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September 17, 2018


2018 Canadian Book Challenge

by N@ncy

Canadian Book Challenge:


  1.  ?
  2.  ?
  3.  ?
  4.  ?
  5.  Infinity (play – Hannah Moscovitch
  6. The Pull of the Moon – Julie Paul ( 12 short stories)
  7. Paige Cooper – story collection Zolitude – READ
  8. Patrick DeWitt  – French Exit  – READ
  9. Washington BlackE. Edugyan – READ  (winner Giller Prize 2018)
  10. Kim Thúy –  Män – READ
  11. F. Wees – The Keys of My Prison (1956) – READ
  12. Margret Millar – Wives and Lovers – READ
  13. Thea Lim – Ocean of Minutes – READ
  • The aim to read and review minimum 13 or more Canadian books.
  • Start: 01 July 201 (my reading starts 18 Sept 2018)
  • End: 30 June 2019
  • Reviews must be posted online. 
  • Participants are asked to share links to their reviews with other participants.
  • Hashtag:  #CanBookChallenge


Finished: 28.12.2018
Genre: play  “Infinity”
Rating: A+++



  1. When you least expect it….suddenly a
  2. small play can brighten my reading day!
  3. Infinity:
  4. Characters I felt for…
  5. hopscotching places and times.
  6. Carefully dynamics.
  7. Prose that moves like a cheetah.
  8. Wise but preachy….
  9. Reading time: 40 minutes!
  10. #Bravo  Hannah Moscovitch


Hannah Moscovitch

  1. Born June 5, 1978) is a Canadian playwright who rose to national
  2. ..prominence in the 2000s.
  3. She has been dubbed “an indie sensation” by Toronto Life Magazine
  4. CBC Radio calls her “the wunderkind of Canadian theatre”.




Finished: 16.12.2018
Genre: 12 short stories “The Pull of the Moon”
Rating: B
The slow reader is like a swimmer who stops
counting the number of pool laps they have done
… just enjoys how their body feels and moves in water.
For the first time I approached a collection of short stories
as a slow reader.
I read each and every word Julie Paul wrote.
Not every story is a home-run….but she hit a few out of the ballpark!
Curious?  (review)



Finished: 12.10.2018
Genre: novel
Rating: C-
Not my cup of tea….
I expected a CF plot and got
a long story about divorce, marriage and  a secret affair.
I skimmed the book….reading the first sentence in
the paragraphs…didn’t miss a beat.


Finished: 12.10.2018
Genre: novel
Rating: A++++++



  1. This was absolutely  a magnificent reading experience.
  2. Realism: Descriptions of place (NYC, Paris) and human contradiction are pinpoint.
  3. Character: Each character struggles with a sense that life is elsewhere.


  1. Conclusion: the book brought a smile to my face
  2. …that felt like a splash of fresh water
  3. …after having read a few very boring books on Giller Prize longlist.
  4. French Exit gets my vote to win Giller Prize 2018!
  5. #Bravio, Patrick deWitt!


  1. An Ocean of Minutes
  2. Thea Lim – READ

Finished: 11.10.2018
Genre: dystopian time-travel
Rating: C-
Shortlisted Giller Prize 2018
But I found it to be
bland and choppy…an ice-cream headache of a book.
#NotPrizeWinning quality!


  1. Zolitude  (14 short stories)
  2. Paige Cooper – READ


  1. Every single story is a struggle
  2. ….this was not an entertaining book.
  3. What’s the point in writing if readers cannot relate to it?
  4. I read another review:
  5. “… I found two or three of them to be excellent, but I had no patience with the rest.”
  6. I cannot tell you how many times
  7. …I almost threw the book in the garbage bin!
  8. But no, I was determined to finish every single one of these ridiculous stories
  9. …and I did.
  10. How this book managed to reach the longlist for the Giller Prize 2018 is beyond me.
  11. Where is the jury report?
  12. Please, explain to me what the criteria were to elevate this book to a finalist place?
  13. What am I missing?

Last Thoughts:

  1. I really feel for Paige Cooper...
  2. ….to have the strength of mind to write these stories
  3. is incredible but they were just to chaotic…
  4. …too ‘way out there’, too experimental for a simple reader as I.
  5. I find writing a short sentence about each story was
  6. the best way to review it. It was late last night when I finished the book
  7. ….so my comments have a whiff of exhaustion in them!


1. Zolitude – breakup for Simone…and love and longing for Ms Berzina. #Average

2. Spiderhole – Vietnam vet’s memories with a score of animals…lizards etc. #Erratic

3. Ryan & Irene, Irene & Ryan –  mailbomb, 3 dream scenes add up to a confusing story. #Bizarre

4. Thanatoscould not follow this at all…please, a normal story, please! #Flummoxing

5. The Emperor – snake with red eye, rat tried to crawl back up its own body,…lost again!  These stories are absolutely ridiculous. #Creepy

6. Slave Craton  – 9,4  quake, tidal wave, Erin and Michael’ relationship in flashbacks. #Seismic

7. Moriah –  Book-mobile; librarian Moriah, and townspeople Victor, Matthew, Tyler, Adrian, Keller…and a strange mythical eagle protecting its diamond egg. #Farfetched

8. The Tin Luck – Girls from the street in unnamed Russina town…Merope pines for ‘good  ol’ days.’ Title is impossible to understand from the story. #Depressing

9. Record of Working – Arthur is project manager an the work is NOT on time, NOT on budget…and a NO SHOW for a meeting! Paige Cooper dumps paragraphs of ‘fake tech mumbo-jumbo’ on the reader. #WORST short story I ever read. #Pointless

10. La Folie  Where is the SHORT in this story?’s a  #Novella!

11. Pre-Occupants – Oh, now we’re in space. #HoHum

12. Retirement – Olympic Gold medalist Turin 2006 remembers his glory days…but now in retirement….#Average

13. Roar –  Deer hunting lodge, guests, helicopter, dogs. #NothingSpecial

14. Vazova on Love –  Back in Russia and still incomprehensible…..thank goodness this is #TheLastStory.

  1. The Keys of My Prison
  2. Frances Wees – READ


Finished: 08.10.2018
Genre: novella
Rating: C

Genre: suspense novel
Published: 1956
Pages: 187

Strange puzzle, unsettling Gothic novel, murder mystery, memory loss
Setting: Toronto, Canada
Epigraph: There is always a clue in the epigraph!
Quote John Donne
“Mee thinks I have the keys to my prison in mine own hand, and
no remedy presents it selfe so soon to my heart, as mine own sword.”
This is taken from Biathanatos, a defense of suicide.
Conclusion: This is a psychological mystery that
reflects the fact….when do the terrors of life reach a point that they
outweigh the terrors of death…what does a man do?



  1. Mãn
  2. Kim Thuy – READ

Finished: 01.10.2018
Genre: novella
Rating: A+++
Language: French

There is one love but there are many ways to express love.
Kim Thuy expresses love through food.
This story revolves around an orphan.
She got her name from a Buddhist monk.
Mãn means someone who is fulfilled…perfectly happy.
It seems life does not always turn out that way.
After every vignette I have to pause….
and process the emotions Kim Thuy
expresses in her poetic style.
Thuy goes deep….noticing little things that make this book
“…l’expérience à ne pas manquer.”




  1. Washington Black – SHORTLIST
  2. Esi Edugyan – READ (shortlist Man Booker 2018 / Giller Prize 2018)

Finished: 21.09.2018
Genre: novel
Rating: C
This book is shortlisted for two prestigious literary prizes:
Man Booker Prize and Giller Prize (Canadian fiction)
I’m sorry to say….I don’t think it will win either awards.
I’m not a prof book reviewer and if a book is on the shortlist
I don’t want to sway readers with my personal feelings.
Because this is an opinion…not a review.
The book was good…that’s it. There was a soft smile…no sharp bite
It was sensitive….but not tough.

Give this book a chance…and see what you think.


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. tracybham
    Sep 17 2018

    I thought about doing this challenge this year. I did the Canadian Book Challenges 6 and 7 with varying levels of success, and I have a lot of books by Canadian authors. But not sure that the next 12 months will be a good year for challenges for me.


  2. Sep 18 2018

    I decided to read the longlist of the Giller Prize 2018. I just did not know where to start with Canadian books! As you said….there are a lot of Canadian CF writers. I had these as “buffer’ books just in case I need them. Have you read any tthese?
    The Keys of My Prison – Frances Shelley Wees (CF 1956)
    The Pyx – John Buell – (CF, 1995)
    Still LIfe – Louise Penny (CF, 2005)


    • Sep 20 2018

      I have read Still Life by Penny, and the next two in that series. I did not like Still Life that well, but others love the series, so I tried more and did like the other two.

      I have The Keys of My Prison but haven’t read it yet. Thanks for reminding me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sep 20 2018

        🙂 Thanks for comment, Tracy!


  3. Oh, you’re braver than I. I’ve tried reading Canadian authors before and have loathed nearly every minute of it (I’m a Canadian, so I feel I can get away with saying that, lol!) Of course, L.M. Montgomery is in a class all her own! I love her stories. Oh, and I rather enjoy Robertson Davies’ work.

    That said, please let me know if you find any winners. All the best with your challenge!


    • Sep 18 2018

      Cleo, I have the same feeling…about reading Dutch authors! They seem to disappoint me all the time! We do have a few good journalists so I just read the papers!
      This whole reading list is a blind date except Kim Thúy. I read ‘Ru’ years ago in French (…very do-able) and I loved it. Still I am inspiried by O’s great Greek-Roman Challenge completed….and have started the Aenied today. Taking all things slowly… Thanks for you comments 🙂


  4. Sep 19 2018

    I read Still Life, the first of her mystery series, and I usually like mysteries, but it didn’t compel me to carry on with the series. I do have the next one on my TBR pile, though, so it may show up for the Canadian challenge for me.

    There are definitely some on the Giller list that are looking fun.



  5. Sep 22 2018

    Too bad that it was kind of meh…I’ve got her earlier novel Half-Blood Blues on my TBR pile & I should get to it for the challenge, but I’ll read that first & then see!


    • Sep 22 2018

      I read in a few reviews that Half-Blood Blues was better than this book. Curious to hear your impression of Half-Blood Blues!


  6. Oct 10 2018

    I have Motherhood and French Exit on my TBR pile. Mr Books has already read FE – he loves DeWitt’s work and enjoyed this too, but his fav is still UnderMajorDomo (which I couldn’t get into at all, but really enjoyed Sisters Brothers). FE is contemporary fiction, not my go-to genre usually unless it feels memoir-ish like the two books of Thuy’s that I’ve read & loved so far.

    I’m intrigued An Ocean of Minutes too – love time travel stuff.


    • Oct 10 2018

      Well, there is a lot of good reading expected as I work throught my Canadian list.
      Man Booker selection did not exicte me this year, so #CanBookChallenge was a godsend.
      As I noted in my response to Reese (see under) …Paige Cooper is in a world of her own. I had a glimpse of it and it was exhausting.
      Oke, so Motherhood, French Exit, Vi….are on my TBR as well. An Ocean of Minutes looks good too. You know I love Kim Thuy ….and Män just wonderful. Kim can express so many feelings with just a few choice words. I am so impressed by her writing….still!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oct 10 2018

    Ha, ha! The Zolitude review was hilarious. I believe I’ll be skipping that one…


    • Oct 10 2018

      Skip this book…I don’t say that very often.
      I really feel for Paige Cooper….to have the strength of mind to write these stories is incredible but they were just to chaotic…too ‘way out there’, too experimental for a simple reader as I.
      I find writing a short sentence about each story was the best way to review it. It was late last night when I finished the book….so my comments have a whiff of exhaustion in them!



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