Monday, July 01, 2013

The 7th annual Canadian Book Challenge- Happy Canada Day!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Reading!

7th Canadian book challenge

What is it? How do I join? And Other FAQs

1. What is the Canadian Book Challenge?

The Canadian Book Challenge is an annual online reading challenge in which participants from Canada and around the world aim to read and review 13 or more Canadian books in a one year span: Canada Day to Canada Day. Reviews must be posted online and participants are asked to share links to their reviews with other participants. More on reviews below.(It's also a lot of fun and collectively we've read and reviewed thousands of Canadian titles! Actually, the whole books, not just the titles.)

2. How do I join?

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

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

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

4. What constitutes a Canadian book?

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

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

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

5. Do I need to have a theme?

No. I personally like to read at least one book from each province and territory (it's the whole reason 13 has become the goal number). Last edition some of the themes included deceased authors, books set North of 60, crime fiction, small press publishers, and rereads. In other years we've had people choose books solely by a particular author or province. The options are yours to decide.

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

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

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

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

7. Can my books count towards other challenges?

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

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

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

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

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

10. What if I don't finish a book, can I still review and count it?
Personally, I wouldn't but it's entirely your choice. If you feel that it's the book's fault that you didn't finish it, I suppose that's worthy of noting. If you left the book at the beach and haven't found another copy, probably not.

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

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

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

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

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

12. How do I share links to my reviews?

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

13. Will there be prizes?

Possibly. In the past I've offered monthly prizes, but I've had to spend a lot of time soliciting publishers for donations.  Canadian publishing companies and authors have been very generous in their support. However, this year in an effort to keep down on my workload, I'm leaving the ball in their court. Should publishers or authors want to donate books as prizes, they can contact me at jmutford (at) hotmail [dot] com to arrange the details. And if there are no prizes this time around, let's let finishing the challenge be its own reward.

14. What's up with the logo?
Keeping with the "7" theme, I've included our 7th prime minister, a group of seven image, and Tim Horton who played #7 with the Toronto Maple Leafs (incidentally, my cousin Gary Roberts also played #7 on the Leafs). Sadly there hasn't been a Canadian James Bond.

15. Besides the logo, anything new with the 7th edition?
I like to also theme participant progress in the sidebar of my blog. In the past for instance, if you've read 1 book or 7 books so far, you may have been charted as having reached certain Canadian mountain peaks or popular Canadian food. This year I've used results from a CBC Radio initiative they had a few years back in which they asked Canadians to nominate the 7 Wonders of Canada. (I'm using the audience poll results not the ones chosen by a stupid panel of irrelevant judges.) Of course, there are 13 levels of the book challenge (1 to 13+), so I've also dipped into the 6 runners up.

Also, I'm going to try and highlight some of the Canadian Book Challenge participants. Only for those people who are interested in being highlighted of course, I'm going to try a new feature called 10 from 100. I'm creating a list of 100 random questions designed to get to know you and your reading habits a little better. You simply need to pick 10 to answer. I'm hoping to have one highlighted participant per month. Again, this feature will be entirely optional!

14. How can I help?

By joining, reading and reviewing, obviously. And sharing links to your reviews. I also need help with promotion. Please, even if you're opting not to participate this time around, help promote the challenge on your blog. Feel free to write a post that tells your readers that you're joining and why, and if you've participated before, how much fun it is. Also, use the logo above, feel free to place it permanently in your sidebar.


pussreboots said...

Yes, I'm in!

Anonymous said...

Yes! I'm in for #7. This was fun. Sorry for the recent silence. We have a plant nursery & spring is ultra-busy - little computer time for "extras"; little reading time as well, sad to say...

But the busy-ness is abating a bit. Ready to talk books soon.

~Barb (in BC)

Jo said...

I'm definitely in. I've really enjoyed this challenge. In particular fining books I would already be interested in (primarily mysteries or children's) but happen to be Canadian (by author or locale or both) as well. I look forward to another year of great Canadian reading. =)

Nikki in Niagara said...

You know I'll be there! Seriously I looove the logo. Two of my favourite things are Timmies and Lawren Harris! Great idea for the 7(+) Wonders of Canada and thanks for the GNC plug {smile}

Teena in Toronto said...

I'm in yet again :)

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

I'm sure you've rcvd the "Sign Me Up" emails ! THanks for doing the hard work, John. Great hosting and Great info post!

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I am in for the 7th annual Canadian Book Challenge! I have loved all the challenges and have been doing them for years.

So, please count me in!

Take care, and I look forward to a fun year of reading and sharing!
Irene Roth

Anonymous said...

I'm in again, John. I hope this will get me back to reviewing and writing about books.

John Mutford said...

This year will be the first time it will be possible to meet the challenge requirements (13) by reading all the Canada Reads winners:
1. Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion
2. Hubert Aquin's Next Episode
3. Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Last Crossing
4. Frank Parker Day's Rockbound
5. Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness
6. Heather O'Neill's A Complicated Kindness
7. Paul Quarrington's King Leary
8. Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes
9. Nicolas Dickner's Nikolski
10. Terry Fallis' The Best Laid Plans
11. Carmen Aguirre's Something Fierce
12. Lisa Moore's February
13. ?2014 winner? (announced in February, 2014)

John Mutford said...

13 books by Canadian Prime Ministers:
1. Pierre Elliott Trudeau- Memoirs
2. Paul Martin- Hell or High Water
3. Jean Chretien- My Years as Prime Minister
4. Brian Mulroney- Memoirs
5. Kim Campbell- Time and Chance
6. John Turner- Politics of Purpose
7. Joe Clark- How We Lead (to be released in Nov. 2013)
8. Leaster B. Pearson- Canada: Nation on the March
9. John Diefenbaker: One Canada, The Tumultuous Years
10. Arthur Meighen- Unrevised and Unrepented II
11. Charles Tupper- Political Reminiscences
12. Robert Borden- His Memoirs
13. Stephen Harper- a history of hockey (yet untitled, published in November)

rasiqra/revulva said...

i'll definitely be joining in again - the 6th challenge was my first, and i enjoyed it a great deal (i'm still hoping to get in one more canadian review before the month is up)! looking forward to seeing what other people will be reading and reviewing for challenge #7!

Jules said...

I'm in! This year I'm going to try to read one book (at least) from each province. Good luck everyone, and Happy Canada Day!

Anonymous said...

Please be sure to list me as 'RIEDEL Fascination'. It's easer to see and recall and matches my blog. :)

I'm in serious need of reading the paranormal for a while but have an extensive Canadian collection to dip into later. Happy Canada Day! Carolyn.

Melwyk said...

Oh, I never noted that of course I am in again! I enjoy this challenge immensely and will definitely be reading for it again. My post about it will up a little later :)

Shonna said...

I'm in. Here is a link to my post

sam lamb said...

I'm in!

Debra Wilson said...

I'm in too! Hoping to do better this year since I'm starting in July :)

jmisgro said...

Here's my link...

I am excited!!

Unknown said...

If you are looking for a website to post your book reviews to, we would be happy to post them for you on