John Mutford's Canadian Reading Challenge

Over at John Mutford's blog, back in October, he posted a Canadian Reading Challenge, in which he asked people to read 13 Canadian books before Canada Day 2008 (one for each province or territory, though there was no requirement to get one from each region). I don't know how I missed this post, except to make the thoroughly lame excuse that it was a busy teaching time (but what isn't?).

Anyhoo, it turns out that I've finished the challenge just in 2008, so in blogged order here are the eighteen Canadian books I've read since January 1, of which fully 16 are by writers who live in BC now or who lived here while writing them:

1. Douglas Coupland, JPod
2. Sarah de Leeuw, Unmarked
3. Harold Rhenisch, Tom Thomson's Shack
4. Tim Bowling, The Lost Coast
5. Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach
6. Jan Zwicky, Songs for Relinquishing the Earth
7. Thomas Homer-Dixon, The Upside of Down
8. Robert Bringhurst, Pieces of Map, Pieces of Music
9. David R. Boyd, ed., Northern Wild
10. Gillian Wigmore, Soft Geography
11. Theresa Kishkan, Phantom Limb
12. Bruce Braun, The Intemperate Rainforest
13. Bus Griffiths, Now You're Logging
14. Donna Kane, Erratic
15. Donna Kane, Somewhere, A Fire
16. Tim Lilburn, Living In The World As If It Were Home
17. Ron Chudley, Stolen
18. Theresa Kishkan, Red Laredo Boots

Thanks for the chance to dig through the memory banks, and to reflect on everyone else's choices. I'll borrow heavily from your commenters, John, and gentle reader, if you got here from John's site, I hope you choose some of these BC writers!


Anonymous said…
How does the Douglas Coupland compare to his others? I've read and enjoyed Generation X and Girlfriend in a Coma but was distinctly underwhelmed by Miss Wyoming.
John Mutford said…
Thanks for posting about this. 18 Canadian books since January is pretty impressive. I'm not sure if I've even completed 18 books of any nationality since then. Glad to see you're on for the 2nd challenge too. At the rate you read, I'm guessing you'll be done by September.

I haven't read any from your current list, though I have read other books by Coupland and Lilburn. Thanks for the introduction to plenty of unfamiliar (to me) authors.
richard said…
John: I do read a lot, that's true, but my summers are slower than the rest of the year. Extra work obligations. I'm going to spend some time thinking about this challenge, because I think I'm going to do a couple of linked ones -- maybe 13 books of BC poetry plus 13 non-BC Canadian nonfiction? Not sure yet.

Keith: JPod was good, but my two fiction faves are Life After God (though not many Couplandites would agree with my assessment there) and Microserfs. To really get him, though, you need to read one of the Souvenir of Canada volumes, maybe see the documentary of the same title. The larger format books are terrific (including the very moving Terry, about Canadian icon Terry Fox).
Anonymous said…
I wasn't aware of his non-fiction stuff thanks for the heads-up. I enjoyed 'Life After God' too but it didn't stick in my mind as much as Girlfriend in a Coma, that may partly be due to the circumstances under which I read the latter - DJ Shadow's Entroducing was on constant repeat on the CD player which itself is particularly dark, brooding and apocalyptic so the synergies with the book were quite spectacular, I cannot help thinking of the book when I hear he music to this day.

I'd heard good things about Microserfs from another Coupland fan too so maybe I should check that out next.
fiona-h said…
Yes, Microserfs is very good!
Anonymous said…
i just did a personal count and i've read 10 down since jan 1. most of them were for school, but i tend to read a sprinkling of canlit on a regular basis anyway.
still, this looks like an amazing list. i'll definitely return to it once i get time to read whatever in the world i want whenever i want to.

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