As you’ll know by looking at this blog, I’m an avid reader of the classics; however, I had never really been exposed to the literary classics of my own country, Canada (and in fact I would have been surprised to learn that there actually were more than a few). After making a post in the Book Talk Forum on BookCrossing.com
a few years ago asking for suggestions on what to read to make up for this pathetic lack, I began to investigate and stumbled across McClelland & Stewart’s imprint called the New Canadian Library
. It included many of the books those lovely BookCrossers had suggested, so I thought it would be a great place to begin. It’s missing a number of notable authors (e.g. Robertson Davies, Timothy Findley) and a few notable books that even I had heard of (e.g. it only includes four books by Margaret Atwood), so I thought I’d add those books when I came across them and once I’m done the NCL books, I’ll go looking for more additions. I now have several reference books about Canadian literature and there are also NCL books that are no longer part of the collection, not to mention Giller Prize lists and GG nominees and winners, so my Challenge won’t likely be ending any time soon.
My hope was that other people would be interested in the books I would pick and it might turn into a bit of an intermittent Readalong/bookclub. People who were interested in the book (if they’d heard of it before) and those who hadn’t heard of it but were interested in the book’s description might look for it, read it, and then contribute to the discussion. I’ve had a bit of luck with that so far on BookCrossing, but I’d love more company in the future and encourage any of you who have read former picks to revive and post in those Book Talk Forum threads. I’ve considered starting up a Group on Goodreads dedicated to this Challenge &I’d also love for people to register here and post their comments after the appropriate posts.
Here are the books I’ve included in the Canadian Literature Challenge so far. My thoughts on all my previous CanLit picks can be viewed by selecting that category in the sidebar.
Upcoming books will include:
- In the Village of Viger by Duncan Campbell Scott;
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood;
- Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton;
- The Man from Glengarry by Ralph Connor;
- The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence;
- and Glengarry School Days by Ralph Connor
A list of all my CanLit Challenge books can be viewed here, either in chronological order or arranged alphabetically by title. The ones I have yet to read are in red, the ones I’ve selected are in blue. Asterisks indicate books that were not part of the NCL imprint when I first made up the list in 2005.