This year I participated in the 7th annual Canadian Book Challenge. This is an online reading challenge hosted by The Book Mine Set: the Book Blog with a Canadian Bias. Participants from Canada and around the world aim to read and review 13 or more Canadian books in a one year span: July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. A Canadian book is a book written by a Canadian author or set in Canada.
This was my 2nd year participating in the challenge. I read only 10 books for the challenge this year, but I was happy with that accomplishment.
I read these books for the challenge this year:
Unholy Ground by John Brady
The author was born in Dublin butMatt Minogue, a Detective Sergeant in the Murder Squad, a division of the Gardai, the Irish police force. The death of a elderly resident of Dublin is being investigated; he appears to be merely a British citizen who had settled in Ireland. It turns out he was connected to MI5 in the United Kingdom. This book was published in 1989, and is set in Dublin, Ireland. Thus the political issues in Ireland at the time are a big factor.
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
The 4th, 5th, and 6th books in a series, set in post World War II Britain, in the village of Bishop's Lacey. Flavia narrates the stories. She is the youngest daughter (around 11 years old) in the de Luce family, and lives with her two sisters and their father in an ancient country house.
The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott
The Little Shadows by Marina Endicott is a historical novel set in the years preceding and during World War I. It is the story of three sisters, teenagers as the story begins, who travel with their mother to support the family as a vaudeville act. I loved this book and it is hard to describe why. I was engaged in the story immediately. I loved the way the author switched back and forth between the sisters (especially) and the mother (occasionally). This book covers the years from 1912-1917 and thus World War I figures a great deal. That was also a plus for me. I like to learn about wars in a fictional setting.
Under the Dragon's Tail by Maureen Jennings
This is the second book in the Murdoch Mysteries series, published by Maureen Jennings in 1998, and featuring William Murdoch, an Acting Detective in Toronto in the late 1800's. Maureen Jennings does a wonderful job of portraying Victorian-era Toronto.
We also get well-developed and interesting characters. Without dwelling on Murdoch's past, the author conveys how his childhood has affected him, and his continuing grief for his fiancee who died of typhoid, at the same time he yearns for a relationship with a woman. Maybe he is a tad too perfect, but I can live with that. Constable George Crabtree, and several of the suspects at varying levels of society are also well-defined; their portrayals contribute to the overall portrait of the city, its poverty and its inhabitants.
The Night the Gods Smiled by Eric Wright
Eric Wright was born in 1929 in South London, England and immigrated to Canada in 1951. He is an academic; he taught English at Ryerson Polytechnic University, Toronto from 1958 to 1989. Four of his novels have been awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel, including this one.
This book gives us some insight into the relationship between the French areas of Canada and the English speaking areas. Toronto police detective Charlie Salter is assigned as liaison to a case of murder that takes place in Montreal, because the victim is from Toronto. It is the kind of case that his department doesn't have the time or inclination to deal with, so it is passed down to him. He is thrilled to get it, since he has been working essentially as a "gofer". He works with Sergeant Henri O'Brien from Montreal, and they develop a nice relationship along the way.
In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany
Sleep While I Sing by L. R. Wright
This mystery novel is set in the fictional mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. Constable Molly Smith is assigned to assist veteran Detective Sergeant John Winters in a murder investigation. Although Molly (also know as "Moonlight") is a rookie, she has insider knowledge of the community that Winters does not have; on the other hand she is closely involved with various persons who could be suspects. There were a lot of elements to the story: draft dodgers who had moved to Canada years earlier, ecological issues associated with a resort development, treatment of women in police departments, and the complexity of family relationships and working relationships.
This book is the second in a series by L.R. Wright (1939- 2001). The series features RCMP Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg and is set in a small town on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. This second entry in the series starts with the discovery of a dead woman in a secluded area. The woman remains unidentified. An artist's sketch is made and distributed, but does not generate the identification they were hoping for.
L. R. Wright excels at characterization. Karl is a loner and divorcee who misses his family. He has his problems, but he is happy in his work and good at it. The secondary characters and side plots are interesting. The writing is understated.
The Film Club by David Gilmour
Overview from Dundurn Press: "The Film Club is the true story about David Gilmour's decision to let his 15-year-old son drop out of high school on the condition that the boy agrees to watch three films a week with him. The book examines how those pivotal years changed both their lives." I read this book as much for the commentary on the films watched as for the story of Gilmour's experiences during those years.
I will be signing up for the 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge as soon as I read my first Canadian book for the challenge.