CanLit Challenge discussion

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message 1: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
I've decided to create a separate thread for this topic, so here it is. Let us know who you are and why you're interested in Canadian literature.

My real life name is Michelle, but everywhere on the net, I go by Ibis or Ibis3 or variations thereof, after the sacred animal of Thoth, the Egyptian god of writing. I live in a small town on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Canada (just far enough away that it's not considered a suburb of Toronto, but still in the 905 area code). I work at home and live with my elderly mother.

I decided to start this challenge because I hadn't read many books by Canadian authors and I wanted especially to read classics of the early 20th century and before.


message 2: by Lils74 (new)

Lils74 | 6 comments Hi, I'm Lily (lils74 here and on BC) and I was born in Hamilton, Ontario. When I was pretty young my parents moved to Europe (my father's family was from England and had emigrated to Canada) and I was raised in Europe. Fourteen years ago I moved to Nepal :) where I teach at a school for physically disabled children and also have a small home for little girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Though I've not spent as much time as I would like in Canada, it is a part of my past and present and something I want to learn more about, hence my decision to join this group. Though I may not be able to participate in all the book selections (depending on availability here) I think it will be a great way to learn about Canadian lit in general and get some ideas for new reads! Thanks Ibis3!


message 3: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) Hi all - i'm Dee...I honestly, have to say I joined this group to ask a question about a Canadian author, that hopefully someone can answer...but i'm always looking for new authors and books to read and have made it a goal to read 1 million pages in a lifetime (starting in 2010), as well as read as many books set in different countries around the world...


message 4: by Shan (new)

Shan | 2 comments Greetings! Looking forward to reading more Canadiana and to expand my selections beyond my current Canadian faves (Laurence, Davies, W.O. Mitchell, Boyden and A-M MacDonald). Not sure how much time I'll have on my hands to read all the suggestions and keep up with the discussions (let alone contribute to them), but I shall try :) I'm on the west coast in Victoria, BC - nice to meet you all!


message 5: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Hi Dee, hi Shan! Nice to see some new members. I envision our discussion threads to be rather informal with respect to time. Feel free to join in with discussion on any open thread (I'm still adding the pre-Goodreads titles to the shelf) and any new selections that appeal to you (and/or your reading schedule). No pressure. :)


message 6: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Hi Cheryl. Welcome and thanks for your response on the Feedback group. I just went and added a couple more tags. I'm sure you'll learn lots from us Canucks and our lit. There's some overlap, but we really do have a distinct culture (& many unique subcultures) to tempt you with.


message 7: by Regine (new)

Regine Hi, I'm Regine. I'm from the Toronto area. I consider myself relatively well-read in Canadian lit, but there's always room for improvement! My favourite Canadian authors are Timothy Findley and Rohinton Mistry.


message 8: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Hi Regine. There will definitely be some Tiff and some Mistry coming up in the Challenge eventually.


message 9: by Shan (new)

Shan | 2 comments Oh yes, how could I forget Mistry! Haven't tried Findley yet, but probably should...


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Sands (patriciasands) | 16 comments Hi everyone - Great idea for a group! I live in Toronto and have a long list of Canadian authors whose work I enjoy but Carol Shields has always been my favourite. She is missed! In fact as I write this I'm thinking I'll start rereading all of her books. Thanks for the push!
Patricia


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Sands (patriciasands) | 16 comments Ibis3 wrote: "I've decided to create a separate thread for this topic, so here it is. Let us know who you are and why you're interested in Canadian literature.

My real life name is Michelle, but everywhere on..."


Great Idea Ibis! Thanks for getting this going.


message 12: by Stéphanie (new)

Stéphanie (stephlrx) Hi everyone. I love this idea of dedicating a whole group to canadian literature.

I'm from Sudbury, Ontario but I'm finishing my last year of school in Montréal. I haven't read many canadian books so hopefully this group will introduce me to some great home authors.


message 13: by Julie (new)

Julie Pech | 1 comments My name is Julie Pech, author of "The Chocolate Therapist: A User's Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate." I'm just getting started with Goodreads and planning to start an author discussion group on the health benefits of chocolate as well as how to pair chocolate and wine (both topics included in my new book!). I joined this group because every time I travel to Canada, I discover another extraordinary chocolate company and a beautifully delicious wine. Last stop--Victoria, BC this spring while on a cruise lecturing about chocolate. Hope to connect with some chocolate & wine connoisseurs in the very near future!!


message 14: by Terry (last edited Nov 12, 2010 08:31PM) (new)

Terry Gibson (terry_gib99) | 2 comments My name is Terry Gibson and I have been writing for quite a while now. I'm looking forward to the group.
Currently, I'm having fun with Twitter as Bookmark_Terry. Anyway, I love authors from all over the world, but it's special to read the work by fellow Canadians.
http://www.twitter.com/Bookmark_Terry


message 15: by C. (new)

C. | 7 comments Hello group: My name is Carmen and I live in Toronto. I have read a little bit of Canadian fiction like M. Atwoods, Carol Shields, Mary Lawson, Michel Tremblay…Since there are so many books to read and little time to do so, I'm interested in hearing your recommendations on your favorite reads, including lit. from Québec. So I hope to learn from you and add my grain of salt too.


message 16: by Dale (new)

Dale Moore (dalereads) | 11 comments Hello, my name is Dale J. Moore. I live in LaSalle, just outside of Windsor - one of the hardest places in Canada to feel Canadian. I joined this group because I have a very poor knowledge of Canadian authors, and having recently published a novel, feel expansion of this awareness is overdue. I'm certain this group will help!


message 17: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Good to have all of you new members in the group! Hope you find a bunch of new books to add to Mt.TBR. Looking forward to sharing some great discussions.


message 18: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Shimotakahara (lshimo) Nice to meet you all! I'm an ex English professor, who grew up in Toronto. I'm currently writing a memoir called THE READING LIST: LITERATURE, LOVE, AND BACK AGAIN (Diversity Crossing Press, fall 2011) about an exhausted English professor who leaves her job in academia to return home to her parents, and tries to get closer to her retired father (who has his own crisis to deal with), by creating a reading list of important books for the two of them to discuss as a way to get closer to him and uncover the secret of what led to his crisis. In parallel to completing the book, I'm keeping a blog about the writing process and the books that inspire and touch me: www.the-reading-list.com


message 19: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Sands (patriciasands) | 16 comments C. wrote: "Hello group: My name is Carmen and I live in Toronto. I have read a little bit of Canadian fiction like M. Atwoods, Carol Shields, Mary Lawson, Michel Tremblay…Since there are so many books to re..."
Hi Carmen! Here we are in the same group. What a coincidence it is that it was a Canadian author that caused us to meet in the first place.


message 20: by Nicola (new)

Nicola (cltnic004) Hi there. It's lovely to meet all of you. My name is Nicola and I am South African, emigrating to the Vancouver area soon. I am hoping to learn more about Canadian history and literature through reading the books that you recommend.


message 21: by John (new)

John Hi, my name is John. I just discovered this group and thought it would be fun to join and talk about Canadian authors. I live in Victoria and started a local group on GR called Victoria B.C.(Book Club). Besides chatting about books we also get together and swap books occasionally. Some of my favorite Canadian authors are Joseph Boyden, Sandra Gulland, Bonnie Burnard, and Brad Smith. I look forward to future book discussions.


message 22: by C. (new)

C. | 7 comments Patricia wrote: "C. wrote: "Hello group: My name is Carmen and I live in Toronto. I have read a little bit of Canadian fiction like M. Atwoods, Carol Shields, Mary Lawson, Michel Tremblay…Since there are so many ..."
Nice to see you here Patricia. You are a Canadian author, so I hope we can discuss your book "The Bridge Club" soon. It's in my "to read" list as a priority! All the best!


message 23: by C. (new)

C. | 7 comments Leslie wrote: "Nice to meet you all! I'm an ex English professor, who grew up in Toronto. I'm currently writing a memoir called THE READING LIST: LITERATURE, LOVE, AND BACK AGAIN (Diversity Crossing Press, fall..."
Hi Leslie: Your book THE READING LIST: LITERATURE, LOVE, AND BACK AGAIN sounds promising. Father-daughter relationship in adulthood, books and overcoming crisis are very interesting topics. I'll be pleased to read it!


message 24: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Sands (patriciasands) | 16 comments C. wrote: "Patricia wrote: "C. wrote: "Hello group: My name is Carmen and I live in Toronto. I have read a little bit of Canadian fiction like M. Atwoods, Carol Shields, Mary Lawson, Michel Tremblay…Since t..."

Hi Carmen - Thanks! Yes, it's nice to start feeling a sense of community here. Thanks for putting my book on your to read list. Hope you can make the launch!


message 25: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "Thanks! Yes, it's nice to start feeling a sense of community here."

It is a bit slow going since the group is so new, but I'm optimistic. :)


message 26: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Okay: Hello, group. (I actually hate these introduction things.)

How nice to find a group on Goodreads that talks about good Canadian books. Even if you do read the New Canadian Library.... Me, I am most interested in contemporary Canadian writers. There are loads who are doing great work but of course will remain under the canon's radar for years to come.

Right now, I'm reading The Sentimentalists, by Joanna Skibsrud, one of the Giller finalists. That'll be the third of the Giller books I've read this year, which is unusual, but this year's is the most exciting Giller list in years.

About me: my first name is actually Andrew, I live in London, Ont., and when I'm not reading I'm working with my dog. I'm a writer, but I don't like to talk about my own work. (Tacky.) But that does mean I have a lot of personal biases about which Canadian writers I think are good. Fair warning. ;)


message 27: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
A.J. wrote: "Okay: Hello, group. (I actually hate these introduction things.)"

Everyone together: Hiiii, A.J.!

A.J. wrote: "How nice to find a group on Goodreads that talks about good Canadian books. Even if you do read the New Canadian Library.... Me, I am most interested in contemporary Canadian writers. There are loads who are doing great work but of course will remain under the canon's radar for years to come."

I sympathise with the sentiment and I certainly have nothing against current CanLit. I know that many members read lots of contemporary Canadian books, so please feel free to start as many discussions about the new stuff as you wish here in the General folder.

A.J. wrote: "That'll be the third of the Giller books I've read this year, which is unusual, but this year's is the most exciting Giller list in years."

There's a Giller thread here (not to mention a GG thread) if you want to fire up people to check out the shortlist (and hopefully there are some people out there who've read some too so you can chat about your favourites). And did you notice the Giller poll? I'm thinking I should re-invite the group to vote since I think we had only about a dozen members when I put it up.


message 28: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Good day, friends! My name is Kirsten, and I'm not Canadian (born and raised in Minnesota), but I've spent a bunch of time up there and have a number of good friends scattered about the country.
Every time I visit Canada I feel guilty/dumb that Canadians know so much more about the U.S. than Americans do about Canada, so I'm always on the lookout to learn more. Additionally I like to learn about just about anything especially, good books to read, so I thought I'd drop in and see what's up.


message 29: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Great to have you with us, Kirsten. Hope you find some good books and good conversation here.


message 30: by Buried In Print (new)

Buried In Print (buriedinprint) ::waves to the group:: Hello all! I'm pleased to be in a group that focuses on Canadian writers as many of my favourite writers are Canadian. Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence, Alice Munro, Carol Shields, Timothy Findley, L.M. Montgomery: well-known names. But also Ethel Wilson, Adele Wiseman, Sylvia Fraser, Caroline Adderson, Thomas King, Bonnie Burnard, who maybe aren't quite as well-known.

And I also really enjoy reading debut works and short story collections (some favourites being Carrie Snyder's Hair Hat, Doug Harris' You comma Idiot, and David Bezmozgis' Natasha and Other Stories), but I haven't made much reading time for them lately.

I'm looking forward to next month's discussion of The Stone Angel and am trying to figure out how I can find time for Sara Jeanette Duncan in January (I've always meant to read her). And I'm also looking forward to the other Canlit-related chat, especially with Canada Reads just around the corner.

Nice to meet you all!


message 31: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Lee (KevinAlanLee) | 4 comments Hello everybody,

My name is Kevin, I'm from Vancouver, and my manuscript is on the subject of schizophrenia. You can view it at:
http://www.nup.com/product-details.as...

Thanks


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi, I joined the site a while ago. I'm starting to read more Canadian fiction but am more into non-fiction. Ibis3 kindly added a non-fiction section to this site.

I'm not sure what approach to take when starting a new thread. Author,Subject, Biography or specific book. I guess we will wait and see what others start.


message 33: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Glen wrote: "I'm not sure what approach to take when starting a new thread. Author,Subject, Biography or specific book. I guess we will wait and see what others start. "

Any of the above. The only request I have (apart from the obvious) is that if you want to talk about a specific book, check to see if it's a Challenge book first. I'm still working on getting up threads for previous picks, but a full list of those can be found here: http://www.readerofthestack.com/canli...
A list including upcoming Challenge books listed by title alphabetically is here: http://www.readerofthestack.com/cl_title

If there is a classic that's not on the (second) list and you think it should be, drop me a note or post about it here in the P&P thread. The basis of the Challenge list was the New Canadian Library imprint from M&S and there are significant omissions which I've always intended to correct, so it's likely that if there's a CanLit classic missing I'll be happy to add it.


message 34: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Cameron I'm Meghan and I live in SW Ontario (Brantford). I am a history teacher who always tries to use some kind of historical fiction as a teaching tool - so any suggestions on Canadian historical fiction is appreciated. I just read "Three Day Road" by J. Boyden and loved it. It reminded me of Findley's "The Wars." I will be reading the "Bride of New France" (Desrocher) and "Book of Negroes" (Hill) soon. I also love the Margarets of Canadian fiction - "The Handmaid's Tale" and "The Diviners" pretty much shaped my teen years. I also really enjoy Wayne Johnston - tragic and funny all in one book. Looking forward to seeing what people think of books I'm reading and/or have read.


message 35: by Ibis3 (new)

Ibis3 | 322 comments Mod
Hi Meghan. Welcome to the group. History teachers are some of my favourite people. :) What grades do you teach?

You might be interested in using excerpts from Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada or Children of My Heart.


message 36: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) Hi Meghan. You might find Afterlands and interesting book. It is the fictionalized story of the ill fated Polaris expedition of 1871. The first part of the book is a retelling of the events of the 18 people stranded on the ice. The ending of the book moves into speculative fiction as to what may have happened to the characters after they returned to safety.

I also read Three Day Road and loved it. My grandfather fought at Vimy Ridge, the setting of this book, which made it even more poignant. It was as if he was one of those nameless faceless soldiers in the book.


message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 2 comments Hi All, I'm Michelle- I grew up in southern Ontario and now live in British Columbia. I love Canadian fiction and I have a soft spot for the maritimes- Donna Morrissey is one of my favorites and I can't say enough about Joseph Boyden. Looking forward to getting some good recommendations!


message 38: by Buried In Print (new)

Buried In Print (buriedinprint) Hi Meghan. The Wars is one of my favourites, and I also love the Margarets!

Parts of Pauline Holdstock's newest, Into the Heart of the Country, which I just finished, would do a great job of bringing the later years of the 18thC to life on the page. It brings out the dimensions of the conflicts in those years with delicacy and clarity.


message 39: by Buried In Print (new)

Buried In Print (buriedinprint) Hi Michelle. I haven't read Joseph Boyden's fiction yet (though I intend to), but I recently heard an interview with him on CBC about the non-fiction work he's written recently about Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, and his approach to it sounds fascinating. As for Maritime fiction, I just finished Wayne Johnston's A World Elsewhere and was reminded that I should read more books set in Newfoundland.


message 40: by Friederike (new)

Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 23 comments Hi, I don't remember whether I have introduced myself - I live in Ottawa and since my semi-retirement read a lot of fiction. I try to keep up with Canadian authors and am a member of our Writersfestival here. Joseph Boyden was here again last week, hosting the evening with Michael Ondaatje and his new book, A Cat's Table. It was fascinating about both. Buried in Print, I can recommend Boyden's fiction strongly and also his book on Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont.
How did you like the new Wayne Johnston? He will be here next week and I am debating whether I should buy it.


message 41: by Buried In Print (new)

Buried In Print (buriedinprint) Friederike - I enjoyed the new Wayne Johnston quite a bit. I think it would be easy to miss some of the layering he has done with the story, and I do like the kind of detail that makes me think that a re-read would be worthwhile. Plus, I really love the main character's wordplay. But overall, my hunch is that it will be more of a favourite with those who loved his Navigator of New York than those who loved Colony of Unrequited Dreams. And, yes, I really must get to Boyden...soooo many good books.


message 42: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle (awaken80) Hi Friederike, I'm also in Ottawa and went to the Writers' Festival last night to hear Irshad Manji speak. What a wonderful experience! I can't wait to read her latest book.


message 43: by Friederike (new)

Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 23 comments well, hi, neighbour! Manji is quite something else! Yes, fascinating. I presume you will be going next week to hear Wayne Johnston. That should be great also.


message 44: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle (awaken80) Hi neighbour! Yes, she is! Actually, I'm not familiar with Wayne Johnston. Will you be going to that?


message 45: by Friederike (new)

Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 23 comments oh yes, he is a pretty big name.. although his new bookd oesn't appeal to me in the same way as the earlier ones did... we will see.


message 46: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle (awaken80) I hope you enjoy(ed) it!


message 47: by Friederike (new)

Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 23 comments Rachelle,
Yes, I did enjoy it! He was sooo funny in this dry sense of humour. I am still considering buying the book. Did you go? It was a very 'cozy' venue.


message 48: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle (awaken80) Hi Friederike,

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I love a dry sense of humour. No, I didn't go because I'm not familiar with that author or his work. If I wanted to get acquainted with him, what would you recommend?


message 49: by Friederike (new)

Friederike Knabe (fknabe) | 23 comments Hi Rachelle,

I started with Colony of Unrequited Dreams, which is the story of Johny Smallwood. I think that one got him one of the big Canadian Prizes. If you are less interested with historical context, you might try The Divine Ryans... I have not read any of his other books. He is a very good writer though with any book. The new one , although some historical context, is really about father and son and friendships. His view is that you cannot write about history without fiction and respectively you cannot write fiction without some historical context... very interesting.


message 50: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle (awaken80) Thanks Friederike, I'll take a look at those. I think his viewpoint is exactly right. I hope you enjoy this grey and windy Ottawa day!


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