BCteagirl's Cross Canada Travels! Toot Toot!

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BCteagirl's Cross Canada Travels! Toot Toot!

Editado: Jun 16, 2020, 5:20pm

Alright, it is time for me to stop procrastinating and start a thread of my own! Or am I starting this thread to procrastinate on other matters? I am sure it is fine.

I have a largish backlog of books set in Canada that I am going to try to work my way through. I will use this thread to keep track of books and post brief reviews. To avoid being trapped in one province I am going to try to set myself a rule: If I have read more than 1 book set in a specific province/territory I need to finish up Canada before I can go back. So a max of two per. I have books from nearly everywhere, so hopefully that should work:

Cape Breton:
No Great Mischief - Read in 2010- (Non-Fiction)
Her Mother's Daughter - Read in 2010 - (Fiction)
To Everything There is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story - Read om 2014- (Fiction)

Nova Scotia:
The Book of Negroes - Read in 2010- (Fiction)
The Birth House -Read in 2011- (Fiction)
Last Days in Africville- Read in 2011 -(YA, Fiction)
Barometer Rising - Read in 2020- (Fiction)

New Brunswick:
Evening Snow will Bring such Peace - Read in 2010 - (Fiction)
MaClean: http://www.librarything.com/work/book/60790151- Read in 2010- (Fiction)

Prince Edward Island:
Anne of Green Gables -Read in 2011- (Fiction)
The Island Means Minago -Read in 2011- (Non-Fiction)
Road to Avonlea -Read in 2011- (Fiction)
After Many Days by LM. Montgomery - Read in 2020 - (Fiction)
The Cove Journal -Read in 2020 (Fiction)
Along the Shore - Read in 2013 -(Fiction)
Akin to Anne: Tales of other orphans - Read in 2013- (Fiction)
The Island Means Minago - Read in 2011- (Poetry)
Rainbow Valley - Read in 2016 -(Fiction)
Anne of Ingelside - Read in 2015 (Fiction)
Anne of the Windy Poplars - Read in 2014 (Fiction)
Further Chronicles of Avonlea - Read in 2020 -(Fiction)
Chronicles of Avonlea - Read in 2018 (Fiction)
Rilla of Ingelside - Read in 2017- (Fiction)
Anne's House of Dreams - Read in 2014- (Fiction)
Anne of the Island - Read in 2012- (Fiction)
The Fixer-Upper: A Novella A Novella - Read in 2012- (Novella)

Westsiders - Read in 2011- (Fiction)
The Shipping News - Read in 2012- (Fiction)
The Black Joke - Read in 2014 -(YA Fiction)
The Boat that Wouldn't Float - Read in 2020 (YA Fiction)

Annabel - Read in 2010- (Fiction)
Windflower - Read in 2010- (Fiction)

A Fatal Grace -Read in 2010- (Fiction)
The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi - Read in 2011- (Play, Fiction)
Winter Wonderland- Read in 2019 - (Chicklit, Fiction)
The Little Girl Who was Too Fond of Matches - Read in 2017 -Fiction
The Imposter Bride - Read in 2017 - (Fiction)
Surfacing - Read in 2016- (Fiction)
Kamouraska - Read in 2016 (Fiction)
St. Urbain's Horseman - Read in 2014- (Fiction)

Clara Callan: A Novel - Read in 2009 - (Fiction)
The Way the Crow Flies - Read in 2010 - (Fiction)
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town - Read in 2011 (Fiction)
Except the Dying - Read in 2012 (Fiction)
A Gathering of Ghost Stories- by Robertson Davies Read in 2020 -(Fiction)
I am Algonquin: An Algonquin Quest Novel - Read in 2013 -(Fiction)
Taking the Stairs by John Stiles - Read in 2014 - (Fiction)
Under the Dragon's Tail - Read in 2015 (Fiction)
The Rez Sisters- Read in 2012 (Play, Fiction)
The Garneau Block - Read in 2011 (Fiction)
Toronto Noir - Read in 2011 (Fiction)
The Stone Diaries- Read in 2011 (Fiction)
Christmas in Ontario: heartwarming legends, tales and traditions - Read in 2010
Fifth Business - Read in 2014- (Fiction)
In the Skin of a Lion - Read in 2015- (Fiction)
King John of Canada - Red in 2017- (Fiction)
Lady Oracle - Read in 2016- (Fiction)
The Edible Woman - Read in 2017- (Fiction)
Three Day Road - Read in 2018- (Fiction)

People of the Deer - Read in 2014 - (Non-fiction)
The Flying Troutmans - Read in 2017 - (Fiction)
My Dear Maggie: Letters from a Western Manitoba Pioneer - Read in 2015 - (Non-fiction)

Chockecherry by Norma Hawkins - Read in 2017- (Fiction)
Owls in the Family - Read in 2016- (YA Fiction)
The Dog Who Wouldn't Be - Read in 2016 - (YA Fiction)

The Garneau Block -Read in 2011- (Fiction).
Inukshuk -Read in 2012- (Fiction)
Letters in Wartime by Kenneth Brown- Read in 2013- (Play, Fiction)
Hello war, Goodbye Sanity - Read in 2019 (Non-fiction)

British Columbia:
The Greenies : - Read in 2010- (YA Fiction).
The 100 mile diet - Read in 2010- (Non-fiction).
The Golden Spruce : A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed - Read in 2011- (Non-fiction)
The Cure for Death by Lightning - Read in 2013- (Fiction)
The Secret Recipe for Bees - Read in 2013 - (Fiction)
The Flicker Tree: Okanagan Poems - Read in 2018- (Poetry)
The Paperboy's Winter - Read in 2016- (Fiction)
Beyond the Chilcotin: on the Home Ranch with Pan Phillips - Read in 2015- (Non-Fiction)
Book Guy: A Librarian in the Peace - Read in 2014 (Non-fiction)
Stanley Park - Read in 2017- (Fiction)
Monkey Beach - Read in 2017- (Fiction)
I Heard the Owl Call My Name - Read in 2018- (Fiction)

Northwest Territories:
Late Nights on Air -Read in 2010- (Fiction).

Lost in the Barrens - Read in 2010- (YA Fiction)
The Curse of the Viking Grave - Read in 2014 - (YA Fiction)
The Snow Walker - Read in 2014 - (Non-fiction)
Never Cry Wolf - Read in 2014 - (Non-fiction)

Hoarfrost and Cherry Blossoms - Read in 2011- (Fiction)
Ballads of a Cheechako - Read in 2018 - (Poetry)
Drifting Home - Read in 2018- (Non-fiction)

I really hope I have not forgotten a location, wouldn't that be embarrassing :P Wish me luck!

Jun 16, 2010, 4:14pm

Good luck with your challenge! I found so much to admire in The Way the Crow Flies that I kept recommending it to people until a friend told me that the subject matter was not everyone's cup of tea, regardless of style and characterization. I enjoyed reading it so much, though lugging it around was a bit of a challenge.

Have you read Fall on Your Knees?

Editado: Jun 16, 2010, 4:55pm

No not yet. I will admit I tend to shy away from sad stories, especially those involving abuse. Right now I am in the early section of The Way the Crow Flies where it is from the young daughters point of view, settling into the new army base. :)

ps- It would be a bit much to lug around! I have three books on the go right now, both quite large. I started the third so I would have a book I could take with me places :P

Jul 4, 2010, 2:50pm

Still slowly working my way through As the Crow Flies.. reading a little at a time, I seem to be distracted by other books right now :P

While travelling I purchased Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace by David Adam Richards. A smaller book (230 pages) that I am enjoying so far. It is set 'in a small northern New Brunswick mill town'. Still just getting settled in this book, and it takes me a while to keep track of who is who.

Recently been distracted by reading and thoroughly enjoying Farley Mowat's My discovery of America. A hilarious book. I am not reading this one for the challenge since it largely contains many media reports and letters to the editor, but if you wanted to read it for the challenge you could count it under Ontario. In 1978 Farley Mowat was going to do a promotional tour for his new book Sea of Slaughter when he was stopped a the border (Toronto airport)and told he was not permitted to enter. Since he had entered the United states many times before, this was puzzling. After the media got wind of the story the U.S. government tried many spins on why he was not allowed (e.g. falls under communism stuff,'has to do with his character' but we won't say why to protect his privacy, and then moves on to other reasons, won't spoil the book)... Reagan that very day had been at an art exhibit celebrating the USA's freedom of expression.

What made this book was the reaction of Mowat and others to the situation. "I have frequently found myself on a collision course with the kind of establishment fonctionniares (sp?) who I collectively call 'cement heads'. These are the often arrogant and always insensitive automatons who populate far to many echelons of every nations .. structures.. A long time ago - in self defence - I discovered how best to deal with them- ridicule and mockery.

From the USA's offer to meet him on 'peace bridge' to review his file (He refused and told them they would have to apologize and send air force one to pick him up), changing government stories, and many letters of outrage from Canadians and Americans alike this is a hilarious book. I read it in two days.. and I am the type of person that usually takes a while to finish a book. If I see more used copies am grabbing them for some friends of mine. If your library has it, it is a wonderful and funny read.

Editado: Jul 14, 2010, 12:32pm

I am now 2/3 of the way through The Way the Crow Flies.. I do like the book. It is getting a bit intense, so I have also started The 100 mile diet for my second BC book. Then both Ontario and BC will be done until I work my way through the others. Ironically, those are the two provinces I have the most of on my Canadian TBR pile. Oh well.

Last night I watched an interview with the male co-author of The Hundred Mile diet on Vision (That ideas show).. He was discussing ecological history;Comparing the way the environment was, say when the early settlers came, or earlier to today. Apparently this study switched him from thinking about conservation to restoration. It was an interesting watch.

Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace seems to have been set aside due to mood, but will likely finish it after I work my way through the rest of the Crow book.

Editado: Jul 18, 2010, 11:45am

I finally completed another book for this challenge!

I have now read my two British Columbia books.

Earlier I read the YA book The Greenies by Paperny. Only 10 other members seem to have this book, and I can't understand why! It is a very good book.

This book is set after the end of WWII.. There are many orphans from the Nazi work camps, and no one seems to know what to do with them. They are fed and clothed, but do not have homes. Canada was one of the few countries to allow Jewish orphans into the country, so long as they were taken in by Jewish families who would take on their care/expenses. This book starts with the process of applying to get into Canada.. they were very strict with age, and the children needed to be essentially medically perfect. Once chosen they take a boat across to Canada. The boat itself seems like a wonderland... nice beds, plenty of food (They keep taking food and hiding it) etc. They arrive at Pier 21 and take a train across Canada with children getting off at every stop. We follow a set of children to the last stop - Vancouver. We see how the children settle into their new families (or not) and fit in with the community (or not). Greenies is a term for new immigrants. This is a YA book, so although there are some flashbacks to the awful conditions in the workcamps, they are handled carefully. In that way it reminded me somewhat of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.. flashbacks take some of the sting out (vs. 'real time' memories).
I very much enjoyed this book, and would recommend it for adults and YA alike.

Last night I finished reading The 100 Mile Diet, I think I might be the last Canadian to read it. I very much enjoyed this book. A couple in BC decide to only eat food from within 100 miles for a year. I enjoyed reading about their adventure, and about ecological history (Their used to be more widespread and non-specialized agriculture within Canada, discussions of wild food, etc). The book also gives you glimpes into their personal lives and relationship. Although I enjoyed the book and am keeping a copy as a reference (I am now getting rid of 8/10 books when I am done reading them) I did feel as though something was missing in this book. Perhaps it simply did not live up to the hype, perhaps I was expecting too much. I was less interested in which business trips they were taking (mentioned but rarely expanded upon) or sadness they felt as a small child than I was in the 100 mile diet. I would have loved to have more details on that, more sample menus to get a feel for how they were eating, a discussion with a supermarket about why they carried no local, more discussion of local food politics as it applied to their journey. There was plenty of food history (From both a European and a First Nations point of view) but not as much as I expected on current food politics. Perhaps I was expecting more on the now and the future, less on that past. However, I did very much enjoy this book and will be giving it four stars.

Has anyone else read either of these books? I would love to hear what you think!

Editado: Jul 18, 2010, 12:13pm

Thanks for such great reviews, Bcteagirl! I haven't heard of the Greenies, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for a copy now.

I think it's interesting that your two BC books have a bit of a "green" theme about them.

Good news - I haven't read The 100 Mile Diet yet! So you're not last. But since my household recently (albeit loosely) adopted a 100 mile diet plan, I should pick up a copy. Has anyone else read it?

edited for missing letters

Editado: Jul 18, 2010, 12:56pm

How is it going Starfishian? I would love to hear more about your 100 mile experience. Living in Northern BC makes it a bit harder, but I am trying to buy a lot from the local farmers market, and one store that carries local (BC) food. Which province are you in?

I am glad I am not yet the last! :P Your local library likely has a copy.

Edit: I had not even noticed the green theme! Too cute!

Jul 18, 2010, 8:57pm

I'm in BC too, but in the southern half, so it's a lot easier! We've been haunting local farms / farm markets for produce, bread and cheese, and we have a small garden in the back yard with tomatoes, cukes, apples, Saskatoon berries, sunflowers, beets, carrots, beans, peas, basil, sage and rosemary. I'm going to give a winter garden a try too - spinach and root veggies under a cold frame.

I'm trying to sell my husband on a chicken coop!

The tough part I'm still working out is finding rice, pasta and legumes... I definitely need to find a copy of the book to see if it can help.

Editado: Jul 18, 2010, 9:30pm

I read the 100 Mile Diet earlier this year and thought it was good. I probably would have liked it more had I not read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver first. I found it to be much more interesting.

Editado: Jul 19, 2010, 12:21am

Yes that is on my TBR list as well.

I picked enough saskatoons to make 2 batches of jam today! With only one bear incident :P One saskatoon/rhubarb with rhubarb from the farmer's market. I ran low on sugar, so had to mix white/brown and cane :P

Jul 19, 2010, 5:11pm

I just finished reading my second Ontario book.. this means I have now completed British Columbia and Ontario.

For my first Ontario book I am counting a book I read late last year:
Clara Callan

Clara Callan is written in the form of letters between two sisters, and the diary of Clara. Clara living alone in small town in northern Ontario, and the letters she exchanges letters with her sister, who has gone to 'make it big' in 1930's New York. Clara is an interesting bookish/teacher sort of character, much more personable in her diary than in her letters. When she is raped by a tramp, she makes a trip down to NY to stay with her sister briefly for some medical intervention. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, I wish I had written down some sort of review of it earlier, I don't feel as though I am doing it any justice. The book really does give you an idea of what it must have been like living alone in the 30's in a small Northern Ontario town, the cultural differences between NY and ONT etc. Beyond that Clara herself is a very interesting character... she is very private and guarded, you feel as thought you have to work hard to get to know her. I have this book five stars, and am reminded that I vowed to find more books by this author. If you are looking for an Ontario book for this challenge I recommend this one.. it won awards so the library should have it.

For my second Ontario book I choose The Way the Crow Flies. I am participating in my first reading challenges this year, and this book fit in all three (Books won reading challenge: This book was mailed to me all the way from Japan for a contest; Chunksters reading challenge: 712 pages!; Canadian reading challenge for this site).

I enjoyed this book, although I did enjoy the first half of the book with Madelaine as a child more than the second half. The writing of this book is beautiful, to me it sort of 'echoes'. You read it once... then it hits you.. and it is so beautiful that you read the section again.

The book starts with Madeleine settling into her new home, the air force base Centralia, near London, Ontario. She is 8 years old, and still sees the world through a child's eyes. Through her eyes you believe you are seeing the world through the eyes of a child again as well. Madeliene, her brother, and their parents seem to be living the perfect life. However a teacher begins keeping some of the girls after school... for reasons that are confusing and shameful to her. When one of the girls in brutally abused and killed, a local Metis teenager is blamed. In the second half of the book Madelaine begins to put the pieces together, both the fragments of her memory and the fragments of her life. The child abuse is dealt with in a reasonable manner... something horrible is happening, but it is seen through the eyes of a child who does not know what is going on. However it is still hard to read. Reading about the railroading of the Metis teenager by the Canadian justice system was also very difficult. I am going to think a bit before rating this book, but will likely give it a 4/5.

Jul 19, 2010, 7:19pm

I loved Clara Callan and have since read a few other Wright books which I enjoyed equally as well. October in particular was really good.

Years ago, when it first came out, I read Fall on Your Knees by MacDonald and really liked it (as much as one could like this type of book). But oddly enough, I tried The Way the Crow Flies and just can't get into it the same way. Of course, it's now years later so maybe I will give it one last try before giving up completely. My tastes change hourly so who knows! :)

Jul 19, 2010, 8:39pm

From what I have heard about it, I have a feeling I would have the same problem with Fall on Your Knees :P

Jul 19, 2010, 9:30pm

It is a difficult subject matter but the writing style is worth it. I know if I can just get into TWTCF, I will probably love it too. I think I need a weekend with nothing else to do.

Jul 20, 2010, 12:48pm

I would have loved to have more details on that, more sample menus to get a feel for how they were eating, a discussion with a supermarket about why they carried no local, more discussion of local food politics as it applied to their journey.

My thoughts exactly. I read the 100 Mile Diet and was disappointed in it--maybe I expected too much because they live in the same city as I do. I thought they made the whole exercise completely unrealistic and they came off as zealots. I much preferred Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and even more than that one, The Omnivore's Dilemma. I really try to eat locally, but I'm not going to make my life impossible over it--there are other things that have to take priority. So I do what I can, but I'm not prepared to let it take over my life like they did. They struck me as a very unhappy couple. No thanks.

Jul 20, 2010, 1:07pm

I have a copy of both those books on mount TBR right now, so that sounds promising. I actually came across an autographed copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle at the Value Village for $3 if you can believe that.

This morning I received my reviewers copy of Annabel a Novel which I will start today as my first Labrador book!

Last night I began my two New Brunswick books.. I had purchased Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace by the same author as Mercy among the Children at a local bookstore as a thin novel for while travelling.. I set it aside for so long that I had to start it over to keep track of what is going on.

Another thin New Brunswick novel I have started is Maclean by Alan Donaldson, touchstone not working: http://www.librarything.com/work/book/60790151

Both books deal with issues surrounding living in small Northern New Brunswick communities, such as poverty and small town politics. One is set in the 70's and one after 'The great war'. It is interesting thus far to see the similarities despite the difference in time.

Jul 22, 2010, 10:03pm

Oooh, both Clara Callan and The Way the Crow Flies sound wonderful. And I even have both of them on my shelf right now. And they would fit perfectly with my goal of reading Canadian fiction only if it's set in Alberta or Ontario.

Editado: Jul 22, 2010, 10:26pm

They are both good! Overall I liked Clara better than The Crow ;) Both Ontario.

Editado: Jul 25, 2010, 4:30pm

I just finished reading my two books for New Brunswick. Neither was large (200 pages or less). Both books were on the theme of small town politics, and to some extent the triviality of many things in life.

MaClean by Allan Donaldson (http://www.librarything.com/work/book/60790151)

Set after WWI and at the beginning of WWII in a small town in northern New Brunswick. MaClean is a vetran... although he survived (He was sent home with a 'weak heart and lungs' after some gassing) he has memories that still haunt him. He never had a family; he lives in a boarding house and uses his pension to drink. The plot of the book as written on the back cover is him earning some money to buy his elderly mother a birthday present. In reality this book includes a lot of flashbacks to his youth and some during the war... what went wrong, and wondering if things could have turned out differently.

Evening Snow will Bring Such Peace is also set in a small town in northern New Brunswick this time in the late 1970's. Ivan and Cindy have only been married a short time when they have a fight that attracted a lot of attention. The book then circles around them, their family and their friends. Small town politics prevail as rumours fly.. right or wrong they then colour how their behaviour is interpreted from that point on. A theme I see in this book is the central importance the characters place on how others see them. Some paint themselves as victims and everyone around them as villains in an attempt too impress others. Some attempt to look heroic and helpful, even at the cost of the people they are 'helping'... just so long as it gets them attention and makes them look good. They often selectively help people based more on prejudice (against the person they are helping, and the ones they are 'saving' them from) than an actual urge to help.

This book was slow to start (for me) but I am glad I read it. A quote I really like is " 'There's a lot of ways people hide bigotry from themselves,' the doctor mumbled 'one of them is progressive concern.'"

I would recommend either or both of these books for New Brunswick! If I had to choose a favourite, it would be close but I would go with Evening Snow will bring such Peace.

Since I was lucky enough to receive Annabel to review, I will be doing Labrador next... including Annabel and Windflower

Jul 26, 2010, 7:24am

Thanks for the reviews, Bcteagirl. I'd be interested in hearing what you think of Annabel, as I've heard much about it. I'd read Windflower years (decades!) ago and liked it very much.

Editado: Ago 8, 2010, 12:48am

I just finished Windflower by Gabrielle Roy the first in my pair of Labrador books.

This book starts by describing the harsh environment of Labrador, and how it was not really conducive to 'get togethers' of men and women.... shortly thereafter Elsa becomes pregnant an the book is then about her journey.

I just loved this book.. I don't think I have read a book this quickly in quite a while. Told simplistically it is the story of an Inuit mother who gives birth to a soldiers son.. the child has blond hair and blue eyes, unheard of in his culture. Rather than rejecting him the community is enthralled with him.

With a child that is special and appears white, Elsa begins adopting white culture in raising her son. The shelter they live in appears to her to be a filthy shack... she has to tidy and make improvements. Others tell her to keep a very strict schedule with the child and she does so. At one point she tries to use a playpen which horrifies the locals who see it as imprisoning a child. Then, propelled both by a sense of losing herself as well as the potential for losing her son, she heads even farther north to live 'as the elders do' in an even more remote town with her son. She keeps going back and forth between the old and the new.

I found this book to be a lot of fun to read. It gives very interesting descriptions of the living conditions of the Inuit in Labrador.. describes the first time her grandparents tried tea... discusses the box of books her uncle inherited and the importance and burden of looking after them. At times the book was also very quaint and fun. The book also has parts that are quite sad, and really does make you think.

It is a strange sort of read for me... I read it as quickly and happily as one would read a 'beach read' and yet some parts of it were just so interesting and profound I found myself wanting to underline them (Despite the fact that this is a library book.. I had to be careful!!). 5/5

Jul 28, 2010, 9:00am

Great review of Windflower! Now I'm thinking I should read it again soon.

Editado: Ago 8, 2010, 12:56am

I just finished reading Annabel by Kathleen Winter for my second Labrador book.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Canadian literature, gender, rural/northern communities, etc. This book is set in rural Labrador (A bit like saying on flat prairie?) where a couples first born child is born a hermaphrodite. From there they must decide which sex to raise their child, and deal with both the medical, social, and philosophical implications.

The author did a wonderful job with the setting and characters. One thing I like in stories is being able to get into the day to day life of the characters and explore different times/places. This book does this very well. I felt all the characters were all likable in their own way. The book leads you to question your own perceptions, not only in what you would have done as the parent, but also what you would have done as the main character. My only quibble is that although they discuss the main characters issues after graduating high school, they then jump ahead and seem to assume that W found a place easily in the end. With a lifetime of difficulties that seems like a rather easy solution.

I am very glad that I read this book. It is beautifully written and I hope it gets a lot of well-deserved recognition.

**Possible spoiler below here**

On a side note, was anyone else as annoyed (not a strong enough word) with Thomasina as I was? I know they try to paint her as a true and patient friend, but to me (aside from one incident at the end) she just seemed like an annoying busybody. So sure how to handle someone else’s child…. Dropping in every once and a while to alter the situation and then flit off to Europe secure in the fact that she saw things correctly.. but rarely dealing with the consequences. She seemed very certain that situations were ‘not being handled’ rather than being handled differently. I can’t find one interference that would not have been better handled by her family, and did not result in negative consequences for the family. I am not certain if it is just me that was as peeved off by her though :P

Ago 8, 2010, 1:23am

p.s.- This is the softcover version that is coming out. I think the hardcover bookcover is much much nicer....

Ago 8, 2010, 5:37am

Thanks for the review of Annabel. It's on my TBR list.

Ago 8, 2010, 12:46pm

I got an ER copy of Annabel too. Good to hear that you liked it. I'm not in the mood for it yet, but will get to it soon. Did you find it long?

Ago 8, 2010, 12:47pm

Interesting about the different cover. Looks like they changed their marketing approach.

Ago 8, 2010, 1:52pm

I found that both the beginning and the end moved quite quickly.. the middle went a little slower for me. I didn't find it as long as it looked though.. I will admit it looks like a big book! :P

Sep 15, 2010, 1:04pm

In keeping with the recent maritime and northern theme, I am starting on Cape Breton this week. I am just a couple of pages into No Great Mischief which was the first Cape Breton book buried in mount TBR.

I have also been selected to receive and early reviewers copy of Her Mother's Daughter which is set in Cape Breton. So when that arrives it will be my second Cape Breton book.

Sep 29, 2010, 11:11am

Done Cape Breton (At least for this round of my cross Canada journey)

I finished No Great Mischief a few days ago. It is full of stories of Alistair Macleod's family, but reads like a fiction book. The book is largely set in Cape Berton during the time he was growing up, but includes him discussing stories he heard about his great great grandparents coming over from Scotland, as well as flashes to current time in Toronto and Calgary.The book largely focuses on how people lived their day to day lives (Whether working in mines or working on boats, or living in 'ultra modern' houses in Calgary) and the common ties/history that bind them. Some parts of the story are sad, but this is not a book whose main goal is to make you cry. I found this book to be a wonderful read, and if your library has a copy I suggest you check it out :)

Last night I finished Her Mother's Daughter for an early reviewers book., and for one of my Cape Breton books.

Really not my cup of tea... People who like the Southern sort of 'here is my screwed up family, but we all stick together' (Ok southern is just my stereotype for that sort of book) might like it, and it is a nice light read, but it just rubbed the the wrong way throughout the book.

While it does paint a picture of small town life (Small town almost anywhere, not necessarily Cape Breton or even Canada), it is also a town where obesity is cured through harassment and introduction to online dating websites (Fatty websites of course), mothers actually talk their young teenage daughters *out* of putting babies up for adoption (Sure, there are good reasons for doing so, but what do you feel deep down?), and the running joke is fat people crushing each other when they try to be close (resulting in hospital trips). Almost all (alright all) of the characters just seemed annoying to me. I did like the last half of the book more than the first, so if you are reading it it does get a little better. This is not a book I would lend to my friends... going to have to find a way to soften it up a bit for review (And this version is already softened).

Sep 29, 2010, 11:19am

I don't think I would soften anything for review. Sounds like it needs a good blasting!

Sep 29, 2010, 11:36am

That really does sound awful. I agree that you don't have to soften the review. It sounds like you don't want to be mean, but it also sounds like you found the book offensive on some level, and I think you need to be honest and speak up about it. And if being honest is giving it a blast, well, there you go.

Sep 29, 2010, 12:34pm

I just finished my copy of it as well Bcteagirl and I feel the same way. Overall, it was a light fluffy read but I think she tried to put way too much into the story and it suffered as a result. The part about the 'date' that ended in the hospital was just mean and not funny in the way intended. And everyone just seemed willing to forgive everyone else without much though. Weird.

Editado: Sep 29, 2010, 9:48pm

They did that twice too.. once when he couldn't get up and they came over and took pictures of him on the floor because it took more than 2 people to get him off the floor. In my mind that makes it a running joke. I think it may have been meant to be lighthearted, but it just seems in poor taste to me.

Sep 29, 2010, 8:12pm

I'm so glad I read this. I just read someone else's brief opinion of Her Mother's Daughter and thought it might be a good read. From your description I can tell precisely the type of book this is. Don't pull any punches, let your review tell all.

Sep 29, 2010, 11:16pm

Thanks for the words of support.. just posted my review. I think it is my first 'negative' review... so hopefully nothing bad happens :P

Sep 30, 2010, 10:39am

Nah, I've posted negative reviews on ER books before. Nothing bad happened, and on one of them I got 27 thumbs up--so actually, I entertained a lot of people, which is a good thing.

Sep 30, 2010, 11:04am

Nickelini I was more than happy to make that 28 thumbs up. What a wonderful review. If the book ever ends up in my hands I will save it for my next campfire as you recommended.

Sep 30, 2010, 12:00pm


Sep 30, 2010, 12:45pm


Oct 2, 2010, 11:53am

A few nights ago I finished reading Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat. I just loved this book.. this is a book that I will not only hang onto, but will likely re-read more than once.

It is the story of two boys living in the North in Nunavut who become separated from their tribe during a hunting party even further north. Their canoe has been destroyed. Knowing that they cannot possibly walk home before winter sets in, they decide to set up camp and make stores for winter as best they can so they can head back down in the spring. The rest is their tale of survival in the Barrens during winter. Love this story. It describes the environment and situation so well you cannot help but picture yourself there. Seen through the eyes of the teens it is not as bleak and despairing as it might have been for another group. I also enjoyed learning a bit about northern survival. Mowat is a great writer, glad I chose this as one of my Nunavut books.

Editado: Oct 11, 2010, 6:50pm

I finished Late Nights on Air last night. The phrase I would use to describe this book is that it is smoother book. It is slower to get started, you don't feel the need to read large chunks for hours and hours on end, especially at the start. Yet it is an enjoyable and comfortable book. Not heavy reading, not chick lit. It does make you think, and eventually pulls you in, although it takes a bit longer to get to that point.

This is the kind of book it is really fun to be reading when you have a few books on the go at any time. Best read in short bursts. I do think it s a book worth coming back to.

The book centers around a small group working in a small radio station in the NWT. Aside from the people who have been there all their lives, most have come either fleeing something or looking for something. In most cases both. They are trying to find themselves in a landscape that is very different from what they have come from.

The book does a great job of describing the summers of endless light. Since the focus is on the parts where they are outdoors, it tends to rush a bit over the winter. Given how long winter is in the NWT, I would have liked to experience more of that.

The book really takes off once they start planning a canoe trip to see the remains of Hornby's cabin (He and his crew starved in the barrens) and I loved reading about the trip. I also loved the references to other books, and growing up with books. I have written down a few titles that I am going to have to add to my ever-growing wishlist.

I think this book is a bit like the north itself. A little bit different, perhaps a little bit slower or more subtle. But definitely very interesting and well worth the trip.

Oct 11, 2010, 3:58pm

Nice review, Bcteagirl! This is on my TBR list, and now I have good idea about the mood or frame of mind I should be in when I pick it up to read.

Editado: Oct 13, 2010, 3:45am

Just a note of shame.. I've lived in BC since I was 4 years old. Let's just say I'm a real BC / Vancouver girl. But I have not read The 100 Mile Diet despite being a BC girl. I don't even want to read it.

Oct 13, 2010, 11:52am

Different strokes for different folks. It was a fine book, but I don't think it quite lived up to the hype.

Oct 14, 2010, 1:46pm

The 100 Mile Diet didn't appeal to me either. The articles I read about it made it seem elitist, to say nothing of being unrealistic. I just can't imagine spending time and gas trying to find a source within the radius for something like salt. My solution is to buy most produce when it is in season locally. What a treat it is when the strawberry season rolls around!

Editado: Nov 18, 2010, 2:04pm

I just finished reading The Book of Negroes. I choose this for one of my Nova Scotia books, as it is a contender for Canada Reads book of the decade. It is set in Africa, then the USA, then Nova Scotia, Africa again and finally England.

The Book of Negroes is about a child stolen into slavery, and her struggle for freedom, and to return home. Obviously with the subject matter it can be difficult to read at times, but it is a very quickly moving book told from the point of view of a young girl. Quite a bit of the story is told as she is writing her life story in old age. It reminds me a bit of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in that the author has a way of taking a difficult subject matter and making it interesting.. not trivializing it by any means, but softening the blow enough that the book while it teaches you a lot about the negative things that went on (Even in Canada!) is not an utterly depressing hopeless tome of negativity, which would have been an easy way to write it. The fact that it is presented 'in retrospect' undoubtedly helps. It is a book that even people like me (who cannot really get into sad/negative books) can read. I think that is a good thing as it will reach a larger audience this way and educate more people.

I would have loved to have heard more about what happened to her daughter after NS, but I understand the book is about Amina and not the daughter.

Although I had realized that Canada had its problems as well, I had obviously idealized Canada compared to the USA/etc. Especially considering the underground railroad to escape the USA lead into Canada. Reading about her struggles in Nova Scotia was certainly an eye opener. A very good book, I urge everyone to at least get it from the library and give it a go.

Dic 18, 2010, 4:14pm

For my first Quebec book, I read A Fatal Grace, a mystery set in Quebec. It is the second Louise Penny's series but I skipped ahead one since this one was set during Christmas time. I enjoyed it, it was a light fun read, and did a good job of describing Canada in winter. Except for one part where it described the frigid cold, and then said that it was -10C. Gave it 4 stars. :)

Editado: Dic 27, 2010, 3:59am

Hey there BCtea girl!! I so loved The Book of Negroes and like you, I had no idea that Canada has a small contingent of Black Slaves as well. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. Glad that you had a chance to read it. A Fatal Grace or Dead Cold - they are the same book - I found to be a fun bit of escapism while giving a great feeling of winter in most of Canada. Mostly I just wanted to say hi! :)

Dic 27, 2010, 3:54pm

Hi! Haven't been around as much, home for the holidays! I got a Kindle for Christmas so am finding Canadian content for it as well :)

Dic 27, 2010, 9:42pm

Oh how fun! A Kindle!! So many times I have considered getting one! You'll have the books you want in seconds now! :)

Dic 29, 2010, 6:50pm

So long as they are avail! I am sorting through gutenberg, getting all the old classics I want for free :) Quite a few of the Stephen Harper challenge books are in there, so that will help :)

Ene 24, 2011, 12:17pm

Annnd I'm back! I started reading The Birth House last night for the CBC Canadareads debate, and also as my second Nova Scotia book. I am not very far in it just yet, but I am enjoying it :)

ps- It hid itself waaaaay at the back of a shelf. I have passive-aggressive books.

Feb 22, 2011, 11:48pm

Finished reading The Birth House and debated it's merits in another thread ;)

I am now currently working on my two books for Prince Edward Island. Firstly I am reading the obligatory Anne of Green Gables and I can't actually recall reading it in my youth (Watching it perhaps).

Secondly I went to the library today and grabbed a copy of The Islands Means Minago: Poems from Prince Edward Island. I am also reading this for the What is Stephen Harper Reading Challenge (Book 17!). It is a small volume that also seems to have some old family photos in it. I have not really started on it, just brought it home today.

Silly question from someone who does not read much poetry, is it usually categorized as fiction or non-fiction?

Editado: Feb 27, 2011, 6:51pm

Ok I am currently trapped inside by what the radio is calling a blizzard (It is a lot of snow, but I am not convinced it is a blizzard). I finished The Island Means Minago for one of my PEI books.

This is a short book of poetry, short conversations, and PEI history. Quite a lot of it centres around PEI's struggle for independence. Many came to PEI escaping Ireland only to find the same sort of absentee landlord situation they had fled from. That had to be mighty galling. Talk about kicking someone while they are down! I think if you have a connection to PEI you would love this book. I enjoyed it but might have enjoyed it a bit more had some of the names been familiar. Among some of the favourite tidbits I picked up: The mystery of the town of Princetown, which simply disappeared. There is a site (with roads but no buildings). At some point it had been nearly the capital, and then suddenly was wiped from the history with no reason given for its disappearance. Possibly an Acadian eviction. 'It might be useful to go to the site of Princetown and dig. I'll bet such a project would meet resistance. Somebody knows'. This book was written a while ago, so perhaps the history of Princetown is being reconstructed? Anybody know?

Also interesting were tidbits about the backhanded/sneaky way the islanders behaved.. constructing their roads so that they could ambush tax collectors, and when forced to build tributes putting hidden messages in them:

From the Poem 'Interpretation of a Cannon' (pg. 74)
.. the corner of Queen and Grafton,
Charlettown, Prince Edward Island:
Which reads:
British Cannon
18 pounder
Placed here by Theophilus Des Brissay
July 1860
On the occasion of the visit of the
Prince of Wales...

But Fort Amber fell 90 years before
to a combined assault of Acadians and Micmacs
and where was the cannon all that time?
And 'Theophilus Des Brissay.. His name
(Though there was actually such a man 50 years before)
Can be translated:
'Theo' = 'God'
'Philus' = 'Lord'
'Des Brissay' = 'Smash'er'
'For the Love of God Smash'er.'

Since there was not cover I tried to upload my own. Borrowed this from the university library and it is starting to fall apart I fear. Posted review since there were no others.

Still working on Anne of Green Gables, we will see how long this Blizzard holds up. Picked a good day to cook a chicken I guess :)

Mar 5, 2011, 4:43pm

I finished reading Anne of Green Gables a few days ago, so that is both my PEI books done for this round! I was so sure I had not read this book, and yet I seemed to recall all the major incidents in some distant memory. It was a cozy book to curl up with. Any idea how many types of Ritalin poor Anne would be put on today?

Editado: Abr 16, 2011, 11:37am

Anne was good but I always preferred Emily. I could relate to her better I guess. I remember watching the Anne of Green Gables mini-series a million times as a kid so that might be what you are remembering.

Anne (and The Story Girl) would have definitely been drugged up the wazoo!

Abr 15, 2011, 2:11pm

Perhaps you've recalled them from society just knowing the stories, or perhaps seen them in a movie? I've done that with a couple of books. Looks like you are doing very well, only a few provinces left!

Abr 26, 2011, 11:48pm

Thanks! My current books are not set in a specific province, but hoping to fill in more gaps soon! :)

Mayo 19, 2011, 6:48pm

Really! It never occured to me that Anne would have needed drugs to slow her down when I read the books in my young adolescence. I loved all LM Montgomery's books!!!! LOVED THEM!!! I recall Anne being a chatterbox with a big imagination -but not over active. I kind of identified with Anne! ;) I felt that Anne and I could easily be kindred spirits! ;) And - I was an excellent student and well behaved . Maybe I'll have to do a re read at some point!

Jun 24, 2011, 1:36pm

I know I said I would try for a max of two books per province before overlapping, but my local bookclub recently choose The Golden Spruce : A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed for this months read. It should be interesting. I have just started it and am enjoying the detailed descriptions of the forest and island. :)

I was also lucky enough to be chosen for a Newfoundland book and a Quebec book from the early reviewers. So once the strike is off I will be filling in those sections. :) Will likely read Shipping News as my second Newfoundland book as it has been buried in mount TBR the longest :P

Editado: Ago 6, 2011, 6:19pm

Westsiders by Tom Finn is a series of short stories set in small town Newfoundland. Each short story pulls you in not only to the struggles of ‘everyday’ people in small town Newfoundland, but also geographically (I found the descriptions of time/place quite interesting). The landscape is rugged and unforgiving, and yet the people somehow are not. They manage despite various hardships (Both current or alluded to) to remain painfully and humoursly human. They struggle through the same types of set backs that we do today, and in many ways are relatable. In another way the book is also like a step back in time/distance allowing you to visit a Newfoundland that has since changed. One running theme between the stories seems to be ‘escape’, whether it be the need to escape from a small town, death, old age, or being on the run from the law. And yet there is a lot of humour and love of Newfoundland in these stories as well. I especially enjoyed the stories Mouse and Squeak arrives. If you love stories about small towns, turning points, and/or Newfoundland I suggest you check this set out.

Ago 6, 2011, 7:00pm

The Golden Spruce : A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed is a Non-fiction book set in British Columbia, largely on the islands. I have to admit, being a prairie girl, I had not even heard of the Golden Spruce before reading this book. Apparently on the Island there was a golden spruce, with needles that were a brighter yellow colour rather than green, a yellow that reflected the light so that the tree itself appeared to glow. It was one of a kind in that others with this mutation do not flourish or grow to a large size like this one did. This tree played a large part in Haidi myth and culture and according to myth was a boy who was turned into a tree (For various reasons, as there are different versions of the myth).

The earliest parts of the book discuss how British Columbia appeared before the settlers arrived, and then covered the various stages of logging of British Columbia. Technology greatly sped of the pace of deforestation. Other chapters covered the Golden Spruce and they myth surrounding it. It was spared, and the albino crow that favoured the spruce were a tourist attraction.

This story also focuses on Grant Hadwin the forester and woodsman turned environmentalist. Due to mental illness he came to believe that he had a divine mission of some sort to save the forest and return humanity to small agrarian groups (led by women incidentally). Rather than holding a mythological view of the Golden Spruce, he viewed it as a ‘damaged’ tree, a mutation that normally would not survive. He felt it was hypocritical to be proud of allowing this tree to survive while every day many many trees fell to logging. So one night he snuck out and cut the tree half down so that it fell with the next wind. The Haidi community as well as the local community were incensed. The police were unsure how to charge someone with cutting down a tree. After his first trial he disappeared via kayak and was never seen again. Given that in the past he survived for weeks/months on end in the forest no one is quite sure if he perished, is hiding in the woods, or went on to live in Russia. A good read, especially if you are interested in BC history and/or First Nations history.

Ago 23, 2011, 6:00pm

I just finished reading The Garneau Block which is set in Edmonton. I am not sure how you would categorize this book but it is a wonderful book. The first few pages grated on me (For some reason I hate the mention of brand names in books) but the book and the characters quickly grew on me.

The Garneau Block is the story of the quirky esidents of Garneau block in Edmonton (Near the university) and their lives. They are quickly drawn together when they realize that the university is threatening to evict them to build a veterinary center (For the good of beef). Can they find a way to get cultural designation for their neighbourhood in time?

Ago 23, 2011, 7:00pm

I'm glad you liked The Garneau Block!

Nov 27, 2011, 2:34pm

I read The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi for my second Quebec reading. It is also part of the What is Stephen Harper Reading challenge. I bought this book along with What is Stephen Harper Reading at a used bookstore in Montreal. As it is a Quebec author it would b harder to find elsewhere. The book contains several plays, the rest of which are in french. Imagine my surprise when it came time to read this book, and I found that this particular play was actually in English!

It is Quebecois in terms of how the language is used, the play uses English, but writes in Quebec form. This gives the play the feel of poetry. In terms of other books I have read for this challenge, it reminded me a bit of To the Lighthouse in that it seems to be written in a stream of consciousness style. He takes you on a journey to Chicoutimi that needs some deciphering. What you believe are true statements will later be refuted ('I travel a lot'... then later 'actually I have never traveled') and jumps between real events, interpretations of the events, and dreams/visions. In one paragraph you are playing with him in the local stream, in the next he is an older man gathering popsicle sticks on playground to build things out of. The play seems to center around the an incident with a playmate in Chicoutimi that left the main character mute for a period of time, with the play being an attempt to pull all the strings together and make some sense of the situation. An odd play, but I am very glad that I read it.

Nov 27, 2011, 2:37pm

I also read Hoarfrost and Cherry Blossoms as my fist Yukon book. I received this book through Member Giveaways on librarything.

I really did like this book, it was very sweet. If you have a very low tolerance for overly-stereotyped or optimistic books I might avoid it, but I think most people would love this book. It focuses on the life of one couple in a northern town.. including rivalries between towns, curling, fishing, practical jokes, anonymous holiday gifts, etc. Characters include the priest, the mountie, the handyman, etc. I felt the ending could have used a little work, but the book overall was really very nice.

Jul 7, 2012, 12:37am

Wow, it has really been a while! The problem is I am trying to read from the bottom of my TBR pile, and I read all the Canadian ones first, leaving the non-Canadian ones at the bottom. :P Happily I received a book set in Alberta from the early reviewers program.

I read Inukshuk for one of my Alberta books. Written by an American author, but set in 'northern' Alberta.

This story is told from three points of view. First is the story of Thomas, a young teenager who is alone in the world. An outcast at school, essentially abandoned by his mother, and moved to a new (more northern) locale by his father who still hoped to reconcile with his wife. Thomas is obsessed with the Franklin expedition, and is writing dialogue/drawing pictures to put into a movie of the expedition. He is also attempting to give himself scurvy. For the whole Franklin experience. John Franklin (Father) is a poet/teacher who is suffering through his own moments of inner growth/turmoil trying to come to terms with whether his marriage has truly ended. The third 'voice' in this story is some of the members of the Franklin expedition themselves, as through Thomas's imagination we join them frozen in place aboard their ship, or trying to walk to safety after most hope is lost. Three stories of being alone and stuck in time.

Sep 14, 2012, 9:32am

I'll have to find a copy of that. It sounds promising.

Jun 16, 2020, 5:24pm

Oh my god.., has it been eight years? I only meant to leave this a little while...

I moved, graduated, got a job, and married! (Now in Toronto). I kept up my own personal librarything, but somehow dropped the challenges and chats. I have updated my list. A few things are clear:

1) Despite being from Saskatchewan, I really need to up my prairie reading!
2) Apparently I read way to much Green Gables while stressed!

A little more northern reading certainly wouldn't hurt a girl either.

How is everyone on this end??

Jun 16, 2020, 6:54pm

>71 Bcteagirl: Nice to have you back. Hope to see more of your recommendations.

Jun 16, 2020, 7:00pm

Thank you! What are you reading right now?