vote in the comment section below before Feb 1st: Who is the better character?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reader's Diary #682- Dorothy Parker: A Telephone Call

I'm almost ashamed to admit this because I'm normally not a superstitious person. However, for the past half a year or so, I've been hounded by the number 11. Yes, this is where I reveal that I'm loony tunes. Bonkers. Off the rails.

It seems that every time I feel the need to check the clock, it's always 11 past the hour. 6:11, 9:11, 2:11. Why is this? I look up and ack! There's that 11 again. I'm a rational person. I've come up with theories. Maybe I'm just noticing the 11s more. Somewhere along the way it happened for a day or two just as a series of coincidences, my mind noticed it, and now looks for it and ignores all those times I probably look up and see that it's 2:30 or 4:19 or whatever. Or maybe my internal clock and my subconscious are tag-teaming like a couple of practical jokesters. I don't buy into numerology and am pretty skeptical about anything considered supernatural, but I still found myself checking the internet to see if anyone else had experienced such a thing. It turns out that a few people feel plagued by 9:11 or 11:11, but no one else reports on all 11 pasts. Silly I know, but come Nov 11th, 2011 at 11:11, while the rest of you are having your minute of silence for the fallen war heroes, I'm likely to be hiding under my bed.

Why bring this up now? It's not the 11th after all. It's that Dorothy Parker touches on superstition in her short story "A Telephone Call." In this simply premised story, a woman is driving herself crazy waiting for a phone call from her boyfriend. She's a pretty pathetic individual, too caught up in the dating game, the "proper" roles of men and women, too dependent on her man. Still, I'm sure many of us have found ways to go against our better instincts when it comes to dating rituals (God, how I don't miss those days). I think that's what makes the character in Parker's story so compelling and yet grating at the same time. We see ourselves and yet defend ourselves by suggesting this character is a parody of our most pathetic moments, the slope we fear slipping down.

Parker's narrator is capable of rational thought. Perhaps he's not calling because he's lost interest, perhaps he meant for her to call him, perhaps he's too busy, perhaps he simply forgot. But in her desperation she also turns to superstition. If she doesn't think about it, he'll call. If she counts to 500 by 5s, maybe that would work. And she also tries bargaining with God.

With the superstition and the emphasis on the woman's moment of pathetic hopelessness, I first thought that Parker was making a pretty bold statement about faith in God. Was she implying that faith was as silly as superstition? Possibly, but then maybe she's poking more fun at the way some people practice their religion rather than faith itself. I'm not sure.

In any case, "A Telephone Call" is an interesting, funny, sad and annoying story all at once. It doesn't really go anywhere, but that's sort of the point.

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reader's Diary #681- William Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Shakespeare certainly enjoys the reputation as one of, if not the sole, all time greats, doesn't he? Or then again, seeing as he's dead, I guess he doesn't enjoy much.

It's that reputation as a legend that first drove me to attempt finishing the Complete Works of Shakespeare (very slowly-- one play every other month). But I've come to learn that just because it's Shakespeare, doesn't guarantee its genius. I, for one, appreciate that realization. That the man could miss the mark on the rare occasion makes me appreciate his good plays all the more. (For the record, I realize that my dislike isn't proof of a play's inadequacies. I really didn't like King Lear, but there's plenty of consensus that it's a work of art.)

In case you haven't guessed, I'm not a big fan of The Merry Wives of Windsor. I didn't hate it mind you, but the farcical love triangles, misunderstandings, slapstick, and match-making mishaps felt like Shakespeare pandering. It reminded me of Much Ado About Nothing which in turn reminded me of Three's Company. The funny thing is, I liked Three's Company. Then again, I never watched Three's Company expecting genius writing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great Wednesday Compare #8- Huckleberry Finn VERSUS Tom Sawyer

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Oliver Twist VERSUS Huckleberry Finn), with a final score of 6-4 was Huckleberry Finn.

Another close match up last week. I'm not sure how I feel about the outcome as I'm yet to read Oliver Twist. I think I saw the movie as a kid, or else I've seen the gruel scene parodied so much I just feel like I've seen it. Maybe I should read it to my daughter. For some reason she's drawn towards orphan stories. Those of you that have read it-- I assume that's everyone but me-- is it something kids would enjoy? And is the dated language perhaps too difficult for a child?

Anyway, this week's match up you could probably see coming from a mile away. No, it's not Huckleberry Finn versus Huckleberry Hound.

Vote in the comment section below before Jan 18th: Who is the better character?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reader's Diary #680- Lawrence Hill: Meet You at the Door

The first time I visited Ontario with my wife, who was from there, I heard her sigh one night after hearing a train blow in the distance. She hadn't realized that after moving to Newfoundland for university, she'd been missing the sound-- a comfortable, soothing sound that reminded her of falling asleep as a young girl. While it wasn't a familiar sound to me, I could relate. My childhood comfort sound was the foghorn.

This week I found myself once more relating to an unfamiliar train story. Lawrence Hill's "Meet You at the Door," in the most recent edition of The Walrus revolves around a young mixed race man who is relatively new on his job as a train operator. Note, this is not the same as a conductor. A train operator works as a go-between, relaying messages back and forth between a dispatcher and a conductor. The way I've described it here doesn't sound too stressful, but Hill does a great job of showing just how wrong that is.

As I said, I can relate. For a brief time I found myself working in ops (operations) for an airline in Iqaluit. Pilots would radio in and tell me when they expected to arrive, I'd arrange a parking spot and for cargo handlers. They'd leave and I'd record their pushback times, estimated arrival times in their next destination, and record everything. Again, doesn't sound too stressful. And in all honesty, it probably wasn't as stressful as Joel Williams's job in Hill's story, who seemed not only to take on operations, but the equivalent of air traffic as well, which, thank God, I didn't do. However there were days... oh man, there were days... let's just say, when personalities clashed, when a typo didn't seem so minor, when I felt shot as the middleman, and when the cheap flight perks just didn't seem worth it. I can't imagine adding personal trauma and race conflicts into the equation. But that out of the equation, I feel I can safely say, Hill got it right.

And though it had a lot of autobiographical stuff in it, I think Hill's power of description should be commended. I can't say the same for the plot, which seemed to be somewhat unfocused and ended on a forced feel good note.

Fortunately, the great descriptions, the rich characters, and the setting, were enough to save the story.

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Great Wednesday Compare #8- Oliver Twist VERSUS Huckleberry Finn

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Ebenezer Scrooge VERSUS Oliver Twist), with a final score of 5-4 was Oliver Twist.

Close one! I really expected that, given the season, Scrooge had it in the bag. He's such an iconic Christmas character, I wondered if people would consider him a iconic literary character. I believe so. Who doesn't root for Scrooge toward the end to change his ways. He's flawed but he realizes it and tries to make amends. It's hard not to get behind someone like that.

Any favourite Scrooge portrayals? Mine is Bill Murray easily. That Bill Murray brand sarcasm looks wonderful on old Scrooge.

This week we turn to the 19th century for another child character. Though this one's been in the news a lot lately...

Vote in the comment section below before Jan 11th: Who is the better character?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Reader's Diary #679- Von Allan: the road to god knows...

Late last year, Canadian Book Challenge participant Pooker boldly asked graphic novelist Von Allan if he'd donate a couple of his books as a challenge prize. He did, I ran a contest, and another CBC participant, Wanda, won it. Upon announcing the winner I commented that it took a lot of restraint on my part not to read it first. I swear I wasn't hinting for a favour, but Wanda very generously offered that I read it first, before shipping it off, and I gratefully accepted-- trying my hardest not to bend the spine too much, smudge it with potato grease and so on. Hopefully Wanda will find it in tip top shape.

the road to god knows... is a story of a girl coping with the emotional ups and downs and unpredictability of living with a schizophrenic mother.

However, it doesn't really start off that way and I think that's why I enjoyed it. At first the story seems to be about whether or not Marie, a sweet but somewhat outcast girl, will earn enough cash to attend a professional wrestling event with her best friend. But then the story is essentially hijacked by her mother's mental illness. I imagine this must be exactly how it feels for some children whose parents suffer such ailments. It's sad and heavy, but fortunately Von Allan adds enough hope and light to lighten the load without resorting to unrealistic cures or schmaltzy sitcom embraces.

I wasn't totally crazy about the art, however. Stylistically, it's similar to Daniel Clowes' work on Ghost World, except something about the poses and movement seemed stiff and awkward. Walking people looked posed and gestures occasionally seemed strange or out of sync with the emotion being conveyed. It was distracting, to be sure, but fortunately not enough to ruin the story.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Reader's Diary #678- Donald Barthelme: City of Churches

A while ago, as a Short Story Monday review, JoAnn looked at Donald Barthelme's "City of Churches." Last week, Teddy Rose had a go at it. Both made it sound sufficiently interesting and so I too broke down and read it.

Yes conformity. It's what keeps us us. It's also what built the City of Churches, a town in which every building is a church. People live in churches. The barbershop is in a church, the Board of Education is in a church, and newcomer Cecelia will soon learn that her car rental establishment is also to be in a church. Except Cecelia is not sure she's ready for this place...

Though it would have been the obvious approach to take this story as a commentary on organized religion, I found myself actually thinking more about consumer culture. We wear advertisements on our clothing, we dress alike, we're all told what to eat, what to drive, what books to read, and what music to listen to. In Barthelme's story you might be a Lutheran or a Baptist. Coke or Pepsi?

I liked Barthelme's story for inspiring this unexpected train of thought, but I wasn't crazy about the ending. The story is mostly the slow revealing about the creepy eccentricities of the City of Churches, but near the end Cecelia's character begins to show some development, threatening to overshadow the city itself. Then it ends abruptly. Cecelia needs a novel.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Saturday Word Play: Punctual Titles

Can you name the titles by the authors below based only on the punctuation?

1. Judy Blume ? ’,
2. Lynn Truss ,
3. Douglas Coupland !
4. M.G. Vassanji –
5. Stephen King ' '
6. Alice Munro , , , ,
7. Mary Shelley ;,
8. Robert Munsch -?
9. Jonathan Goldstein , !
10. Don McKay /

Feel free to answer all at home, but please answer only one in the comment section below. That will give 9 others a chance to play along.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Reader's Diary #677- Linden MacIntyre: The Bishop's Man

Of all the angles that Linden MacIntyre could have taken with The Bishop's Man I was quite surprised that he didn't.

The story of a Catholic priest who specializes in brushing deviant priests under the carpet, this could have gone in many different directions. It could have been grotesquely graphic. It could have been a scathing indictment of the Catholic Church. It could have been an overly forgiving piece about the fallibility of humankind.

That MacIntyre didn't choose any of these approaches was not only surprising, but pleasantly surprising. Not that it was a pleasant book, topic-wise, but the unexpectedness was appreciated.

Set primarily in small town Nova Scotia, I was impressed with how real the people and the setting felt. Growing up in small town Newfoundland, I can say that MacIntyre got it right. Except for the Catholic stuff. I can't comment on that because I have no idea. The town I grew up in had no Catholic church at all, nor did any of the surrounding communities. Admittedly, until Mount Cashel hit the news, I didn't even know we had Catholics in the province. So, the idea of families befriending a priest, or trusting one, as they do in The Bishop's Man, and as many do in real life, is a relatively new idea to me.

Which may have been part of the reason why I enjoyed The Bishop's Man. Father Duncan MacAskill, the Bishop's man himself, is a very human character. Flawed and complex, the more I got to know about him, the more questions I had. Excellent. But as I said above, this wasn't about forgiving people simply for their humanity. This is a story about the loss of trust. Mistrusting others. Mistrusting oneself. It's a cancer. While the abusive priests in the Bishop's Man are the carcinogens, this really isn't their story. Thank God.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Great Wednesday Compare #8- Ebenezer Scrooge VERSUS Oliver Twist

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Jacob Marley VERSUS Ebeneezer Scrooge), with a final score of 10-2 was Ebenezer Scrooge.

Sorry I didn't post the results last week. It being Christmas and all, I was very busy. I'm not entirely shocked with the results, but I was interested in what people had to say about the two. Certainly I agree with Nicola that a ghost fettered in chains makes for quite an image, but on the other hand I agree with those that say Scrooge was more developed. Static versus dynamic. A Christmas Carol, by the way, is the only Dickens I've ever read. Shocking, I know. But that won't stop me from throwing yet another Dickens character into the ring.

Vote in the comment section below before Jan 11th: Who is the better character?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Reader's Diary #676- Alexandre Dumas: Solange

As I was compiling my end of year short story list last week, I realized that I didn't read as many classic authors that I thought. I like reading contemporary writers, but I'd rather have more of a mix. And with that goal in mind, I've chosen a short story by 19th century French author Alexandre Dumas. The only Dumas I'd read before was The Count of Monte Cristo and I'm pretty sure it was an adaptation as it was when I was a child.

"Solange" is subtitled "Dr. Ledru's Story of the Reign of Terror" and thus began my sudden education into the French Revolution. It begins with Dr. Ledru innocently walking across a street when a woman screams for his help. She is being charged for not having a pass and under suspicion of being an aristocrat. During the Reign of Terror, such offenses as these usually meant you were headed to the guillotine. (Is that a pun?) When Dr. Ledru approaches she says that he can vouch for her and while the doctor doesn't know her at all, claims that her name is Solange and winds up saving her life. The two fall in love. Then the story takes a sharp left turn.

I enjoyed "Solange" quite a bit, both for the historical side and the wild plot. The ending is a bit too drawn out and I was able to predict the outcome too early before it was revealed, but otherwise it was an enjoyable read, albeit quite dark.

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

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Reader's Diary #675: Neil Gaiman (writer) and P. Craig Russell (Adaptation and Illustration): Coraline

Last year, after reading a graphic novel adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, I lamented that I wasn't sure whether or not it lived up to the author's original work. I made a promise at the time that I'd not read an adaptation again without reading the original first. Ooops.

Still, I enjoyed Coraline the graphic novel on its own. In fact, and though graphic novel buffs would balk at such a suggestion, I like it better than Gaiman's Sandman stories.

Coraline Jones, a young girl who has moved into a fourplex with her parents, finds herself bored and somewhat ignored by her busy parents. After trying to entertain herself with her elderly and eccentric neighbours, she stumbles upon a secret door which leads to an alternate version of her current world. At first the other word equivalents seem superior to her real world, especially her "other" mother and father who have far more time to dote on her. Of course, as most of us have come to learn, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is and the other world turns sour. Coraline's "other" mom wants to sew buttons into her eyes and to keep her forever.

It's a great blending of elements from traditional children's novels (The Narnia books and Alice in Wonderland come to mind) and originality (the eye buttons is a delightfully creepy new touch). P. Craig Russell, while not overly adventurous stylistically, adds to the eerie atmosphere by emphasizing shadows and pacing the story in a way that builds the suspense and tension. In a particular favourite page of mine, the largest panel is simply an old-fashioned doorknob with a shadow slicing diagonally across the top. You dread what's behind the door but are so tempted to look through the keyhole or turn the knob.

I said that I hadn't read the original novel and so couldn't compare the two. However, I did watch the movie shortly after. Comparing those were quite difficult. Besides very different changes to the story (not the least of which was the addition of a same age buddy character in the film version), Russell and director Henry Selick had two different visions. Certainly Selick's visuals are more interesting with a cartoonish, gothic (he also directed James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas, even though producer Tim Burton seems to get all the credit as producer). Selick's transformation of the other mother into a skeletal spider woman over the progress of the movie would certainly lend itself to the nightmares of the younger and more sensitive members of the audience. On the other hand, Russell's realism would make the tale creepier for the more mature readers, who know that fear is a personal thing. Sometimes are own imaginations are scarier than any Hollywood score can conjure up.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Canadian Book Challenge 4- 6th Roundup!

Happy New Year's everyone! I hope everyone is excited for the new year and that those of you nursing hangovers today aren't in too much pain.

Since this is the half way point, I figured it was a good time to do a midterm report. Below you'll find all the titles that have been read up to December 1st. As you add your links today, I'll be adding those in as well.

Before that, let's get some contests out of the way. Last month you were asked to either add a recipe in the comment section or review a cookbook. I should apologize at this point. In the excitement of the cookbook challenge, I said last month that "we've not had a cookbook reviewed in 4 years of the challenge!" A few people have written to set me and my incredibly shoddy memory straight. We've had plenty in fact. Niranjana and Steph both had, back in July (see below), and possibly more. I threw Niranjana and Steph's names into the hat for this month's draw, as my way of apologizing. So, without further ado, the winner of 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men by Michael Bonacini, Massimo Capra and Jason Parsons, generously donated by Pooker, is...

Now onto next month's contest. If you can find these quotes:

1. "It's a brilliant and complex story that illustrates how our freedoms are lost when we begin to deny personal equality and allow the state to decide what we will do and who we will be."

2. "I think this character is going to be remembered and celebrated for a long, long time. The book's timeless message will be just as profound 50 years from now."

3. "If I were Canadian, I could probably make some remark about the novel being intrinsic to Canadian sense of identity, or the LGBT community, or hazard that Eve is a metaphor for the maturation of the province – but I have no idea, it’s only a glimmer in my immigrant perception that this may be the case, so I’ve confined my thoughts to the story itself as much as possible."

4. "But I wholly enjoyed all the inappropriate choices I’ve made in reading this in a cool and bright September, nearly eight years after I read the second John Cardinal and Lise Delorme mystery."

tell me the reviewer and the book (email me!) and you will have your name submitted into a random draw for two books donated by Goose Lane Editions, courtesy of Corey Redekop:

Darryl Whetter's The Push & The Pull
Keith Oatley's Therefore Choose

Here are the July-December reviews, from A-Z:

Abdou, Angie

- The Bone Cage (Pooker)

Adamson, Gil
- The Outlander (Jules, Prairiejournals)

Adderson, Caroline
- The Sky is Falling (Melwyk)

Allan, Von
- the road to god knows... (Pooker)
- Stargazer: Volume One (Pooker)

Anderson, R.J.
- The Wayfarer (Nicola)

Anderson-Dargatz, Gail
- The Cure for Death By Lightning (Mynovelreviews)

Ann, Cathrine
- Beautiful Buttons (Luanne)

Anthony, Joelle
- Restoring Harmony (Literary Wife)

Armstrong, Kelly
- Bitten (Jules)

Arnason, David
- The Circus Performer's Bar (Pooker)

Atwood, Margaret
- Cat's Eye (Shannon)
- Good Bones (Emeire)
- The Handmaid's Tale (Ordinary Reader)
- Moral Disorder (Emeire)
- Oryx and Crake (Carina)
- Payback(Emeire)
- The Robber Bride (Inkslinger)
- Strange Things (Emeire)
- The Tent (Emeire)
- The Year of the Flood (Jules, Carina, Barbara, Raidergirl, John)

Badoe, Adwao
- Between Sisters (Amy)

Baillie, Martha
- The Incident Report (Nathalie)

Bakht, Natasha (editor)
- Belonging and Banishment: Being Muslim in Canada (Carina)

Barclay, Linwood
- Fear the Worst (Kerrie)
- Never Look Away (Teena), Kerrie)

Barlow, Maude
- Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (Shannon)

Barnard, Tanya and Sarah Kramer
- How It All Vegan (Niranjana)

Bee, Samantha
- I know i am, but what are you? (Shan)

Bender, Rebecca
- Giraffe and Bird (Shannon)

Benns, Roderick
- The Mystery of the Moonlight (Wanda)

Bergen, David
- The Matter With Morris (Kate, Buried In Print, Shan)

Berton, Pierre
- Why We Act Like Canadians (Claire)

Bishop-Stall, Shaughnessy
- Ghosted (Buried in Print)

Bloomfield, Lori Ann
- The Last River Child (Shan)

Blunt, Giles
- Blackfly Season (Buried in Print)
- By The Time You Read This (Buried In Print)
- Crime Machine (Buried In Print)
- Forty Words for Sorrow (Bernadette)

Bock, Dennis
- The Ash Garden (Gypsysmom)

Bow, Erin
- Plain Kate (Steph)

Bowen, Gail
- A Colder Kind of Death (Bernadette)
- Love You to Death (Wollamshram, Kerrie)

Bower, Johnny
- The China Wall: The Legend of Johnny Bower with Bob Duff (Swordsman)

Bradley, Alan
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Scrat, Heather, Gypsysmom)
- The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag (Kate)

Brennan, Binnie
- Harbour View (Emeire)

Brewster, Hugh
- The Prisoner of Dieppe (Chrisbookarama)

Brossard, Nicole
- Fences in Breathing translated by Susanne de Lotbiniere-Harwood(Buried in Print)

Broughton, Noelle
- Margaret Laurence: A Gift of Grace (Buried in Print)

Brown, Cassie
- Death on the Ice (Nicola)

Brown, Ian
- The Boy in the Moon (Kate)

Bruneau, Carol
- Glass Voices (Ordinary Reader)

Brunt, Stephen
- Gretzky's Tears (Raidergirl)

Burke, Betsy
- Lucy's Launderette (Kate)

Burns, Cliff
- So Dark the Night (Corey)

Burns, Sarah Felix
- Song Over Quiet Lake (John)

Calabro, John
- The Cousin (Emeire)

Calder, Laura
- French Taste (Steph)

Callow, Pamela
- Damaged (Chris)

Cancellara, Kenneth C.
- Finding Marco (Pussreboots)

Capponi, Pat
- The Corpse Will Keep (Teena)
- Last Stop Sunnyside (Teena)

Chantler, Scott
- Northwest Passage (John)
- Tower of Treasure (Nicola)

Charles, Veronika Martenova
- It's Not About the Apple! (Nicola)
- It's Not About the Crumbs! (Nicola)
- It's Not About the Hunter! (Nicola)
- It's Not About the Pumpkin! (Nicola)
- It's Not About the Rose (Nicola)

Chilton, Glen
- The Curse of the Labrador Duck (Wollamshram)

Choyce, Lesley
- The Republic of Nothing (Corey)

Choy, Wayson
- The Jade Peony (Gypsysmom)

Clark, Eliza
- Bite the Stars (Amy)

Cochrane, Glenn
- Toronto: Tales of the City (Teena, Swordsman)

Cohen, Tish
- The Truth About Delilah Blue (Luanne, Jonita, Jannie)

Cole, Trevor
- Practical Jean (Inkslinger, Lahni)

Comely, Richard and George Freeman
- Captain Canuck (John)

Cohen, Matt
- Elizabeth and After (Gypsysmom)

Cole, Trevor
- Norman Bray In The Performance of His Life (Pooker)

Comeau, Joey
- Bible Camp Bloodbath (Steph)

Coren, Stanley
- The Intelligence of Dogs (Gypsysmom)

Coupland, Douglas
- Hey Nostradamus (Prairiejournals)
- Player One (Shan, Lahni, Claire, Swordsman)

Coyote, Ivan E.
- Bow Grip (Teddy)
- Missed Her (Amy)

Craig, Daniel Edward
- Murder at Graverly Manor (GeraniumCat)

Crane, Dede and Lisa Moore (editors)
- Great Expectations: Twenty-four True Stories About Childbirth (Claire)

Crawley, Oksanna
- So, You Be Keon and I'll Be Mahovlich (Pooker)

Creelman, Libby
- The Darren Effect (Scrat)

Crewe, Lesley
- Her Mother's Daughter (Chrisbookarama)

Croft, Clary
- Witchcraft: Tales, Beliefs and Superstitions (Chrisbookarama)

Crowley, Brain Lee; Clemens, Jason; and Veldhuis, Niels
- The Canadian Century (Swordsman)

Crozier, Lorna
- Small Beneath the Sky (Nathalie)

Crummey, Michael
- Galore (Steve, Buried in Print)

Daggett, Gina Noelle
- Jukebox (Amy)

Darbyshire, Peter
- The Warhol Gang (Corey)

Davis, Wade
- The Wayfinders (Gavin)

Dawson, Willow
- Lila & Ecco's Do It Yourself Comics Club (Nicola)

Delany, Vicky
- Negative Image (Bernadette, Kerrie)

Deverell, William
- April Fool (Bernadette)

Di Nardo, Antony
- Alien, Correspondent (Inkslinger)

Donoghue, Emma
- Room (Nicola, Kate, Shan, Suzanne, Steph, Luanne, Shannon, Raidergirl, Jonita, Gavin, Teddy, Kerrie)

Drake, Jane and Ann Love
- Yes You Can! Your Guide to Becoming an Activist (Carina)

Duncan, Elizabeth
- The Cold Light of Morning (Gautami)

Dyer, Hadley
- Watch This Space illustrated by Marc Ngui (The Literary Wife)

Dysart, Joshua
- Neil Young's Greendale (Nicola)

Elton, Sarah
- Locavore (Kate)

Endicott, Marina
- Good to a Fault (Suzanne)

Fabijanćić, Tony
- Bosnia: In the Footsteps of Gavrilo Princip (Amy)

Fallis, Terry
- The Best Laid Plans (Heather, Jannie, Claire)

Feliciano, Felice
- Alphabetum Romanum (Wollamshram)

Findley, Timothy
- The Wars (Carina)

Flood, Cynthia
- The English Stories (Buried in Print)

Follett, Beth
- Tell it Slant (Carina)

Foran, Jill
- Mary Schaffer: An Adventurous Woman's Exploits in the Canadian Rockies (John)

Fortier, Anne
- Juliet (Jonita, Luanne)

Fortier, Dominique
- On The Proper Use of Stars (Teddy, Melwyk)

Fowles, Stacey May
- Fear of Fighting (John)

Fox, Michael J.
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Future (Lahni)

Francis, Dick
- The Edge (Bernadette)

Funnell, Augustine
- Brandyjack (Wollamshram)

Galloway, Steven
- The Cellist of Sarajevo (Kate, Jeanne, Inkslinger, Scrat, Ordinary Reader)

Gaston, Bill
- The Good Body (Pooker)

Gelinas, Gratien
- Last Night the Children Were Dancing (Amy)

Gibson, William
- Neuromancer (Geranium Cat)
- Zero History (Steve)

Gildiner, Catherine
- Too Close to the Falls (Luanne)

Gimlette, John
- Theatre of Fish (Lesley)

Glennon, Paul
- Bookweirder (Nicola)

Glover, Douglas
- Elle (Corey)
- Precious (Corey)

Gould, John
- Seven Reasons Not to Be Good (Corey)

Gowan, Lee
- The Last Cowboy (Pooker)

Gowda, Shilpi Somaya
- Secret Daughter (Lahni, Gypsysmom)

Granfield, Linda
- In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae (Nicola)

Grant, Jessica
- Come, Thou Tortoise (Jonita, Jannie, Shannon)

Green, Lyndsay
- You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? (Teena)

Greer, Darren
- Still Life With June (Teena)
- Tyler's Cape (Teena)

Gruen, Sara
- Ape House (Zoe, Teddy, Scrat, Lahni)
- Riding Lessons (Scrat)
- Water for Elephants (Zoe, Jules)

Gunraj, Andrea
- The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha (Niranjana)

Hage, Rawi
- Cockroach (Prairiejournals)
- DeNiro's Game (Scrat)

Harris, Doug
- YOU Comma Idiot (Jonita, Buried in Print, Raidergirl, Inkslinger)

Hartry, Nancy
- Watching Jimmy (The Literary Wife)

Harvey, Alyxandra
- Hearts at Stake (Jules)

Hay, Elizabeth
- Late Nights on Air (Gavin)

Heimstra-Van der Horst, Jessica
- Anatomy for the Artist (Wollamshram)

Helm, Michael
- Cities of Refuge (Shan)

Hill, Gord
- 500 Years of Resistance (Niranjana)

Hill, Lawrence
- The Book of Negroes (Suzanne, Ordinary Reader)
- Some Great Thing (Jonita)

Hillier, Rick
- A Soldier First (Swordsman)

Howard, Blanche
- Penelope's Way (Melwyk)

Howard, Vernon
- Wilfred Grenfell: Adventurer to the North (Nicola, Ordinary Reader)

Hughes, Susan
- Virginia (Heather)

Hunter, Catherine
- The Dead of Midnight (Bernadette)

Iglauer, Edith
- Fishing With John (Gypsysmom)

Jacobs, Kate
- Knit The Season (Luanne)

Jaden, Denise
- Losing Faith (Amy, Literary Wife)

Jennings, Maureen
- Except the Dying (Buried in Print)

Jensen, Beverly
- The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay (Teena, Nicola)

Jocelyn, Marthe
- Folly (Carina, Chris)

Johnston, Wayne
- The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (Raidergirl)
- The Divine Ryans (Pooker)

Jonas, George
- Reflections on Islam (Carina)

Jones, Marianne
- Seasons illustrated by Karen Reinikka (Kate)

Kacer, Kathy
- Restitution (Teddy)

Karaplis, Joanna
- Fractured (Steph)

Kay, Guy Gavriel
- Tigana (Inkslinger)
- Ysabel (Geranium Cat, Lahni)

Keefer, Janice Kulyk
- The Ladies Lending Library (Wanda)

Kelly, Dierdre
- Paris Times Eight (Shan)

Kim, Susan
- Brain Camp illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks (Nicola)

King, Thomas
- Truth and Bright Water (Gavin, Nathalie)

Kulling, Monica
- All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine (Nicola)

Laberge, Aimée
- Where the River Narrows (Melwyk)

Lam, Vincent
- Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures (Zoe)

Lansens, Lori
- The Girls (Raidergirl, Kerri)

Lapeña, Shari
- Things Go Flying (Melwyk)

Latimer, Jon
- Niagara 1814 (Swordsman)

Larson, Hope
- Mercury (Nicola)

Laurence, Margaret
- A Jest of God (Jules, Buried in Print)
- The Stone Angel (Buried in Print)

Lavery, John
- Sandra Beck (Steph)

Lawson, Julie
- The Klondike Cat (Pussreboots)

Lazar, Carole
- Lucy Unstrung (Carina, Nicola)

Leacock, Stephen
- Nonsense Novels (Wollamshram)

Leckie, Keith Ross
- Coppermine (Luanne)

Lee, Y.S.
- The Agency: A Spy in the House (Literarywife)
- The Body in the Tower (Nicola)

Leitch, Adelaide
- Lukey Paul from Labrador (Nicola)

Lemire, Jeff
- Essex County (Kate)
- Essex County Volume 1: Tales From the Farm (Teddy, Raidergirl)
- Essex County Volume 2: Ghost Stories (Teddy, Raidergirl)
- Essex County Volume 3: The Country Nurse (Teddy)
- Sweet Tooth Volume 1: Out of the Deep Woods (Wanda)
- The Nobody (Teddy)

LePan, Don
- Animals (Gavin)

Lieberman, Leanne
- The Book of Trees (Carina)

Little, Jean
- Pippin, The Christmas Pig illustrated by Werner Zimmerman (John)

Lottridge, Celia Barker
- Ticket to Curlew (Nicola)

Lourie, Bruce and Rick Smith
- Slow Death by Rubber Duck (Amy)

Lynes, Jeanette
- The Factory Voice (Melwyk)

MacDonald, Jake
- Juliana and the Medicine Fish (Pooker)

MacIntyre, Linden
- The Bishop's Man (Gavin)

Maclear, Kyo
- The Letter Opener (Melwyk)

MacLeod, Alexander
- Light Lifting (Kate)

MacLeod, Alistair
- No Great Mischief (Jules)

MacLeod, Elizabeth
- The Wright Brothers: A Flying Start (Nicola)

MacMillan, Margaret
- Women of the Raj (Claire)

Maffini, Mary Jane
- The Cluttered Corpse (Teena)
- The Dead Don't get Out Much (Teena)
- The Devil's in the Details (Bernadette, Teena)
- Lament for a Lounge Lizard (Teena)
- Law and Order (Teena)
- Little Boy Blues (Teena)
- Organize Your Corpses (Teena)
- Speak Ill of the Dead (Teena)
- The Icing on the Corpse (Teena)

Mahadevan, Anand
- The Strike (Niranjana)

Malone, Stephens Gerard
- I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin (Scrat)
- Miss Elva (Kate)

Mandel, Emily St. John
- Last Night in Montreal (Wanda)
- The Singer's Gun (Gavin)

Mandel, Howie
- Here's the Deal Don't Touch Me (Shan)

Martel, Yann
- Beatrice and Virgil (Geranium Cat)
- What is Stephen Harper Reading? (Raidergirl)

Mayr, Suzette
- Venous Hum (Buried in Print)

McCartney, Sharon
- For and Against (Inkslinger)

McDonald, Abby
- Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots (Literary Wife)

McEnzie, Grant
- Switch (Mynovelreviews)

McGrath, Carmelita
- Stranger Things Have Happened (Wanda)

McGrath, Robin
- Winterhouse (Wanda)

McKay, Don
- Strike/Slip (Wollamshram)

McLeod, Heather
- Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince) (Kate)

Meades, Christopher

- The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark (Steph)

Meshake, Rene
- Blueberry Rapids (Heather)

Melzack, Ronald
- The Day Tuk Became a Hunter illustrated by Carol Jones (John)

- The Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef (Pussreboots)

Micallef, Shawn
- Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto (Teena)

Montgomery, Lucy Maud
- The Blue Castle (Ordinary Reader, Raidergirl, Chris)
- Emily of New Moon (Geranium Cat)
- A Tangled Web (Raidergirl)

Moore, Brian
- The Great Victorian Collection (Lisa)

Moore, Lisa
- February (Gavin, Mynovelreviews)

Morgan, Bernice
- Random Passage (Lesley)

Moritsugu, Kim
- The Restoration of Emily (Jannie)

Mowat, Farley
- Never Cry Wolf (Ordinary Reader)

Muller, Robin
- The Nightwood (Nicola)

Munro, Alice
- Lives of Girls and Women (Carina)

Murphy, Rex
- Canada and Other Matters of Opinion (John)

Murray, Jill
- Rhythm and Blues (Amy)

Nemat, Marina
- After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed (Carina)

Nielsen, Susin
- Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom (Nicola)

Nicol, Eric
- A Scar is Born (Wollamshram)
- Shall We Join the Ladies? (Wollamshram)

Nichol, James W.
- Midnight Cab (Kerrie)

Nightingale, Marie
- Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens (Chris)

Norman, Howard
- Devotion (Steve)
- The Haunting of L (Steve)
- What is Left The Daughter (Lesley)

Nowlan, Alden
- Miracle at Indian River (Barbara)

Nurse, Paula McMichael
- Eastern Dreams (Wollamshram)

Oatley, Keith
- Therefore Choose (Buried in Print, Mynovelreviews)

O'Malley, Bryan Lee
- Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (Carina)
- Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness (Carina)
- Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Carina)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe (Carina)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Carina)
- Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (Carina)

Oppel, Kenneth
- A Creepy Case of Vampires (Nicola)
- Half Brother (Nicola, Lahni)
- An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs (Nicola)
- Silverwing (Lahni)
- A Weird Case of Super-Goo (Nicola)

O'Reilly, Sean
- Mighty, Mighty Monsters: Hide and Shriek (Nicola)

Osbaldsten, Mark
- Unbuilt Toronto: A History of the City That Might Have Been (Teena)

Packard, Frank L.
- The Dragon's Jaws (Wollamshram)
- Jimmie Dale and the Blue Envelope Murder (Wollamshram)

Page, P.K.
- Coal and Roses (Wollamshram)

Peacock, Stephen
- The Secret Fiend (Nicola)

Pearson, Lynn; Setterfield, Gwenlyn; and Zgodzinski, Rose
- Scribbler Mania's My 60's Trivia Notebook (Luanne)

Penney, Stef
- The Tenderness of Wolves (Bernadette)

Penny, Louise
- Murder Stone (Raidergirl)
- A Rule Against Murder (Kerrie)
- Still Life (Buried In Print)

Peters, Russell
- Call Me Russell (Teena, Swordsman, Nicola)

Pick, Allison
- The Sweet Edge (Buried In Print)

Pike, Sue (editor)
- Locked In (Wollamshram)

Poling Sr, Jim
- Tecumseh: Shooting Star, Crouching Panther (Swordsman)

Potrebenko, Helen
- Hey, Waitress! (Melwyk)

Preston, Rachel
- The Wind Seller (Melwyk)

Quarrington, Paul
- King Leary (Raidergirl)

Quon, Anna
- Migration Songs (Mynovelreviews)

Quiviger, Pascale
- The Breakwater House translated by Lazer Lederhendler (Amy)

Rainfield, Cheryl
- Wcars (Amy)

Redfern, Jon
- Trumpets Sound No More (Melwyk)

Reichs, Kathy
- Spider Bones (Kate)

Reid, Iain
- One Bird's Choice (Steph)

Reid, Sheila
- Wings of a Hero: Canadian Pioneer Flying Ace Wilfrid Wop May (Swordsman)

Richards, David Adams
- Nights Below Station Street (Jules)

Richler, Mordecai
- Barney's Version (Raidergirl)

Robertson, David Alexander
- The Life of Betty Helen Osbourne (Heather)

Robinson, Mat
- Against the Hard Angle (Wollamshram)

Robinson, Peter
- All the Colours of Darkness (Kerrie)
- Bad Boy (Nicola)

Robert Rose (Publishers)
- Robin Hood Baking (Heather)

Rosenbaum, Richard, editor
- Can'tLit: Fearless Fiction from Broken Pencil Magazine (Niranjana)

Rosing, Norbert
- The World of the Polar Bear (Teddy)

Ross, Sinclair
- As For Me and My House (Wollamshram)

Salamon, Daria
- The Prairie Bridesmaid (Gypsysmom)

Sands, Lynsay
- The Renegade Hunter (Shannon)

Sawler, Harvey
- Last Canadian Beer: The Moosehead Story (Swordsman)

Scanlan, Lawrence
- A Year of Living Dangerously (Scan)

Schultz, Emily
- Heaven is Small (Melwyk)

Schroeder, Karl
- Queen of Candesce (Pussreboots)

Selecky, Sarah
- This Cake is For the Party (Kate)

Selvadurai, Shyam
- Swimming in the Monsoon Sea (Buried in Print)

Service, Robert W.
- Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (Wollamshram)

Seton, Ernest Thompson
- Wild Animals I Have Known (Pooker)

Shaw, Carol Anne
- Hannah and the Spindle Whorl (John)

Shields, Carol
- Larry's Party (Emeire)
- Unless (Raidergirl)

Skibsrud, Johanna
- The Sentamentalists (Steve)

Simpson, Anne (selected by)
- An Orange From Portugal (Chris)

Singh, Jaspreet
- Chef (Jules)

Sinnett, Mark
- The Carnivore (Steph)

Slade, Arthur
- The Dark Deeps (Nicola)

Smith, Andrew
- Edith's War (Jeanne)

Smith, Russell
- Girl Crazy (Jannie)

Spano, Robin
- Dead Politician Society (Bernadette)

Spires, Ashley
- Binky to the Rescue (Nicola)

Srigley, Katrina
- Breadwinning Daughters (Teena)

Stanger-Ross, Ilana
- Sima's Undergarments for Women (Jonita)

Stegner, Wallace
- The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Pussreboots)

Steinberg, D.J.
- Daniel Boom #1: Sound Off! (Nicola)
- Daniel Boom #2: Mac Attack! (Nicola)
- Daniel Boom #3: Game On! (Nicola)
- Daniel Boom #4: Grow Up! (Nicola)

Stevens, Chevy
- Still Missing (Gautami)

Strube, Cordelia
- Lemon (Shan)

Sunley, Christine
- The Tricking of Freya (Gautami)

Taylor, Drew Hayden
- Motorcycles and Sweetgrass (Kate, Wollamshram, Heather)

Taylor, Kate
- A Man in Uniform (Gypsysmom)

Thomas, Joan
- Curiousity (Shan)

Thrasher, Tommy
- Footprints to the Stars (Amy)

Toews, Miriam
- The Flying Troutmans (Lisa)

Torgov, Morley
- The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick (Wollamshram)

Touchie, Rodger D.
- Bear Child: The Life of Times of Jerry Potts (Swordsman)

Traill, Catharine Parr
- Backwoods of Canada: Selections (Nicola)

Tremblay, Lise
- The Hunting Ground (Melwyk)

Trofimuk, Thomas
- Waiting for Columbus (Gavin)

Trottier, Maxine
- Terry Fox: A Story of Hope (Nicola)

Turner, Max
- The End of Days (Scrat, Nicola)
- Night Runner (Jules)

Urquhart, Jane
- L.M. Montgomery (Nathalie)

Vaillant, John
- The Tiger (Steve)

Vance, Jonathan
- Unlikely Soldiers (Suzanne)

Vassanji, M.G.
- The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (Kate)
- The Gunny Sack (Kate)

Wagamese, Richard
- Dream Wheels (Wanda)

Wardell, Heather
- Planning to Live (Jonita)
- Seven Exes are Eight Too Many (Jonita)

Warren, Dianne
- Cool Water (Jannie, Janet, Shan)

Weaver, Janice
- Hudson (Nicola)

Welsh, Joe
- Jackrabbit Street (John)

Weston, Robert Paul
- Dust City (Nicola)

Whittal, Zoe
- Bottle Rocket Hearts (Shannon)

Wiebe, Catherine M.A.
- Second Rising (Melwyk)

Wiersema, Robert J.
- Before I Wake (Pooker)
- The World More Full of Weeping (Corey)

Willis, Deborah
- Vanishing and Other Stories (Zoe)

Wills, Gabriele
- Elusive Dawn (Jonita)

Wilson, Budge
- Before Green Gables (John, Niranjana)

Wilson, John
- Death on the River (Nicola)

Wilson, Lois M.
- Streams of Faith (Kate)

Wilson, Sheri-D
- Autopsy of a Turvy World (Wollamshram)

Winkler, Derek
- Pitouie (John)

Winter, Kathleen
- Annabel (Steph, Scrat, Kate, Amy)

Winter, Michael
- All This Happened (Buried In Print)

Wolfe, Inger Ash
- The Taken (Bernadette)

Wright, Eric
- Death on the Rocks (Teena)

Wright, L.R.
- Sleep While I Sing (GeraniumCat)

Wright, Richard B.
- Mr. Shakespeare's Bastard (Buried In Print)

Wynne-Jones, Tim
- The Boy in the Burning House (Carina)

Xiques, Donna
- Margaret Laurence: Making of a Writer (Buried in Print)

Yhard, Jo Ann
- The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines (Nicola)

Young, Terence
- The End of the Ice Age (Teddy)

York, Alissa
- Fauna (Pooker, Melwyk)

Zephyr Press (publishers)
- TOK: Writing the New Toronto Book 5 (Niranjana)

Zipp, Steve
- Yellowknife (Steph)

And now, once again, let's add to this wonderful list!
What Canadian books did you read and review for the Canadian Book Challenge 4 in December? 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.