Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Salon: The Canadian Book Challenge 3, and a movie outing

Well, here I am joining the Sunday Salon on Monday again. But in my defense, it's a national holiday here today, Marine Day, so it feels like a Sunday!

If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that I tend to read one book at a time, but earlier in the week I started The Dogs of Riga, the 2nd book in Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series, even though I was right in the middle of Best Intentions by Emily Listfield. This in no way means that I wasn't enjoying Best Intentions, because I was. It was a much more practical and mundane reason. Best Intentions is a hardback, and therefore too big and heavy to lug around, but I needed something to read on the train for my commute so I looked to my mass market paperbacks and in fact, I've been wanting to continue with this series for a while so the choice was quickly made. Sometimes size really does matter!

I was going to try to make the tiniest little dent in my Google Reader yesterday morning but our internet connection was misbehaving (go figure!) so instead I went back to bed, curled up, and finished off Best Intentions. It felt like ages since I'd just sat and read like that. It was a very nice start to the day! I guess that means I'm now back down to one book, but I'm oddly tempted to start another one and keep the Mankell for my train rides this coming week.

This past week I also went to see a movie in the cinema for the first time in ages! I had Wednesday off, and Wednesdays are "Ladies Day" at the movie theatres here in Japan (or at least around Tokyo that I know of), which means those of us of the female persuasion get in for a considerable discount. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opened this Wednesday here as well so I decided to make the most of the opportunity and went to the afternoon showing. I used to work every Wednesday, all day, but since our move my schedule has changed and I should have one or two Wednesdays off a month. Plus it is really nice being able to cycle to the nearest cinema in only about 10 minutes. I actually have to work the next 4 Wednesdays but I have a feeling I'll be going to the movies a little more often than before. So anyway, that was my bookish viewing this week, and a lot of fun it was too!

I didn't quite complete the Canadian Book Challenge for last year, falling one book and 3 reviews short, but as I mentioned in my 2nd Canadian Book Challenge wrap-up post, I'm looking forward to trying again this year, and I already have quite a few Canadian books waiting impatiently on my shelves. So I thought I'd list some of the ones I have on hand and would like to read over the next year. This is only a small portion of the ones I have available but at the moment are the ones I'm most eager to read. Some of these are ones I wanted to read but didn't get around to last year, some of them I picked up the last time I was in Canada so are relatively new to the stacks, and some of them have been languishing for far too long.

The End of the Alphabet - C.S. Richardson
Helpless - Barbara Gowdy
Mercy Among the Children - David Adams Richards
Jane Austen - Carol Shields
The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson
The Boys in the Trees - Mary Swan
The Time in Between - David Bergen
Barnacle Love - Anthony De Sa
Mouthing the Words - Camilla Gibb
The Birth House - Ami McKay
HappinessTM - Will Ferguson
Dreams Underfoot - Charles de Lint
The Lions of Al-Rassan - Guy Gavriel Kay

Plus I really want to get my hands on The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, as well as the next books in the series by Louise Penny and Giles Blunt, Dead Cold and Black Fly Season respectively.

Have you read any of these, or are there other must-read Canadian books/authors that you'd recommend?

Coming up this week, when I get a chance, my review of The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay, my first book completed for The Canadian Book Challenge 3. Have a great week!


  1. Runaway by Alice Munro. Short stories, but linked short stories. Time passes and the characters grow, suffer. Highly recommended.

  2. You've got some great titles on your challenge list. I especially enjoyed THE GARGOYLE, DREAMS UNDERFOOT and THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN. Good luck with the challenge!

  3. Too funny but true. Hardbacks are nice but I definitely prefer paperbacks... just easier to read in bed and cart around wherever.

    I still have The Birth House on my shelves since it first came out. I think it was one of those books that got so much buzz that I thought it'd probably be best to let it die down for a bit. I didn't want to be disappointed. I have read The End of the Alphabet and that was really good. Sweet, sad, just wonderful.

  4. Out of your list, I've only read Shields' 'Jane Austen.' This is what I wrote about it in Jan. '08: "A clear-eyed, though affectionate, look at the life of Jane Austen from one of my favorite writers, Carol Shields. Shields' words reminded me of how much Shields herself is missed."

  5. I look forward to hearing what you think of The Boys in the Trees. People seem to either love it or hate it. I loved it.

  6. I haven't been to the movies in ages either, but the latest Harry Potter has been getting so much praise I'm tempted to go. I had kind of given up on them after 3, but I just might have to change my mind.

    As for Canadian books, I'm sure you know much more than me, but a few I really enjoyed were Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King, Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson, and Life After God by Douglas Coupland.

    Have a great week, Nat :)

  7. What a list! I recommend Helpless, Mercy Among the Children, The Gargoyle, Barnacle Love, and The Birth House! The rest I just haven't read yet myself...

  8. I've read The Cellist of Sarajevo, Barnacle Love, and The Gargoyle. All enjoyable books. I wasn't planning on keeping Barnacle Love. Do you do BookCrossing? I can tag and send it if you'd like.

  9. Not yet back from my blog break, will try to be back by the end of the week.

    I have won 2 more books, so this makes 6 from the Hachette Giveaway.
    I can't wait to read the "Shakespeare...." one. I was very lucky. Considering I can't buy books at this time this is such a great giveaway. I only put in for the ones that I know I want to read.

    I'll post them soon or wait to receive them, do not know yet.

  10. What a lovely way to spend your holiday morning! Blogging to me has felt a tad like a chore lately, so curling up in bed with a book sounds perfect.

    I'll be reading Dreams Underfoot for the Canadian Book Challenge as well! I haven't read anything by him yet, so I'm definitely curious.

    And did I just miss it--or did you forget to tell us how you liked Harry Potter?? I still haven't seen it but hope to soon.

    Hope your week is going well so far.

  11. My husband and I were out and about this last weekend, and on a whim we went to see the new Harry Potter movie. I've seen mixed reviews, but I liked it. It is always a pleasure to re-visit the Harry Potter world. How fun to have Ladies Day at the theater!

  12. Love the idea of ladies day at the movies. You've got some good reads on that list. I've read The End of the Alphabet****, Helpless****,Mercy Among the Children*****,The Gargoyle****,The Time In Between**** and The Boys in the Trees*****, The Cellist of Sarajevo***** and liked them all. I can highly recommend:
    Through Black Spruce***** by Joseph Boyden (reviewed)
    Ten Thousand Lovers***** by Edeet Ravel
    The Lizard Cage***** by Karen O'Connell
    Coventry**** by Helen Humphreys (reviewed)
    A Map of Glass***** by Jane Urquhart
    And both Cold Eye**** and Black Fly Season**** are very good. I've read every Giles Blunt book.

    If you need more recommendations let me know. Recommendations R Us. :) Happy reading.

  13. debnance - I actually read Runaway a few years ago, before blogging. It was my first time to read any of her stories and I have to admit I enjoyed them but wasn't wowed. I've since read another collection which I enjoyed more so maybe I just needed a chance to get to know her style better, and I would like to read something else by her.

    Memory - Thanks, I wish I could read all the book right now! I've had The Lions of Al-Rassan in my stacks for a few years now - I really should finally read it!

    Iliana - I do like hardbacks. They often look so nice lined up on the shelves, but they really aren't easy to carry around. And yup, my copy of The Birth House is a hardback from around when it came out. LOL.

    Teresa - That is another one I've had in my stacks unread for far too long. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

    Lynn - Oh, books that divide people to either extreme always make me curious! I actually haven't heard much about it so now I'm looking forward to reading it even more. :P

    Nymeth - I think I'm pretty forgiving about movies from books, unless there's something that just doesn't fit at all. I'd warn you that the ending is a bit altered from the book so it's received some complaints about that.

    You know I still haven't read anything by Douglas Coupland. I really must try to rectify that one of these days.

    Kailana - What? You haven't read all of them! (Just joking!) ;)

    Monica - Thanks for your kind offer. I do belong to Bookcrossing although I haven't been very active there over the last few years. I actually already have a copy of Barnacle Love though, which I picked up when I was in Canada last year. :)

    Sylvie - Sounds like you've had some good luck winning books lately. Which is the Shakespeare one you keep talking about? You seem so excited to read it you've made me curious. :)

    Trish - Yes, it was so nice to just ignore everything else and read in bed for a while! :)

    I've only read one other, short De Lint book so I'm looking forward to trying another.

    No, I didn't really go into it my thoughts on the new Harry Potter movie did I? LOL. It's been a little while now since I last read book 6 so I didn't remember the specific details, and I just had a lot of fun watching it. The comedic moments were great! And for a longish movie it sure went by quickly and it still seemed to rush through the book. Which makes sense since there's so much in the books they can't possibly cover it all. But yes, it was fun! :)

    Terri B. - I agree, I always enjoy revisiting the world of Harry Potter so I think I'm pretty easy to please regarding the movies. :)

    Sandra - Based on your ratings, it looks like I have some good reading in store. Of your recommendations I already have a couple of them on my wishlist, and will have to add the rest. I'm sure I'll work my way through all of Blunt's books in time. :)


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