I learned about it last week via Consumed by Ink, and how could I resist: two of my favourite things, Canlit and short stories.
But the act of choosing is almost overwhelming. And of course there’s always the possibility of a theme within a theme. Haven’t I been meaning to focus on my own shelves, not the library’s new and shiny shelves? To read more Quebecois writers?
Rereading favourites? Single-author immersion projects? How about 2014 publications? Classics? Anthologies? Prizewinners? Genres? Linked collections? The Oberon series? The Journey Prize? New Canadian Library editions?
I’m nearly paralyzed by the act of narrowing a list, so I’ve resorted to CBC’s recent compilation of the 100 Best Canadian Songs Ever to calm my nerves.
With the likes of “Patio Lanterns” and “Sweet City Woman” playing, the reading hours appear to be endless ahead. And I can break this large problem into smaller portions. Beginning with a beginning.
Here’s what I read in June, before I realized there was a challenge:
- David Helwig and Sandra Martin’s anthology 84: Best Canadian Stories,
- Samuel Thomas Martin’s This Ramshackle Tabernacle (via Bella’s Bookshelves),
- Richard van Camp’s edited anthology Coming Home,
- Andrea Routley’s Jane and the Whales,
- Janine Alyson Young’s Hideout Hotel and
- Alice Munro’s Runaway.
Already in play for July:
- Gilles Archambault’s In a Minor Key (Trans. David Lobdell)
- Alice Munro’s The View from Castle Rock (a reread)
In a Minor Key won the Governor General’s Award in 1987 for French-language Fiction. The stories are flash fiction, written before the term was commonly used, only a few sentences but very evocative.
The View from Castle Rock is the second-last in my Alice Munro project, which I began in 2011 and which involved a lot of rereading and two fresh reads, including 2012’s Dear Life. It’s not a collection of hers that I have considered a true favourite, but that might change with a reread.
Likely choices for July and August, because they are already lurking near the tops of the “next” stacks:
- Kathy Page’s Paradise and Elsewhere (with blurbs by Amy Bloom, Sarah Waters, Caroline Adderson and Barbara Gowdy)
- Mary Soderstrom’s Desire Lines (which comes in one of those beautiful Oberon Press packages)
- Rabindranath Maharaj’s The Book of Ifs and Buts (because I adored The Amazing Absorbing Boy)
- Lisa Bird-Wilson’s Just Pretending (great interview here)
- Douglas Glover’s Savage Love (longlisted for the Frank O’Connor award, along with Kathy Page and some of my faves from last year by Shaena Lambert, Susie Moloney, Cynthia Flood and Rosemary Nixon)
- Lorna Goodison’s By Love Possessed (which I started last year and lost track of)
- Austin Clarke’s Choosing His Coffin (because More was very good and I haven’t read another of his yet)
- Rohinton Mistry’s Tales from Firozsha Baag (a reread)
- Clark Blaise’s A North American Education (I’ve wanted to read something else, since I discovered The Meagre Tarmac on the 2011 Giller list)
Come on, why not join Write Reads in reading some Canadian short fiction this summer?