Highlights of 2016: Part 2

In Highlights of 2016: Part 1, I focused on books form Atlantic Canada. Here I will focus on…

The rest of Canada 

# of Canadian books read: 69 (last year, 59)

% books Canadian: 67% (last year, 65.5%)

STANDOUTS: (in no particular order)


Watch How We Walk by Jennifer Lovegrove – Jehovah’s Witnesses, coming-of-age

The Douglas Notebooks by Christine Eddie – fairy tale for grown-ups

The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami – family and forgiveness


Birdie by Tracey Lindberg – facing the past, the power of women

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake – post-WWII repatriation to Japan, friendship, transcending boundaries

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese –  father-son ties, redemption


The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel – family secrets, Jewish mysticism and faith

The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux –  interconnected stories and characters, sibling ties and secrets

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall – highly accessible examination of rape culture


Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien – generational story set during the Cultural Revolution in China

Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin – 500-year-old Jewish parrot, quest, love, loyalty, revenge

Stranger by David Bergen – motherhood, privilege, revenge


Unless by Carol Shields – motherhood, family, “goodness”

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (a re-read) – fictional account of Grace Marks – still one of my favourites


My Canlit Projects:

My A-Z CanLit Project: This project is how it all started for me. So where am I? I can finally say that I am almost done – 4 more books to go (W, X, Y, and Z). Reviews for U and V to come  in January.

Reading Atlantic Canada: See Highlights of 2016: Part 1

Canada Reads: In March, I managed to read (and review) all 5 of the Canada Reads books.

Scotiabank Giller Prize Shadow Jury: In October I was thrilled to be part of the jury for the Shadow Giller. You can find all my reviews of the shortlisted books here.

What reading projects do you have on the go? 


27 thoughts on “Highlights of 2016: Part 2

  1. roughghosts says:

    Sounds like you made good work of your goals! My reading of Canadian lit is still limited but I am trying to track down some of the edgier, weirder stuff I like. Poetry and Quebec lit seem to work best for me. In fact, I attended the volunteer wrap up for Wordfest and, because they were relocating, they had a wide selection of books out that we could choose from if we wanted. I stocked up on Quebec lit and poetry (especially from Coach House). I brought all home and stuffed into my “Canadian” shelf. The other day I noticed that one of the books I’d picked up was The Douglas Notebooks and I thought it looked familiar. Now I know where I saw the review! Glad it made your highlights list. Hopefully I will get to more Canadiana next year.

    • Naomi says:

      I also really enjoy finding obscure or even just under-the-radar books that many people overlook or don’t know about. But I also like the mainstream stuff, as well – partly because I enjoy discussing books with others, so it’s nice to read what others are reading. After reading your review of Baloney, I put a request in for it at the library -I’m hoping they’ll decide to purchase it!
      I’d love to hear about any CanLit gems you might come across when you get to them!

  2. JacquiWine says:

    Nice choices, Naomi. I’m glad you enjoyed being part of the shadow jury for the Giller. I did something similar for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize a few years ago, and it was such an interesting process, exchanging views with the other showers and ultimately deciding on a winner.

    • Naomi says:

      I had so much fun being on the jury! For the most part, we shared the same views, but I can imagine that the exchange could get interesting. And passionate. I was surprised how passionate I felt about the book I believed should win!

  3. sarahsbookshelvesblog says:

    Again you’re reminding me of books I added to my TBR awhile back and haven’t gotten to yet! Watch How We Walk, The Best Kind of People, and Alias Grace…

  4. Care says:

    Congrats on the A to Z project! I think that sounds like a fun way to do a challenge. And I *KNEW* I had seen Yiddish for Pirates somewhere! (on the Rooster longlist)

  5. FictionFan says:

    You’re doing a great job of bringing Canadian lit to the wider world – well done you! I’ve added a fair chunk of Scottish lit to my Classics Club list, but although Scotland continues to produce masses of crime fiction there does seem to be a dearth of good contemporary lit-fic… unless I’m looking in all the wrong places. Your post has inspired me to go and look harder…

    • Naomi says:

      Glad to hear it, FF! I, for one, would love to know if there is any good Scottish lit-fic out there. I’m from New Scotland, after all. 🙂
      I may be bringing reviews of CanLit to the wider world, but I’m starting to worry about how to get it physically there. Going to have to start up a fundraiser so I can start mailing them out!

  6. Bibliobroads says:

    Congratulations on A-Z! (& Shadow Giller, consistently great posts, and, and…..) You are many things: a woman, wife, mother & an extremely smart readers/reviewer. Thank You Naomi, for “Consumed By Ink” – a fab part of my literary reading! Kelly

  7. Laila@BigReadingLife says:

    You have so many reading projects going! I admire that. 🙂 And for what it’s worth, Alias Grace is most definitely worth a reread. I actually want to reread quite a lot of Atwood’s novels – especially The Blind Assassin. For some reason I remember nothing about that one, except that I really liked it!

    • Naomi says:

      Same here! I read many of them so long ago. I’m pretty sure I get The Blind Assassin mixed up with The Robber Bride, because I can’t remember either of them. I know I read The Cat’s Eye around the same time, but can’t remember that on either.
      I’m so glad I re-read Alias Grace – it really was just as good as I remember!
      If you decide to re-read one of her books, let me know! (and vice versa)

  8. The Cue Card says:

    Ahh the Atwood book is very good. You’ve have done extremely well reading so many books this year! You are my go-to Canadian book reviewer. 🙂 I still need to read more Canadian titles. I’d like to read Thien’s book if it’s not too hard to get through.

    • Naomi says:

      Thank you for the kind words. 🙂
      Thien’s book isn’t at all hard to get through in terms of being difficult. But it’s not a quick read, either. If that makes any sense? I don’t think you will have any trouble with it!

  9. Read Diverse Books says:

    Reaching 67% Canadian books is very impressive, Naomi!
    Ooh, I recognize a lot of these books from when I first read your reviews for them months ago. I guess we’ve been following each other for a while now! How the time flies.

  10. Kristilyn says:

    Oh man, I am so inspired by your Canadian reading! I planned to read lots of Canadian books last year but then slipped into this mood reading mode and just couldn’t stop reading lighter romances or contemporaries. This year I’m working on my second Canadian book already and hope to read lots more! I’ll definitely refer to your post for inspiration. 🙂

    • Naomi says:

      Good to hear! I know what you mean… before I started my blog there were so many Canadian books I wanted to read, but I kept getting side-tracked by other books.
      I hope you enjoy the books you read -I’d love to hear about your progress!

  11. buriedinprint says:

    Only two are missing from my list/stacks: The Douglas Notebooks and The Translation of Love. So I guess I’d better get reading those two, as we share so many other favourites!

    Over the past year I didn’t make that much headway with individual reading projects, but picked a little at a few of them (my MustReadEverything author lists and the Canlit prize longlists) and completely igrnoed some others. Mostly I’ve been concentrating on the longtime shelfsitters, which often predate my reading projects, and trying to finish some series.

    Congrats on your completed and nearly completed projects! I’ll be curious to see which new projects replace you; I’m sure you’ve got some ideas! :A couple anyway….

    • Naomi says:

      Only two! That sounds easily remedied. 🙂

      The Giller list played a big part on my best-of list this year. I almost felt bad highlighting them again at the expense of some of the other good books I’ve read. But also partly why I decided to split my list up into 3 parts. The Giller books were excellent this year, though – which is a very good thing!

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