Wednesday, July 01, 2009

2nd Canadian Book Challenge wrap-up

Happy Canada Day!
It's actually already Thursday here in Japan but it's still July 1st in Canada, and my home country is 142 years old today. Hmm...we should've had some cake. :P

It's also the last day of the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, eh? The goal was to read 13 books (the number of provinces and territories) over the period of a year. I was behind in my reading for the challenge so I mostly focused on Canadian authors the last couple of months. However, moving slowed me down in June and I didn't quite make it to 13. I came very close though by completing 12 books, a few of which were on my list of possibities, and have even started on a 13th. Oh well, I guess I'll have a head start on round 3!

Even though the common theme for these books is Canada, they represent a variety of genres. Humour, fantasy, short stories, a graphic novel, a couple of mysteries, a couple of award-winners, literary fiction, and a couple that I don't know how to define. A nice selection, I think.

Books completed:
(click on the title to read my review)
1. How to Be a Canadian - Will Ferguson & Ian Ferguson
2. Griffin & Sabine - Nick Bantock
3. Dingo - Charles de Lint
4. Lighting the Dark Side - William R. Potter
5. Skim - Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
6. Mother Superior - Saleema Nawaz
7. Still Life - Louise Penny
8. The Museum Guard - Howard Norman
9. No Great Mischief - Alistair MacLeod
10. Last Night in Montreal - Emily St. John Mandel
11. The Delicate Storm - Giles Blunt (review pending)
12. Yellowknife - Steve Zipp (review pending)

Best book(s) I read for the challenge?
I read some great books so it's hard to choose favourites. How to Be a Canadian made me laugh. I admired the art in Griffin & Sabine, and was touched by the story in Skim. Mother Superior and Lighting the Dark Side had some great short stories. It was fun to revisit one detective in The Delicate Storm and meet a new one in Still Life. Last Night in Montreal was beautifully written. Yellowknife was tantalizingly surreal, and so on. But if I had to choose, I guess I was most impressed by the touching, and realistic story in the graphic novel, Skim, and the art and imagination in Griffin & Sabine.

Book(s) I could have done without?
They were all worth reading but of these, the one I liked the least would be The Museum Guard. I just didn't enjoy it, or relate to it, as much as I wanted to.

Any new authors? Will I read them again?
Except for Will Ferguson and Giles Blunt, the remaining ten were all new-to-me authors, and I think for about half of those this was their first published book. So some of them don't have any other books out yet, but I will certainly look forward their new work, and I'd happily read something else by any of these authors. I already have a few books on hand by Nick Bantock, Will Ferguson and Charles de Lint so I imagine I'll be reading them again first. Although we all know how that goes! I also plan to continue with both mystery series, so when I get a chance I'll be buying the next book in each series by Louise Penny and Giles Blunt. And I'll be on the lookout for new books by Saleema Nawaz, Emily St. John Mandel and the others that have yet to have another book published.

Best thing about the challenge?
The fact that it encouraged me to read some of the Canadian books that had been languishing in my TBR for far too long. It's also fun to hear about new books to add to my ever-growing wishlist. Thanks so much for hosting, John. I'll definitely be joining the 3rd Canadian Book Challenge for another year of great Canadian reads.


  1. I keep saying that I'm going to join this challenge and it always passes me by. I've been all happy and cheery all day today and my coworkers thinking I'm positively insane. Even though I only lived there for 7 years, Canada's still a big piece of me.

    I thought I had How to be a Canadian on my shelf, but my book is called So You Want to be Canadian, eh? :)

  2. You did a great job, only one short. I look forward to see what you read for the 3rd Challenge. I'm in too.

  3. I ditched the Canadian challenge when I realized my review books were getting in the way. It didn't even occur to me that I could have included Last Night in Montreal! You did great.

  4. Don't worry, I read extra to help keep the average up.:) 1137 books were read during the challenge, John is thrilled. You did well with all you had going on. I've read 8, 10, and 11 myself. There are so many good Canadian books we'll never run out of choices. can't wait to see what you read for the new challenge. I did my wrap up post today too.

  5. Congrats on finishing your challenge! I say 12 out of 13 is pretty good. I read the Nick Bantock books several years ago and the story is not only good but the visual part of the book is just so fun isn't it?

  6. Happy belated Canada day! Congratulations on completing the Canadian Book Challenge. 12 out of 13 books is very good.

  7. Happy Belated Canada Day! Hope you had a good one, I'm sure there were celebrations in Japan. We've got TONS of sister-cities. Vancouver's is Yokohama!

    I loooove Griffin & Sabine, and keep meaning to read How to Be a Canadian.

  8. Trish - 7 years is long enough! :)
    And I'm glad you decided to join the challenge this year.

    Teddy Rose - Thanks. I actually did better than I thought I would so I can't complain. And I'm definitely looking forward to reading more Canadian books this year.

    Nancy - I love it when review books unexpectedly slot into a challenge! :P

    Sandra - The amount of books read for the challenge last year is fantastic! And you're so right that we'll never run out of choices. I have lots of Canadian books waiting for me to read and there are always tempting new ones coming out.

    Iliana - Thanks! The art in the Nick Bantock books is so beautiful! It's the combination of the art with the story that makes it so memorable, for me anyway.

    Thanks Wendy!

    Monica - Happy Belated Canada Day to you too! I'm sure there were celebrations although we didn't really do anything special. I didn't know that Vancouver's sister city is Yokohama!


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