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”
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.
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!
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.
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!
Amazing list of books read. I’m about to read Do not Say We Have Nothing. Thinking about some book reading themes for next year. So many tempting books here I will come back to your list.
I’m glad you’ve found some books here to tempt you. And I think you’re really going to like Do Not Say We Have Nothing!
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…
All three of those are so good! And I think I would recommend them to you in that order, based on what I know about your reading tastes. 🙂
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)
On the Rooster longlist? That’s awesome! And you’ll have to read it now, right? 🙂
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…
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!
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
Thanks, Kelly! You are always so kind. It’s been nice getting to ‘know’ you this year! 🙂
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!
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)
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.
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!
So many good books on this list that I’ve read and that I haven’t read yet!
I always think that when I look at other people’s lists. 🙂
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.
I do wish the time would slow down a bit, or even stop for a while so that I could catch up a bit. 🙂
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. 🙂
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!
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….
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!