I like what the LRC has done in the July/August issue, ie. offering up a list of thirteen books that epitomize each province and territory—as chosen by writers from said locale.
Not saying I’m going to read every one of them (and why exactly not? I ask myself…) but I’ll keep the list handy. I am, however, very intrigued with two of the titles. Joan Thomas’ choice: The Two-Headed Calf, by Sandra Birdsell, representing Manitoba, which interests me because—ever since, a couple of years ago, I was hugely and pleasantly surprised by what Winnipeg has to offer (extraordinary art gallery, especially its collection of Inuit carvings; smoked fish, best eaten with thinly sliced red onions, rye bread, and washed down with ice cold vodka; great restaurants in very funky neighbourhoods; Fringe Festival; fabulous kids’ theatre arts program; annual lit festival: Thin Air; the North End; the downtown library; the freaky and beautiful Masonic architecture of the Legislative Building; the Forks, especially Tall Grass Prairie Bread Co. & Deli)—I’ve been very into that province generally.
“Hennessey’s prose adopts an easy, anecdotal tone…There are also dark streaks of violence… complex undercurrents thrumming beneath what is widely known as the ‘Gentle Island'”.
And because I also love B.C.—and occasionally spend part of my year there nestled in a small trailer in the woods—I may also have to read Lee Henderson’s choice: The Invention of the World, by Jack Hodgins.
Because how can I resist this—
“…about B.C., but also about the bigger ideas of heaven and earth, earning a living, human nature and the supernatural. It is a portrait of the B.C. way of being and one awesome read.”
Then there’s Denise Chong’s pick: Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion, which I’m embarrassed to say I have never read. Madeleine Thien’s choice for Quebec is also intriguing. And I know nothing about New Brunswick and Saskatchewan and I want to know more about Newfoundland (Lisa Moore suggests Michael Winter’s The Architects are Here) and the Yukon and NWT and Nunavut. And how could I not want to read the definitive book of Nova Scotia? I love NS.
And let’s not forget Alberta, a province I lived in for three years and know practically zippity doo dah about except it’s a 40 minute flight from Edmonton to Calgary.
So, yeah, I’ll keep the list handy.
But I’m not saying I’ll read every book.
I’m really not saying that.