Friday, January 31, 2014

The 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge - January Roundup (Sticky Post— Scroll down for most recent post)




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

Reader's Diary #1089- Kate Beaton: Hark! A Vagrant

By way of an introduction, Kate Beaton talks a bit about her background. After a history degree and "working in museums for low pay," she decided to give it all up to be a cartoonist. The only experience she hints at prior to this was drawing comics for a student paper. This, combined with the simplistic cover, led me to believe that the artwork might be amateurish.

Not so. With India inks, occasional uses of hatching and cross-hatching, varied perspectives yet a consistent style, Beaton's clearly got the goods. They're still cartoons, don't get me wrong, but you certainly wouldn't guess this was someone without years of experience and training.

As for the writing, I found most of it hilarious. I'll admit that a few escaped me, but for the most part I giggled my way through (not good when I'm reading next to my trying-to-sleep wife). Many take their inspiration from history, which is cool enough, but as a lit-nerd I loved her take on the classics (and my daughter went into hysterics over an Anne of Green Gables gag). One very creative bit was to take book covers and extend the story from there, given only the details one can see on the front to work with. There's a Nancy Drew retirement zoo comic that really amused me, but it's best that I don't bother trying explain it here. Historical figures, literary characters (including comic book characters) are all ripe for skewering, but gently so— even with a few F-bombs and penises thrown in for good measure.

All around enjoyable entertainment. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reader's Diary #1088- Susan Haley: Petitot

Susan Haley's Petitot is historical fiction. However, the more I read about the book online, the less and less fiction it all seemed. Petitot takes its name from a Catholic priest who came to the Northwest Territories, mostly on a conversion mission, in the mid-late 1800s. He suffered from bouts of insanity, molested children under his care, and wound up marrying a Metis woman in Saskatchewan. He was later forcibly taken by another priest to an asylum in Montreal, returning to France, and this part is confusing, but I believe was ex-communicated and re-instated on a few separate occasions. He was praised, even after his death, for his exploration and linguistic research. I had never heard of Petitot before, and thought he was a creation of Haley's imagination. Turns out, however, that he was very much real. However, when you research about him online, it becomes obvious very quickly that he's a controversial figure. A lot of articles either ignore the sexual abuse allegations and mental health issues altogether or at the very least brush it over. A line on his Wikipedia page simply states, "The late 1860s were troublesome years."

The frame story of Petitot comes by way of a man named Marcus who, after separating from his wife, comes to the north in the late 1990s to teach. He has quite a difficult time, with his job and with his sexual identity. It is also here that Marcus first comes upon the name Emile Petitot and becomes somewhat obsessed by him. However, the more he discovers, the more he struggles with the horrible legacy that Petitot has left behind. But even this, it turns out, has more more truth in it than I'd first realized. Reading this interview with Haley, it seems that Marcus's path and conclusions weren't a great deal different than her own.

It's certainly an intriguing story, with solidly crafted sentences, and heavy but still relevant themes: hero-worship, cross-cultural misunderstandings, good intentions vs. colonialism, legacies, and a whole lot more. I wish, however, that I could have taken to Marcus more than I did. Far too often he came across as sanctimonious and at the end, I know his personal journey was meant to be profound, but for the life of me, I'm not sure why or what lasting effect it was all supposed to have had on him. There's a fine line between vague and subtle, and I'm far more tolerant of the latter (I'd even prefer it to heavy-handed). I'm still undecided where I feel this book fits in. If you can get a book club to to go for a book with such uncomfortable topics, this would be a great one to discuss.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reader's Diary #1087- Amanda Davis: Fat Ladies Floated in the Sky Like Balloons

I'm not entirely sure what to make of Amanda Davis's "Fat Ladies Floated in the Sky Like Balloons." On the surface it's about a woman who reconnects with her ex, who apparently makes people and objects float in his presence. How? Why? Why only certain objects? None of this is explained.

The first time it happened, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to take it literally. There are a lot of weird similes and metaphors in the story that seem to confuse the comparison rather than offer insight, and so I thought maybe the floating wasn't meant to be actually happening. It's symbolic of something, right? But then, maybe not. Magical realism, why do you always do this to me?

It's an interesting story alright.

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


329 Balloons by mortimer?, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  mortimer? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Reader's Diary #1086- Wally Wolfe: Encounter on the Eagle

Encounter on the Eagle by Wally Wolfe is the 3rd book about the Mad Trapper I've read for this blog, and I've still got another couple or so on the bookshelf. I realize that the north certainly has a slew of other characters, at least as colourful and intriguing, but I'm still fascinated by his story and there's no shortage of material written about him.

This is, however, the only comic book about him that I'm aware of.  While Wolfe's retelling itself doesn't add anything really new to the story (there were small details here or there that were slightly different from previous accounts that I'd read), his artwork adds some clarity, not to mention excitement.

It's a self-published book, and though I've had more than my share of misses with those, Encounter on the Eagle is a hit. Despite the Mad Trapper himself drawn rather stiffly and awkwardly walking in the 5 panel on the very first page, the rest of the artwork is great and fits the story perfectly. There's a retro sort of vibe that lends the book a kind of pulp adventure tale, which the now legendary story has essentially become. Also, if you look closely at the text boxes, you can make out the edges where the printed scripts were cut and pasted by hand. Some might scoff at it for being amateurish, but to me it gave the book a DIY charm. A few spelling errors here or there, I was less forgiving of (the it's/ its thing is driving me nuts) but there weren't so many that I didn't enjoy the comic or wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reader's Diary #1085- Anton Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard

Last year I read Tony Kushner's Angels in America and at the end of the year, when I ranked the 10 plays I'd read in 2013, I felt bad to put it at the bottom of my list. I felt bad because I felt like I hadn't given it the focus it deserved. My review, if you could call it that, was based on a lazy, distracted reading. It happens from time to time.

With Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Tree, I had a similar experience. I took too long, I lost track of who was who (easier to do when reading a play than watching one). And without ye olde internette to guide me through, I wouldn't have been exactly clear as to what was going on.

But I won't take all the blame. I'll admit that the balance of parenting and teaching and now, studying has been a lot to manage and that I was once again a distracted reader. However, when I think back to the life of this blog, I've often had a lot going on. 7 years is going to have a lot of ups and downs, good stress and bad. There have been moves, deaths, changes in careers, you name it. Sometimes those things got in the way of reading, sometimes reading offered a reprieve. The fact that The Cherry Orchard wasn't able to pull me away, to give me a break, should mean something.

The Cherry Orchard tells of an aristocratic family who can't seem to appreciate the reality that they will actually have to do something to save their family estate, and in the end, they lose it. Apparently Chekhov intended it to be a comedy, but the first director saw it more as a tragedy. I'd have to agree with the director. Arrested Development this was not.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Reader's Diary #1084- Zoran Živković, translated by Alice Copple-Tošić: Words

Despite my love of reading, I've never been much of a logophile. That's a lover of words. I had to look it up. A true logophile would not have had to look it up. The narrator in Zoran Živković's "Words" isn't a logophile at the beginning of the story either, but becoming one is the basic plot. 

Oddly, this story is found at a website called Infinity Plus that typically publishes sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Except for the surreal ending, "Words" doesn't seem to fit any of those. It's a deceptively simple story about a man whose life changes forever when he picks up a book of poetry instead of his typical "how to" books.

While on the surface it's about words, I began to think of it in broader terms, as the discovery of art itself. The most special part? When his eyes are finally opened to art, he begins to see it everywhere, even where he'd ruled it out before. 

It's a beautiful little story.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Reader's Diary #1083- Jeffrey Brown: Star Wars Jedi Academy

Like most people (not my wife) in my generation, I watched the original Star Wars movies as a kid. I enjoyed them, but was never fanatical. I had a few of the toys, which I took out of the honest-to-god packages, and brace yourself... played with. When the next 3 movies came along, like most people I didn't really like Jar-Jar, but I wasn't out for George Lucas' blood. I thought they were okay (and come on, anyone who says the acting in the originals was any better is suffering from nostalgic delusions).

But then my son was born, just before I started getting into graphic novels, and I've been embracing my inner nerd ever since. (By the way, we watched the Clone Wars tv series together and it wasn't half bad either.)

So, when I first heard of Jeffrey Brown's Star Wars Jedi Academy, I just knew I he had to get it as a Christmas present. (It paled compared to his gift from Santa: A LEGO Death Star!) And it was our first read aloud together in 2014. (By the way, comics and graphic novels are awesome for read alouds and group reads. You just assign people characters, it becomes a sort of play, and everyone's following perfectly along.)

I'm not the first to make the comparison, but it reminded me somewhat of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid. That's not a bad thing. If you'll remember my thoughts on that book, I said it was hilarious. Plus, I think the Star Wars theme and Brown's writing and artwork, make it different enough to not be considered a rip off. I also think Roan (the SWJA protagonist) is somewhat sweeter and more naive than the wimpy one, Greg Heffley (not that both aren't likeable).

Star Wars Jedi Academy deal with middle school problems, but lightly. There's bullying, girls, and of course, confidence and identity issues, but as with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, it's all perhaps too innocent to appeal to most real middle-schoolers. My 8 year old son loved it. Heck, I loved it. Perhaps I'm being too cynical, maybe middle schoolers aren't too "cool" to enjoy it.

It's a very amusing book. Yoda, a teacher of the Academy, is cryptic of course, but hilariously goofy and enigmatic. The wookie gym teacher grunts and moans incomprehensibly, followed up with unreadable scrawls as her report card comments. And in a bit that reminded me of the Flintstones (or the Jetsons, probably more accurately, if I ever watched it), all of our world's inventions have a "holo-" prefix added to make it more Star Warsy (email is holomail, chess is holochess, a cellphone is a holophone, and so on). It's cute now, but we'll see if it doesn't get old in the inevitable sequels.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reader's Diary #1082- The New King James Version Bible: Hebrews

Perhaps I've been too caught up in the conspiratorial tone of the History Channel's Bible Secrets Revealed, but tonight reading online about the true authorship of Hebrews, I came to realize that I had been more interested in that than the message in the book. Oh well. The one author that I'm glad most people have ruled out is Paul. Based on the fact that Hebrews didn't set my teeth on edge with jarringly offensive passages, I would have bet that Paul wasn't behind it. I did find it simultaneously frustrating and amusing that those who were doubting Jesus' authority were met with the same argument then that atheists are met with today, essentially, "But it says so here in the scripture." To me that's like a parent saying, "because I said so." Still, I guess that works sometimes and really, believing and requiring absolute proof are two different beasts. Let's let the billboard people hash it out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Reader's Diary #1081- Jorge Luis Borges, translated by J. E. I.: The Library of Babel

I know last week's Short Story Monday was a Jorge Luis Borges story, as well, and I don't often do two stories by the same author in a row but the premise of "The Library of Babel," seemed too good to pass up. The Library of Babel is an infinite library with an infinite number of books. Though the books all appear to be ordered at random and hold gibberish, because it is infinite must also contain comprehensible books. There must also be, as inhabitants hope, books that contain the answers to all of their questions, including a book that catalogs all the other books and provides order.

In Googlization of Everything, Siva Vaidhyanathan does a fine job of using this story as a metaphor for Google, stating that "amassing vast, infinite collections of information ultimately gets us no closer to wisdom." And while I think we would both acknowledge that Google isn't literally infinite, it can feel like it and I think the metaphor holds up.

As I read the story I was struck by the minute details. Describing the dimensions of the rooms, the precise number of letters and punctuation, it reminded me somewhat of Old Testament stories that described objects such as the Ark of the Covenant in detail that lasted for pages at a time. Then, it also reminded me of the sciences in which laws and theories are discovered and proposed all the time. And in both religion and science, isn't that what we are trying to do? Find answers amongst the infinite? A method to the madness? 

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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reader's Diary #1080- Siva Vaidhyanathan: The Googlization of Everything

Since beginning my MLIS studies, I've had a bit of a fascination with Google. I won't lie; I've had the occasional fantasy of working for them. Their mission statement, "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," is— you'll have to admit— kind of sexy (okay, perhaps only librarians would consider that sexy, but still). 

As you may or may not have picked up, depending on how well you've paid attention to my blog over the years, I'm not exactly the world's best capitalist. I've had a bit of a hate on for huge corporations. So, as I wasn't exactly comfortable praying at the altar of Google, I was hoping for Vaidhyanathan to provide some balance.

And in that regard, I'd say the book was exactly what I came for. To be sure, this book and Vaidhyanathan has its share of critics. However, the negative reviews that I've read have accused him of fear-mongering, which simply isn't true. There's a huge difference, between "Why we should worry" (the subtitle) and "Run for the hills!" or "Quit Google now!" For the most part, he simply emphasizes caution. While I don't feel he was necessarily successful at showing any major faults in the way Google currently operates (though we can all admit they've made mistakes), it was a bit worrisome how many people, organizations, and governments have adopted Google services and policies without much thought about future consequences or else over-thinking the future perils of not jumping on board right now! (I'm as guilty as anyone else.) Whether Google has or has not abused their power already is a matter of debate, but they have certainly found (put?) themselves in a position that they can abuse it, to disastrous effect, should they be so inclined. (This of course, can probably be argued about many billion dollar industries.)

At times however, I felt that Google was damned if it did, damned if it didn't. I was prepared to read about how Google's globalized community is eradicating cultural minorities. However, showing that Google's results are largely localized (he shows a great example of how Googling "God" is different parts of the world will have different front page results), Vaidhyanathan instead seems to take issue with this approach, implying that they are making small communities of people with similar beliefs even more insular. Again, however, this is a way of saying that when you're dealing with the global information and the vast about of information Google has at its disposal, there are no easy answers (nor perhaps, simple missions). 

Regardless of how one feels about Google or Vaidhyanathan's stance, the book is definitely a think-piece worthy of a read. I found myself riffing on a number of loosely-related ideas* while working through it, and I haven't done that as much since Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

For what's it's worth, I'd still work for Google if I had the opportunity.

(*One such idea: if you want a sure way to get hundreds of comments on a CBC news story, write about a MacDonald's menu item or Tim Horton's coffee. So many people find it impossible not to respond with some sort of speech about how horribly unhealthy MacDonald's food is or how vile tasting Tim Horton's coffee is. One could read these 1000s of comments easily the majority and assume that the two businesses are doomed. A few months left, tops. And yet, the millions of people that go to these franchises everyday seem either not to read CBC news sites or care enough even to respond. We're not talking about small indie blog, it's the CBC. There's clearly still a real discrepancy between online culture and real world culture in Canada. MacDonald's has been offering things such as apples and yogurt in their Happy Meals and are supposedly trying to be more transparent online, so perhaps the anti crowd is having an effect and will become the dominant or possibly even the sole opinion one day. Who knows. This is getting even further away from Vaidhyanathan's book. I simply wanted to illustrate how the book was a fantastic springboard into thinking about the effects of online on our offline, offline on our online.)
 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Reader's Diary #1079- Pat Braden (writer), Terry Pamplin (illustrator): From the Fire

Pat Braden is a bit of a local legend. Well-known, respected, talented. The stories in From the Fire were originally created as bedtime stories for his daughters. I add these facts as a bit of a disclaimer. My thoughts on this book will be somewhat reserved.

Still I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the many typos. From the Fire was self-published, and unfortunately it shows. (The most egregious to me was the consistent use of it's for its.) Still, if you're not a stickler for such things, the intended meaning behind the words is not lost. I also found some of the prose to be quite purple (which I find to be a purple phrase in itself). For instance,
In the growing season, the day begins with a healing, cleansing rain until the morning sun wipes away the mists into the bluest of skies of a new day. 

From the Fire consists of 6 stories, fables essentially, about a songbird, buffalo, wolves, musk ox, and a beluga. There are a few morals to take away but the predominate theme to me was of perseverance. The innocence of the animals, Terry Pamlin's simple but stylistic line drawings, the wholesome messages; a parent and child could do far worse than these tales.

From the Fire also comes with a CD with audio recordings of the stories narrated by other notable locals and with a soundtrack composed by Pat Braden himself.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Reader's Diary #1078- Jorges Luis Borges: Funes, His Memory

Despite those wacky Kids in the Hall "Premise Beach" sketches, I'm a little wary of premises and I'll blame Jodi Picoult for that. Perhaps unfairly, as I've only read one of her books, to me Jodi Picoult is the queen of the premise. Unfortunately I don't think her writing matches her ambition. But yesterday, while reading Siva Vaidhyanathan's The Googlization of Everything, I was once more enthralled with a premise. Vaidhyanathan describes a story by Jorges Luis Borges called, "Funes, His Memory" in which the titular Funes cannot forget. Anything. For those of us who struggle daily with misplaced car keys, iPhones, remote controls, pants, this sounds like a blessing. However, for Funes, it's a nightmare. He becomes preoccupied with meaningless tasks such as creating an entirely different numbering system that forgoes any patterning. As Vaidhyanathan helps explain, Funes actually becomes stupider in a way. While it seems counter-intuitive that remembering everything would make someone dumber instead of smarter, forgetting is a part of learning. Because of our memory limitations, we compensate by categorizing, classifying, and cataloging information and it's those processes that make us smarter by forcing us to contemplate the meaning. I won't lie, "Funes, His Memory" is a bit of a downer, especially if you were expecting some sort of X-Men type of super-mutation, but fascinating nonetheless. Writing that matches its premise.

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

Friday, January 03, 2014

Reader's Diary #1077- The New King James Version Bible: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon

As I've continued to read and write about the Bible, I've occasionally come perilously close to being offensive, but have always maintained that I wasn't out to talk theology. But with Paul having been the narrator of so many books of the New Testament, I've really struggled with that. I can't, for the life of me, take to Paul. And after today's post, in which I'll compare Paul to Chris Brown, I suspect my readers will have assumed I've snapped.

Every time I read something like "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet" (1 Timothy 2: 12), I think, surely people aren't defending him this time, are they? But of course, they are. While very few online comments support the comments outright (though I'm sure I could find those, too, if I tried hard enough), people seem to bend over backwards trying to rationalize and make his comments more palatable to today's readers. It was a cultural thing, something was lost in the translation, it's figurative, it's contextual, etc. Very few come out and say he was a chauvinistic pig. Why? I'm guessing that it has something to do with liking the other things that Paul said. (It wasn't all about the inferiority of women.) And that's how it reminded me of Chris Brown. I've struggled to see how so many people come to his defense after his deplorable behaviour, but I think it's just that some people might like his music and find it hard to reconcile that. I don't like his music, but I have struggled with similar feelings with other musicians. Finally it just got to the point where I wasn't able or willing to give up on so much music simply because I disliked the artists behind it (Morrissey, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, James Brown...) Perhaps I shouldn't read the online comments because when I really think about it, those bother me more the books of Paul. I'm okay with an imperfect narrator, I'm not okay with those who can't acknowledge imperfections.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The winner of Genevieve Graham's Somewhere to Dream was...

Marie who was chosen randomly from all of those who participated in last month's contest. Congratulations to Marie and a huge thank-you to Genevieve Graham for the prize donation.

7th Canadian Book Challenge - The Halfway Point Recap!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Here's to 2014 and Canadian reading! We've rounded the bend, exactly halfway through our efforts in the Canadian Book Challenge and once again, I'm impressed with the eclectic mix of books that we've read as a collective. Here's what we read in the first half:
Alexie, Robert Arthur
- The Pale Indian (John)

Al-Solaylee, Kamal
- Intolerable (Irene Roth)

Anderson, Melissa
- The Way I See It (Teena)

Anka, Paul
- My Way (Swordsman)

Anthony, Joelle
- Restoring Harmony (Kim)

Armstrong, Kelley
- Bitten (JoAnne)
- The Calling (Pussreboots, Marie)
- Haunted (JoAnne Isgro)
- Men of the Underworld (Jules)
- Omens (JoAnne Isgro)
- The Reckoning (Pussreboots)
- The Summoning (Pussreboots)

Armstrong, Theodora
- Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility (Jules)

Atwood, Margaret
- Choke Collar (Jules)
- Erase Me (Jules)
- MaddAddam (Nicola)
- Oryx and Crake (Mary R)
-The Penelopiad (Lee-Anne)
- Strange Things (Lee-Anne)
- Surfacing (Lee-Anne)
- Year of the Flood (Mary R)

Badami, Anita Rau
- Tamarind Mem (Eric)

Baker, Graydon
- The Guidebook to Killing Lions in Africa (Samantha Adkins)

Ball, Krista D.
- Spirits Rising (Heather)

Balogh, Mary
- The Arrangement (Jo)
- The Proposal (Jo)

Bantock, Nick
- The Golden Mean (Mary R)
- Griffin and Sabine (Melwyk, Mary R)
- Sabine's Notebook (Mary R)


Barclay, Linwood
- The Accident (Nicola, JoAnne)
- A Tap on the Window (Teena, Nicola, Luanne)

Barfoot, Joan
- Exit Lines (Melwyk)

Barr, George
- Take Your Photography to the Next Level (Teena)

Benison, C. C.
- Death at Sandringham House (Sharon)
- Death at Windsor Castle (Sharon)

Berton, Pierre
- Fast Fast Fast Relief (Barb in BC)

Best, Cary
- When We Go Walking illustrated by Krysten Brooker (Irene Roth)

Blair, Jeff
- Full Count (Swordsman)

Bock, Dennis
Going Home Again (Jules, Shan)

Boge, Paul H.
- The Urban Saint (Sharon)

Boldt, Mike
- 123 Versus ABC (Irene)

Bonert, Kenneth
- The Lion Seeker (Jules)

Boyd, David
- Battle of Queenston Heights illustrated by Drew Ng (John)

Boyko, John
- Blood and Daring (Swordsman)

Bowen, Gail
- The Gifted (Mysteries and More)

Bowering, George
- My Darling Nellie Grey (Eric)
- Vermeer's Light (Eric)

Boyden, Joseph
- Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont (Swordsman)
- The Orenda (Shan)

Bradley, Alan
- I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Tracy K)
- A Red Herring Without Mustard (Samantha Adkins)
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Deb)

Brady, John 
- Unholy Ground (TracyK)

Britt, Fanny
- Jane, The Fox and Me illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Christine Morelli and Susan Ouriou (Perogyo)

Brooke, Frances
- The History of Emily Montague (Melwyk, Lee-Anne)

Cameron, Janet E.
- Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World (Lisa N)

Christmas, Jane
- And Then There Were Nuns (Melwyk)

Clark, Gregory
- Hi, There! (Barb in B.C.)
- War Stories (Barb in B.C.)

Cliff, Tony
- Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (Nicola)

Coady, Lynn
- The Antagonist (Melwyk)
- HellGoing (Jules, Shan, Daniel)

Cohen, Leonard
- Book of Mercy (Anita)
- The Favourite Game (Anita)

Cohen, Tish
- The Truth About Delilah Blue (Jules)

Cooper, Susan
- The Boggart (Pussreboots)

Cote, Genevieve
- Mr. King's Castle (Irene)

Coupland, Douglas
- City of Glass (Eric)

Cox, K. R.
- Middle On (Sarah@Workaday Reads)

Curran, Colleen
Something Drastic (Melwyk)

Czerneda, Julie
- Survival (Braedonnal)
- Ties of Power (Braedonnal)

Davidson, Craig
- Cataract City (Tanya, Shan)

Davidson, Hilary
- Evil in All its Disguises (Shonna)

Davis, Darrell
- Fire on Ice (Mysteries and More)

Davis, Lauren B.
- The Empty Room (Jules)
- The Stubborn Season (Danielle)

Debon, Nicolas
- Four Pictures by Emily Carr (Perogyo)
- The Strongest Man in the World (Perogyo)

Delany, Vicki
- A Cold White Sun (Mysteries and More)
Gold Digger (Jules)

Delisle, Guy
- Pyongyang (John)
- A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting (Claire)

De Mariaffi, Elisabeth
- How to Get Along with Women (Jules)

De Sa, Anthony
- Kicking the Sky (Teena)

De Sa, Anthony
- Barnacle Love (Shonna)
- Kicking the Sky (Shonna, Teena)

Devaney, Julie
- My Leaky Body (Melwyk)

Dickner, Nicolas
- Nikolski translated by Lazer Lederhendler (Eric)

Donoghue, Emma
- Room (Braedonnal)

Douglas, Gilean
- River for My Sidewalk (Barb in BC)

Dowding, Philippa
- The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden (Giraffe Days)

Drozdowich, Barb
- The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers (Teena)

Duncan, Dave
- Wildcatter (Jules)

Eddie, Christine
- The Douglas Notebooks translated by Sheila Fischman (Sam Lamb)

Edugyan, Esi
- The Second Life of Samuel Tyne (Jules)

Elliott, George
- The Kissing Man (Jules)

Endicott, Marina
- The Little Shadows (Irene Roth)

Fagan, Cary
- A Bird's Eye (Melwyk)
- My Life Among the Apes (Melwyk)

Fergus, Maureen
- The Gypsy King (Sarah at Workaday Reads)

Ferguson, Will
- 419 (Lisa, Samantha Adkins)
- Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw (Samantha Adkins)
- Happiness (Sam Lamb)

Ferguson, Will and Ian Ferguson
- How to be a Canadian (Lisa N)

Fielding, Joy
- Now You See Her (JoAnne)

Finlayson, Judith
- The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes (Teena)

Fletcher, Crystal
- Beauty Beneath the Banyan (Jules)

Fontaine, Robert Louis
- Hello to Springtime (Barb in BC)

Fradkin, Barbara
- Once Upon a Time (Deb)

Friskney, Janet B.
- New Canadian Library: The Ross McClelland Years (Lee-Anne)

Frye, Northrop
- The Educated Imagination (Irene)

Fullerton, Alma
- Community Soup (Irene)

Gallant, Mavis
- From the Fifteenth District (Anita)

Gay, Marie-Louise
- Read Me a Story, Stella (Perogyo)

Ghomeshi, Jian
- 1982 (Lee-Anne)

Gibb, Aileen
- Voices (Teena)

Gibb, Camilla
- Sweetness in the Belly (Jules)

Giguere, Rejean
- Jackfish Reborn (Braedonnal)

Gildiner, Catherine
- After the Falls (Barb in B.C.)

Gilmour, David
- Extraordinary (Jules)

Grace, Savannah
- Sihpromtaum (Luanne)

Grady, Wayne
- Emancipation Day (Shan, Melwyk, Jules)

Graham, Clarkson
- Married to Crazy (Teena)

Gray, Charlotte
- The Massey Murder (Teena)

Gray, Nathalie
- Gridlock: Cybershock (Braedonnal)

Griffin, Daniel
- Stopping for Strangers (Melwyk)

Gunnars, Kristjana
- The Prowler (Pooker)

Hadfield, Chris
- An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth (Shan, Melwyk, Swordsman)

Haliburton, Thomas Chandler
- The Clockmaker (Lee-Anne)

Harrison, A. S. A.
- The Silent Wife (Shonna, Shan)

Hartt-Sussman, Heather
- Noni is Nervous illustrated by Genevieve Cote (Irene Roth)

Heidbreder, Robert
- Black and Bittern Was Night illustrated by John Martz (Irene)

Heiti, Matthew
- The City Still Breathing (Tanya)

Hicks, Faith Erin and Neil Druckmann
- The Last of Us (Nicola)

Hill, Lawrence
- The Book of Negroes (Barbara)

Hill, Miranda
- Sleeping Funny (Nicola)

Honore, Carl
- The Slow Fix (Irene Roth)

Hopkinson, Nalo
- Brown Girl in the Ring (Melwyk)

Houston, James
- Akavak (Barb in BC)

Howell, Shan
- The Rude Story of English (Shan)

Huff, Tanya
- The Enchantment Emporium (Kim)
- Valor's Choice (Braedonnal)

Hutchins, Hazel
- Cat Comes Too illustrated by Gosia Mosz (Pussreboots)

Itani, Frances
- Missing (Jules)
- Remembering the Bones (Nan)

Johnston, Wayne
- The Son of a Certain Woman (Jules)

Johnstone, D. L.
- Furies (Mysteries and More)

Joya, Malalai
- A Woman Among Warlords with Derrick O'Keefe (Irene)

Kay, Alisa
- Under Budapest (Jules)

Kay, Guy Gavriel
- Under Heaven (Claire)
- Ysabel (Braedonnal)

Kelloway, Karen
- Raphael's Riddle (MaryR)

Kelly, Kerry
- The Family Album (Melwyk)

Kennedy, Scott
- Willowdale (Swordsman)

Kidd, Monica
- The Momentum of Red (Pooker)

Kinsella, W. P.
- Shoeless Joe (John)

Korman, Gordon
- The Hypnotists (Nicola)
- The Emperor's Code (Pussreboots)
- The Medusa Plot (Pussreboots)


Kotzwinkle,  William; Murray, Glenn and Gundy, Elizabeth
- Walter the Farting Dog Goes on a Cruise illustrated by Audrey Colman (Nicola)

Krall, Elizabeth
- Too Close (Teena)

Krueger, Paul
- A Journey Through History: A Guide to the Niagara Parkway from Chippawa to Black Creek (Nicola)

Kulling, Monica
- The Great Houdini illustrated by Anne Reas (Nicola)
- Making Contact! illustrated by Richard Rudnicki (Nicola)

Kusugak, Michael
- T is for Territories illustrated by Iris Churcher (Irene)

Laurence, Margaret
- The Diviners (Jules)

Lazurko, Anne
- Dollybird (Melwyk)

Leaf, Rik
- Four Homeless Millionaires (John)

Leavitt, Martine
- Heck Superhero (Irene Roth)
- Keturah and Lord Death (Irene Roth)
- My Book of Life by Angel (Irene Roth)
- Tom Finder (Irene Roth)

Lee, Rebecca
- Bobcat and Other Stories (Nicola)

Legault, Stephen
- The Third Riel Conspiracy (Mysteries and More)

Leiderman, Lucy
- Lives of Magic (Giraffe Days)

Leung, Lawrence, Susan Hannah, and Elizabeth Dares-Dobbie
- The Complete Migraine Health, Diet Guide and Cookbook (Teena)

Lindhout, Amanda and Sara Corbett
- A House in the Sky (Luanne, Samantha Adkins, Shan)

Little, Jean
- Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird (Sharon)

Lloyd, Jennifer
- The Best Thing About Kindergarten illustrated by Qin Leng (Perogyo)

Lorig, Kate, and Halsted Holman, David Sobel, Diana Laurent, Virgina Gonzales, Marian Minor
- Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions (Sharon)

Lovegrove, Jennifer
- Watch How we Walk (Tanya)

MacDonald, Ann-Marie
- Fall on Your Knees (JoAnne)

MacLeod, Alistair
- The Last Salt Gift of Blood (Barb in BC)

MacLeod, Sue
- Namesake (Marie)

Mallette, Pattie
- Nowhere But Up (Teena)

Martel, Yann
- Life of Pi (Veronica)

Martin, Mike
- The Walker on the Cape (Shonna)

Mayer, Dale
- Vampire in Denial (Sarah at Workaday Reads)

McAdam, Colin
A Beautiful Truth (Jules)

McCollum, Jordan
- I, Spy (Sarah at Workaday Reads)

McKay, Ami
- The Virgin Cure (JoAnne)

McKay, Sharon E.
- War Brothers illustrated by Daniel Lafrance (John)

McClintock, Norah
- Close to the Heel (Nicola)

McLinton, Judy and John Mutford (selections by)
- Coming Home (Barbara)

Messud, Claire
- The Woman Upstairs (Jules)

Messum, J. Kent
- Bait (Luanne)

Millar, Margaret
- Beast in View (Melwyk)

Mistry, Rohinton
- A Fine Balance (Jules)

Mofina, Rick
- They Disappeared (Heather)

Montgomery, Lucy Maud
- Anne of Avonlea (Jules)
- Anne of Green Gables (Samantha Adkins)
- The Blue Castle (Sharon)

Moore, Lisa
- Alligator (Sam Lamb)
- Caught (Shan, Jules)

Morrison, Jacqui
- The Vigilante (Teena)

Morrissey, Donna
- The Deception of Livvy Higgs (Sam Lamb)

Moser, Elisa
- Lily and Taylor (Perogyo)

Motyer, Arthur
- The Staircase Letters (Melwyk)

Mowat, Farley
- The Curse of the Viking Grave (Lee-Anne)
- Lost in the Barrens (Lee-Anne)
- My Discovery of America (Barb in BC)
- Owls in the Family (Barb in BC)

Munro, Alice
- Dance of the Happy Shades (Eric)
- Open Secrets (Jules)

Nagel, Brian
- Let's Forefoot da Sonovabitch (John)

Nawaz, Saleema
- Bone and Bread (Jules)

Oakley, Mark
- Thieves and Kings, Book 6 (Nicola)

Ohi, Ruth
- Chicken, Pig, Cow (Irene Roth)
- Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Class Pet (Irene Roth)
- Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Purple Problem (Irene Roth)
- Chicken, Pig, Cow's First Fight (Irene Roth)
- Chicken, Pig, Cow, Horse Around (Irene Roth)
- Kenta and the Big Wave (Perogyo, Irene Roth)
- A Trip With Grandma (Irene Roth)

Ondaatje, Michael
- The English Patient (Lee-Anne)

Ostenso, Martha
- Wild Geese (Jules)

Oxford, Kelly
- Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar (Irene)

Pearson, Kit
- The Whole Truth (Samantha Adkins)

Pelley, Chad
- Away from Everywhere (Jules)

Pendziwol, Jean E.
- Once Upon a Northern Night illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Perogyo)

Penny, Louise
- Bury Your Dead read by Ralph Cosham (Jo)
- How the Light Gets In (Perogyo, MaryR, Mysteries and More)
- How the Light Gets In read by Ralph Cosham (Shonna)
- Still Life (JoAnne)
- A Trick of the Light read by Ralph Cosham (Jo)

Petersen, Christan
- Outside the Line (Barb in BC)

Pogue, Carolyn
- The Rock of Ages (John)

Poitevin, Linda
- Gwynneth Ever After (Shonna) 

Pope, Al
- Bad Latitudes (John)

Primeau, Liz
- City Gardens (Irene)
- Creating a Garden (Irene)
- Front Yard Gardens (Irene)
- Vegetable Gardening (Irene)

Pullinger, Kate
- The Mistress of Nothing (Barb in BC)

Pura, Murray
Beneath the Dover Sky (Sharon)

Quist, Jennifer
- Love Letters of the Angel of Death (Daniel)

Ravel, Edeet
- Look For Me (Giraffe Days)

Ricci-Thode, Vanessa
- The Dragon Whisperer (Daniel)

Rich, Roberta
- The Harem Midwife (Shonna)
- The Midwife of Venice (Shan)

Richards, David Adams
- God Is (Irene Roth)
- Mercy Among the Children (Jules)

Richardson, Bill
- Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast (Pussreboots)
- Dear Sad Goat (Lisa N)

Richler, Mordecai
- The Street (Barb in BC)

Riley, Louise
- One Happy Moment (Lee-Anne, Barb in BC)

Robinson, Eden
- Monkey Beach (Barb in BC)

Robinson, Peter
- Children of the Revolution (Luanne)

Rodger, Ellen
- How Does the Government Work? (Irene Roth)

Ross, Stewart
- Into the Unknown illustrated by Stephen Biesty (Pussreboots)

Rotenberg, Robert
- Old City Hall (Nan)
- Stranglehold (Teena, Mysteries and More)

Rowen, Gail
- Countdown (Giraffe Days)

Roy, Gabrielle
- Enchanted Summer (Barb in BC)
- The Road Past Altamont (Barb in BC)

Rybczynski, Witold
- Looking Around (Barbara)

Sands, Patricia
- The Promise of Provence (Sharon)

Saul, Nick and Andre Curtis
- The Stop (Melwyk)

Sawyer, Robert J.
- Hominids (Pooker)
- Red Planet Blues (Braedonnal, Swordsman)

Scharper, Hilary
- Peridta (Melwyk)

Schellenberg, Lovella et al
- Mennonite Girls Can Cook (Sharon)

Scott, A. D
- Beneath the Abbey Wall (Sharon)

Scrimger, Richard
- Ink Me (Nicola)

Seagrave, John
- The Hudson's Bay Boy (John)

Selvadurai, Shyam
- Cinnamon Gardens (Giraffe Days)

Shariff, Shaheen
- Confronting Cyber-Bullying (Irene Roth)

Shewchuk, Pat
- In Lucia's Neighborhood illustrated by Marek Colek (Pussreboots)

Shields, Carol
- Jane Austen (Mary R)

Sibley, Robert C.
- The Way of the Stars (Anita)

Simmons, Gail
- Talking with my Mouth Full (Swordsman, Teena)

Simon, Ilana
- 125 Best Indoor Grill Recipes (Teena)

Slayter, Rebecca Silver
In the Land of the Birdfishes (Jules)

Smart, Elizabeth
- The Assumption of Rogues and Rascals (Rasiqra/Revulva)

Smith, Brad
- Shoot the Dog (Luanne)

Spires, Ashley
- Binky: License to Scratch (Nicola)
- Binky the Space Cat (Pussreboots)

Spotson, Scott
- Seeking Dr. Magic (Sarah at Workaday Reads)

Staunton, Ted
- Who I'm Not (Nicola)

Stevenson, Dick
- The Saga of the Sourtoe (John)

Stirling, S. M.
- Dies the Fire (Braedonnal)

St. James, Simone
- The Haunting of Maddy Clare (Melwyk)
- An Inquiry into Love and Death (Melwyk)

Stocks, Cassie
- Dance, Gladys, Dance (Sam Lamb, Daniel)

Stone, L. H.
- In To the Bend (Samantha Adkins)

Stratton, Allan
- Chanda's Secrets (Shonna)

Suneby, Elizabeth
- Razia's Ray of Hope illustrated by Suana Vereslt (Perogyo)

Swan, Mary
- My Ghosts (Melwyk)

Szalowski, Pierre
- Fish Change Direction in Cold Weather translated by Alison Anderson (Melwyk)

Tamaki, Mariko and Steve Rolston
- Emiko Superstar (John)

Tardif, Cheryl Kaye
- Children of the Fog (Heather)

Taylor, Patrick
- An Irish Country Wedding (Shonna)

Thomas, Joan
- Reading by Lightning (Sharon)

Thúy, Kim
- Ru (Shonna)

Tod, M. K.
- Unravelled (Giraffe Days)

Toews, Miriam
- The Flying Troutmans (Barbara)

Torres, J
- The Unkindness of Ravens art by Faith Erin Hicks (Nicola)

Tsabari, Ayelet
- The Best Place of Earth (Jules)

Urquhart, Jane
- Changing Heaven (Jules)
- The Whirlpool (Shonna)

Vanier, Jean
- Finding Peace (Irene)

Varady, Krista and Bill Gottlieb
- The Every Other Day Diet (Teena)

Vassanji, M. G.
- The Book of Secrets (Jules)

Viva, Frank
- Along a Long Road (Pussreboots)
- A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse (Nicola)

Vyleta, Dan
- The Crooked Maid (Jules)

Wallace, Benjamin
- The Big Book of Dumb White Husband (Teena)

Walters, Eric
- Between Heaven and Earth (Nicola)

Wearing, Alison
- Honeymoon in Purdah (Barb in BC)

Whyte, Jack
- The Skystone (Braedonnal)

Wiebe, Rudy
- The Mad Trapper (John)

Wilson, Ethel
- The Innocent Traveller (Barb in BC)

Wilson, John
- Lost Cause (Nicola)

Winter, Michael
- Minister Without Portfolio (Jules, Shan)

Wishinsky, Frieda
- Beware, Pirates! illustrated by Dean Griffiths (Samantha Adkins)

Wright, Dare
- The Doll and the Kitten (Shonna)
- Edith and Midnight (Shonna)
- Edith and Mr. Bear (Shonna)
- Edith and the Duckling (Shonna)
- Lona (Shonna)
- The Lonely Doll (Shonna)

Yetman, Derek
- The Beothuk Expedition (Jules)

Young, Scott
- The Shaman's Knife (Mysteries and More)