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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the Canadian books

I thought I'd do this entry because quite a few of the titles that I had bolded in the meme list were Canadian, and thus not as well-known or read as most of the others. Which is a shame as many of them are quite excellent. I also found a list at home of the top 100 Canadian books as chosen by reader members of one of Canada's biggest bookstores, and thought it'd be fun to do a comparison. First, here are the Canadian titles (at least, the ones that I recognized) as they appeared in the meme list:

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)

10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)

In the following list (links are included to a few of my personal favourites) I'm going to include the top ten of Canada's Best, plus any of their other books (and that of the authors above) that made the list:

1. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
2. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
3. Fall On Your Knees (Ann-Marie Macdonald)
4. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
5. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
6. Stories From The Vinyl Café (Stuart Mclean)
7. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
8. Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
9. No Great Mischief (Alistair Macleod)
10. Runaway (Alice Munro)
15. Fifth Business (Robertson Davies)
16. The Wars (Timothy Findley)
17. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
41. Alias Grace (Atwood)
42. The Way The Crow Flies (Macdonald)
43. Unless (Shields)
44. Oryx and Crake (Atwood)
45. In The Skin of a Lion (Ontdaatje)
46. The Blind Assassin (Atwood)
47. Family Matters (Mistry)
48. Larry's Party (Shields)
49. Dropped Threads (Shields)
51. Such a Long Journey (Mistry)
52. The Diviners (Laurence)
53. The Penelopiad (Atwood)
54. Lives of Girls And Women (Munro)
55. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Findley)
56. The Piano Man's Daughter (Findley)
57. Cat's Eye (Atwood)
59. The Edible Woman (Atwood)
62. The Robber Bride (Atwood)
63. Anil's Ghost (Ondaatje)
64. Pilgrim (Findley)
67. Running in the Family (Ondaatje)
71. The Love of a Good Woman (Munro)
81. Surfacing (Atwood)
87. Spadework (Findley)
89. The Deptford Trilogy (Davies)
91. The Tent (Atwood)
93. Open Secrets (Munro)

As you can tell, we Canucks really like the work of the Canadian authors included in the meme list, and I can only hope that their books will gain greater international acclaim. The one name that surprised me the most when I didn't see it on the meme list was that of Alice Munro. She's a superb short story teller (some consider her the best short story writer alive) and her work IS, thankfully, gaining widespread attention outside of Canada. Other authors who had a number of books on the Canadian list but not on the meme list include Farley Mowat, Douglas Coupland and Pierre Burton.

It was interesting too to see that seven of the Canadian titles in the meme were also in the top 10 Canuck list, and that Anne of Green Gables was #8 on both lists.

p.s. now why do I have the feeling that this will not be the last of book list entries? :))


Anonymous krissa said...

You are doing a service for Canadian literature...I am embarassed to say that I am basically unfamiliar with almost all of what you posted. I do know the name Alice Munro. "Not Wanted on the Voyage" sounds very interesting. And I did not know that "Anne of Green Gables" and "The English Patient" are Canadian authors' works. You are spreading the word! :)

March 15, 2007 7:16 a.m.

Blogger KJ's muse said...

Am doing my best Krissa! We DO have some really great writers, and I guess I'm quite proud of that. Yeah, Not Wanted on the Voyage was a cool book. Wish I had more time though to read EVERYTHING! :)

March 15, 2007 1:01 p.m.

Anonymous krissa said...

I spend more time online than I "should" I guess. Almost all my reading is online. There's some worthwhile stuff out there in cyberspace, but I should be reading books more.

March 17, 2007 3:35 p.m.

Blogger KJ's muse said...

Me too. I need to make more time for it.

March 17, 2007 7:29 p.m.


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