Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I was thrilled, then immediately terrified, when Kerry Clare asked me to contribute a reading list to Canadian Bookshelf. And, later, when I asked for an extension -- something I've never, ever done, even in school -- she upped the anxiety ante by saying she'd await my list with "gleeful expectation." Gulp.

The rules were pretty simple: 5-10 Canadian-authored, currently in-print, books on any theme I chose. Easy, right? Well, as it turns out:

A) I'm not as well-read as I like to think I am,
B) I mostly read pretty conservative, mainstream stuff, and almost exclusively fiction (wha?),
C) I don't have a great memory for books I've read, even ones I've loved,
D) I'm not very good at choosing.

So, the assignment proved to be a challenge, though a fun challenge. After many trial run lists on a variety of themes, I settled on the easiest one of all (not far-off from my sister's suggestion: "Canadian-authored, currently in-print books I like"), one where anything could fit. (OK, not quite everything. The list is sadly lacking in Leonard Cohen. I also wanted to work in This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall*, but just couldn't swing it.) Regardless, here it is.

("Heavyweight titles" is much less clunky than "mostly novels about the prairies and/or war and/or kids." Wouldn't you agree?)

* I googled the title, to get an image for the top of this post, only to discover that the Gordon Korman classic is now called This Can't Be Happening and was re-released in 2003 "with a new look and updated text (updated to match today's economy and slang)."  

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