Thursday, September 01, 2011

5th annual Canadian Book Challenge- 2nd update

Wow! Productive month last month, eh? You read and reviewed over a hundred books read in August! Nice job. Check out the great selection including a bunch of Robert Munsch books, a recent Giller Prize winner, a book on Obama's summer reading list, and many more! Over 100 in fact.

Last month I asked people to come up with a Top 10 list of recommended reads by province or territory and the result is a fantastic resource for those people wanting to read their way off the country. Check out the lists for every province and territory except New Brunswick, Quebec, British Columbia and the Yukon. (If you can create a list for either of those 4, please do so!) In the meantime, all those who did recommend a top ten list had their names entered in for a wonderful prize donated by Breakwater Books. The randomly selected winner* is...
Medea! That works out pretty well actually seeing as she's living in Japan and I can't imagine it's very easy to get Canadian books there. Now if I can only get them to her before the challenge is over! In any case, a hearty congratulations to Medea who will be receiving:

1. Double Talk- Patrick Warner
2. Island Maid: Voices of Outport Women- Rhonda Pelley (text), Sheilagh O'Leary (Photography)

3. Down by Jim Long's Stage- Al Pittman (Rhymes), Pam Hall (Illustrations)

(*For the random draws, I assign each entry with a number and use to select the winner).

Next month's prize is inspired by ABMs. No, not automated banking machines, I'm talking autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs. I've read quite a few over the past couple of months and have not yet read a boring life. So, from Ronsdale Press comes this amazing prize pack:

1. Strongman: The Doug Hepburn Society- Tom Thurston

2. I Have My Mother's Eyes: A Holocaust Memoir Across Generations- Barbara Ruth Bluman

Now, how do you win these books? In the comments below, suggest a Canadian person alive or dead, of whom you'd like to read an autobiography, biography, or memoir. Ooops, there's a few catches. First, it can't have already been published. So that means autobiographies of dead people are out. It also means that if you see someone else suggest Justin Bieber, you can play defensively and call them out in the comments- "sorry, Justin Bieber already has a published memoir." For all those who leave a suggested Canadian ABM in the comments, you will have your name automatically entered in the Ronsdale Prize Pack. This contest is only open to Canadian Book Challenge participants, runs for the whole month of September, and the winner will be announced here on October 1st.

And don't forget to keep reading and reviewing Canadian books in September. Share your links at the round-up post here. (Link will be published momentarily.)


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Am I still a Canadian Book Challenge participant if I have not yet read a Canadian book this year? I shall, I shall, trust me!

I want to read a biography about that infamous n'er do well, John Mutford. I am sure it would be a page-turner. Or possibly bodice-ripper. Or some other hyphenated description.

Swordsman said...

I have looked for books on Joseph Wilcox and have never found one. I had heard that Donald Graves, who is an excellent Canadian historical author who has written extensively on the war of 1812, was going to write his biography, but so far has not.

Many Canadians know the name of Benedict Arnold as a traitor, yet he was a traitor to the Americans during the American revolution, which made him an ally of Britain and therefore Canada. Yet most Canadians have not heard of Joseph Wilcox who was the ultimate Canadian traitor during the War of 1812

He came to Canada from Scotland in 1800 at the age of 27. His personal life itself would be a good read but it is the traitor of Upper Canada part which would be the meat of the story. He ran is own paper, the Upper Canada Guardian, became a member of parliament, and in fact helped General Isaac Brock bring in the Six nations as allies and fought on the British side at the battle of Queenston Heights.

The following year, while still a member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, he joined the American forces as a Major in their army and raised his own company of Canadians which he called the Canadian Volunteers. It was said that it was at Wilcox's urging that the town of Newark (now Niagara on the Lake) was burned to the ground on a snowy night in December. The Americans put him in charge of the torching of the town and Wilcox was particularly brutal in his treatment of the towns people as he threw them into the street before firing their homes.

He died defending Fort Erie, then in the hands of the US during the British siege of the fort. Today his remains are in an unmarked grave somewhere in Buffalo.

I think it would be a great read!

John Mutford said...

Barbara: Page-ripper is more likely. I couldn't be honest enough for my biography to be really interesting.

Swordsman: I'm ashamed at how little I know about that war, let alone the players involved. Likewise with the battle on the Plains of Abraham. Completely ignorant. The only history I got in high school was world history and Newfoundland history. Though it beats Debbie, my wife. She grew up in Ontario and instead of learning any Canadian history, she was taught American history.

Melissa said...

Hi John:

Did a little digging for some Quebec literature. Hope you enjoy this list.

Saul Bellow - Humboldt's Gift
Leonard Cohen - Book of Longing
Mordecai Richler - Barney's Version
Gabrielle Roy - Children of my Heart

Let me know if this is a good enough list. I've also found a few Newfoundland stories, so when I dig them up, I'll be sure to let you know.

Swordsman said...


Like your wife I was born and raised in Ontario and learned very little of our Canadian history. In many ways i found our history to be belittled by my teachers.

The War of 1812 took place mostly just down the road and Toronto was invaded.....twice. Funny how little we were taught about ourselves.

Now I read a lot about our past and it is anything but dull.

Melissa said...

There is a Canadian Impressionist - Helen McNicoll - of whom not much is know. She was deafened by scarlet fever at a young age, and died at the age of 36, but wouldn't it be wonderful to read her memoirs? I'd love to read her insights on painting with the famous Dorothea Sharp.