You know the feeling, when you’ve just finished a really good book? It’s hard to follow up that reading experience: you can’t choose something that you know will fall short of the freshly-set-satisfied mark.
That’s how I feel about having read through Ethel Wilson’s works for the third Canadian Reading Challenge; I want to choose something exceptionally good for this year’s challenge because last year’s challenge reading felt perfect.
It’s tempting to think of another writer whose works I’d like to explore systematically like that. I’d only read one of Ethel Wilson’s novels when I embarked on the challenge, so it’s not as though I was particularly committed to her work, only curious. There are countless Canadian writers whose work would fall into that category.
And, then, there is Hugh Hood’s New Age Cycle, which seems an ideal choice as well, being comprised of a dozen novels, which could have (if only I’d been more deliberate) spanned the twelve months in the challenge perfectly.
And, what of my addiction to New Canadian Library classics, which has certainly intensified over the past year, with some of Ethel Wilson’s works included therein, and with so recently having enjoyed Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese as well.
More recently, reading some recent biographies on Margaret Laurence, I’ve thought of sinking into a series of re-reads of her work. Although, because those are established favourites, I suppose that mightn’t be very challenging.
Even more recently, coming upon a copy of T.F. Rigelhof’s Hooked on Canadian Books seemed to offer a solution in 300-someodd-pages, because I’d only read a third of the books discussed, and eight of the authors therein are seemingly new-to-me, which is doubly intruging; yet Rigelhof’s book focusses on books published after 1984, which is my strength to start with, so that mightn’t be very challenging either.
I’m still stewing about it. It seems like the least I can do — stew about what I’ll be reading later — when I’m not really reading all that much to start with.
Is reading Canlit a challenge for you?
Or is narrowing the kind of Canlit you want to read the challenging part?
(Setting aside the immediately-thorny question of defining Canlit to start with.)