A while back, I joined the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge.
The originator (John Mutford), challenged bloggers to read (and write about) 13 Canadian books (by Canadians and/or about Canadians) in the 1 year period between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2009.
Here's a status update on how I've been doing in the challenge so far.
1) The Killing Circle - Andrew Pyper
2) Cricket in a Fist - Naomi K. Lewis
3) Wolf Pack - Edo van Belkom
4) Lone Wolf - Edo van Belkom
5) Cry Wolf - Edo van Belkom
6) Wolf Man - Edo van Belkom
7) In Tongues of the Dead - Brad Kelln
8) Wake - Robert J. Sawyer
9) Grown up Digital - Don Tapscott
10) Too Close To Home - Linwood Barclay
See my original post about these books here.
11) The Gargoyle - Andrew Davidson
(Finished reading Feb 16, 2009)
This is a wonderful story of love through the ages. Although the premise for this book wasn't exactly my cup of tea (a contemporary novel raved about by folks who enjoy fine new works of literature), I started reading it and got hooked by the author's compelling prose. Once his prose hooked me (that took not much more than a few lines of reading), I wanted to know what happened next, and so on, and so on, until the end of the novel. The book is about a narcissistic porn star who gets severely burned and almost dies in a car accident. While recovering in the hospital, a strange lady by the name of Marianne Engel shows up and starts telling him stories about how they've been together forever in his past lives. She tells him stories of love throughout the ages, including their own story of how they first met. And, though he knows she is a mental patient and manic-depressive, he can't help but be compelled by her stories and her, and gradually falls in love with her. The title comes from the gargoyle carvings she does (and the fact that the main character describes his burnt self as looking like a gargoyle). Excellent book.
Link(s): Andrew Davidson's author profile on RH Canada website
12) Frozen Blood - Joel A. Sutherland
(Finished reading Feb 23, 2009)
A well written first novel by Sutherland, containing a good sense of place (Ottawa) -- it actually made me homesick for the city. As apocalyptic novels go, it succeeds in actually being about the end of the world as we know it, though a bit depressing. Sutherland's characters were well crafted, the situation was filled with tension and suspense and the story steam-rolled its way to the very end. A great first novel by Sutherland, and I was pleased to see that this novel made the short-list for the upcoming Bram Stoker Awards for superior achievement in a first novel.
Link(s): Joel A. Sutherland's webpage
13) Me Minus 173 - Alicia Snell
(Finished reading March 15, 2009
Alicia's story of how, at the age of 42, she decided to make some dramatic changes in her life is a poignant, touching and ultimately inspiring tale. Within the space of 15 months she lost 173 pounds and began running -- since then has completed 18 marathons, including the Boston Marathon. Her story is self-effacing and honest, straight-forward and uplifting and wonderfully documents how a person can choose to make a significant and positive change in their lifestyle and come out on top of something that has plagued them their entire lives. I put this book down feeling inspired and motivated and know that her tale is going to help so many others in the pursuit of their own dreams and desires.
Link(s): Alicia Snell's website, the book (because it's not yet broadly available - not YET)
14) The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill
(Finished reading March 30, 2009)
Absolutely brilliant novel -- wonderfully written, compelling, moving, touching -- It's incredibly easy to see why it has won so many awards and continues to dominate the bestseller lists. This fictitious story of Aminata's life, born in Africa, captured into the slave trade and taken to America, then her travels to Nova Scotia and back to Africa are filled with an endless stream of struggles and heartaches that are staved by the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. I had the pleasure of meeting Lawrence several months back when he was writer in residence at McMaster -- he is a great guy, down to earth and easy-going and is as wonderful a speaker as he is a writer. I strongly encourage anyone who has read his book that, you get a chance to go to an event where Lawrence is reading, you definitely go check it out. There's not much point in me writing too much "review" type content about the book, because far better reviewers than me have raved about this fantastic novel. This is yet another example of a book that I purchased a long time ago but didn't get around to reading it until a later date -- and for that, I continue to kick myself.
Link(s): Lawrence Hill's website, mention of Lawrence on this blog
So at this point, I've already reached and passed the 13 required books for the challenge. But I've got more books (one of which I'm currently reading) by Canadians -- so perhaps I'll reach 16 or 17 by the time I reach Canada Day 2009. Not hard to do as there is no shortage of fantastic books by Canadian authors.