Sunday, July 31, 2011

5th annual Canadian Book Challenge- 1st update

Here we are with one month under our belts and I'd venture to say that the 5th annual Canadian Book Challenge is off to a wonderfully successful start. Over 75 books read already and 27 participants well on their way, with even more waiting in the wings.

A few highlights from July:

1. The first ever Under the Midnight Sun 24 Hour Read-a-thon was a success. There weren't a lot of participants, but for those of us who did (including my daughter and one person who participated as a cheerleader), we had a lot of fun and did a lot of reading. It was an exhausting night and at some point the challenge became staying awake, not reading, but definitely worth it. Check out some of my highlights here.

2. There have been a few prizes handed out already. Randomly chosen among all those who participated in the Under the Midnight Sun Read-a-thon, Melwyk won a Northern Authors Prize Pack, featuring:

1. Jamie Bastedo's Tracking Triple Seven

2. Annelies Pool's Iceberg Tea

3. Cathy Jewison's The Ugly Truck and Dog Contest

4. Richard Van Camp- The Moon of Letting Go



As well, for being the very first person to review a book for this 5th edition of the Canadian Book Challenge, Amy has won a prize pack donated by Arbeiter Ring Publishing including:

1. John S. Saul's Revolutionary Traveler


2. Susan Close's Framing Identity

3. Caelum Vatnsdal's They Came From Within



3. Lots of great reviews last month featuring a wide variety of genres and formats: children's chapter books and picture books, poetry, plays, short stories, novels, non-fiction, graphic novels, memoirs, mysteries, and more. Recent bestsellers were represented, as were out of print books. I'd commented at the end of the 4th Canadian Book Challenge that I was surprised not to see any Joseph Boyden or Richard Van Camp in the list of the authors read, and with only one month in to the 5th edition, and already they're represented. July's links is a great resource to add to your TBR list. Check it out!

Now, for next month's prize pack, I'm going to offer up a fantastic collection of books kindly donated by Breakwater Books, out of Newfoundland:

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)

To win this prize, all I ask is that give me a top 10 list of books from one province and/or territory. This might be a top ten list of books you want to read, ten you'd recommend, or some combination of the two. Do a list for the province/territory you're currently living in, one you used to live in, or even one you just want to visit. For my non-Canadian participants, you may simply pick ten Canadians titles you wish to read, and don't worry about the province or territory component. Don't worry about the birth place of the authors if you feel the book represents the province/territory adequately.

Way back when I began the Canadian Book Challenges, I compiled a huge list of books from each province or territory. It's quite dated already, and I can note some huge omissions, but still you may want to use it as a resource to at least help compile your top 10 list. I've decided to do 3, yes 3, to get us started, seeing as I've called 3 provinces/territories my home:

Newfoundland and Labrador
1. Wayne Johnston- Colony of Unrequited Dreams
2. Michael Crummey- Galore
3. Cassie Brown- Death on the Ice
4. Randall Maggs- Night Work: The Sawchuck Poems
5. Percy Janes- House of Hate
6. Al Pittman- Down by Jim Long's Stage**
7. Joan Clark- Latitudes of Melt
8. Bernice Morgan- Random Passage
9. Kevin Major- Eh? to Zed
10. Donna Morrissey- Kit's Law*

** I was so happy to see that Breakwater donated this book and it was the inspiration behind this month's top 10 challenge

Nunavut-
1. Michael Kusugak and Robert Munsch- A Promise is a Promise
2. Kenn Harper- Give Me My Father's Body
3. Zachariah Wells- Unsettled
4. Pierre Berton- The Arctic Grail
5. Ernie Lyall- An Arctic Man
6. John Bennett and Susan Rowley (editors)- Uqalurait*
7. Jan Brett- Three Snow Bears
8. Neil Christopher and Larry MacDougall- Stories of the Amautalik
9. Knud Rasmussen (compiler), Tom Lowenstein (Translator)- >Eskimo Poems
10. Alootook Ipeelie- Arctic Dreams and Nightmares*

Northwest Territories-
1. Steve Zipp- Yellowknife
2. Elizabeth Hay- Late Nights on Air
3. Cathleen With- Having Faith in the Polar Girls' Prison
4. Richard Van Camp- Lesser Blessed*
5. Jamie Bastedo- Tracking Triple Seven*
6. Annelies Pool- Iceberg Tea*
7. Cathy Jewison- The Ugly Truck and Dog Contest
8. Edith Iglauer- Denison's Ice Road*
9. René Fumoleau: Here I Sit
10. Bren Kolson- Myth of the Barrens

*indicates books I've yet to read, but basing their placement in these lists based on my wanting to read them and the positive reviews I've read.

Now get cracking on your own top 10 list! Someone already did the province/territory you wanted to do? Not to worry! I'm sure your lists will be somewhat different. I'd love to compare your recommendations. Anyone who enters a top 10 list in the comments below will have their name put in a random draw for the Breakwater Books Prize pack. Do more than one province/territory and your name will be entered more than once. Contest closes at midnight on August 31st and the winner will be announced in September. Good luck!

In the meantime, keep reading and reviewing Canadian books in August and don't forget to add links to your reviews at the roundup post!

The 5th annual Canadian Book Challenge- July Roundup (Sticky Post- for most recent post scroll down)






How to add your link:
1. Click on the icon above
2. Add a link to your review. (Please link to your specific review, not an entire webpage.)
3. Add your name and in parentheses the title of the book, such as John Mutford (Anne of Avonlea)

Also, in the comment section below, tell me your grand total so far. (ex. This brings me up to 1/13)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reader's Diary #740- Ernie Lyall: An Arctic Man

The main reason I decided to do a book about my life in the north is that I finally got fed up with all the baloney in so many books written about the north.
That first sentence of An Arctic Man somewhat captures the tone and theme of this autobiography of Ernie Lyall, the son of Irish and Scottish parents who was born and raised in Labrador and wound up, like his father, working for the Hudson's Bay Company but living in Nunavut (what was then still part of the Northwest Territories). Lyall married an Inuk woman with whom he had eleven children and raised them in an Inuktitut-speaking household. He is one of the few white people that was given an Eskimo number, numbered discs that were given to the Inuit in the early 40s in order for RCMP, missionaries, doctors, and sometimes the HBC to record them in their documents (most Inuit at the time didn't use surnames, many had the same first name, and sometimes, according to Lyall, would sometimes change their name). Lyall didn't have an issue with these numbers, and in fact saw them as no different than social insurance numbers, health card numbers, and so on. This stance helps complete the tone and theme.

The "baloney" part, besides showing Lyall's total lack of pretension and common-man speech, is mostly directed at Farley Mowat. I'd heard people refer to Mowat as "Hardly Know-it" before but this is the first time I've seen that moniker in print. Most of Lyall's disdain for Mowat (and there seems to be a lot), comes from Mowat's The Snow Walker. While some of the stories in that collection, Lyall acknowledges, are clearly fiction others are based on reality and used the names of real individuals, including Lyall himself. The problem isn't simply misspelling a name or place here or there, but also misrepresenting facts in order to fit an agenda. In one instance he says that Lyall has part Eskimo blood. On the more extreme and upsetting side, he even suggests that some individuals had died, or worse committed suicide, when, according to Lyall, they were alive and well at the time. You can well see why Lyall would be upset. And, if what Lyall suggests is true (as I'd venture to guess it was considering Lyall's long time in the north and near religious record keeping), Mowat should be thankful it wasn't a more litigious society or time.

But that's as far as Lyall's wrath seemed to spread. Otherwise Lyall seems so easy going and likeable that I found myself wishing at times he did get more upset. A company man, it sometimes seemed that the HBC could do no wrong. Even when Lyall recounts being temporarily let go by the company at one point, he seems very forgiving about the fact, and is at that moment uncharacteristically reserved in sharing the details. Likewise he mentions that he's never met a police officer he doesn't like. At the time of residential schools, he freely admitted that it caused great heartache on the part of parents who were forced to have their children taken away and sent off to schools where they would be forced to speak and write solely in English. Some of Lyall's own children were sent away to attend school and though the government apparently promised to return them, they were away for five years without so much as a summer visit. Lyall fought to have them returned for the summer holidays to no avail. And yet despite all this Lyall took a government job as an interpreter, traveling to various Inuit settlements with pilots (one who even referred himself as "the chief kidnapper"), while extolling the benefits of this education.

But while I did find it sometimes unfortunate that Lyall reserved most of his criticism for Mowat, when personally I think some of the establishments deserved more than they got, I found Lyall's personality infectious nonetheless. There was a certain confidence in his writing, a certain warm comfort in himself, that could have come across as cocky or preachy. Instead, it was like listening to the wild, tender, exciting, tragic and funny tales of a grandfather, and that's something I've sorely missed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reader's Diary #739- Margaret Hutchison: Tamarac

When people lament CanLit as being too preoccupied with landscape and weather, too depressing and serious, I often wonder which authors they have in mind. No one, it seems, wants to name names. After reading Tamarac, I'd venture to guess they mean Margaret Hutchison. But that seems rather unlikely seeing as the book is out of print and she's so far lost in CanLit obscurity even Wikipedia has ignored her (and me too, but that's a beef for another day).

Set in the fictional mining town of Tamarac, somewhere in the British Columbian mountains just prior to World War II, Tamarac revolves around a young teacher named Janet. Janet, it is clear, has some fond memories of Tamarac but for the most part felt oppressed by it-- by its people (including her family), by its economy, and by its time in history. Whether it was intentional or not, Hutchison makes the reader feel equally oppressed. Janet's dreams, and indeed the dreams of those around her, go unfulfilled. But don't look for any lessons in there about things turning out for the better, if there is any message at all beyond "life sucks, but at least the trees are pretty" its that life cares not a whit about what you want, whether you're practical or full of imagination and hope.

The characters, too, are always so full of grandiose speeches and profound philosophies. It's like a novel full of Anne Shirleys. Anne Shirleys without the optimism, at that.
"Ants," said Kenneth, "the perfect organization; the unchanging perfectionists. I suppose that's what we all think we want, sometimes. I wonder if they know they're getting old."
Who talks like that?

I'll give the book credit for two things:

1. As Tamarac, thankfully shuts down and is deserted with the mine closure, I was reminded of a brilliant interactive documentary by Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons (collectively known as the Goggles) for the National Film Board of Canada. Called "Welcome to Pine Point" they document the short life of a mining town called Pine Point. Pine Point, a former Northwest Territories town, lasted roughly long enough for one generation to pass through the school system. Then the town closed and dismantled. Their documentary captures what I believe Hutchison was going for in her book but didn't. You really should check it out.

2. For all the overwhelming depressing-ness that is Tamarac, it actually made me feel better about the times we live in. Listening to the news everyday, I was just about ready to stand on the corner of Franklin Avenue waving my "The End is Nigh" placard. But even if we were headed toward a depression and a world war, Tamarac is at least a good reminder that the country survived it before. There now, those 282 pages seem almost worth it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Reader's Diary #738- Wayne Johnston: Catechism

Given the tragic events in Norway last week I contemplated looking for a Norwegian short story for today. I couldn't, however, bring myself to do so just yet. I decided instead to seek comfort in a Canadian story. Not, of course, that such a tragedy couldn't happen here. But, in any case, Wayne Johnston's story did provide the distraction I so desired. It was a temporary distraction, as this opening paragraph will attest, but a distraction nonetheless and for that I'm grateful.

"Catechism" first appeared in the July 2005 edition of the Walrus but is also up on Johnston's website. About a writer from Newfoundland, that's about all I can say with any certainty is autobiographical. The writer in "Catechism" is now an underutilized, under-productive writer-in-residence at the Regina Public Library.

Like the other Johnston writings I've read, "Catechism" has moments of humor but has an overall melancholy tone. That alone has not been enough for me to decide outright if I like his stories or not. I loved Colony of Unrequited Dreams, hated The Story of Bobby O'Malley. I quite enjoyed "Catechism" but it's definitely a conversation piece and I almost feel I need to hear other opinions before I decide how much I loved it.

In the first half of the story the writer describes two of the clients that sought his writing expertise. The first has written a children's novel that takes an odd twist partway through, an obviously unintentional twist. The second is a reclusive Pentecostal ministers wife that the writer feels the need to counsel rather than provide writing advice.

At first I brushed aside the children's novel part as mere comic relief, but then it's near the beginning of the story and the comic relief really isn't needed until later, after the part about the reclusive minister, and when "Catechism" takes a bit of a left turn of its own. Suddenly I'm seeing a parallel to the children's novel rather than the reclusive wife, the reclusive wife whom the writer seems to draw more significance, but may have been a red herring on the part of Johnston. There's a lot to work through...

and that's without mentioning the escort. Could Johnston have been drawing a parallel between the escort and the writer, both providing "services" and both potentially influenced by their clients? And what's with the title?

Argghhh. It's a frustrating story, but delightfully so. Exactly the distraction I need.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reader's Diary #737- Kevin Cannon: Far Arden

In Pierre Berton's Prisoners of the North I was introduced to Vilhjalmur Steffansson, an Arctic explorer who set out to find a mysterious race of so-called blond Eskimos, the last of the northern Aboriginal groups to have contact with white men. The Inuit he found he referred to as the Copper Inuit, and for a while the world was intrigued, as we often are with mysterious places and people, fictional or real.

I doubt, however, that Kevin Cannon heard of Steffansson or the Copper Inuit. In fact, beyond looking at a map of high Arctic islands, it would seem Cannon did absolutely no research on Nunavut or the people who live there.

Far Arden centers around a man named Army Shanks who, along with a few others-- friendly and otherwise, hope to find the mythical land of Far Arden, a tropical paradise somehow still uncharted and somehow located in the Canadian Arctic.

When Annie Proulx wrote the Shipping News, I admit calling it out for its Newfoundland inaccuracies. Likewise, when Kevin Patterson wrote Consumption, I did the same for its inaccuracies of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Yet, I not only forgive Kevin Cannon for his, I actually appreciate them.

First off, nowhere on the book Far Arden or on the publisher's website does it say that Kevin Cannon has ever been to Nunavut or even done a lick of research. It says, rather, that "Kevin Cannon lives in the near-Arctic Climes of Minneapolis, Minnesota." Proulx and Patterson (or their publishers at any rate) insisted on writing their experience with their respective locales on the book jackets as if to add to the authenticity. It backfired. If they were in fact in Newfoundland and Nunavut for any length of time their blatant mistakes are unforgivable. Cannon, on the other hand, doesn't even try to get it right. But that's the charm of the book. It's so over the top and crazy that it works.

This is Nunavut fictionalized to the extreme. There's a Boothia College larger than any of the Arctic College campuses combined. The waters are all patrolled by the Royal Canadian Arctic Navy (RCAN). People not only live on Devon Island but there's a pub called the Sombre Moose. There's a traveling circus like something out of Pinocchio. People use expressions like "I should dress up like a Baker Lake hooker." And I could go on.

But Far Arden isn't just fun for the Nunavummiut (or former Nunavummiut) checking to see what the hell Cannon's done to the place, but it's wild fun even for those with about as much knowledge as Cannon himself. The story is fast paced and crazy and the "sound effects" for lack of a better term are hysterical. Whenever someone does anything, Cannon insists on narrating that action right there in the same panel. It begins subtly, with a "punch!!!" So far no different than many action comics, right? But it quickly spirals from there. "Pant! Pant!" becomes "listful kick" becomes (my personal favourite), "throw up a little in mouth."

It's ridiculously silly, the artwork has a lot of crosshatching but is otherwise very simplified (it reminded me of Simon Bond's work in 101 Uses for a Dead Cat), and the ending feels somewhat rushed, but for all that I still think Cannon managed to get something right about the Canadian Arctic. Were it not for many of our early explorers having almost as ridiculous expectations of what they were to find and the kinds of adventures they were sure to have, Nunavut, for better or worse, would not be the reality it is today. For that reason, I'm happy to include Far Arden in my list of reads for the Canadian Book Challenge.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Reader's Diary #736- Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Yellow Wallpaper

Back in December Teddy Rose reviewed Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and when I remarked that she had made it sound appealing, she replied that it was geared more towards women but was still interested in a male perspective. Not that I can comment on behalf of all men (far from it), but I still planned on giving it a go. Then, as often happens, I put it out of my head entirely. Thankfully Chris reviewed it Linkover at Chrisbookarama this past week (who also mentioned the feminist angle) and so here I am.

I have to admit, I tried hard to feel some empathy for the man.

Told from a woman's perspective, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is about her being confined to a room in a house that her doctor husband has rented for the summer. She has recently given birth and has been diagnosed, by her husband, as having "temporary nervous depression," but as the story goes on she becomes fixated on the wallpaper, convinces herself that there are women hiding behind it, and slips into madness.

At first, I felt sorry for John, the husband. I saw myself in his skepticism where supernatural phenomenon is concerned. I also considered when the story was written (late 1800s) and how new psychology as a science was at the time (though postpartum psychosis was recognized as early as 1850-- if that is, in fact, what the narrator was experiencing).

When I was in the delivery room with my wife when our children were born, I felt completely and utterly helpless and useless. She was clearly in pain and doing all the work, while I was just sort of in the way. I wanted to do anything to help. Instead I spilled coffee. The difference with John in Gilman's story was that he was a physician. He thought he was helping. In reality, he wasn't. He may have, in fact, been making matters worst. Suggesting that she stay alone in a room with weird wallpaper may not have been such a good idea.

And I'll concede that John turned out to be less than a helpless, well-meaning, but ultimately mistaken man. He turned out to be a patronizing jerk. But, while feminist themes could easily be found here, I would still stress that plenty of mentally ill men were also abused by physicians and psychiatrists in those days.

There are a few more theories about the story as well. First off, are we sure that the woman wasn't so mentally unstable in the beginning that she wasn't an unreliable narrator from the get go? Or what if the husband was even more evil than a neglecting chauvinist know-it-all but instead planned the whole thing? Couldn't he have been slipping something into her food? He was after all a physician and would have had access to such things. Then there's the whole Napoleon connection. You see, Napoleon's hair was analyzed in the 1960s and traces of arsenic were found. At first people suspected he was poisoned by a murderer, but now a popular theory suggests that arsenic in his wallpaper did him in. While most people don't think that Napoleon went crazy because of this arsenic, arsenic is porphyrogenic and symptoms of porphyria include hallucinations, depression and anxiety. Some people believe that King George III suffered this condition due to arsenic. But, though "The Yellow Wallpaper" is said to be semi-autobiographical and it might be that these theories simply didn't occur to Gilman as she experienced similar situations (hence the lack of hints), I admit that they're not as plausible as the more accepted interpretations. Still, it's fun to play CSI for a while, isn't it?

By the way, when I was a child my grandmother used to have a very similar wallpaper to this in the guest room where I sometimes slept:

See all those circular swirls? I used to imagine those as eyes. I could easily understand while the woman in "the Yellow Wallpaper" would start to have her mind run wild after staring at such a thing all day everyday. All this and the whole Napoleon thing? I'm surprised there isn't a phrase coined to describe a fear of wallpaper. Oh wait, there is: ricoculophobia.


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

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trivial Sunday- Don't Call Me Daughter



The post title comes from Pearl Jam's "Daughter" which gets huge points from me for resisting the urge to rhyme "daughter" with "water" as so many others have done: Loudon Wainwright (Daughter), P.J. Harvey (Down by the Water), Kiss (Hard Luck Woman), Taylor Swift (Mine), Uncle Kracker (Whiskey and Water), Gretchen Wilson (Walk on Water), Damien Rice (Blower's Daughter)...

Anyway, this is a book blog not a music blog, and the reason I bring this all up at all, is because lately I've been noticing the ridiculous number of books that have "Daughter" in the title. "The Book Blogger's Daughter," "The Crypt-Keeper's Daughter," enough already! While a couple of these have been around for a while, it's getting to be as bad as "The Secret Life of...". So today I bring you daughter title trivia!

Feel free to do all 12 at home, but only answer 1 in the answers below. That way 9 others will have a chance to play along. Try to answer the question you feel would be the most difficult. Also, bonus points if you tell me another song that rhymes water with daughter.

1. What is the name of the Amy Tan novel that was also turned into an opera by Stewart Wallace and commissioned by San Francisco Opera in 2008?

2. What is the English title of Simone de Beauvoir's autobiography originally published as Mémoires d'une jeune fille rangée?

3. Contrary to popular belief this Timothy Findley novel was not written about Alexa Ray Joel.

4. Who is the Pulitzer Prize winning author behind the Winemaker's Daughter?

5. Name the daughter book by Shilpi Somaya Gowda that was a #1 Canadian Bestseller.

6. Which New York Times Paperback Bestseller was turned into a TV Movie airing in 2008 on Lifetime?

7. What is the only Daughter book on Oprah's Book Club list?

8. Match the titles below with these authors: Joan Aiken, Michelle Moran, Eve Bunting, June White
i. Daughters of Isis
ii. Cleopatra's Daughter
iii. Eliza's Daughter
iv. The Pirate's Daughter

9. What is the title of Laurie Sandell's graphic novel about her father?

10. Which other family member is mentioned in the daughter title of Lesley Crewe?

11. What is the name of Jostein Gaardner's upcoming novel?

12. What book does this Amazon product description refer to?

"An accomplished, hard-hitting debut novel that marries a page-turning plot with the stories of three women, each of whom is struggling with decisions that will change the course of her life.

The violent death of a Canadian water company executive in a black township of Johannesburg throws together a South African anti-privatization activist and the water executive's daughter, Claire, who arrives suddenly from Canada desperate to understand her father's death. The murder investigation -- led by an officer who is finding her own loyalties increasingly unclear -- and Claire's personal quest become entwined, and the young Canadian's involvement with the activist brings her ever closer to a shocking truth she might not be able to bear. ______, like its characters, is fierce and tender, thought-provoking and emotionally rich. It introduces Emma Ruby-Sachs as an enormously talented, original, and fearless new voice in Canadian fiction."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Reader's Diary #735- Ray Price: Yellowknife

Have you joined the local food movement? Are you a locavore? I've always thought it was a good idea, but living in the Northwest Territories, I'd starve. Sure aboriginal people survived around these parts for centuries, but I really don't have those skills. I can pick out a decent nectarine at the local Co-op, but that isn't exactly local fare.

So while jumping on the local food bandwagon isn't something I'm ready for just yet, maybe I can trademark a local reading movement. Localit? Have you read much history of your current town or city of residence? I'm looking forward to doing more of it. As part of my Canadian Book Challenge, I've always read 13 or more books, making sure that each province and territory was represented by at least one book. This time around I'm still taking that approach for 13 books, but I've also decided to read an additional 13 books, each set north of 60. Not necessarily localized as much as my current choice, but all from the territories.

To some extent I enjoyed Yellowknife* by Ray Price. I wanted to learn about the history of Yellowknife, and I did learn some. It was first published in 1967, the same year Yellowknife became the official capital of the Northwest Territories. So, considering that Yellowknife was only permanently settled in 1935, there's more history not covered than is. Of course, Price can't be faulted for that.

He can, however, be faulted for other things he left out, and most notably, the aboriginal achievements and influence on the town's growth. As a relative newcomer to Yellowknife, I quite enjoy learning about the local aboriginal populations, especially the Dene who make up the largest such group. They are active in decision making, culture, business and just day to day life. Not only did Price ignore almost all their contributions to early Yellowknife history, the few times he did mention them were with racist generalizations. Had Price been merely quoting other racists, it could be said that he was just reporting a common and unfortunate view at the time. However, on more than one occasion he lets his own biases slip, and through their relative omission in the book it is clear Price considered Yellowknife to be built solely by white men. Not of course to downplay or discredit any of the achievements of the white men of course, but it's clearly not the whole picture.

The bulk of Yellowknife deals with the mining history. At times it becomes tedious, as Price seemed to feel the need to talk above every prospector who ever tried to stake a gold claim in the Yellowknife area. Clearly gold mining brought Yellowknife to where it is today, but of more interest to me were those who first set up the airlines, newspapers, hotels, and so on. Price was able to find the characters behind the individuals in a manner similar to Pierre Berton, and this was what kept the book interesting. It was also fun to learn about the names behind all the streets, trails, buildings and so on, that I've just taken for granted up to this point.

But again, Price omitted a lot, and not only the aboriginal achievements. He talks in great detail about the push for beer parlors, sewers, and hospitals, for instance, but barely skims the introduction of schools and, perhaps more surprisingly since Price himself was a Baptist minister, churches.

Still, the book is a starting point for someone interested in Yellowknife history and would no doubt be a valuable resource for someone wanting to do it better.**

*Not to be confused with Steve Zipp's brilliant novel of the same name, which in turn is not to be confused with Dennis St. John's novel also known simply as Yellowknife, of which I have not yet read.

**Looking through Amazon, apparently Erik Watt also wrote a history of Yellowknife called Yellowknife: How A City Grew which I may need to order. Published in 1990, it would, at the very least, give some of the more recent history, though again missing some pretty major milestones that came later: the closing of the mines, a mass-murder, diamond mines, and the creation of Nunavut to name but a few.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reader's Diary #734- John Vaillant: The Tiger

When Kate Taylor interviewed me for the recent Globe & Mail article on reading challenges, she seemed intrigued that my interest in starting a Canadian book challenge sprung from my involvement in a Russian Reading Challenge a few years back.

I was glad she took me back to that time, I had all but forgotten my occasional infatuations with Russian lit. What was it that attracted me to that country and its literature? I'm still not sure, but I think much of it had to with the glimpse into a society so totally unfamiliar to me. What I knew about Russia before reading Russian lit:
1. To dance like a Russian you have to fold your arms and kick while squatting on the floor
2. During the Cold War Russians were evil, but after the Cold War they weren't so bad
3. Russians created vodka
4. In Soviet Russia, television watches you

So what did I know after reading all the Russian lit? That's a much more difficult question, partly because what I read was so dated. Almost everything I read was written prior to the 1900s. And while I realize you need to know something of a country's history to know who they are now, I'm not sure 10 19th century Russian novels helps me understand the modern Russian, no matter how good War & Peace or Crime & Punishment was. That's it! Russians prefer their titles to have antonyms!

It took a Canadian book about a tiger to give me some insight into contemporary Russian life. Granted it's just a small section of Siberia that Vaillant focuses on and I realize that generalizing in this way is the equivalent of a Russian reader thinking they understand life in Montreal after reading a book set in Yellowknife.

Interestingly, life in Arctic Russia is nothing like life in Arctic Canada. For one they have tigers. And while I won't say that tigers alone shape the Siberian-Russian personality, the interplay of tigers, Russian history and current economic standing, geography and ecology make the entire situation unique. A firm understanding of Canada's North and even of the polar bear would help but little in comprehending the plight of the Siberian tigers and those that co-exist with them-- or try to.

I wanted to not like this book. Presented as a "true story of vengeance," a story of a tiger who takes revenge on a poacher, I was all prepared to criticize the book for assigning human personality and motives to an animal, a huge issue I had with Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf. I was also a bit nervous that Vaillant would turn the Tiger into a Jaws fiasco, and instead of helping people understand the animal would just terrify them and seek the destruction of tigers even more. I needn't have worried.

There's not an angle or question that Vaillant doesn't explore or answer. While I'm not still not totally convinced I'd classify the tiger's actions as vengeful, I cannot say I'd rule it out either. This may not sound like much, but it's enough to win me over. It's not a black or white book (or black or orange?) and it's remarkably respectful. It's a tiger story, it's a human story, it's an ecology story. But it's not hippyish, it's honest. It attempts to explain in a matter that is not forgiving, but empathetic.

It may not be a Canadian story, but it's told in a very Canadian way.

A Canadian-Russian connection. Who knew?

(Interestingly, my stats always indicate that Russian readers are in the top 10 of those that check out my blog. This past week alone I've had 30 readers from Russia-- yet I've heard from zero of them in my comments. So to my Russian comrades Здравствуйте!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reader's Diary #733- Steven Mayoff: Milk, Milk, Lemonade

There's a Kiefer Sutherland/Sally Field movie from 1996 called Eye for an Eye that I barely remember at all (I even had to IMDb the title), except for a creepy moment with Kiefer, who played a rapist/murderer, reciting a children's rhyme: "'tough titty,' said the kitty, 'but the milk's still good'" while poking a five your old girl in the chest. I was reminded of this horrible little scene with Steven Mayoff's* use of a similar juvenile rhyme, "milk, milk, lemonade, around the corner fudge is made."**

That I'd have icky feelings from an unintentional link to Sutherland's movie actually works in Mayoff's favour, not that he needed any help. "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" is an uncomfortable story from start to finish and Mayoff uses this to his advantage. He knows how just how readers will likely rationalize and come to terms with what they are reading and strings them along accordingly. It's a brilliantly written story, but it's also a brilliantly written punch in the gut, so be warned. No doubt it's worse reading it as a parent, but I'd hope anyone would be squeamish after reading this story.

*Steven Mayoff is originally from Montreal, but currently lives in PEI. I went looking specifically for PEI authors on the PEI Writers' Guild website after lamenting during the 4th Canadian Book Challenge that I had to resort to Lucy Maud Montgomery yet again.

**While researching for this post, I discovered that Katy Perry has a song called "Milk, Milk, Lemonade." Instead of taking the edge off of Mayoff's story, the sexual innuendo in Perry's lyrics combined with Mayoff's story, just makes her song kind of wrong.

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

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Reader's Diary #732- Good News Bible: Ecclesiastes

I'm a positive pessimist. Yes, I agree the glass is half empty, but what was in that glass? You probably didn't want it anyway.

John the Positive Pessimist found himself quite vocal while reading Ecclesiastes. So much so that he caught himself talking in the third person.

I was surprised actually. All I knew of Ecclesiastes before now was the Byrds' version of Turn! Turn! Turn! which, thanks to Pete Seeger's added line, "a time for peace, I swear it's not too late," I took to mean Ecclesiastes was an optimistic book. In reality the theme of Ecclesiastes could be summed up as "why bother?" Or, if you want to keep with 60s folk songs: finding meaning in anything, in fact even trying, is futile; you might as well try and catch the wind.

Ecclesiastes shows a human side to a philosopher working through his thoughts on life. And sure he acknowledges that money can't buy happiness, but I appreciated how awesomely that thought was hammered home. I've often felt that it's only us privileged folks-- us with enough food to eat, clothes on our back, and a roof over our heads-- that even engage in something as pointless as philosophy. Yes, if Ecclesiastes has taught me anything it's that we're predestined to be a miserable species, forever trying to climb Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Well, not forever. And that's the good news! We die!

See? Defeatism is no match for my positive pessimism.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Reader's Diary #731- Hayden Trenholm: Like Monsters of the Deep

I met author Hayden Trenholm a couple of years ago and while we didn't agree on what the first English novel was, he seemed like a nice enough fellow, and I've been surprised ever since never to see his name come up on the end of year Canadian Book Challenge lists. I know his name isn't up there with Douglas Coupland or Robertson Davies, but surely someone must read him. Then, I guess I haven't either, even though I've had a copy of his Defining Diana sitting there on my shelf ever since, unread, so I can't say why.

Well, now after reading his short story "Like Monsters of the Deep," I know why I'm in no rush to read him. "Like Monsters of the Deep" is sci-fi, and pulpy sci-fi at that. I'm sure such a thing can be fun, but it's really not for me.

Set on a space ship transporting a cargo of sleeping humans to deep space, the crew finds itself terrorized by an unknown monster. I feel like I've been here before.

Keep three things in mind:
1. As I write this, it's 6:00 am in the morning and I've been reading for 18 hours straight. I'm somewhat tired and cranky.
2. I'm not a big fan of sci-fi. This surprises me somewhat as I would have been all over it as a kid. I'm not knocking sci-fi, but throw it out there because sci-fi fans might want to disregard my review. I say it feels formulaic, others might like the formula.
3. Not so much of a 3rd point as it is an addition to the 2nd. "Like Monsters of the Deep" has been published and was nominated for an Aurora Award. Clearly sci-fi fans appreciate it.

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

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Reader's Diary #730- Lynn Coady: Play the Monster Blind



Small towns are known gossip mills. Having lived most of my life in small towns, I can't say that's just a stereotype. They are. And reading Lynn Coady's Play the Monster Blind might lead one to believe that at the heart of all this gossip is insecurity. But this is not my way, or Lynn Coady's way, of suggesting that city folks are above that. I think city folks are just as insecure, that's a human condition, but unlike rural folk, they can survive it through anonymity. Anonymity is not a luxury in a small town.

Despite such potentially cynical and depressing themes, the short stories in Coady's stories are often amusing and sometimes so accurate that I confused them with satire. I can't praise these stories enough. Pinpoint accurate description, dialogue, and characterization, I was reminded somewhat of Margaret Laurence, if only Margaret Laurence had a sense of humour. Brilliant collection and will definitely be in my top 10 reads of this year.

*Play the Monster Blind was part of a failed experiment I attempted this year, along with John Valliant's The Tiger. The idea was to leave these 2 books in the van for the times I found myself waiting for my wife to run into the store, etc. It works unless your wife insists on removing them from said van whenever she decides to clean it.

Reader's Diary #729- Bryan Lee O'Malley: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Vol. 2

When I first began this, the 2nd of Bryan Lee O'Malley's wildly popular graphic novel series, I questioned what the hell I was thinking when I gave the first volume a good review. Granted, this was about 1o hours into a 24 hour read-a-thon, right about the same time I began to question if I had the stamina. My mood wasn't good.

However, O'Malley's bizarre and frenetic comic won me over again. Juvenile, maybe. An unlikeable protagonist? Sure. But it's a normal story of young love until those moments when Scott Pilgrim must literally fight one of his girlfriend's evil exes. Just as a matter of fact. Hilarious.

Again, it's a simple enough, obviously manga-inspired style, and it totally fits the quirky story.

This time around Scott has to battle Lucas Lee, a now famous actor, who briefly dated Scott's girlfriend when Lee wasn't famous. Lee reveals that he is part of the League of Ramona's Evil Ex-Boyfriends, a group unknown to Scott before now. To further complicate the plot, Scott's ex Knives battles with Ramona and it looks like more of his exes might play a role in later volumes. Oh, I know it sounds so silly. And it is. But delightfully entertaining.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

R's review of Frieda Wishinsky's Crazy For Gold


Crazy for Gold, by Frieda Wishinsky, is a book about Emily and Matt again. I would recommend this book because I thought it had the most detail and it mentioned THE GOLDEN STAIRS, which are ice stairs in the Yukon. You should try it, you'll love it!

Reader's Diary #728- Miriatu Kamara (with Susan McClelland): The Bite of the Mango

I love hearing the stories of new Canadians. What brought them here, what they think of the country so far, how different it is, and so on. So, it's no surprise that I was drawn to Miriatu Kamara's The Bite of the Mango, the true story of a young refugee woman from Sierra Leone ended up in Toronto.

And while I say I love hearing the stories of new Canadians, I don't mean to suggest it's always a pleasant story to hear. The Bite of the Mango is quite gut-wrenching; angering and sad at times, hopeful at others. Miriatu, a 12 year old girl is left handless by rebel soldiers, and while being treated at the hospital, learns that she is pregnant, from a rape that took place prior to the rebel attack, by an older man from her village.

It would be impossible for a Canadian to read The Bite of the Mango emotionless. Even without the tragic story, the comparisons to village life in Sierra Leone would be astounding. She has had no education. She sees her first phone at age 12. She had never even heard the word snow. It's fascinating. It's heartwarming to know refugees like Mariatu have a safe home in Canada. It's also important to know their histories. As new Canadians, their histories are now a part of ours.

Despite the heavy topics, The Bite of the Mango is an easy read in terms of vocabulary, told mostly as if from the 12 year old's perspective-- even though Kamara is now 22. This lends the story the emotion in needs to adequately tell the story of her past. In one of the more poignant moments, right after Mariatu has her hands cut off by a boy soldier who tells her to go to the president to ask for new hands, she asks herself, "what is a president?"

Her story is told with the assistance of award winning journalist Susan McClelland.

R's review of Frieda Wishinsky's Danger, Dinosaurs!

Danger Dinosaurs is about Emily and Matt, the same children in Arctic Storm...
except in this one they go back in time to when dinosaurs were living. Emily
did not want to go but found a baby dinosaur named Peep.

I liked the book because I like all Canadian Flyer books and I enjoy learning about dinosaurs. Although I have one question: what happened to the T. Rex? Like, did he end up eating the other dinosaurs?

R's review of Frieda Wishinsky's Arctic Storm

My book Arctic Storm was a Canadian Flyer by Frieda Wishinsky. Arctic Storm is
about a girl named Emily and a boy named Matt. The two friends travel to the arctic on a magic sled. I think they traveled to Great Slave Lake in this one. But I know one thing-- that they were in Yellowknife!

I really liked the book because they travel to Yellowknife and I like adventure books.

But if I could have one wish about the book it would be I WISH THAT THERE WERE MOVIES OF THE CANADIAN FLYER BOOKS!

Reader's Diary #727- Dionne Brand: Ossuaries

When my wife saw Ossuaries sitting on our night stand she remarked how cool the title was. I was more than a little embarrassed to admit that I didn't know what it meant, even though I was more than halfway through Dionne Brand's collection of poetry. Ossuaries, it seems, are depositories for bones of the dead.

And yes, I agree with my wife that Ossuaries makes for a cool title, very evocative especially for a book of poetry. But I'm not sure if it captures the feel of the book. Certainly the poem takes on themes of mortality and history, and ossuaries would encapsulate that, but from a more literal standpoint the poem seems to be about travel as a desperate need to connect, to find oneself, to understand something about life and humanity. Ossuaries seems like too stationary of a title to capture the movement and stretching of this long poem.

I quite enjoyed Brand's poetry, though at times I grew annoyed with all the repetition, which appeared sometimes to be forced merely to keep the rhythm going. Too many stanzas had lines like "I could not, I could not, I could not" or "the core of reflectively so vastly, vastly vast." The latter of these examples, it could be argued, had more than rhythm in mind. It mentions "reflectively" and the 2 "vastly"s in there hammered home the point, but too often I found myself trying to justify what appeared to me an overuse of repetition.

But otherwise I enjoyed the flow, the unexpected word choices, and themes. It had the potential of wallowing in existential psychobabble but it did not. Instead there's an earthiness beneath the soul searching that held it all together.

R's review of Ted Stauton's Morgan's Secret (illustrated by Bill Slavin)


A guy named Charlie told his best friend Morgan his secret ...that he loved
a girl and told him not to tell ANYONE but he ended up telling. The problem was
Charlie got so mad that they weren't friends anymore. But to fix it he told his secret!

Ted Staunton's writing was funny. He used words like "blabbed" instead of "told."

The author did not do anything I did not like.

I liked that Bill Slavin did funny things like draw somebody tied to a pole.

Of course I would read something else by Ted Staunton because I've read 2 of his books and enjoyed them.

Under The Midnight Sun 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

The Under The Midnight Sun Readathon begins today! Reading and blogging about Canadian books for a full 24 hours! (12:00 noon, July 2nd - 12:00 noon July 3rd) Please take the time to encourage and coax these people along. Many people read to fall asleep, so reading (and blogging) for 24 hours could be quite challenging. If you're not taking part, please take the time to visit these blogs and offer your support. If you are taking part, good luck!

Wanda
Carina
Bad Tempered Zombie
Heather
Gavin
Melwyk
Jules
Medea
April
Jenga*
R**
John

*Jenga will be reading but not blogging at this time
**R is my 7 year old daughter. It's her first time blogging or trying to stay up for 24 hours straight. She will be blogging here at The Book Mine Set.

I also have exciting prize news! Since the title of this Read-a-thon is inspired by the north, and since I was a little disappointed by how few northern books were read for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge, I'm very pleased to offer a Northern Authors Prize Pack, featuring:
1. Jamie Bastedo's Tracking Triple Seven

2. Annelies Pool's Iceberg Tea

3. Cathy Jewison's The Ugly Truck and Dog Contest

4. Richard Van Camp- The Moon of Letting Go


This prize pack will be chosen randomly from all those who participate in the 24 hour read-a-thon.

I will be updating this post about once every hour or two of the challenge:

12:00 pm- Hour One

Well, I'm well rested and ready to go! I plan on getting through as many of these as I can:
Ray Price- Yellowknife
Dionne Brand- Ossuaries
Margaret Hutchinson- Tamarac
Miriatu Kamara- Bite of the Mango
John Valliant- The Tiger
Lynn Coady- Play the Monster Blind
Bryan Lee O'Malley- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Which seems like a lot, but with the exception of the graphic novel, I started all of these before the Read-a-thon even started, so hopefully it'll be just a matter of finishing them off and reviewing them. I might also throw in a few picture books as I'm being ambitious.

My daughter R is reading Ted Staunton's Morgan's Secret and Frieda Wishinsky's Arctic Storm. Probably more.

Here we go!

1:30

Only 22 hours and 30 minutes left to go. So far so good. I managed to finish Dionne Brand's Ossuaries, which I'll review in the next half an hour, and another chapter of Ray Price's Yellowknife. My daughter got all the way through Ted Staunton's chapter book Morgan's Secret and even wrote her very first review. Now I have to check out how everyone else is doing.

3:30

3.5 hours down. So far, so good, though I haven't finished a 2nd book yet-- though my daughter has read and reviewed her 2nd!

Special thanks goes out to Em, who with her wonderful words of encouragement, seems to be more active than those of us actually doing the Readathon! Hopefully more updates from participants will start drifting in over the night ahead. I see that Gavin, Wanda, Heather, and Melwyk are the only others that have updated so far...

Back to reading. I've knocked off chapters in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Tamarac, and The Bite of the Mango since last updating. Hopefully, one of those will be finished before I check in again.

8:00 pm

16 hours to go! I know I haven't checked in a while, but I did get a lot accomplished in that time. I took a supper break and finished and reviewed The Bite of The Mango. I'm getting a kick out of all the picture books and children's novels being read for the Canadian Book Challenge so far-- I only fear that newcomers to the challenge will see all the titles and think that it's only for kids! Oh well. The adult titles will soon outnumber the children's titles, I'm sure. And as a parent, I love that children's books are getting the attention they deserve.

Speaking of children, my girl is still doing fine-- though taking a break at the moment. She's a bit of a speed reader, but I can tell she's not wild about the blogging part. Still, she's being a great sport!

9:30 pm
I just spent the last hour reading outside and am feeling more refreshed. I had planned on reading outside earlier but we had an unexpected rain shower and I had to wait for that. It's funny-- when my parents visited Yellowknife at Christmas they were amused to no end by the consistent weather: sunny, cold, no wind, every.single.day. Unlike Newfoundland, and indeed most other places in Canada, that like to boast, as if it's an original saying, unique to them, "if you don't like the weather now, just wait five minutes," Yellowknife doesn't have a lot of variation. We get short but sunny and warm summers and long and cold but sunny winters, never wind. Yet for all our consistency and predictability, the good people at Environment Canada still manages to get it wrong. Oh well.

It's nice reading outside at the moment, but the mosquitoes are coming on-- it may call for a dose of repellent. Another lesson on Yellowknife? Locals like to brag about how big and numerous the mosquitoes are-- in three years, it hasn't been that bad. Some days are worse than others, but nothing like a summer I spent in Iqaluit 4 years ago. Egad!

I'm getting sidetracked. Back to reading!

12:20 AM



That's me, outside reading at midnight. Just past the halfway mark and stretching my eyes wide open in a sad attempt to convince you that I'm not tired. My daughter fell asleep 10 minutes ago with a book in her hands. But past the halfway mark, I'm really proud of her.

By the way, the Under The Midnight Sun Read-a-thon is technically a misnomer. Yellowknife, though being North of 60, still has a sunset and sunrise even on the longest day of the year. However, because they're so close together there's enough light so that it doesn't get any darker than dusk. Last night, the sun set about an hour ago (11:34pm) and will rise for me again at 3:50. I hope to be awake by then.

I still haven't finished another book, but I imagine I'll have the Scott Pilgrim book done next time around. I'm quite enjoying Lynn Coady's and John Vaillant's books, but the others are kind of dragging me down.

I think I need another tea. For the other participants still awake: have you been hitting the caffeine?

2:53 AM

Still awake! And on my 2nd wind. Really started to hit a wall there about an hour ago. Started mixing my metaphors. Anyway, reading outside has helped. Another tall glass of Coke helped. And a graphic novel helped. Finished Bryan Lee O'Malley's book and reviewed it here.

I'm not seeing much action left from the other Read-a-thon participants, though it looks like Melwyk made it to 4:00 her time, which is still more than me at this point. Hopefully I'll still be awake when the other participants wake and get right back at it! 9 hours to go. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

5:00 AM

Seven hours to go my friends. I've already said thank-you to the caffeine and fresh air gods for getting me this far, but I think now it's time to also give credit to the long daylight hours (beautiful sunrise today!) and a rather annoying robin.

Glad to see Wanda, Em, and Jules are all on the clock again.

Also, you might note that I just heard from Richard, and the book he has donated is The Moon of Letting Go.

Speaking of prizes, would any of you participants mind if I threw Emeire's (Em's) name into the draw as well? She may not have been reading, but she's certainly come through as a cheerleader.

8:20 AM

Rounding the bend now. My daughter woke up at about 7:00 and got right back at it, but seems to be drifting off again.

I managed to finish Play The Monster Blind, which I'll review soon, as well as a Canadian short story which I prepared a Short Story Monday post for. At this point I'm doubtful that I'll finish another book in the next three and a half hours, but I'll keep chugging away...

10:43 AM
I have to admit. This final hour will be the toughest. I started to read The Tiger, the more compelling I have of the three left but found myself having to go back to read some passages over and over. The challenge has become focused more on staying awake than reading.

I suffer insomnia often, so it's not an unfamiliar feeling for me unfortunately; an almost drunk feeling-- sluggish, jerky, jumping at shadows. And I'm breaking out in acne like I haven't in 17 years. Sheesh.

Clearly nothing else completed since I last checked in.

My daughter tried to read several times since waking up this morning, but each time she started to nod off again, so now she's happily watching Sponge Bob with her brother. But at four books, and over 12 hours, she did a great job and I'm so happy that she took part. She's going to keep going with the 5th Canadian Book Challenge anyway.

Well, this check-in took all of 8 minutes. I'll check in again at about 11:45 to let you all know who won the Northern Prize Pack...

11:56

Thank-you to everyone for participating. It's been a blast. I'm tired. Good night.

Congrats to Melwyk for winning the Northern Prize Pack.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The 5th annual Canadian Book Challenge- Let's Begin!



Happy Canada Day everyone, and welcome to day 1 of the 5th Annual Canadian Book Challenge! July 2011-July 2012

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 and other FAQ's here.

How will we record our progress this time? Last time around we read our way to the highest peaks of each province and territory, this time I thought we'd take a wetter route. How about the largest freshwater lakes of each province or territory? Just for the record, I chose this theme admittedly trying to get everyone to end up in the Northwest Territories, thinking that Great Bear Lake would win out. Lake Superior is bigger, yes, but it's not entirely within Ontario. According to The Atlas of Canada, Lake Superior has 28,700 square kilometers within Canada, whereas Great Bear Lake has 31, 328. However, using the same source, I have to concede that Lake Huron's 36,000 square kilometers tops the list. Enough of a geography lesson, here's how your progress will look:

1 book: MacLure's Pond, PEI
2 books: Grand Lake, New Brunswick
3 books: Kluane Lake, Yukon
4 books: Bras D'or Lake: Nova Scotia
5 books: Lake Claire, Alberta
6 books: Williston Lake, British Columbia
7 books: Lac Mistassini, Quebec
8 books: Nettilling Lake, Nunavut
9 books: Smallwood Reservoir, Newfoundland and Labrador
10 books: Lake Athabasca, Saskatchewan
11 books: Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba
12 books: Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories
13 or more books: Lake Huron, Ontario

As soon as your first book is read, add a link to your review using the provided linking tool at the top of this page, and I'll add your name and progress to the sidebar.

We've got so many fantastic prizes to give away this year, I hardly know where to begin. So why not start at the beginning? The very first person to add a link to a book reviewed for the 5th annual book challenge will get a prize pack generously donated by Arbeiter Ring Publishing. Arbeiter Ring Press, located in Winnipeg, was founded by musician (and 2X Canada Reads winning panelist) John K. Samson and writer/editor Todd Scarth. The prize pack includes:

1. John S. Saul's Revolutionary Traveler


2. Susan Close's Framing Identity

3. Caelum Vatnsdal's They Came From Within



This is a fantastic collection of nonfiction! For more info on each book, click on either the title or cover image. Good luck!

Now, curl up with a Canadian book, have a plate of toutons smothered in Saskatoon berry jam, and a nice mug of Red Rose tea. It's going to be a great year of reading, reviewing, and celebrating Canadian books.

Canadian Book Challenge 4- Final Roundup



Happy Canada Day!

We've made it! 12 months of Canadian reading! We've read through elections, hockey riots, floods, fires, personal celebrations and sorrows, snow and sun. We've read Canada Reads contenders, Giller prize winners, self-published books, bestsellers, graphic novels, cookbooks, classics, young adult books, contemporary novels, controversial books, political books, religious books, romances, thrillers, sci-fi, anthologies, memoirs, First Nations authors, french authors, Japanese Canadian authors, books from every province and territory, authors from A-Z, funny books, tragic books, history books, poetry, plays, picture books, books by and about Margaret Atwood and I could go on. It's been another fun, enlightening year of Canadian reading and my TBR list is now bursting at the seams. Thanks to everyone who participated by reading, reviewing, sharing and discussing.

Here are all 868 reviews written for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge, 646 books, 605 authors, 56 participants (36 of whom finished):

Abdou, Angie
- The Bone Cage (Pooker, Jeanne, Melwyk, Buried in Print)
- The Canterbury Trail (Jeanne, Pooker, Jules)

Adamson, Gil
- The Outlander (Jules, Prairiejournals)

Adderson, Caroline
- The Sky is Falling (Melwyk, Shan)

Allan, Von
- the road to god knows... (Pooker, John, Wanda)
- 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
- The Awakening (Zoe)
- Bitten (Jules)
- The Gathering (Zoe)
- The Reckoning (Zoe)
- The Summoning (Zoe)

Armstrong, Sally
- The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor (Ordinary Reader)

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

Arnason, Kathleen
- Falcons Gold: Canada's First Olympic Hockey Heroes (Nicola)

Arnold, Joel
- Snow Burn (Sarah)

Atwood, Margaret
- Alias Grace (Jules)
- CanLit Food Book (editor) (Carin)
- Cat's Eye (Shannon)
- Good Bones (Emeire)
- The Handmaid's Tale (Ordinary Reader)
- Moral Disorder (Emeire)
- Negotiating with the Dead (Emeire)
- Oryx and Crake (Carina)
- Payback(Emeire)
- The Penelopiad (Zoe)
- The Robber Bride (Inkslinger)
- Strange Things (Emeire)
- The Tent (Emeire)
- The Year of the Flood (Jules, Carina, Barbara, Raidergirl, John, Bernadette)

Austen-Leigh, Joan
- Stephanie (Claire)

Badami, Anita Rau
- Tamarind Mem (Buried in Print)

Badoe, Adwao
- Between Sisters (Amy, Buried in Print)

Baillie, Martha
- The Incident Report (Nathalie, Steph)

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

Banerjee, Anjali
- Maya Running (Niranjana)

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

Banks, Chris
- The Cold Panes of Surfaces (Heather)

Barclay, Byrna
- The Forest Horses (Melwyk)

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)

Bartleman, James
- As Long as the Rivers Flow (Zoe)

Basilieres, Michel
- Blackbird (Melwyk)

Baum, Gregory
- Compassion and Solidarity (Kate)

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

Bender, Rebecca
- Giraffe and Bird (Shannon)

Benjamin, Chris
- Drive-by Saviours (Corey)

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

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

Berton, Pierre
- Drifting Home (Swordsman)
- Prisoners of the North (John)
- Why We Act Like Canadians (Claire)

Best, Katrina
- Bird Eat Bird (Shan, Steph)

Bidulka, Anthony
- Amuse Bouche (Buried in Print)

Birdsell, Sandra
- Waiting for Joe (Sarah)

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

Blondin-Perrin, Alice
- My Heart Shook Like a Drum (John)

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, Jeanne)
- 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)

Bowen, Rhonda
- Man Enough For Me (Shan)

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

Boyce, Michael
- Anderson (Melwyk)

Bradley, Alan
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Scrat, Heather, Gypsysmom, Kerrie)
- A Red Herring Without Mustard (Luanne, Nicola)
- The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag (Kate, Geranium Cat)

Brazier, Brendan
- Whole Food to Thrive (Luanne, Heather)

Brennan, Binnie
- Harbour View (Emeire)

Brewster, Hugh
- The Prisoner of Dieppe (Chrisbookarama)

Bricknell, Jim
- Canadian Starters: Moose (Nicola)
- Canadian Starters: Raccoon (Nicola)

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)

Buchanan, Cathy Marie
- The Day the Falls Stood Still (Heather)

Burke, Betsy
- Lucy's Launderette (Kate)

Burns, Cliff
- So Dark the Night (Corey)

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

Bursey, Jeff
- Verbatim (Corey)

Calabro, John
- The Cousin (Emeire)

Calame, Don
- Swim the Fly (Scrat)

Calder, Laura
- French Taste (Steph)

Callow, Pamela
- Damaged (Chris)

Canadien, Albert
- From Lishamie (John)

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)
- Two Generals (Nicola)

Chariandy, David
- Soucouyant (Melwyk)

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)

Coady, Lynn
- Play the Monster Blind (Buried in Print)

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, Swordsman)

Conlin, Christy Ann
- Heave (Pooker)

Cohen, Matt
- Elizabeth and After (Gypsysmom)

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

Comeau, Joey
- Bible Camp Bloodbath (Steph)
- One Bloody Thing After Another (GeraniumCat)

Coren, Michael
- Why Catholics Are Right (Nicola)

Coren, Stanley
- The Intelligence of Dogs (Gypsysmom)

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

Cowan, Lesley Anne
- Something Wicked (Heather)

Coyote, Ivan E.
- Bow Grip (Teddy)
- Close to Spiderman (Carin)
- 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)
- Small Mechanics (Zoe)

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

Czerneda, Julie
- A Thousand Words for Stranger (Jules)

Daggett, Gina Noelle
- Jukebox (Amy)

Dallaire, Romeo
- They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children (Shan)

Darbyshire, Peter
- The Warhol Gang (Corey)

Davidson, Craig
- Sarah Court (Corey)

Davies, Robertson
- Murther & Walking Spirits (Steve)

Davis, Wade
- The Wayfinders (Gavin)

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

Deacon, Gillian
- There's Lead in Your Lipstick (Shan, Luanne)

Debogorski, Alex
- King of the Road (John)

Delany, Vicky
- Negative Image (Bernadette, Kerrie)

De Mille, James
- A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder (Gypsysmom)

Desrochers, Suzanne
- Bride of New France (Luanne, Zoe, Sarah)

Deverell, William
- April Fool (Bernadette)

Dey, Claudia
- Stunt (Carin)

Dickner, Nicolas
- Apocalypse for Beginners (Shan)

Di Nardo, Antony
- Alien, Correspondent (Inkslinger)

Dixon, Sean
- Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal (Melwyk)

Donoghue, Emma
- Room (Nicola, Kate, Shan, Suzanne, Steph, Luanne, Shannon, Raidergirl, Jonita, Gavin, Teddy, Kerrie, Lahni, Zoe, Lynda, Carina, Sarah, Heather, Corey, Bybee, Carin)

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

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

Dwyer, Deirdre
- The Breath That Lightens the Body (Wanda)

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

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

Echlin, Kim
- The Disappeared (Emeire)

Edwards, Wallace
- The Cat's Pajamas (Shannon, Carin)

Ellis, Deborah
- In From the Cold (Shan)

Elton, Sarah
- Locavore (Kate)

Enahoro, Carole
- Doing Dangerously Well (Shan)

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, Suzanne, Emeire, Buried in Print, Gypsysmom, Raidergirl, Sarah, Jules, Kate)
- The High Road (Kate)

Featherstone, Charlotte
- Addicted (Shannon)

Feliciano, Felice
- Alphabetum Romanum (Wollamshram)

Fielding, Joy
- Now You See Her (Luanne)

Files, Gemma
- A Book of Tongues (Corey)

Findley, Timothy
- The Piano Man's Daughter (Ordinary Reader)
- The Wars (Carina)

Finlayson, Judith
- 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes (Heather)

Fiorito, Joe
- Comfort Me With Apples (Carin)

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

Foley, Andrew (with Fred Van Lente)
- Cowboys & Aliens (Nicola)

Follett, Beth
- Tell it Slant (Carina)

Foran, Charles
- Join the Revolution, Comrade (Carin)
- Maurice Richard (Steve)

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
- Be Good (Buried in Print, Pooker)
- Fear of Fighting (John)

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

Francis, Dick
- The Edge (Bernadette)

Fullerton, Alma
- Libertad (Carina)

Funnell, Augustine
- Brandyjack (Wollamshram)

Gallant, John
- Bannock, Beans, and Black Tea illustrated by Seth (Pussreboots, Raidergirl)

Gallant, Mavis
- Home Truths (Buried in Print)

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

Gartner, Zsuzsi
- Better Living Through Plastic Explosives (Zoe, Steph, August)

Gaston, Bill
- The Good Body (Pooker)
- The Order of Good Cheer (Melwyk)

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

Gerhardt, Hans
- HotelBiz: A Memoir (Teena)

Glennon, Paul
- Dodecahedron (Melwyk)

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

Gibb, Camilla
- The Beauty of Humanity Movement (Carina, Scrat, Zoe)

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

Gill, Rupinder
- On the Outside Looking Indian (Teena)

Gimlette, John
- Theatre of Fish (Lesley)

Glennon, Paul
- Bookweirder (Nicola)

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

Goodwin, Debi
- Citizens of Nowhere: From Refugee Camp to Canadian Campus (Shan)

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

Gowan, Lee
- The Last Cowboy (Pooker)

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

Granfield, Linda
- High Flight: A Story of World War II (Nicola)
- In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae (Nicola)

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

Gray, R.W.
- Crisp (Corey)

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

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

Grove, Frederick Philip
- Consider Her Ways (Steve)

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

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

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

Hannah, Don
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins (Ordinary Reader)

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

Harris, Marjorie
- Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life With Style (Teena)

Hartry, Nancy
- Watching Jimmy (The Literary Wife)

Harvey, Alyxandra
- Hearts at Stake (Jules)

Haarsma, P.J.
- Softwire: Virus on Orbit 1 (Heather)

Hay, Elizabeth
- Alone in the Classroom (Nicola, Kate)
- Late Nights on Air (Gavin, Jules)

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

Helm, Karen
- A Woman's Agenda (Niranjana)

Helm, Michael
- Cities of Refuge (Shan)

Herjavec, Robert
- Driven: How to Succeed in Business and Life (Teena)

Heti, Sheila
- How Should a Person Be? (August)

Highway, Tomson
- The Kiss of the Fur Queen (Buried in Print)

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)

Honoré, Carl
- In Praise of Slow (Kate)

Horn, Bernd
- Show No Fear (Swordsman)

Horvath, Polly
- Northward to the Moon (Pussreboots)

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)
200
Iglauer, Edith
- Fishing With John (Gypsysmom)

Ignatief, Michael
- The Russian Album (Claire)
- Scar Tissue (Heather)

Immonen, Kathryn and Stuart
- Moving Pictures (Claire)

Jacobs, Kate
- Knit The Season (Luanne)

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

Jakober, Marie
- The Black Chalice (Gypsysmom)

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

Jennings, Sharon
- Home Free (Buried in Print)

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

Jocelyn, Marthe
- Folly (Carina, Chris)
- Scribbling Women (Chris, Heather)

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

Jonas, George
- Reflections on Islam (Carina)

Amy Jones
- What Boys Like (August)

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

Juby, Susan
- Home to Woefield (Chris, Luanne)
- The Woefield Poultry Collective (Susan, Shannon)

Kacer, Kathy
- Restitution (Teddy)

Karaplis, Joanna
- Fractured (Steph)

Kaufman, Andrew
- The Waterproof Bible (August)

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

Kearsley, Susanna
- The Winter Sea (Heather)

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

Kelly, Dierdre
- Paris Times Eight (Shan)

Kelman, Stephen
- Pigeon English (Jeanne)

Kent, Trilby
- Stone for My Father (Heather)

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

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

Kogawa, Joy
- Obasan (Carina)

Kroetsch, Robert
- The Hornbooks of Rita K (John)
- What the Crow Said (Buried in Print)

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

Laberge, Aimée
- Where the River Narrows (Melwyk)

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

Lansens, Lori
- The Girls (Raidergirl, Kerri, Jonita)

Lapeña, Shari
- Things Go Flying (Melwyk)

Latimer, Jon
- Niagara 1814 (Swordsman)

Larson, Hope
- Mercury (Nicola, Wanda)

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

Lavery, John
- Sandra Beck (Steph)

Lawlor, Allison
- Rum-Running (Teena)

Lawrence, Grant
- Adventures in Solitude (Barbara)

Lawson, Julie
- The Klondike Cat (Pussreboots)

Lazar, Carole
- Lucy Unstrung (Carina, Nicola)

Leacock, Stephen
- Nonsense Novels (Wollamshram)

Leavitt, Sarah
- Tangles (Buried in Print)

Leckie, Keith Ross
- Coppermine (Luanne)

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

Leenders, Gordon j.h.
- To Be Continued (Buried in Print)

Leitch, Adelaide
- Lukey Paul from Labrador (Nicola)

Lemire, Jeff
- Essex County (Kate, Barbara, Gypsysmom, Buried in Print, Chris)
- 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, Teddy)
- Sweet Tooth Volume 2: In Captivity (Teddy)
- The Nobody (Teddy)

LePan, Don
- Animals (Gavin)

Lester, David
- The Listener (John)

Lieberman, Leanne
- The Book of Trees (Carina)

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

Livingston, Lesley
- Once Every Never (Zoe)
- Tempestuous (Amy)

Lottridge, Celia Barker
- Ticket to Curlew (Nicola)

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

Luhning, Holly
- Quiver (Nicola)

Lynes, Jeanette
- The Factory Voice (Melwyk)

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

Mac Donald, Laura M.
- Curse of the Narrows (Steve)

MacIntyre, Linden
- The Bishop's Man (Gavin, John, Wanda, Geranium Cat)

Maclear, Kyo
- The Letter Opener (Melwyk)

MacLeod, Alexander
- Light Lifting (Kate, Raidergirl, Melwyk, August)

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)

Maharaj, Rabindranath
- The Picture of Nobody (Shan)

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

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)

Mandelman, Avner
- The Debba (Shan)

Manguel, Alberto
- The Library at Night (Claire)

Marcone, Massimo
- Acquired Tastes (Buried in Print)

Martel, Yann
- Beatrice and Virgil (Geranium Cat, Zoe)
- Life of Pi (Heather)
- What is Stephen Harper Reading? (Raidergirl)

Matsumodo, Nina
- Yokaiden, Vol. 1 (Nicola)
- Yokaiden, Vol. 2 (Nicola)

Mayr, Suzette
- Venous Hum (Buried in Print)

McCarthy, Doris
- Ninety Years Wise (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)

McGowan, Maureen
- Cinderella, Ninja Warrior (Nicola)
- Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Hunter (Nicola)

McGrath, Carmelita
- Stranger Things Have Happened (Wanda)

McGrath, Robin
- Winterhouse (Wanda)

McIntosh, D.J.
- The Witch of Babylon (Luanne)

McKay, Ami
- The Birth House (Emeire, Jules)

McKay, Don
- Strike/Slip (Wollamshram)

McKenzie, Catherine
- Arranged (Luanne, Jonita, Shan)

McLean, Stuart
- The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks (Claire)

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

Meades, Christopher

- The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark (Steph)

McNaughton, Janet
- The Dragon Seer (Nicola)

Meades, Christopher
- The Three Fates of Henrik Nordmark (Corey)

Meomi
- The Octonauts and the Only Lonely Monster (Pussreboots)

Meshake, Rene
- Blueberry Rapids (Heather)

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

Meomi
- The Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef (Pussreboots)
- The Octonauts and the Sea of Shade (Pussreboots)

Meminger, Neesha
- Jazz in Love (Niranjana)

Mersereau, Bob
- The Top 100 Canadian Albums (Teena)
- The Top 100 Canadian Singles (Teena)

Meyer, Bruce
Alphabet Table (Nathalie)

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

Miller, Paul
- Canada Starters: Alexander Graham Bell (Nicola)
- Canadian Starters: Emily Carr (Nicola)

Mitchell, W.O.
- Who Has Seen the Wind? (Gavin)

Mole, Rich
- Rebel Women of the Gold Rush (Amy)

Montgomery, Lucy Maud
- Anne of Green Gables (Ordinary Reader, Jules)
- The Blue Castle (Ordinary Reader, Raidergirl, Chris, Claire)
- Emily of New Moon (Geranium Cat)
- Jane of Lantern Hill (Chris)
- A Tangled Web (Raidergirl)

Montrose, David
- The Crime on Cote des Neiges (August)

Mooney, Jacob McArthur
- Folk (Zoe)

Moore, Brian
- The Great Victorian Collection (Lisa)

Moore, Lisa
- February (Gavin, Mynovelreviews)

Morgan, Bernice
- Random Passage (Lesley)

Moritsugu, Kim
- The Restoration of Emily (Jannie)

Moser, Elise
- Because I Loved and Hidden It (Corey)

Mowat, Farley
- The Boat Who Wouldn't Float (Ordinary Reader)
- Never Cry Wolf (Ordinary Reader)

Muller, Robin
- The Nightwood (Nicola)

Mullin, Caryl Cude
- Rough Magic (Heather)

Mulvaney, Kieran
- The Great White Bear (Geranium Cat)

Munsch, Robert
- 50 Below Zero (illustrated by Michael Martchenko) (Bybee)

Munro, Alice
- Dance of the Happy Shades (Buried in Print)
- Lives of Girls and Women (Carina, Buried in Print)

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

Murray, Jill
- Rhythm and Blues (Amy)

Musgrave, Susan
- Origami Dove (Zoe)

Narsimham, Mahtob
- The Deadly Conch (Nicola)

Nattel, Lilian
- The Singing Fire (Niranjana)

Neering, Rosemary
- The Canadian Housewife: An Affectionate History (Chris, Teena)

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

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

Nichol, James W.
- Midnight Cab (Kerrie)

Nickerson, Billeh
- McPoems (Buried in Print)

Nielsen, Soren Bondrup
- Motorcycles & Sweetgrass (Chris)

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

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'Donnell, Liam
- Wild Ride illustrated by Mike Deas(John)

Olsen, Sylvia
- Yellow Line (John)

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

Ondaantje, Michael
- In The Skin of a Lion (Buried in Print)

O'Neill, Heather
- Lullabies for Little Criminals (Lynda)

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

O'Reilly, Sean
- Mighty, Mighty Monsters: Hide and Shriek (Nicola)
- New Monster in School (Nicola)

Orti, Ian
- L (and things come apart) (August)

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

Ostlere, Cathy
- Karma (Teena)

Owen, Catherine
- Seeing Lessons (Barbara)

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

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

Pasricha, Neil
- The Book of Awesome (Lynda)

Peacock, Shane
- The Mystery of Ireland's Eye (Nicola)
- The Secret Fiend (Nicola)
- The Secret of the Silver Mines (Nicola)

Pearl, Stephen B.
- Tinker's Plague (Heather)

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
- The Brutal Telling (Raidergirl, Bernadette)
- Bury Your Dead (Kerrie)
- The Cruelest Month (Geranium Cat)
- Murder Stone (Raidergirl, Sarah)
- A Rule Against Murder (Kerrie)
- Still Life (Buried In Print)

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

Pick, Allison
- Far to Go (Claire, Zoe)
- 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)

Powning, Beth
- The Hatbox Letters (Ordinary Reader)
- Seeds of Another Summer (Carin)

Preston, Rachel
- The Wind Seller (Melwyk)

Price, Steven
- Into That Darkness (Melwyk)

Pullinger, Kate
- The Mistress of Nothing (Gypsysmom)

Purdy, Al
- The Cariboo Horses (Bybee)
- To Paris Never Again (Bybee)

Pyper, Andrew
- The Guardians (Corey)

Quarrington, Paul
- King Leary (Raidergirl)

Quon, Anna
- Migration Songs (Mynovelreviews)

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

Rainfield, Cheryl
- Wcars (Amy)

Redekop, Corey
- Shelf Monkey (John)

Redfern, Jon
- Trumpets Sound No More (Melwyk)

Reichs, Kathy
- Spider Bones (Kate)

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

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

Rich, Roberta
- The Midwife of Venice (Lahni, Jules)

Richards, David Adams
- Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace (Jules)
- Nights Below Station Street (Jules)

Richardson, Bill
- Waiting for Gertrude (Raidergirl)

Richardson, C.S.
- The End of the Alphabet (Melwyk)

Richler, Mordecai
- The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Ordinary Reader)
- Barney's Version (Raidergirl)
- The Incomparable Atuk (John)

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)
- Gallows View (August)

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

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

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

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

Ross, Stuart
- Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew (Sarah, Steph)

Rotenberg, Robert
- The Guilty Plea (Teena, Luanne)
- Old City Hall (Teena)

Roumieu, Graham
- Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir (Bybee)

Rowen, Michelle
- Demon Princess: Reign Check (Heather)
503
Roy, Gabrielle
- The Road Past Altamont (Bybee)

Ryman, Geoff
- The King's Last Song (Shannon)

Salamon, Daria
- The Prairie Bridesmaid (Gypsysmom)

Sands, Lynsay
- Born to Bite (Shannon)
- The Renegade Hunter (Shannon)

Savage, Candace
- Bees: Nature's Little Wonders (Zoe)

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

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

Schacter, Mark
- Roads (Luanne)

Schultz, Emily
- Heaven is Small (Melwyk)

Schrier, Howard
- Buffalo Jump (Gavin)

Schroeder, Karl
- Queen of Candesce (Pussreboots)

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

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)

Shenfeld, Karen
- My Father's Hands Spoke in Yiddish (Carin)

Shields, Carol
- Larry's Party (Emeire)
- The Stone Diaries (Ordinary Reader)
- Unless (Raidergirl, Jules)
- Various Miracles (Raidergirl)

Sileika, Antanas
- Underground (Zoe)

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

Singh, Jaspreet
- Chef (Jules)

Singh, Rina
- Nearly Nonsense: Hoja Tales from Turkey (Nicola)

Sinnett, Mark
- The Carnivore (Steph)

Skibsrud, Johanna
- I Do Not Think That I Could Love a Human Being (Wollamshram)
- The Sentamentalists (Steve, Shan)

Skvorecky, Josef
- The Mournful Demeanour of Lieutenant Boruvka (Gypsysmom)

Slade, Arthur
- The Dark Deeps (Nicola)
- Empire of the Ruins (Nicola)

Smith, Andrew
- Edith's War (Jeanne)

Smith, Russell
- Girl Crazy (Jannie)

Somerset, A.J.
- Combat Camera (Pooker)

Soo, Kean
- Jellaby: Monster in the City (Pussreboots)

Spano, Robin
- Dead Politician Society (Bernadette, Chris)

Spears, Heather
- The Flourish (Geranium Cat)

Spires, Ashley
- Binky to the Rescue (Nicola)

Srigley, Katrina
- Breadwinning Daughters (Teena)

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

Stanton, Steve
- The Bloodloght Chronicles: Reconciliation (August)

Steffler, John
- The Afterlife of George Cartwright (Buried in Print)

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)

Stelling, Caroline
- The Contest (Buried in Print)

Stevens, Chevy
- Still Missing (Gautami, Teena, Sarah)

Stratton, Allan
- Borderline (Scrat)

Strolz, Andrea
- Escaping From the Prison House of Language[...] (Emeire)

Stroud, Les
- Will to Live (Barbara)

Strube, Cordelia
- Lemon (Shan)

Sullivan, Nick
- The Seventh Princess (Nicola)

Sullivan, Rosemary
- The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out (Emeire)

Summers, Courtney
- Some Girls Are (Scrat)

Sunley, Christine
- The Tricking of Freya (Gautami)

Tamaki, Mariko
- Skim illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (Kate, Niranjana)

Tamayose, Darcy
- Odori (Shannon)

Taylor, Drew Hayden
- Motorcycles and Sweetgrass (Kate, Wollamshram, Heather, Chris)
- The Night Wanderer (Raidergirl)

Taylor, Kate
- A Man in Uniform (Gypsysmom)

Thomas, Joan
- Curiousity (Shan)

Thompson, Nils Andrew
- Looking for Momo in Tomo Domo (John)

Thrasher, Tommy
- Footprints to the Stars (Amy)

Toews, Miriam
- A Complicated Kindness (Lynda)
- The Flying Troutmans (Lisa, Ordinary Reader)
- Irma Voth (Nicola, Pooker, Kate)

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

Torres, J.
- Lola, A Ghost Story (Nicola)

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

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

Treggiari, Jo
- Ashes, Ashes (Zoe

Tremblay, Lise
- The Hunting Ground (Melwyk)

Trofimuk, Thomas
- Waiting for Columbus (Gavin, Melwyk)

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

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

Urquhart, Jane
- Away (Buried in Print)
- L.M. Montgomery (Nathalie)
- The Whirlpool (Buried in Print)

Vaillant, John
- The Golden Spruce (Steve)
- The Tiger (Steve)

Vance, Jonathan
- Unlikely Soldiers (Suzanne)

Vanderhaeghe, Guy
- The Last Crossing (Gavin)

Vanier, Jean
- Drawn Into the Mystery of Jesus Through the Gospel of John (Kate)

Van Rooy, Michael
- An Ordinary Decent Criminal (Corey, Bernadette)
- Your Friendly Neighbourhood Criminal (Corey)

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

Voskamp, Ann
- One Thousand Gifts (Shan)

Wagamese, Richard
- Dream Wheels (Wanda, Melwyk)

Walton, Jo
- Among Others (Gavin)

Ward, Mariellen
- Song of India (Niranjana)

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

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

Watt, Melanie
- Leon the Chameleon (Sarah)

Weaver, Janice
- Hudson (Nicola)

Wells, Zachariah
- Unsettled (Pooker)

Welsh, Joe
- Jackrabbit Street (John)

Weston, Robert Paul
- Dust City (Nicola)

Whittal, Zoe
- Bottle Rocket Hearts (Shannon)

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

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

Willis, Deborah
- Vanishing and Other Stories (Zoe)

Wills, Gabriele
- Elusive Dawn (Jonita)

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

Wilson, Ethel
- The Innocent Traveler (Pooker)

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, Gavin, Carina, Jules, Ordinary Reader, Geranium Cat)
- BoYs (Carin)

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)

Zeman, Ludmila
- The Sindbad Trilogy (Nicola)

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

Zipp, Steve
- Yellowknife (Steph, Wanda)

A few more stats:
- The most commonly read book AND author was Emma Donoghue, who sets a new Canadian Book Challenge record with 21 reviews (more than a 3rd of participants) and all for a single book: Room.
- The author with the most different titles reviewed was Margaret Atwood with 14
- The grand total of books read for all Canadian Book Challenges combined is 3093. Not bad, but if we're to reach 10,000 as I told the Globe & Mail was my long term goal, we've got a lot of reading ahead of us!

Before we go, one final prize to give away: a book from every province and territory goes out to one random winner, chosen from those 34 participants who managed to read their way to the top of Mount Logan (13 or more books). And that winner is...Scrat! Congratulations Scrat! Which books will she win? You'll just have to keep following her blog to find out!

Special thanks to the following companies and individuals for their support in making the 4th Canadian Book Challenge possible, through donations, promotion, and more: Roderick Benns, Random House Canada, Goose Lane Editions, Corey Redekop, Pooker, Von Allan, and CBC Radio's Canada Reads Team.

Before you go, and hopefully start the 5th annual Canadian Book Challenge, I'm hoping to leave you with a few survey questions to copy into the comment section and answer below:

1. Did you have fun taking part in the Canadian Book Challenge? Why/why not?
2. Did you meet the goal of 13 books?
3. Did you theme your choices in any way?
4. Did you preselect your choices and if so, did you stick to that list?
5. Did you read other participant reviews?
6. What was your least and most favourite book read for the challenge?
7. Are there any books you've added to your tbr list as a result of this challenge?
8. Are there any Canadian authors you are surprised not to see in the list of above list of books read?
9. Did you win a prize? And if so, did you review any prize books?
10. Was this your first time participating in the challenge?
11. Will you participate again?
12. Are you Canadian and if not, what attracted you to this challenge?
13. Any suggestions on how to improve?