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Countrylife's Canada

Canadian Fiction/Non-Fiction Reading Challenge

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1countrylife
Oct 27, 2009, 10:44am Top

Review surfing (one of my favorite pastimes on LT) brought before my eyes a review by RidgewayGirl of the book Mrs. Mike. Enchanted, I added it to my wishlist. Then recognizing RigewayGirl from the Fifty States Fiction challenge, I went poking around her profile to see if there was a Canadian equivalent. Which landed me here.

What a goose I am! Here I'm getting excited about another travel, when I haven't finished the States yet!

2RidgewayGirl
Oct 27, 2009, 10:58am Top

Welcome, Countrylife! I don't think that there are any restrictions on the number of challenges you can attempt!

3countrylife
Oct 27, 2009, 11:19am Top

Except TIME! LOL!

4countrylife
Edited: Oct 29, 2009, 3:14pm Top

Where I list interesting possibilities gleaned from these discussions.

Alberta
............... Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman (boLT rev RidgewayGirl)
............... The Outlander, fiction, by Gil Adamson (boLT rev Cariola)
............... Plainsong by Nancy Huston (boLT rec Cecilturtle)
British Columbia
............... The Suspect, fiction, by L. R. Wright (boLT rev Thornton37814)
............... Voyages of Hope by Peter Wilton Johnson (boLT rec starfishian)
............... The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy (boLT rec nickelini)
Labrador
............... Eriksdottir by Joan Clark (boLT tagmash & rev mldg)
............... Creation by Katherine Govier (boLT tagmash)
............... The Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallace (boLT tagmash)
............... Northern Nurse by Elliott Merrick (boLT tagmash)
Manitoba
............... Children of the Day, fiction, by Sandra Birdsell (boLT rev piefuchs)
............... The Stone Angel, fiction, by Margaret Laurence (boLT rev LizzieD)
............... Children of My Heart by Gabrielle Roy (boLT rev tripleblessings)
............... The Road Past Altamont, by Gabrielle Roy (boLT rev 3M3m)
............... I am Hutterite, nonfiction, by Mary-Ann Kirkby (boLT rev Romonko)
............... When Alice lay down with Peter by Margaret Sweatman (boLT Cdn.Chall. kathrynnd)
............... Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso (boLT rev Cait86)
New Brunswick
............... The Hatbox Letters, fiction, by Beth Powning (boLT men. Kathrynnd)
............... The Friends of Meager Fortune by David Adams Richards (boLT rev lcfiore)
............... The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong (boLT tagmash)
Newfoundland
............... The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, by Wayne Johnston (boLT rev John)
............... Death on the Ice, nonfiction, by Cassie Brown (boLT rev theselkie)
............... The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede (boLT rev Othemts)
............... No Man's Land by Kevin Major (boLT rev LynnB)
............... Random Passage by Bernice Morgan (boLT mention Newfoundland Literature grp)
............... River Thieves by Michael Crummy (boLT LT recs)
............... The Big Why by Michael Winter (boLT rev Laurenbdavis)
............... Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark (boLT rev cwmni)
............... The Iambics of Newfoundland by Robert Finch (boLT tagmash Labrador)
Northwest Territories
............... A Discovery of Strangers Rudy Wiebe (boLT rev allison.sivak)
............... Yellowknife, fiction, by Steve Zipp (boLT rev LynnB)
............... Late Nights on Air, fiction, by Elizabeth Hay (boLT rev alalba)
Nova Scotia
............... The Birth House by Ami McKay (boLT rev susanbevins)
............... The Book of Negroes, fiction, by Lawrence Hill (boLT rev Cait86)
............... No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod (boLT rev BrianK)
Nunavut
............... The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett (boLT rev veronicay)
............... Ice Blink, narrative history, by Scott Cookman (boLT rev RebeccaAnn)
............... Consumption, fiction, by Kevin Patterson (boLT rev charlenemartel)
Ontario
............... A Map of Glass, fiction, by Jane Urquhart (boLT rev LynnB)
............... Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boydon (boLT rev TadAD)
............... The View From Castle Rock, fiction, by Alice Munro (boLT rev BooksPlease)
............... Elizabeth and after by Matt Cohen (boLT LT recs)
............... Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, fiction, by Vincent Lam (boLT rev wandering_star)
............... In the Skin of the Lion by Michael Ondaatje (boLT rev Cait86)
............... The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (boLT rev Cait86)
............... Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (boLT rev Cait86)
Prince Edward Island
............... The Catch by Louisa McCormack (boLT tagmash)
............... Lorelei by Lori Derby Bingley (boLT tagmash)
Quebec
............... Such is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan (boLT tagmash)
............... Champlain's Dream by David Hackett Fischer (boLT tagmash & rev bruchu)
............... The Heart Specialist by Claire HoldenRothman (boLT rec starfishian)
............... The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, historical fiction (boLT tagmash & rev martitia)
............... The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C. C. Humphreys (boLT tagmash & rev BruderBane)
Saskatchewan
............... The Horseman's Graves, fiction, by Jacqueline Baker (boLT rev ElizaJane)
............... The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe (boLT rev davidabrams)
............... As for me and my house by Sinclair Ross (boLT rev Cait86)
Yukon
............... A Passionate Pen by Jill Downie (boLT Cdn.Chall. starfishian)
............... The Tent Peg by Aritha Van Herk (boLT Cdn.Chall. RidgewayGirl)
............... I married the Klondike by Laura Beatrice Berton (boLT Cdn.Chall. kathrynnd)
General Canadian
............... My Country the Remarkable by Pierre Berton (boLT LT recs)
............... The Wild Frontier: More Tales from the Remarkable Past by Pierre Berton (boLT LT recs)
............... Caesars of the Wilderness by Peter C. Newman (boLT LT recs)

5thornton37814
Oct 27, 2009, 1:43pm Top

Welcome, countrylife! We're glad you decided to join us over here too!

6mathgirl40
Oct 27, 2009, 8:57pm Top

Welcome. I'll be interested in seeing what you end up choosing from the list.

7cbl_tn
Oct 27, 2009, 9:14pm Top

Welcome! I too am glad there isn't a time limit on this challenge. I hope to finish mine in a year by reading one Canadian book each month. So far so good...

8michellereads
Oct 29, 2009, 6:35pm Top

Welcome. I like your summary :)

9countrylife
Edited: Nov 10, 2009, 12:35pm Top

Note to self:

Gleanings from the Historical Fiction Group, Topic: Historical Novels about Canada. http://www.librarything.com/topic/59535

Brian Moore Black Robe - Jesuits, 1634
The Jalna series by Mazo De la Roche
Kamouraska by Anne Hebert
MacLennan, Hugh, Barometer rising, Each Man's Son, Two Solitudes
Random Passage (and its sequel Waiting for Time) by Bernice Morgan
Where the River Narrows by Aimée Laberge (which spans several centuries of Quebec history)
The Holding by Merilyn Simonds (actually a parallel modern/historical plot)
The Birth House
The Englishman's Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe.
Several of William T. Vollmann's novels: The Ice-Shirt, Fathers and Crows, The Rifles
Newfoundland - River Thieves by Michael Crummey
Those Vollman books were excellent ... if we're going to count the Franklin mess as Canadian, you could check out The broken lands by Robert Edric and The Terror by Dan Simmons
Louis Riel by chester Brown, a comic book, but full of historical detail
I enjoyed Jane Urquhart's, The Whirlpool. It was about a widow operating a funeral parlor on the Canadian side who had to handle the many fatalities from suicides and early daredevils who decided to go over Niagara Falls.

eta: another Alberta book found through review surfing:
Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

10michellereads
Nov 4, 2009, 7:24pm Top

That's a great list. I'm going to see if I can find a copy of The Whirlpool - it sounds very interesting. Merilyn Simonds lives in my town, and I've read another by her that I really loved. I have The Holding in my TBR pile.

11RidgewayGirl
Nov 5, 2009, 12:12pm Top

Thanks so much, countrylife. I had finally gotten my wishlist under control (ok, but at least it was not growing) and you had to come up with that enticing list.

12countrylife
Nov 5, 2009, 4:34pm Top

10: I thought The Whirlpool sounded interesting, too. But, on my challenges so far, I'm trying to find my reads at my tiny local library, before giving in and spending actual money... So I hope I can find it or request it there.

11: LT snowballs that way, doesn't it! (Actually - thank the folks in the Historical Fiction group - I copied it from there.)

13countrylife
Edited: Oct 16, 2015, 2:17pm Top

READING PROGRESS:

Alberta
............... The Outlander, historical fiction, by Gil Adamson
............... Heart of the Wilderness, historical fiction, by Janette Oke
............... Icefields, historical fiction, Thomas Wharton
............... Mrs. Mike, biographical fiction, Benedict Freedman
British Columbia
............... The Forest Lover, biographical fiction, Susan Vreeland
............... Notes from the Century Before, nonfiction, Edward Hoaglund
Labrador
............... Windflower, fiction, Gabrielle Roy
Manitoba
............... The Stone Diaries, autobiographical fiction, Carol Shields
New Brunswick
............... The Sea Captain's Wife, historical fiction, Beth Powning
Newfoundland
............... The Shipping News, fiction, E. Annie Proulx (contemporary fiction)
............... Latitudes of Melt, historical fiction, Joan Clark
............... The Day the World Came to Town, nonfiction, Jim Defede
............... February, fiction, Lisa Moore
............... Cape Random (Random Passage), fiction, Bernice Morgan
Northwest Territories
............... Far North, fiction, Will Hobbs
Nova Scotia
............... The Birth House, historical fiction, Ami McKay
............... Blizzard of Glass, nonfiction, Sally M. Walker
............... A Wedding in December, fiction, Anita Shreve
Nunavut
............... Consumption, historical fiction, Kevin Patterson
Ontario
............... Through Black Spruce, fiction, Joseph Boyden
............... Three Day Road, historical fiction, Joseph Boyden
............... The Day the Falls Stood Still, historical fiction, Cathy Marie Buchanan
Prince Edward Island
............... Anne of Green Gables, fiction, L.M. Montgomery
Quebec
............... The Imposter Bride, historical fiction, Nancy Richler
Saskatchewan
............... Goldeneye, historical fiction, by Malcolm Macdonald
Yukon
............... The Klondike Quest, nonfiction, Pierre Berton

14countrylife
Dec 7, 2009, 3:18pm Top

I'm disappointed that I didn't take to my first Canadian read. Hope my next one is a winner!

ALBERTA. Review:

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Wonderfully descriptive writing, majestic scenery, a fugitive on the run, even minor characters thoroughly alive; so much to love. But I just didn’t. Not the main character anyway. I have a relative who behaves with a similar disconnect, getting on everyone’s nerves by doing some of the same things depicted in this story. So I did not find ‘the widow’ a sympathetic character, which perhaps ruined the story for me. Luscious writing, though, so I suspect I’ll find another Gil Adamson book in hand soon. (3.5 stars)

15VivienneR
Dec 7, 2009, 11:17pm Top

Hmm, I put The Outlander on my wishlist, now I'm re-thinking that one. No problem, there are so many to choose from and my 'unofficial' wishlist is growing daily. I like your list of historical fiction. Just my cup of tea.

16countrylife
Feb 15, 2010, 12:14pm Top

SASKATCHEWAN. Review:

Goldeneye by Malcolm MacDonald

(There were so many interesting passages in this book! Take a look at the CK for some humorous samples of: a pet dog's amorous adventures, a family member's forays into writing, and a home-brewed birth-control.)

THE REVIEW:

A looong story (over 500 pages in a very large hardback) about which I have mixed feelings.

The settings were beautifully done; fictitious town names that felt right in their places – Goldeneye and Hawk Ridge on the plains in Saskatchewan, Beinn Uidhe near Strath in the Scottish Highlands, likewise areas around Toronto and London – each place vividly rendered.

Characterization – I might almost say excruciatingly drawn, so much detail of each one did we come to know. For instance, just one of the passages describing the doctor’s wife: “Women don't sit down and work out what's in their own best interests and then go forth and do it. The formula” - he pointed at God above - “doesn't permit it. They do whatever makes them feel right. Whatever gives them that feeling of rightness and goodness. And what gives Fiona that feeling is proof of her own superiority. When she peeps in another woman's storecupboard and says to herself How can she tolerate such disorder! When she predicts disasters to show she's a step ahead of God – oho, He can’t put on over her! When I exceed my quota of marital rights and she says, “I wish you'd get a mistress”. When she says, 'No thanks I only drink at Christmas.' All these things add to her feeling of superiority. Her universe is tidy. She's no foolish optimist about the future. She needs no alcohol or sensual titillation like other poor mortals. . . . dependence is death to her. Superior, above it all, untouched by human frailty, immaculate. Those are the things that make Fiona feel good and right. And because she is a woman, she will pursue them to the death, in the very teeth of her own true happiness and real self-interest.”

The story, simplistically, is about the main character, Catherine Hamilton, finding her power. From early in the book : : “…there's a rare quality in you. . . . I would not dare to name it, for I believe we have none of us seen it for what it truly is. But I'll give you a name for it.” She held her breath. “Power,” he said. “And here's what I'm driving at, Miss Hamilton. Until you understand it yourself, it should terrify you. Such power.”

Mind you, this took over thirty more years, of which little was neglected in the telling. But, my, this author does have a way with words. I find I want to tell you a bit of the story, just so you can read some of his words yourself.

Finding that her beauty is causing her problems there, Catherine flees Scotland. : : “She feared beauty and how it kindled men. She feared men and how they kindled her.”

Bound for her uncle’s home in Canada and finding him instead in the hospital in Goldeneye, there she becomes enamored of Dr. Macrae, much older than she. : : “Dr. Macrae glanced sidelong at her and was shot through with regret for his youth that had had no such girl in it, and with envy for some unknown, and certainly less worthy, young man who would feel no such regret.”

Eventually, she marries Burgo, the doctor’s son; their marriage has its ups and downs. At one point, they lose all in the stock market crash, at which time Catherine and the children are sent back to Goldeneye, while Burgo works near Toronto to begin again, but : : “ Burgo wasn't “doing his bit.” Or not like a man pushed to the bottom of the heap and struggling to get back. He was loving it. Ruin had liberated him. He was discovering that this was what he had always wanted to do. He had jumped out of the frying pan and into his true element – the fire of competition and success.”

They do get together whenever they can. : : “But for all its frenzy, it was not lovemaking as they had once known it – an act that rose to a natural peak out of their days and nights together. These were climaxes without foundations. She saw how important was the mere act of being together, living together, spending, say, twenty-three sexless hours over of every twenty-four in each other's company, gossiping, reminiscing, planning, quarrelling . . . sleeping. What they did on those visits was meant to be love – it ought to have been love, for they had not stopped loving each other – but it lacked all those everyday preparations whose importance is not noticed until they are withdrawn. It was not love finding itself in their sex; but sex looking frantically for love.”

Their priorities clash. Catherine is all about Family. Burgo wants to make it, independent of his locally-famous father. He did not understand her, or really, even care what she thought. : : “Sometimes the way he looked at her was like an audit.” “His stove has a hundred back burners and I'm the pot on the smallest of them all.” “There is a method of dipping ice cream in batter and frying it in deep fat, so fast that it can be served with a hot, crisp exterior and a still-frozen heart. And that, with due allowance for the slower chemistry of human emotions, is how the cold of Catherine's misery survived the heat of many subsequent hours (not to say days and even weeks) of happiness. Years of such happiness would have been needed to melt it; and those were the very years that were being denied her – stolen from her. The family years.”

So, bottom line, self, what DO I think? The family saga was an entertaining enough story (3-1/2 stars). The writing – excellent (4-1/2 stars). Place settings that I really enjoyed visiting (easily 5 stars). I guess my mixed feelings come from the minutiae, because on the one hand, it really helped to get into the heart and soul of the matters discussed, and on the other, it just seemed to make the story drag out too long (meh – I’ll say 2-1/2 stars). Oh, and for all this very long story, it still felt as if the resolution tied itself up too quickly and tidily at the end. Definitely recommended, though, for anyone who wants to read a family saga set in a realistically written Canadian setting.

17mathgirl40
Feb 20, 2010, 9:48am Top

Thanks for the thorough review! Looks like it would be an interesting read.

18countrylife
Edited: Feb 23, 2010, 11:53am Top

ALBERTA.

I grabbed the only other book that I could find in my little library that showed 'Canada' as a subject. Unfortunately, despite my dislike of its main character, I liked my previous Alberta read - Outlander - much better.

REVIEW:

Heart of the Wilderness by Janette Oke, fiction

Lightweight fluff of a story about frontier life in Alberta. Old-timey fur trapper inherits 4 year-old granddaughter when his daughter and her husband are killed in a river accident. This is a story of a young girl growing up on a lonely frontier, though not actually feeling lonely, having her grandfather, her caretaker/Indian friend Nonie, and her dog. The author grew up in Alberta, and (never having been there myself) I thought she did a really nice portrayal of the area. (3 stars)

19countrylife
Feb 26, 2010, 1:25pm Top

NEWFOUNDLAND. Review:

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

“Quoyle: A coil of rope.”
“A Flemish flake is a spiral coil of one layer only. It is made on deck, so that it may be walked on if necessary.” THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS

And so, the epigraph to chapter 1 pretty much sets up the book: a middle-aged man with unfortunate physical characteristics, seen as a failure by his parents, an object of derision to his brother and wife. Quoyle gradually begins to take hold of life, aided by his acerbic aunt, who has an agenda of her own. Back to her roots in Newfoundland they go, where they scratch out a living amongst a cast of characters painted with bold, crisp strokes of the author’s pen.

Clipped. Spare. But descriptive writing. It suited the story, though it took me awhile to get with her program. And I still had problems with a few parts. Too many ‘like’s. “Pack ice like broken restaurant dishes”, “fingernails like sugar scoops”, “fingernails like teaspoons”. Too many long paragraphs of short descriptives. “A wind related to the Blue Norther, the frigid Blaast and the Landlash. A cousin to the Bull’s eye squall that started in a small cloud with a ruddy center, mother-in-law to the ….” (and don’t think that was the end of THAT paragraph). Or about ads in the local paper, “freshly coined phrases for vinyl siding, rubber stamps, life insurance, folk music festivals …” (and continuing in this vein for 15 lines…). Too much sexual abuse; this sentence pretty much sums it up: “sexual abuse of children is an old Newf tradition.”, which was all too often spelled out in these pages. To all this I say: Too much Like fingernails on blackboard! But I persevered.

The underlying story - looking for love with no misery attached, parenting better than he’d been parented by, investing himself where no one had ever invested in him – was interesting. And along the way, I learned a lot about fishing communities and living off the land in a hard-scrabble existence. The setting was painted incredibly lifelike in my mind’s eye, but so were the distasteful parts. That was too much for me, which is why I rated this book a little lower than I otherwise would have. (3-1/2 stars)

20countrylife
Mar 19, 2010, 2:12pm Top

NOVA SCOTIA. Review:

The Birth House by Ami McKay (fiction)

My best birthing experiences were the ones assisted by midwives, so I enjoy reading about midwifery in its different times and places. In The Birth House, Dora is 17 when her ‘accidental’ training begins in an isolated community in Nova Scotia in 1916.

A sweet old Cajun woman, whose purpose in life was “to deliver women from their pain” ~knew~, as she seemed always to know the vital things in the lives of the local women, that Dora was her successor. Miss B was a compassionate mixture of paganism and Catholicism, who despite being frowned upon by polite society, was also turned to when only her services would do. She passes her knowledge on to Dora, the only daughter of an unbending Protestant man and his wife. So Dora, of course, turns into the requisite stereotypical feminist.

To me, there were a few other jarring notes in the story. Of the Boston molasses disaster, she says, through the device of a relative’s letter, that “a house-sized fermentation tank had been topped off for a higher than usual yield of the Old Demon Rum”, so offering as fact, that which, according to Wikipedia, is just an urban legend. Also, the author has written the old midwife in a way in which she could, plausibly, utilize knowledge of both ends of the spectrum, but to me, midwifery and abortifacients just don’t seem to go together.

Looking beyond those few things, however, the story as a whole I found to be very interesting. The art of midwifery as practiced in an isolated Nova Scotia community, the ways of the local women and families, how the men made their livings, their medical resources; these made the book fascinating. And I learned, along the way, a bit of ‘medical’ history – female hysteria; a bit of local female history – groaning cake; a bit of seaside history – sailor’s graves, and a bit of Canadian history – the Halifax explosion.

I enjoyed, too, the format of the book, the “Literary scrapbook out of Dora’s days“, as the author called it. She mixes the narrative of Dora’s telling of her story with ‘clippings’ from the local newspaper, ‘letters’ between siblings and friends, and ‘excerpts’ from the ‘Book of Willow’, the midwife’s handed-down resource book. Ami McKay’s writing was thoroughly engaging. This is a ~keeper~! (4 stars)

21countrylife
Mar 5, 2011, 7:13am Top

NEWFOUNDLAND. Review:

Latitudes of Melt by Joan clark

Magnificent setting! Both the location itself and the descriptions employed to conjure it. The baby found adrift on an ice floe – fantastical improbability though it be – was the start of an interesting family saga. The child is raised by the family of the fisherman who found her, in a tiny seaside village on Newfoundland's south shore. Her childhood is covered very briefly, then her marriage, with most of the book covering her adult life, her children's adult lives, and then regressing to her birth parents' lives and the circumstances surrounding her drifting. Along the way, I learned a great deal about icebergs, lighthouses, Newfoundland, and small fishing villages.

I enjoyed reading about this foundling, her wanderings along the shore, belonging outdoors, the wild part of her nature, captured in her scrapbooks. This section just captures her life: I seldom look in the mirror. What is the point of looking when I'm not there? Since the day I took a long look at myself in the jagged kitchen mirror, {as a child} I've understood the futility of expecting to see myself in a reflection. I know no more about my appearance now than I did then and have gone all these years hanging clothes on my serviceable body, putting socks and shoes on my wandering feet, without ever knowing what I looked like, and it hasn't made any significant difference to my life.

If this book was a hot drink, it would be a huge mug of the very thickest cocoa. Tasting so flavorful, and going down so smoothly, its just an enjoyable experience. For me, though, it started getting cold and losing flavor during the last quarter of the book, which reading was tedium for me. Still, the rest of the story more than made up for those parts which I found less interesting. It was still a picture of a full life in all its phases, and extremely well captured.

Well worth the read. (3.7/5)

22Bcteagirl
Mar 5, 2011, 4:41pm Top

Great review and welcome back! :)

23Yells
Mar 5, 2011, 8:17pm Top

Hey! I have that one on the shelf. It sounds good so I might have to give that one a go next. Thanks for the review!

24countrylife
Apr 1, 2011, 8:34am Top

MANITOBA. Review:

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

A fictional autobiography, Carol Shields has created a memorable character in Daisy Goodwill, and placed her life from 1903 to the 1990s, living in Manitoba and Ontario, Indiana and Florida. The Canadian places were especially well written. The story is told in many different voices (sometimes even when the same): The long days of isolation, of silence, the torment of boredom – all these pressed down on me, on young Daisy Goodwill and emptied her out.

I found the writing in the beginning and near the end of this book particularly beautiful, especially in Chapter 1, of the love of the shy young man for his chosen wife. After I'd closed the book and began to think back on the story, the “Old Jew”, revealed in spurts throughout the book, turned out to be a most interesting character to my mind, from his participation at the birth, to his diagnosis of her “sorrow”.

But the main character is Loneliness. The loneliness, so palpably wafting from these pages, expressed (or sometimes not specifically remarked upon) by Daisy, and felt, before her time, by her own mother and the neighbor lady, even her own jolly childhood friends with their life experiences. In one of her interviews, Ms. Shields mentioned “women who are erased from their lives”. That phrase succinctly captures this story. One woman's life, of her longings, suppressed or sought after, of trying to make a life working around disappointments - the author's skill at showing that life had me engrossed in this book from the moment I opened it.

Moving right along, and along, and along. The way she's done all her life. Numbly. Without thinking. And. That life “thus far” has meant accepting the doses of disabling information that have come her way, every drop, and stirring them with the spoon of her longing – she's done this for so many years it's become second nature.

This book really resonated with me. Although I found some parts uncomfortable, the writing and the story drew me in. It is a very worthwhile book.

Review (4 stars)

25Bcteagirl
Apr 8, 2011, 1:11am Top

I loved The Stone Diaries. I agree about loneliness being very prominent in the book. Temporariness as well. I found 'the old Jew' very interesting as well but was especially interested in Daisy's father in law. I would have loved to have read more about his previous life, and is life after returning to his home country.

26countrylife
May 5, 2011, 4:46pm Top

April Reads, with a reminder to myself to do the reviews.

Icefields by Thomas Wharton (3.8 stars) - Alberta
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden (4.1 stars) - Ontario
The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland (3.1 stars) - British Columbia

Seven more to go, yet. Really enjoyed my Alberta and Ontario reads!

27Bcteagirl
May 5, 2011, 7:45pm Top

Ooo those are good ones! (Or so I have heard). I have Icefields and Through the Black Spruce buried in mount TBR, so I look forward to reading your reviews!

28RidgewayGirl
May 8, 2011, 9:52pm Top

I have two and have read the other one, so I'll be keeping an eye out for your reviews.

29countrylife
Oct 13, 2011, 6:15pm Top

Notes From the Century Before by Edward Hoagland (5/16/2011) 3 stars - British Columbia
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (7/12/2011) 4.2 stars - Ontario
Far North by Will Hobbs (7/27/2011) 4 stars - Northwest Territories
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede (9/10/2011) 3.6 stars - Newfoundland

30countrylife
Apr 3, 2012, 9:48am Top

First Quarter 2012:

Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman, biography (1/6/2012) - 4.2 stars - Alberta
February by Lisa Moore (2/10/2012) - 3.4 stars - Newfoundland
Consumption by Kevin Patterson (3/28/2012) - 3.6 stars - Nunavut

31countrylife
Apr 3, 2012, 9:49am Top

Still need:
Labrador
New Brunswick
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Yukon

32VivienneR
Apr 4, 2012, 3:43pm Top

Nice going countrylife.

I recommend:
- Labrador: Windflower by Gabrielle Roy. I tagged this Quebec, but others have it tagged Labrador. Either way, it's a great read.
- New Brunswick: there are a at least two excellent books by Beth Powning: Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life (that would suit your moniker nicely) and The Sea Captain's Wife.
- Prince Edward Island: Bannock, beans, and black tea by John Gallant or, if you like mysteries, A body surrounded by water by Eric Wright
- Quebec: Last night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel, Gabrielle Roy - again, or mysteries by Louise Penny or Kathy Reichs
- Yukon: I enjoyed Gold Digger a mystery by Vicki Delany or a more literary work The Tent Peg by Aritha Van Herk.

Your review of The stone diaries reminded me that it is still in my tbr pile. I must move it to the top.

33countrylife
Apr 4, 2012, 8:22pm Top

Vivienne, was that you that was talking about Bannock, Beans, and Black Tea recently? It sounded so interesting, I immediately searched my local libraries here trying to find it. Not here. Can't reach into buying anything at the moment. I may put PEI off for awhile til I can because that book sounds right up my alley. I actually had Gabrielle Roy's Tin Flute checked out from the library awhile back, but had to return it unread. (The checkouts here are only two weeks and can only be renewed twice.) My month goes by too fast! I went to look at North Country Life and see that I'd already added it to my wishlist over two years ago. I'm enjoying my Canada reads, but I just don't get to one every month. My last SIX were outstanding!

34VivienneR
Apr 5, 2012, 1:38am Top

I see you are in Oklahoma and I doubt many U.S. libraries would have a copy of "Bannock, Beans and Black Tea". It will probably be difficult to get it even on Interlibrary Loan. Sorry about that. It was very touching, and funny, and in places made me mad at the rough deal this kid got.

I loved doing this challenge and now I'm always on the lookout for books in the provinces where my material is spare. I was surprised by books that I didn't expect would become such favourites. And of course my tbr pile grows daily. Now I've also taken on the Endless Europe challenge so things will slow down somewhat.

35thornton37814
Apr 5, 2012, 2:43pm Top

I would like to add my vote for Windflower. That was one of the best discoveries of my challenge. I had Beth Powning's book down as an option in my challenge, but I found a different book that I didn't have to request via ILL. I kept it on my wish list because it sounded so good.

36countrylife
Apr 5, 2012, 4:27pm Top

Apparently I thumbed that review of yours last fall, Lori! I remember it now; sounds like a good story. (Because I am easily confused, having just read a Nunavut, I'm just adding a note to myself: Nunavik comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, Canada.)

37thornton37814
Apr 5, 2012, 8:53pm Top

Yes - I actually got out a map when I read that book to see which province it was in! I think I'd been hoping for Nunavut but discovered it was actually in Quebec. I'm glad I read it anyway! What a wonderful discovery it was!

38countrylife
Apr 8, 2012, 8:04pm Top

Next month, our oldest son is graduating from medical school, getting married, and moving across the country from us. For a last fling, he invited his father on a guys' trip to see the Trinity site, the Very Large Array radio telescope, Los Alamos, and other such geeky science guy fun places in and around New Mexico. Hubs got home last night and proceeded to fill out his US map of states he's driven in - just about complete now. So he turns his attention to Canada; wants to start having driving vacations across that country. Wouldn't that be fun, says he. I don't think I'd care for Nunavut, says I.

Crestfallen, he says, I thought you liked Canada.

*Snort* - it took me a second.

39VivienneR
Apr 9, 2012, 4:03am Top

I used to work in a polar research library. One of the researchers attached to the organization told me "the north gets into your blood; thinking that you won't be able to return to it is unbearable". Maybe you'll like it more than you imagine :)

40countrylife
Apr 9, 2012, 7:31am Top

I think I'd agree with that. Wherever you're from - it's just IN you - when you leave, you yearn for it.

Hubs' problem, though, was that he thought I'd said that I wouldn't care for "none of it".

41Yells
Apr 9, 2012, 11:42am Top

That sailed over my head but I got it now! Heh... :)

My sister is living and working in Moose Factory (very north Ontario) and while she loves it, I am not sold on taking a trip there let alone living there. But, I too would like to visit all provinces and all states so I guess at some point I will have 'Nunavut' too.

42countrylife
Apr 9, 2012, 12:44pm Top

Moose Factory. That was the setting in at least one of Joseph Boyden's books. Has your sister read Through Black Spruce? Did he "do the setting good"?

43VivienneR
Apr 9, 2012, 1:16pm Top

My husband makes the "Nunavut" crack regularly. In an attempt to quell it, I tell him it's an "old guy" joke.

Doesn't apply here of course!

44Yells
Apr 9, 2012, 5:32pm Top

42 - Dunno... I will have to ask her. I have a copy of that so perhaps I will try to read it this year and then compare if I ever get there.

45Bcteagirl
Jul 7, 2012, 1:20am Top

Third the recommendation of The Windflower.. one of my favourite books. :)

46countrylife
Edited: Dec 30, 2015, 5:35pm Top

I have done a pathetic job of updating my thread with my completed reads. But, gleaning from my reading spreadsheet, I am now able to say that I've read at least one book for each province and my Canadian Reading Challenge is now complete! I finished my last book (for Yukon) on 10/14/15.

Alberta
............... The Outlander, historical fiction, by Gil Adamson - 11/20/2009
............... Heart of the Wilderness, historical fiction, by Janette Oke - 2010
............... Icefields, historical fiction, Thomas Wharton - 4/3/2011
............... Mrs. Mike, biographical fiction, Benedict Freedman - 1/6/2012
............... Under This Unbroken Sky, historical fiction, Shandi Mitchell - 1/23/14
British Columbia
............... The Forest Lover, biographical fiction, Susan Vreeland - 4/30/2011
............... Notes from the Century Before, nonfiction, Edward Hoaglund - 5/16/2011
Labrador
............... Windflower, fiction, Gabrielle Roy - 6/28/15
Manitoba
............... The Stone Diaries, autobiographical fiction, Carol Shields - 3/23/11
New Brunswick
............... The Sea Captain's Wife, historical fiction, Beth Powning - 4/22/14
Newfoundland
............... The Shipping News, contemporary fiction, E. Annie Proulx - 2010
............... Latitudes of Melt, historical fiction, Joan Clark - 1/5/11
............... The Day the World Came to Town, nonfiction, Jim Defede - 9/10/11
............... February, fiction, Lisa Moore - 2/10/12
............... Cape Random (Random Passage), fiction, Bernice Morgan - 5/5/13
Northwest Territories
............... Far North, fiction, Will Hobbs - 7/27/11
Nova Scotia
............... The Birth House, historical fiction, Ami McKay - 2010
............... Blizzard of Glass, nonfiction, Sally M. Walker - 11/21/14
............... A Wedding in December, fiction, Anita Shreve - 11/23/14
Nunavut
............... Consumption, historical fiction, Kevin Patterson - 3/28/12
Ontario
............... Through Black Spruce, fiction, Joseph Boyden - 4/27/11
............... Three Day Road, historical fiction, Joseph Boyden - 7/12/11
............... The Day the Falls Stood Still, historical fiction, Cathy Marie Buchanan - 7/26/14
Prince Edward Island
............... Anne of Green Gables, fiction, L.M. Montgomery - 5/23/13
Quebec
............... The Imposter Bride, historical fiction, Nancy Richler - 11/29/13
............... Bride of New France, historical fiction, Suzanne Desrochers - 7/6/15
Saskatchewan
............... Goldeneye, historical fiction, by Malcolm Macdonald - 2010
Yukon
............... The Klondike Quest, nonfiction, Pierre Berton - 10/14/15

ETA: Oh my goodness - I just noticed that it took me almost exactly six years to finish this! I should have tackled this challenge head-on and gotten it done in a year. But I did enjoy working some Canada books into my normal reading each year.

This was a very enjoyable challenge!

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