Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 5th annual Canadian Book Challenge- What is it? How do I join? And other FAQs

1. What is the Canadian Book Challenge?

The Canadian Book Challenge is an online reading challenge in which participants from Canada and around the world aim to read and review 13 or more Canadian books in a one year span: Canada Day to Canada Day. Reviews must be posted online and participants are asked to share links to their reviews with other participants. More on reviews below.

2. How do I join?

Send me an email (jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com) with the subject line "Sign Me Up!" and I'll add you to the list. Consider yourself a participant even if you don't get a response from me right away. Come July 1st you can get started right away. As soon as I get your first link (see below), I'll add your name to the participant list on the sidebar of this blog.

3. Oh no, it's past July 1st, can I still join?

Of course! In the past I've had people join in the very last month. My response to latecomers is always the same. If you think you can realistically read and review 13 books in the time remaining, then why not? To join, just follow the exact same instructions as above.

4. What constitutes a Canadian book?

Canadian books can include any genre or form (picture books, poetry, novels, non-fiction, plays, anthologies, graphic novels, cookbooks, etc), can be written by Canadian authors (by birth or immigration) or about Canadians. Ultimately, participants must decide for themselves whether or not something fits the description of Canadian.

4. Do I need to know ahead of time which books I'll be reading?

No. But by all means, if you want to plan ahead, do so. Some people find it's more of a challenge to do it this way, and others prefer to find their next book as it comes. If you do make a list and decide to alter it along the way, that's fine.

5. Do I need to have a theme?

No. I personally like to read at least one book from each province and territory (it's the whole reason 13 has become the goal number). Over the past 3 editions of the challenge, there have been lots of different themes. Some people have chosen to read authors exclusively (Robert Munsch, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Ethel Wilson, and Brian Moore have each had a run). Others have gone for specific parts of the country (Quebec and the prairies have been chosen). There's even been a challenge themed around dogs! One theme idea this year is the Slave Lake Library theme. More details on that theme here.

Certainly a theme could make the challenge more difficult, but then again, it could also make it more fun. In any case, the majority of participants opt to have no theme at all, just pushing for 13 random Canadian books. They feel they can still read what they want, when they want and aren't too confined by restrictions. The choice is up to you.


6. What if I don't reach 13 books or if I do?

If you don't, but you've had fun, it's still good. Your reviews will still be read by other participants. And you'll have a chance again when the next edition comes around. Some people ask if it's okay to fill up the remainder with children's books since they're shorter. I, personally, think children's books (picture books) are just as valid and need to be read and discussed as much as novels. Others think that it's a challenge, and as such, shouldn't be easy. Again, this is a participant's decision to make.

If you do reach 13, you may stop, or keep going. Remember, it's 13 or more. I love to see how many I can squeeze in. There are no prizes for reading the most. I want to stress that this is not a competition against other people. However, for all those that do meet the requirement of 13 or more, your names will be put in for a random draw for a prize.

7. Can my books count towards other challenges?

Of course! That's half the fun! I read some this past year that counted in the Graphic Novels Challenge and the Canadian Book Challenge.

8. I don't live in Canada and am finding it difficult to get my hands on Canadian books. Any recommendations or solutions?

It'll probably be easier to find some of our "big names" at your library (Margaret Atwood and Carol Shields, for example). Of course, you can always order online. And if you ask nicely enough, Canadian participants have been known to ship books far and wide to help out.

9. What if I read a book and don't have time to review it?

Sorry, that's one point I'm sticky on. I don't count it until it's reviewed. By all means, feel free to read 13 Canadian books, but the reviewing part is an equal component of the challenge. I want the books talked about even if you didn't enjoy it. While I say "review" I don't mean anything necessarily lengthy and I don't mean necessarily a review as much as I mean your thoughts on the book, questions about why an author said something, memories it stirred up. Anything, just something.

10. I don't have a blog, how do I post a review online?

Most Canadian Book Challenge participants are bloggers, but not all. Book reviews can also be posted on other sites such as GoodReads, Bookcrossing, Chapters, Amazon, and more. However, I do have a few requirements:

i. Participants wishing to read your reviews should not need a membership or sign up to do so. For instance, anyone can read a review at Chapters, so it's fine. However, a review posted on Facebook would be out since not everyone has a Facebook account and would not be able to access it.

ii. When you share a link make sure it's directly to your review and participants do not have to go searching endlessly to find it. For instance, if you blog, link to your posts, not your entire blog. (For example: Review NOT Blog) If you link from Chapters, after you write and publish your review, you will be be able to click on your review title which will provide your link in the URL bar. (For example: Review NOT Book page)

Yet another option is simply writing your review in an email to me (jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com) and I'll happily post it on The Book Mine Set.

11. How do I share links to my reviews?

Each month there will be a roundup post here at the Book Mine Set. This year I'll be trying a link sharing tool from inlinkz.com similar to the one they use at the Graphic Novels Challenge. Whenever you finish writing a review, just head to my blog and click on the "Share your link" icon. Add your name and in parentheses the title of the book you just reviewed, then provide the link. I'll also ask that in the comment section of that post that you bring us up to speed on your progress so far (ex. 6/13 read). I'll send an email reminder once a month.

12. Will there be prizes?

Yes! Canadian publishing companies and authors have been very generous in their support. Besides a prize pack for one lucky reader who has read 13 or more books, there'll be other monthly prizes as well. Sometimes these will have mini-challenges, such as "If you read a Canadian mystery this month, you will have your name put in for a prize pack donated by Mutford Publishers." The prizes are not offered in the spirit of competition but merely as a fun way to encourage participants on and to sometimes highlight different genres, publishing companies, and authors.

13. How can I help?

By joining, reading and reviewing, obviously. And sharing links to your reviews. I also need help with promotion. If you know someone (author, publisher, or bookseller) that can donate a prize, that would be just dandy. Also, promote the challenge on your blog. Feel free to write a post that tells your readers that your joining and why, and if you've participated before, how much fun it is. Also, use the logo above, feel free to place it permanently in your sidebar.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Reader's Diary #726- Susan D. Rogers: A Poor Boy's Piano

When my father was 36, just a year and a half older than I am now, he had open heart surgery to replace a faulty valve. While he was under the knife he had a vision of walking down a white corridor and shaking hands with family members who had gone before, each of whom told him it wasn't his time. My father was, and remains, an atheist.

Unlike many who have had this experience and took it as proof positive in an afterlife, my dad saw a mere trick of the brain, a common enough cliche he'd been aware of before his own experience, and in the end no different than any other dream.

These memories came to light for me yesterday as I read Susan D. Roger's "A Poor Boy's Piano."

Beginning with a man waking up in an alley, we quickly come to learn something about this man named Roger. He's left his wife, children, and while we might understand waking up alone and hungover in an alley as a bad thing, Roger sees it as liberating. Or maybe he's telling himself that. His arm feels swollen and unnatural. Shortly after waking up he meets a young boy with a recorder-- the flute-like instrument, not a tape-recorder.

It is at this point in the story that it seems to take on a religious, or supernatural air. It's accomplished casually enough-- with a bold and strangely appareled child whose music conjures up a bittersweet childhood memory. Roger himself thinks of the child as an apparition.

The ending, I won't give away, but I question how my father would interpret the story. Despite leading the story a certain way, and clearly toying with interpretations, Rogers does not provide answers one way or the other.

I'm also reminded of the alternate ending in Life of Pi. Sure it was more plausible, but the other's more magical.

Loni reviewed this story last week. Great find, Loni!

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Globe and Mail today...

Hey, that's me!

There's a great article in the Globe & Mail today by Kate Taylor about (mostly) Canadian book bloggers and reading challenges. I don't necessarily agree that the Canadian Book Challenge is competitive (unless competing with oneself counts), but it's a well-written, balanced, and thorough article. I loved hearing from Nicola, a CBC4 participant, from Jen at the Keepin' It Real blog, and the others (even those who don't see the appeal of book challenges). Check it out!

*Update: For those looking to join the 5th annual Canadian Book Challenge, more details on how to do so are here. And to get a sense of how to complete the challenge, check out the inaugural post of the 4th edition. There you'll also find some FAQs.

Reader's Diary #725- Lucy Maud Montgomery: Anne of Avonlea

When I last tallied up the books I'd read for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge, making sure I'd read at least one book from each province or territory, I realized that once again I'd-- through no lack of effort on my part-- left the Yukon and Prince Edward Island for last. I had Pierre Berton and Lucy Maud Montgomery books sitting there on my shelf the entire time, but those seemed like such predictable choices. It felt like I should at least try to highlight some of their other authors. But besides the Collected Robert Service, which I'd already read, Montgomery and Berton were it.

Luckily, I at least I enjoyed them and was reminded just how good they are. Granted I enjoyed Berton's Prisoners of the North more, I was still taken with Anne of Avonlea.

Anne of Avonlea, as many of you know, isn't plot heavy and much of it revolves around Anne's teaching. Normally these would be two strikes against it. Alice Munro has turned me from near plotless CanLit, but most of the chapters in Anne of Avonlea had just enough plot to make them almost short stories, had a few surprises here and there, a love story of sorts tacked onto the end, and it wasn't as sleep inducing as I feared. As for the reservations with the teaching part, it's mostly because I am a teacher. And while that might make the book appeal to some other teachers, I usually feel like I'm reading professional development material when I read about fictional teachers. It's not that I don't love my job, but I don't want it to be the last thing I think about before I go to sleep. Fortunately, I didn't find it too bad this time, and it was interesting to compare Anne's teaching career with mine. Classroom life before iPad 2s? I'd almost forgotten.

One thing I was pleasantly surprised with this time around was the satire. I'd only read Anne of Green Gables before and I don't recall the satirical barbs at rural life in that first book. (It may have been there and I'd just not noticed at the time.) Gossip, the self-consciousness, the judgements. Of course the satire is light and presented more like endearing idiosyncrasies than a harsh appraisal. It's charming, but with real, flawed yet likeable characters, and it's more believable than Pride and Prejudice.

I was also a little surprised at how little of a role Marilla seemed to play in this one. I remember her being more substantial in Anne of Green Gables and my readers, who are generally more informed than I, recently chose her over Anne as a better literary character. Then again, even Anne's character occasionally took a back seat to other Avonlea characters. It's like in the 5th or 6th season when the Simpsons started expanding to highlight other Springfield characters. See? It's not all Alice Munro and Jane Austen references around here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Robert Kroetsch- R.I.P.


It was only back in March that I read my first Robert Kroetsch book and was sufficiently impressed that I looked forward to reading more.

Last night Kroetsch was killed in a car accident on his way from Canmore to Leduc. Canada has lost a very talented writer. Rest in peace.

Reader's Diary #724- Pierre Berton: Prisoners of the North

Lately I've been finding myself "forgiving" more and more nonfiction for the lower quality of writing compared to novels. I at least found the topic interesting, I'd tell myself, so what if it's not up there with say Barney's Version or the Handmaid's Tale. Fortunately Pierre Berton has come along and rescued me from my complacency. Nonfiction can be just as well written and I shouldn't have to accept less.

Prisoners of the North is essentially a collection of 5 mini-biographies of people whose memories have been tied, or imprisoned if you will, to the North: Joe Boyle, a mining tycoon; Vilhjalmur Stefansson, an explorer in search of a long lost tribe of Inuit; Jane Franklin, who wouldn't let her husband John's expedition be forgotten; John Hornby, a reclusive eccentric; and Robert Service, the poet behind The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

Once again Berton manages to turn individuals into characters, without making it sound like he made too many assumptions. Yes, Berton assigns each person with particular psychological profiles, but he always backs them up with enough supporting opinion and facts that it would be hard to argue that his conclusions are at the very least reasonable, and at the very most fascinating. Likewise, he retells history with a narrative that rivals most novels. Yet he not only doesn't stoop to exaggeration, he often calls out those that have inflated the truth.

I wouldn't say that Prisoners of the North is flawless, but my few issues had more to do with Berton's choice of characters to highlight than his writing, and my biggest problem with those was the inclusion of Jane Franklin. It's not that Jane wasn't interesting, I suppose, but he'd already covered her sufficiently, in my opinion, in The Arctic Grail. Furthermore, while Lady Jane did travel extensively, she didn't set foot in the Arctic herself. And while the other characters are interesting and I enjoyed learning more Northern history, (I especially enjoyed Hornby, and hearing a little about his encounters with Bullock and Weaver, two characters with businesses named after them here in Yellowknife) I couldn't help but notice that all of Berton's characters are white. Certainly all of them have their place in our collective history, and certainly a common theme in a good many of Berton's books is the folly of white men not to follow the wisdom of native peoples on how to survive in lands they've survived in for thousands of years. However, it was Aboriginal Day yesterday and I can't help but think of all the untold, and in many cases forgotten, history that existed long before and while Hornby starved to death on the barrens, long before and while Franklin decided to find the Northwest Passage. I know Berton relied heavily on written sources and the aboriginals at the time, unlike the white men, were of an oral culture, but I still wish Berton had sufficiently covered the legacy of at least one native history maker.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Reader's Diary #723- Daniachew Worku: The Voice

Anyone following my Short Story Monday posts over recent weeks will know that I have been thoroughly enjoying an exploration of online African short stories, thanks to links provided by the Woyingi Blog. Unfortunately, my appreciation comes to a screeching halt with Ethiopia's Daniachew Worku. However, I suspect Worku is not to blame. "The Voice" (not affiliated with the Christina Aguilera/ Cee-lo Green reality program), is found at "Adefris.Info" a site dedicated to the late Ethiopian playwright, author, and critic. The problem, I suspect, is one of translation. Worku sometimes wrote in English and Amharic, and I suspect the Adefris site author is more comfortable with Amharic. So, between typos and spelling mistakes, run-on sentences and just general awkwardness, "The Voice" reads like a poorly translated story and is difficult to get into. It should be intriguing enough; it's about a young male servant who is loved by some of the older female servants and raped by the others, and always sworn to secrecy-- the result of which leads him to just about lose his voice altogether. He grows into a man, gets married to his mistress's daughter with whom he develops a very unhealthy relationship, and finally he is pushed to talk. The result is not pretty.

I imagine that in the original language (and again, I only assume it was originally written in Amharic), it would be more thought provoking. There seems to be an attempt to make the voice and the soul synonymous, and I wish it was better realized. Perhaps in a better translation it would be.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Am So Jealous...

So jealous that I can hardly bring myself to link to it. Why didn't I spend more time, energy, and money creating this website. Well done folks at CanadianBookshelf.com. And when my counselor-- scratch that, I'm going to need a team of counselors, when they help me get over my feelings of inadequacies, I'll be back to sift through your site again.

Check it out. Honestly, awesome idea and execution.

Visit Canadian Bookshelf: Discover Canadian Books, Authors, Book Lists and More

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reader's Diary #722- Wame Molefhe: Where is the Rain?

Louis Vuitton bags and hangings.

This week I'm once again visiting the Woyingi Blog and all the awesome links to writings by African authors. From Botswana comes Wame Molefhe and her short story "Where is the Rain?" (Scroll down on the page and you can download a free Word document of the story.)

Louis Vuitton bags and hangings. These two images from Molefhe's story really stuck out for me, and as such seemed to comment on how different Botswana is from Canada. I hear hangings and I think of the 1800s, I hear of Louis Vuitton bags and I think of the 1990s. That both could occur in the same time frame is a little jarring for me.


"Where is the Rain?" is about a woman whose son has been sentenced to death for murdering his girlfriend, a girl whom she had deemed not good enough for her son.

For all the differences in capital punishment between our two countries, the human emotion is still the same. Certainly many Canadian mothers would feel the same way about their sons' choices in women, certainly many older generation Canadians would feel that the younger generation is immoral. Most probably wouldn't attribute a drought to society's ills, but that's the other half that makes the story so compelling.

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

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Reader's Diary #721- Alex Debogorski: King of the Road

As I began Alex Debogorski's King of the Road I was pleasantly surprised. Honestly, I didn't have a big interest in reading it, even despite him being a local guy and star of a popular reality TV show. I've watched maybe 2 episodes of the Ice Road Truckers and both times it was meh. Boring at times, silly faux-dramatic at times. One of my dream jobs used to be trucker. Disappointing that I don't find the show more interesting. And most locals I've met seem to feel pretty much the same way. It seems that, bizarrely, the biggest fans are in the U.S..

But I also had reservations about the quality of writing. No, I'm not a snob against truckers. I've just read a lot of nonfiction lately written by people who don't normally write. They're usually all decently informative, but the writing has just been tolerated. Of course, I realize that Alex probably had more guidance at his disposal than say Nils Andrew Thompson who published his memoirs of teaching English in Japan. But even celebrity books, with professional editors at the helm, don't usually enjoy a reputation for high literary merit.

Yet the opening of King of the Road grabbed me. Alex talked about telling stories over the CB radio to his trucking buddies, just to past the time. The tone was humorous, but not over bearing, nostalgic and contemplative. I was reminded of my grandfather, story-teller extraordinaire. I buckled in and was looking forward to the long journey with Alex.

I won't say it went downhill from there, as I fear the trucking metaphors will take over if I don't stop now. It did, however, remind me less and less of my grandfather. Debogorski, as you may well imagine, is full of machismo. I wouldn't say conceited, but he's proud that he has the ability to beat someone up, for instance. I've not met Debogorski, but I don't think I'm going out on a limb, when I say we're very different people, him and I.

All of which would be fine. So I'm not reminded of my grandfather when I read about Debogorski fighting a guy in a moving vehicle. That's okay. I wanted to read a little history on this character, I didn't have to relate. I didn't even need to like him. But I did find it problematic when his opinions started taking over the stories and facts. Yes, Debogorski's entitled to his opinions on the RCMP. His opinions may even be different than mine. But they seemed very out of place in King of the Road. And once it happened once, more and more opinions and rants kept flooding in. The memoir increasing became more political towards the middle. Again, Debogorski isn't a writer by trade, but you'd think an editor would have stepped up. "Interesting opinions, Mr. Debogorski. But perhaps this isn't the place to get into them. Let's get King of the Road out there first and if it sells a million of copies, we'll start on the Debogorski Diatribes or something." Alas, that didn't happen and by the end, when Debogorski starts writing about Ice Road Truckers, my interest matched my interest in the show itself.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Reader's Diary #720- Clarice Lespector (translated by Elizabeth Bishop): The Hen

This week my reading takes me to Brazil via Africa. Last week's story, José Eduardo Agualusa's "If Nothing Else Helps, Read Clarice" (from Angola) was apparently named for Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, whom I was also not familiar with, and so here I am.

"The Hen," is about a hen. No surprise there. That the hen would be the protagonist, I didn't see coming. The hen in question is about to be eaten.

Perhaps it is the animal that gives it a fable like feel, but a moral at the end is hard to decipher. Using it as a parable or metaphor for human behaviour/fate is a little more doable, but I wouldn't want to influence your interpretation with my own. It's a quick read and stands alone without trying to read anything else into it, so I suggest giving it a go.

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

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Reader's Diary #719- Guy Gavriel Kay: Ysabel

Best known for the Fionavar Tapestry, perhaps I should have started my Guy Gavriel Kay experience there. As it was, Ysabel somehow made its way onto my shelf and after reading it, I will never read another of his books again, barring some Clockwork Orange head-vice torture.

I don't take good care of my books by the way. Dust covers are immediately sent to the garbage as soon as a book crosses the threshold and I'm a brutal dog-earer. Dog-earing is actually my way of coding the book so I can go back and review it later. A dog-ear at the top of the page indicates I really liked something, and a dog-ear at the bottom means I really did not. If, when it's time to review it, I can't find the awesome or offensive passage, it clearly was just a passing fancy and not worth a mention anyway.

This is the first time ever that I turned down no corners. And there were a LOT turned up.

Let's begin with the forced history lessons:
"Why Greeks?" Ned asked.

First thing he'd said over lunch. He wasn't even sure why he'd asked.

Oliver Lee smiled at him through pipe smoke. "It was the Greeks who founded Marseille, about 600 B.C. Called it Massilia..."


Bleah, blah, blah. Even Dan Brown worked in a history lesson smoother than this.

Then there's the problem with the whole "He wasn't even sure why he'd asked" thing. Ned, a Canadian teenager visiting France, has found himself part of some weird repeating history love-battle thing, oh and also that he has some weird supernatural powers. If it sounds like I don't have much of a grasp on the story, well neither did Kay. Ned gets intuitions that he just can't explain on every other page.

And the characters? Looks like Ned's going to have a love interest in a fellow tourist, a girl named Kate from New York, but soon after she's just tagging along, completely unnecessary to the plot, yet still there.

The plot! Good God, how could I forget that? If you know, please tell me. So freakin' silly. So annoyingly dumb! A member of Ned's father's work crew (he's there as a professional photographer) goes missing. Ned explains that she has been transformed into some ancient Celtic lady named Ysabel, and of course no one goes to the police. Of course, Ned's Doctors Without Borders mother comes back from Sudan only to have no real importance to the story either. And poor Kate, she's with this crazy family for a few days and her family doesn't seem to give a rat's...

Aggggh! This is so ridiculously bad. I had to force myself to finish. One of the worst books I've reviewed in 5 years of running this blog.

(There, feels good to finally get that off my chest.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Canadian Book Challenge 4- 11th Roundup



We're almost there folks! One month left to go. How's the progress going? Have you completed your 13 already, now just adding in a few more for good measure? Or are you going to cram like there's no tomorrow to make sure you get there? Don't stress it! If you come up short this time around, there's always the 5th edition just around the corner.

A few weeks ago I asked you all to take a vote on the next logo, and the winner was obvious:



So there you have it. Steal it, post about it, add it to your sidebar, start thinking of those titles you're planning to tackle. See if you can't recruit a few more to the party. (And if you're curious as to all the titles worked into the logo, they're a little more clear in my new blog wallpaper.)

Remember, if you haven't signed up yet, simply email me with the subject "Sign Me Up" at jmutford [at] hotmail (dot) com. And authors/publishers/booksalespeople-- I'm still in need of books as prizes!!!

Also consider joining the Under the Midnight Sun Read-a-thon on July 2nd (Canadian titles only)! (Details here.)



Back to May for a second. if you'll remember I challenged people to read Canadian books with a Japanese connection last month, promising that if we could hit ten titles I'd donate $200 to the Red Cross for the Earthquake relief efforts. If we did less than 10 books, I said it would be $10 per book. Well, looks like we came up a little short but thanks to Kate and Niranjana, both of whom reviewed Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, Wanda who reviewed Deirdre Dwyer's The Breath The Lightens The Body, and Shannon who reviewed Darcy Tamayose's Odori, I'll be donating $50 (I also include my review of Nils Andrew Thompson's Looking For Momo in Tomo Domo).

But, I hope you're not all charitied out, because, as you know, there's been a lot going on right here at home in these past few weeks. Floods and fires, it's been a lot to take in. But one that struck a particularly loud chord with me, as I know it will with all of you, seeing as we're all readers, was the Slave Lake Public Library burning to the ground:

Absolutely terrible. I've been in contact with Deborah Kendze, the library manager, and she gave me some directions on how we can help (these instructions are also available on their website):

Donations of new or nearly new books (no more than two years old) can be shipped to Peace Library System headquarters where they will be catalogued, processed and stored until a temporary library opens in Slave Lake. Please ship prepaid to:

Peace Library System
8301 – 110 Street
Grande Prairie, AB T8W 6T2

ATTN: Books for Slave Lake Library



We are grateful for the many book donations that have been promised to the library and have heard from many organizations who are holding fundraising efforts on our behalf. At this time, donations in the form of money are preferred. We will likely need items other than just books to set up the temporary location.


Cash donations can be made by clicking on the “Make a Donation” link on the left hand side of [the Slave Lake Library Website].If you prefer to send a cheque, please make it payable to the "Slave Lake Regional Library Board" and mail to :

Peace Library System
8301 – 110 Street
Grande Prairie, AB T8W 6T2

So, there you have it. It looks like they prefer money at this time, but for those of you joining the 5th Canadian Book Challenge and were hoping to theme your 13 selections somehow, how about having a Slave Lake Donations Theme? Pick 13 Canadian books published in the past 2 years, and as you finish each one off, send it off to the good folks of Slave Lake, Alberta.

Now, one month to go and one more round of prizes. Next month, I'll be picking randomly from all of you that managed to read and review 13 books or more, for a prize pack of 13 gently used mystery books, one from each province and territory.

And finally, while we're all gathered here today: the roundup. What Canadian books did you read and review in May? Let everyone know in the comments below.

Remember:
- 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.