One of the ways I challenged myself to read more Canadian Literature when I first started blogging was to read my way through the alphabet of Canadian authors. Here is my list:
A – Gail Anderson-Dargatz: The Cure for Death By Lightning
B – Joseph Boyden: The Orenda
C – Michael Crummey: River Thieves
D – Lauren B. Davis: The Empty Room
E – Esi Edugyan: Half-Blood Blues
F – Timothy Findley: The Wars
G – Steven Galloway: The Cellist of Sarajevo
H – Helen Humphreys: Coventry
I – Miriam Toew: Irma Voth
J – Wayne Johnston: Baltimore’s Mansion
K – Joy Kogawa: Obasan
L – Margaret Laurence: The Stone Angel
M – Sarah Mian: When the Saints
N – Nancy Lee: The Age
O – Ondaatje, Michael: In the Skin of A Lion
P – Chad Pelley: Away From Everywhere
Q – Paul Quarrington: King Leary
R – Thomas H. Raddall: Hangman’s Beach
S – Carol Shields: Unless
T – Madeleine Thien: Dogs at the Perimeter
U – Peter Unwin: Nine Bells for a Man
V – Victory Meat: edited by Lynn Coady
W – Gloria Ann Wesley: If This Is Freedom
X (wild card): David Huebert: Peninsula Sinking
Z – Alexi Zentner: Touch
28 thoughts on “A-Z Canadian Literature Project”
Four Canadian writers you must read are Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro (who was the latest selection for the Nobel Prize for Literature), Robertson Davies and Alistair MacLeod. All four are splendid writers.
Thanks for visiting! The only writer that you mentioned here that I haven’t read yet is Davies, so I will have to fix that soon. I agree that the other 3 are great writers – I especially love Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.
You’re doing it in order, too??? Wow! I was also going to suggest Atwood – she’s just too amazing to skip!
The reason I didn’t choose Atwood for A is because I’ve already read a lot of her books. I thought I should try someone new. I agree that she is amazing, though! Thanks for visiting!
I love the way you’ve conceived of this project (I’m addicted to reading projects); it allows for a terrific balance between structure and choice.
Thanks! I didn’t want to be limited to a specific list of books. I like the idea of being able to choose as I go along, and not having any idea where it will take me.
OH! Suggestions for the next letter on your list, K :Joy Kogawa’s novel Obasan.
Thanks for the suggestion! I was also thinking of reading Thomas King, because I haven’t read any of his yet and I really want to. Half the fun is exploring all my options. 🙂
Actually, that’s a great choice. He’s got a new one out: The Back of the Turtle.
I love this idea, Naomi! How do you narrow down your choices for each letter? #SoManyBooks. 🙂
First, I look up Canadian authors of the letter I am reading next. I note the ones I recognize, and look up the ones new to me. I want to introduce myself to some new authors this way, but sometimes I take the opportunity to read a book from my shelf if it’s been sitting there for a while. Sometimes, I also scan the shelves at the library, looking for the maple leaf stickers, to see what’s there. Choosing my book is half the fun! I love this whole process so much that I will have to think of a new challenge that will keep it up after this one is over.
The choosing is a lot of the fun, with any reading challenge! Do you have your full reading alphabet planned to already?
No. I go letter by letter. I’m a big mood reader, so there’s no use planning ahead.
Hey, Naomi!!! You’ve just read a Montgomery book… shouldn’t that count as your M title? 😉 You are halfway there!!!
I didn’t even think of that, Carole! You’re right! But, I kind of feel like I’d be cheating if I didn’t deliberately read an ‘M’ book, like I have done with all the others. I will have to think about this… 🙂 Of course, there are still still 7 Montgomery books left to go…
Don’t forget Nova Scotia’ Alistair MacCloud’s, No Great Mischief… (an absolute masterpiece) … then there is Kenneth Harvey’s The Town That forgot to Breathe (Kenneth Harvey is one of Canada’s least appreciated writers) and Bernice Morgan’s, Random Passage and as for Wayne Johnston I would go for The Colony of Unrequited Dreams as Baltimore’s Mansion is more of a memoir. If you have not read Robertson Davies you are in for a treat… block out the time for the Deptford Trilogy because you will want to read all three novels back to back … then there is the Cunning Man which is outstanding. And, Rare Birds by Ed Riche is a most charming entertaining book,
Great suggestions, Bev!
I read No Great Mischief before starting my blog. I also read both The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and Custodian of Paradise, which is why I decided to go for his memoir this time around. All three are great books.
I own Random Passage and The Deptford Trilogy, so hopefully I will get to them eventually. The Town That Forgot to Breathe is on my to-read list, but, because you’ve recommended it, I just might bump it up.
I’ve never heard of The Cunning Man or Rare Birds, so I’m off to check them out!
Thanks for chiming in! 🙂
Rare Birds was a gem of a book! Happy someone else thinks so too!
Naomi! You are nearing the finish line of your A-Z CanLit Project… woo-hoo! Looking forward to seeing who will fill the last handful of spots.
Me too! Picking the books is half the fun. I’ve just finished my ‘N’ book, and trying to decide on ‘O’ right now. I think it’s between Odaantje and O’Neill. Any suggestions?
Another rec for Rare Birds – I’ve got it on my list now!
Also try Edward Riche’s Easy to Like. It’s sidesplitting
I will add it to my list!
I cannot, will not, recommend Heather O’Neill. Her use of similes drives me nuts (As in 3 or 4 per page. Or more. Seriously. She makes my eyes bleed.). I did like The English Patient.
What about Alix Ohlin’s Inside? It had mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it.
I remember your review of the Saturday Night book. I have Lullabies on my shelf, and feel like I should read it. But, I also have several of Ondaatje’s books. Hmm…
I read Inside before I started my blog – I thought it was good, too! Too bad she doesn’t have a new one out yet.
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje is amazing. The human condition of being young told by his older self after knowing how the story ends for many of his friends is such a wonderful device – many unforgettable tales in the novel – loved it.
A very tempting recommendation – and I do own that one, as well. Thanks for commenting!
I love this idea, Naomi! Can I borrow it for my blog? I’d love to try to accomplish the same thing!
Of course! 🙂