Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It begins

I've decided to read all the books from the top 40 picks of the Canada Reads 2011 list. I am extremely excited about this.

I've seen many "reading challenges" in the past and they all seem like a reason for people to show off what they've read. I want to do this challenge for the following reasons:
a) To broaden my experience with Canadian Literature
b) To have a framework to encourage me to read more than I already do
c) To be able to talk to more people about the books I've read
d) To follow Canada Reads - I know this is last year's list, but I want to get up to speed for this year. I hope to take on the challenge when the 2012 list is released... but that's a while to go yet.

When I moved back to Toronto, I joined a book club and ever since, I've been addicted to reading. It was one of those activities that I always found difficult to get into, but once I did, I would make hours of time a day to sit, curled up on the couch or in transit and read. It's the starting that's hard. You always think, "There's no way that this book is going to be anywhere near as good as that other one I just finished and loved." But then, you realize that it is. Well, most of the time, anyway. Now that I'm in this book club, I'm discovering how fun and exciting it is to talk about a book with someone else. There's always the beginning awkwardness of "Oh, you say 'heem-a'? I say 'hem-a'..." but that's part of the fun. There's nothing worse than finishing a book where you simply fell in love with the characters and at the end of the book, have no one to talk about them with. I know that not everyone is going to read all these books, but by being exposed to such an exciting list I know that there will be people out there who can discuss with me.

Now I have to be honest, I have actually already read a couple of the books on this list, but I think that's fair. Considering this, I'm not going to go from A to B - I'll take them in any order I so choose (i.e. whatever's in stock at BMV).

Here is the list (bolded are the books I've already read *UPDATED*):

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Conceit by Mary Novik

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Drive-by Saviours by Chris Benjamin

Elle by Douglas Glover

Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Far to Go by Alison Pick

February by Lisa Moore

Galore by Michael Crummey

Heave by Christy Ann Conlin

Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey

Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

Moody Food by Ray Robertson

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Room by Emma Donoghue

Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

The Birth House by Ami McKay

The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre

The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Fallen by Stephen Finucan

The Girls Who Saw Everything by Sean Dixon

The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

Twenty-Six by Leo McKay Jr.

Unless by Carol Shields

Wish me luck! I'll update soon about the book I've chosen first.

3 comments:

Hayley said...

Oh my Allegra! I love that you are doing this. I tried to read a book a province on my cross-Canada trip last year. It was wonderful! You're project is so ambitious, I LOVE IT! Unless!!!, Book of Negroes, Crow Lake... some of my favourite books! I want to read along with you on your next one - what's up next??

allegra young said...

Read with me! I've just started "Lullabies for Little Criminals" by Heather O'Neill - it's amazing so far. I love her writing! And it takes place in Montreal. I think you'll love it :)

Melanie Lalonde said...

If you ever want to borrow The Book of Negroes, let me know. One of my most favourites books, by far.