Bucketyell travels across Canada

SnakCanadian Fiction/Non-Fiction Reading Challenge

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Bucketyell travels across Canada

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feb 1, 2010, 7:05 pm

Oh what the heck... one can never belong to too many challenges right? And I do love reading Canadian fiction/non-fiction :)

Redigeret: okt 8, 2014, 9:45 am


1) Galore by Crummey - 03/09/09
2) Annabel by Winter - 26/07/10
3) The Outport People by Mowat - 30/08/10
4) Barnacle Love by De Sa - 18/07/11
5) Kit's Law by Morrisey - 30/04/12
6) Alligator by Moore
7) February by Moore
8) Emancipation Day by Grady - I am putting this here but it is split between NFLD and Ontario
9) Son of a Certain Woman by Johnston
10) Sweetland by Crummey
11) Walt by Wangersky


1) Creation by Katherine Govier - 07/02/10

Redigeret: jan 12, 2013, 5:16 pm

Prince Edward Island

1) The Catch by McCormack - 10/08/10
2) The Island Means Minago by Acorn - 03/02/11
3) The Betrayer by Hennessey - 24/07/11
4) Fixer-Upper by Elliott

Redigeret: jul 7, 2013, 11:05 pm

Nova Scotia

1) No Great Mischief by MacLeod - 01/11/09
2) The Bishop's Man by MacIntyre - 16/12/09
3) Strange Heaven by Coady - 15/07/11
4) Cape Breton Road by MacDonald - 02/04/12
5) Anna From Away by MacDonald
6) Boys in the Trees by Swan

Redigeret: aug 5, 2012, 5:38 pm

New Brunswick

1) The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning - 10/01/10
2) Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul by Richards - 18/06/11
3) Nights Below Station Street by Richards - 06/08/11
4) Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace by Richards - 08/08/11
5) For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down by Richards - 12/08/11
6) Maclean by Donaldson

Redigeret: okt 7, 2014, 8:15 pm


1) Disappeared by Echlin - 26/03/09
2) The Stranger in the Plumed Hat by Irena Karafilly - 31/01/10
3) The Tin Flute by Roy - 02/05/10
4) The Heart Specialist by Rothman - 30/06/10
5) Apocalypse for Beginners by Dickner - 17/12/10
6) Lullabies for Little Criminals by O'Neill - 19/12/10
7) Dogs at the Perimeter by Thien - 12/06/11
8) Bride of New France by Descrochers - 18/03/12
9) Leaning, Leaning Over Water by Itani - 21/05/12
10) Surfacing by Atwood - 04/06/12
11) Ru by Thuy
12) The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Westoll
13) The Imposter Bride by Richler
14) Atonement by Soucy
15) The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by O'Neill
16) Man by Thuy
17) My October by Rothman

Redigeret: okt 5, 2014, 5:55 pm


1) Unless by Shields - 10/07/09
2) Factoring Humanity by Sawyer - 25/09/09
3) Suddenly by Burnard - 09/11/09
4) An Accidental Canadian by Margaret Wente - 27/01/10
5) The Weekend Man by Wright - 23/02/10
6) Stonyground: The Making of a Canadian Garden by Chambers - 28/02/10
7) Last Summer at Barebones by Mason - 02/06/10
8) Cities of Refuge by Helm - 04/06/10
9) Cigar Box Banjo by Quarrington - 19/06/10
10) King Leary by Quarrington - 09/01/11
11) The Blind Assassin by Atwood - 29/01/11
12) The Rez Sisters by Highway - 18/04/11
13) The Sentimentalists by Skibsrud - 15/08/11
14) Fault Lines by Huston - 21/01/12 (partially set in Toronto)
15) Tell it to the Trees by Badami - set in Northern Ontario
16) Motorcycles & Sweetgrass by Taylor - set in Northern Ontario (I am noticing a theme here)
17) Summer Gone by Macfarlane - and yet another Northern Ontario (ish)
18) Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Lam
19) Casino & Other Stories by Burnard
20) Bear by Engel
21) The Cake is for the Party by Selecky
22) Everybody Has Everything by Onstad
23) Elizabeth and After by Cohen
24) How Should a Person Be? by Heti
25) Empty Room by Davis
26) Small Ceremonies by Shields
27) The Box Garden by Shields - starts off in BC but its mostly set in Scarborough, ON
28) Falling Angels by Gowdy
29) Going Home Again by Bock
30) A Bird's Eye by Fagan
31) Throwaway Daughter by Ye
32) Kicking the Sky by De Sa
33) 1982 by Ghomeshi
34) Cataract City by Davidson
35) Bear by Cameron
36) Tell by Itani
37) Stone Mattress by Atwood
38) Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Mootoo (Toronto and Trinidad)

Redigeret: okt 19, 2014, 9:27 pm


1) A Complicated Kindness by Toews - 17/05/09
2) The Prairie Bridesmaid by Salamon - 09/07/09
3) Children of my Heart by Roy - 30/09/09
4) Kiss of the Fur Queen by Highway - 28/03/11
5) I Am Hutterite by Kirby - 30/07/11
6) Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Brown - 19/08/11
7) All My Puny Sorrows by Toews

Redigeret: feb 8, 2012, 12:04 pm


1) Sarah Binks by Hiebert - 05/06/10
2) Good to a Fault by Endicott - 29/07/11
3) Cool Water by Warren - 07/02/12

Redigeret: okt 8, 2012, 9:50 pm


1) Mrs Mike by Freedman - 05/06/10
2) Under This Unbroken Sky by Mitchell - 02/04/11
3) Kalila by Nixon - 15/04/11
4) 419 by Ferguson
5) Little Shadows by Endicott (AB and parts of the US)

Redigeret: okt 6, 2014, 10:52 am

British Columbia

1) Sad Truth about Happiness by Giardini - 22/05/09
2) Certainty by Thien - 03/10/09
3) Madame Zee by Luke - 28/07/10
4) There's a Seal in My Sleeping Bag by Hancock - 30/06/11
5) Shelter by Greenslade - 11/09/11
6) Requiem by Itani - 20/10/11
7) Touch by Zentner - 17/03/12
8) Contingency Plan by Allin
9) Runaway by Munro - these stories take place all over but mostly in BC and Ontario.
10) One Good Hustle by Livingston
11) A Celibate Season by Shields/Howard - takes place here and in Ontario but I felt like I learned more about Vancouver so I will put it here
12) Turtle Valley by Anderson-Dargatz
13) The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Viswanathan

Redigeret: jul 17, 2010, 11:31 pm

Redigeret: jul 23, 2011, 9:36 pm

Northwest Territories & Nunavut

1) Never Cry Wolf by Mowat - 21/06/10 **
2) Death on the Barrens by Grinnell - 22/06/10 **
3) Late Nights on Air by Hay - 23/07/11

** These two books technically took place in Nunavut but since it didn't exist when the books were written, it's also technically NWT. So, for simplicity sake, I am putting NWT & Nunavut in the same category.

feb 1, 2010, 9:26 pm

Welcome, bucketyell!

feb 2, 2010, 3:44 pm

Welcome, and don't forget Nunavut.

Redigeret: jan 1, 2013, 12:25 pm

Well that'll teach me not to cut and paste from someone else's list and not check! Sorry residents of Nunavut!

feb 3, 2010, 9:31 am

Can you tell us about The Stranger in the Plumed Hat? Except for an intriguing picture, there's no info on its page. Did you like it?

feb 3, 2010, 11:50 am

#17 - After a slow start, it really picked up and I quite liked it. The author writes about how she dealt with her mother throughout the initial diagnosis of Alzhemier's and also a little bit about her life growing up in Montreal with Polish parents. It's a very honest and raw book. At times it seems a little too personal (not sure I need to hear about mom's sex life) but overall, I really liked it. She doesn't hide anything nor is she asking for forgiveness for anything she has done/not done.

At some point, I will list it on bookmooch if you want a copy. It's an ARC that I got years ago (10 years ago I think!).

feb 3, 2010, 12:28 pm

I hope you'll post that review. Its sad to see an empty Work page.

Oh, yes, and, welcome to the group!

Redigeret: feb 28, 2010, 11:50 am

Creation by Katherine Govier. I quite liked this one. I read it because I needed something for Labrador and also because I have a few of her books but had never read any of them. This is the fictional tale of Aubudon as he travels up the Labrador coast in search for new species of birds to draw/paint.

I find when reading this type of book, I am not sure what is fact and what is literary licence so I now want to do some research on him to see. He came across as a rather prickly man who was very motivated by fame and fortune but yet also genuinely fascinated with birds. He not only loved painting them but he also loved to dissect & stuff them.

I have a few others by her so I will move them up the list a little.

apr 28, 2010, 10:56 pm

I just finished reading Hooked on Canadian Books by Rigelhof and it's a pretty good place to go for ideas on good Canadian literature. I can't say I agree with some of his choices, but I certainly increased my wishlist!

jun 5, 2010, 5:50 pm

I just finished Sarah Binks by Hiebert. I am disappointed in this one. Not knowing anything at all about Binks and knowing very little about Saskatchewan in general, I was hoping for more meat to the biography and it just wasn't there. At least it was short!

jun 5, 2010, 11:39 pm

Finally (finally!) read Mrs Mike and quite liked it. I am somehow related to her through my late great-aunt (not sure how exactly) and grew up being told the story of Mrs Mike.

I am ashamed to say how long this book has been on the shelf but now I can finally say its read! Now to try to track down the movie and read the sequels.

jun 6, 2010, 12:17 am

It is a movie too? Good to know :P

jun 6, 2010, 8:17 am

I read Mrs. Mike earlier this year, then watched the movie. I've already forgotten a lot about the movie. It was okay, but not memorable like the book is.

jun 6, 2010, 12:42 pm

Thanks to this group I did buy Mrs. Mike on a Canadian book spending spree at the locally owned bookstore in May :P It is on mount TBR, but I am still slowly working my way through some of my reading challenges. The Cellist of Sarajevo and Crow Lake (both Canadian) are within those challenges, so will try to get to one of them next :P

jun 16, 2010, 9:56 am

It doesn't count for this challenge because it took place in Tibet, but Heighton's Every Lost Country was really good and highly recommended. I will have to hunt down his other stuff now (sigh... and add more to my wishlist).

jun 16, 2010, 11:09 am

Just added it to my wishlist as well, thanks! :)

jun 16, 2010, 11:17 am

Well, my aim is to add so much to other's wishlists that mine looks paltry in comparison. Seems to be working!

jun 16, 2010, 11:19 am

Fiend! *giggle*

jun 19, 2010, 10:35 am

Before reading Quarrington's other stuff, I figured I should start with the memoir that he wrote just before his death. I had hoped that it would give me a little insight into his life and give me a taste of his writing style. I must say, there were parts that were really interesting but there were also parts that were kind of boring and draggy. So, I am of mixed feelings about it.

And, I must admit, it's weird reading a memoir that someone wrote after being diagnosed with a fatal illness. Particularly reading it after their death. I am a little unsettled now.

jun 19, 2010, 11:06 am

Okay, so upon realizing that I can actually use the Canadian titles that I read last year (I pay attention ... really!), I have updated my list a little. I still want to try to have at least a couple in each category although some might be more of a challenge than others.

jun 19, 2010, 1:06 pm

I'm puzzled why you put Disappeared under BC because I don't remember any BC moments in the book. Montreal, yes. Cambodia, yes.

jun 19, 2010, 1:17 pm

Oops! Definitely put that one in the wrong spot! I checked most of the others that I wasn't sure about but missed that one. Probably because I really didn't like it (I know, I know, it's supposed to be good! But I just didn't like it).

jun 19, 2010, 1:36 pm

I didn't particularly like it either--the main character was just too obsessive for me. Really beautiful cover though.

jun 21, 2010, 10:36 pm

I was in the middle of something else but I found a copy of Never Cry Wolf on the shelf and some found myself engrossed in this little gem of a book. I think I was intrigued because my latest Quill & Quire arrived today and there was a blurb about Mowat's newest book (the man is now 89 and still writing!)

I have no idea why I never read it as I loved the movie as a kid. This is my first Mowat but definitely not my last. It's hilariously funny and yet highly informative. Loved every word...

jun 21, 2010, 10:42 pm

my latest Quill & Quire arrived today and there was a blurb about Mowat's newest book (the man is now 89 and still writing!)

1. Is Quill & Quire worthy of a subscription? I've been contemplating for a few years now; and 2. Farley Mowat is still alive? I had no idea! I didn't know that, and I actually figured he was older.

jun 21, 2010, 10:46 pm

I have no idea why I never read it as I loved the movie as a kid.

Well, I was in my early 20s when Never Cry Wolf came out as a movie, and it was sort of in the back of my mind. Thanks for reminding me--my kids need to see that one. I've reserved it at the library. Not sure if I've ever actually read the book, although I know I read a couple of Mowats as a kid. I found them very masculine.

jun 21, 2010, 11:33 pm

I am a retired librarian and I use to read Q&Q every month. It is good for book reviews and some of the column are good. Check and see if your public library has a public copy. The on-line subscription is $15 -25.

Redigeret: jun 22, 2010, 12:46 am

What is Mowat's newest book? You have me interested now :P I have started collecting his 'older' stuff off of Bookmooch, I didn't know he was still writing!

Edit: I have Never Cry Wolf on my TBR pile :) Do you know whereabouts it is set?

Redigeret: jun 22, 2010, 8:55 am

His newest book is due out at the end of October and is titles Eastern Passage.

This description is from the Chapters website.

Eastern Passage marks a return to the feisty Mowat of old. In it, he throws down the gauntlet and answers the doubters and naysayers who have dogged his writing life, breaking the stubborn silence he has kept since the notorious Saturday Night article that appeared over a decade ago. Here, too, he relates the story of a sail down the St. Lawrence that brought him face to face with one of Canada''s more shocking secrets, one most of us still don''t know today. Eastern Passage is the last piece of the Mowat puzzle: the years from his return from the north in the late 1940s to his discovery of Newfoundland and his love affair with the sea in the 1950s. In this time, he writes his first books and weathers his first storm of controversy as the northern establishment tries to deny the plight of the Barrenground Inuit by discrediting Farley and his first book, People of the Deer. This sets a trail that leads straight to the character assassination he suffers 40 years later in Saturday Night.

> 40 Never Cry Wolf is sited in NWT (Northwest Territories) near the Manitoba border, today this area is part of Nunavut.

jun 22, 2010, 8:56 am

I think it's set somewhere in what is now Nunavut. He doesn't really know but does say he is about 300 kms north of Churchill, Manitoba. I am counting it for Nunavut until someone tells me otherwise :)

I like my Q&Q. I have subscribed off and on for years but always seem to come back to it. It's great for reviews and I like the fall & spring previews. The fall preview is where I found out about Mowat's newest book (can't remember the title right now). The man is 89 and still going strong... incredible. Ami McKay, Robert Wiersemsa and David Adams Richards all have new books coming out in the fall... can't wait!

Redigeret: jun 22, 2010, 10:16 am

I had never even heard of Q&Q, but will have to check it out now! I wonder if our uni. library gets it...

Looking at the map, it does look like it should be in Nunavut then. Good to know!

Thanks for the heads up on Eastern Passage pmarshal!

jun 22, 2010, 4:28 pm

I have some older issues (within the last year though)that I can send you if you want Bcteagirl. I hate throwing them out (recycling of course) but I just don't know anyone who would appreciate them (sad but true). Let me know and I will put them aside for you!

jun 22, 2010, 4:30 pm

That would be great! We seem to be sharing books, maybe put a few aside for me for the next time you send something? :)

jun 22, 2010, 4:53 pm

It will probably be awhile before I post anything new on bookmooch (damn library books keep coming in!) so if you want to drop me a private message with your address, I can get those out now. Plus, I think the stuff that you are looking for (Canadian authors) is the stuff that I am collecting too!

jun 22, 2010, 5:01 pm

Oh wait! You can trade magazines through BM? How did I not know that? D'oh! I will try to post them and reserve them (if I can figure it out!).

jun 22, 2010, 5:17 pm

Mooched! Thanks! :)

Redigeret: jun 22, 2010, 9:15 pm

Doesn't count for this challenge but I just finished The Authenticity Hoax by Canadian author Andrew Potter. I liked it overall. Potter is basically arguing against the notion of authenticity and claims that the whole thing kind of backfires on anyone who actively tries to search it out. So basically, the more disconnected we as a society become (disconnected from ourselves and from others around us), the more we are searching for some kind of authenticity to make life make sense again. Unfortunately, the more we search for it, the more distorted it becomes and the whole thing becomes a neverending cycle.

He looks at a variety of different areas like culture, politics & mass media to explain this notion and for the most part, he makes sense but I do think he goes off topic quite a bit which makes for a somewhat dense read at times. Overall, I liked it and will probably buy a copy at some point.

Redigeret: jun 22, 2010, 11:00 pm

And to continue my arctic theme, I just finished Death on the Barrens by Grinnell. I suppose this account happened in NWT but per my updated map, it's now well into Nunavut country so that is where I will put it.

I generally like books about arctic travel but this one was disappointing. I gave it 2 1/2 stars because I do see where the author was going with it but I just don't think he is a strong enough writer to pull it off. It's a true account of a doomed-from-the-start expedition up the Dubawnt River. I am still not sure why these men decided to do this (boredom perhaps?) but they were ill-equiped and just a little too cocky about it all. Predictably, it ends tragically for one member.

One redemning quality though is the beautiful art throughout. It adds an interesting element to the story.

jun 23, 2010, 12:08 am

Thanks for the review of Death on the Barrens.. I had wondered how good a book it was.

jun 23, 2010, 10:46 am

Good to hear that the Authenticity Hoax was a worth-while read. I had it in my hand at a bookstore once but decided not to buy it because I hadn't heard anything about it yet. And I just realized that I used Andrew Potter for an essay I wrote last year--either on George Grant or Charles Taylor (Malaise of Modernity), which would fit with the whole authenticity thing. Thanks for pointing out that book!

jun 23, 2010, 11:04 am

Death on the Barrens was an odd read, but I still find myself thinking about it. What struck me is just how many mistakes they had to make before things went deadly. My brother read it too and thought that Art was actually trying to commit suicide.

Redigeret: jun 23, 2010, 12:18 pm

I wanted to like it! I really think it would have been a much more interesting story if told by someone else. As is, it read more like a young kids diary. He spent a lot of time focussing on rather silly things (2 chapters about sugar?) and then glossed over the important stuff (Art's death).
I can totally see that being a suicide attempt. Never dawned on me before reading your comment but it does make a bit of sense. There was something off about Art wasn't there?

jun 23, 2010, 2:12 pm

I totally blame Art for the whole mess. The rest were just college guys of an age to pretty much do anything, but Art was supposed to be their leader. He was a leader who both refused to lead and refused to relinquish his role as the guy in charge.

jun 30, 2010, 8:24 pm

Just finished The Heart Specialist by Rothman and I really enjoyed. It's about a young woman living in Montreal at the turn-of-the-century who wants to become a doctor. This, of course, is during a time when women were slowly being admitted to medical schools but not all schools were willing to open their doors. She perseveres and eventually makes it but that is just the first of many challenges for her as she seeks recognition and acceptance throughout her lifetime. This looks like the first full novel by this author and I can't wait for more!

jul 1, 2010, 6:00 pm

I just finished one that doesn't count for this challenge because it takes place all over but it is written by a Canadian woman. It's called A History of Marriage by Abbott and it's really a somewhat concise overview of the historical basis for marriage and contemporary issues that affect marriage today (gay marriage, abuse etc). I was fascinated with it and 'rewarded' myself with a chapter after completing some type of housework (sad, I know but it's the only way to read AND get things done around the house!)

Overall, I really, really liked this book and look forward to reading the others in the series: A History of Celibacy and A History of Mistresses.

Redigeret: jul 5, 2010, 8:17 am

In the middle of reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Sacks, I walked by the shelf and Nikolski particularly jumped into my arms so I took a small break and read this one.

I am not even sure where to start. I liked and couldn't put it down but I have no idea why. It's one of those books that keeps you going and then afterwards you think "what was that?" It reminded me of Life of Pi even though it's nothing like it. I think the overall "good but hunh?" feeling was the connector.

So, I highly recommend it but don't ask me why :)

jul 5, 2010, 1:52 am

Heeheee.. interesting! I have The Life of Pi on my Canadian bookshelf (ok shelves) but have not read it yet either :P Still waiting for Nikolski to wing its way to me...

jul 20, 2010, 11:07 pm

What did you think about The Sad Truth About Happiness? I had not heard of this book before!

jul 21, 2010, 7:50 am

Truthfully? I really didn't like it. I believe the author is the daughter of Carol Shields (who I love) so maybe I was expecting bigger things from her.

jul 21, 2010, 9:24 am

I loved the Sad Truth About Happiness (except for the out of character trip to Quebec that the protagonist took--that was weird).

jul 21, 2010, 9:51 am

As someone else reviewed "Giardini's prose is beautiful, but the story itself becomes disjointed and almost unbelievable". I totally agree with that statement.

I do think she shows promise but she has some big shoes to fill. It will be interesting to see where her writing goes in the future.

jul 22, 2010, 11:17 pm

I believe Anne's working on her third book now. She's an amazing person and someone I really look up to as a role model. I'm certain that break-out book is coming...


jul 22, 2010, 11:31 pm

What a wonderful interview, thank you starfishian! :)

Redigeret: jan 9, 2011, 11:11 am

All right... you've convinced me to give her another try starfishian! I love finding new authors, especially Canadian ones, so I am loathe to just give up on someone.

I just finished one that doesn't count for this challenge but it's Canadian. Trade Mission by Pyper. Strange but good.

Redigeret: aug 9, 2011, 9:43 am

Finally! One I can count! I just finished Annabel by Winter and what can I say? I loved this book.

Firstly, Winter does a great job setting the scene. I have never actually been to Newfoundland or Labrador but I feel like I have walked down its streets and met its people. Secondly, the characters were real and likeable. She let's them tell the story and as a result it flowed well.

I find east coast literature in general tends to be quite dark but this one wasn't. Winter was able to take a difficult subject and put an interesting spin on it. She managed to keep the overall tone quite light without losing the seriousness of the story. You come out of the story feeling a sense of hope for Wayne/Annabel.

This one is definitely recommended

jul 26, 2010, 11:01 pm

I'm going to keep an eye out for Annabel. Sounds interesting!

Glad you'll keep an eye out for more by Anne. She's a great, great person. Truly.

jul 27, 2010, 7:10 am

Thanks for your review of Annabel. I've added this to my TBR pile.

Redigeret: aug 10, 2010, 10:51 pm

Madame Zee by Luke was great! I will admit, it was a little strange at times but overall I loved it.

Madame Zee is the fictionalized tale of Mabel Rowbotham, a real life British/Canadian woman who, after a fairly mundane life growing up in England and then becoming a school teacher in Saskachewan, shocked family and friends by becoming mistress to Brother XII, a cult leader in southern BC.

Growing up, Mabel always felt out of sorts with those around her. This started with the death of her sister and continued as she grew up and began experiencing psychic episodes (as the author points out, no one is sure how true the psychic part really is). Eventually she gravitated towards to the fringes and became co-leader of this cult.

The book is erotic at times (shocking for a well brought up woman at the turn of the century!), intriguing and quite compelling. I really enjoyed how Luke captured the overall attitudes of the time period from the horror of a teacher showing a child magic tricks (poor thing got fired for that stunt) to Zee's struggle with what exactly it meant to be a female at that point in history.

The story shows Madame Zee as she changes from Mabel, a naive young woman, to Madame Zee, an somewhat outspoken leader. I loved watching the progression and now, I kind of want to learn more about her.

Redigeret: aug 9, 2011, 9:42 am

My last province is PEI. The Catch by McCormack was very disappointing. The references to PEI were great but the story just never came together for me. I didn't much like the writing style and the plot was kind of dumb truth be told.

I will keep going because I love Canlit and enjoy seeing just what things take place. I am learning quite a bit about my fair country :)

Redigeret: aug 31, 2010, 7:56 pm

Bcteagirl, you can move The Outport People further up the pile because it is quite an interesting book and it's a quick easy read.

This chronicles a period of time when newlyweds Farley & Claire Mowat moved to Baleena, Newfoundland (quite literally in the middle of nowhere) and lived for 5 years while Farley wrote Never Cry Wolf and Claire tried to figure out the local customs. I think this might be the only book that Claire ever wrote which is sad because this is just as good as Farley's stuff.

ETA. No wait! She wrote others! I will have to make a trip to the library...

aug 31, 2010, 10:57 pm

I too just discovered Claire Mowat wrote a reasonable number of books. I am pages away from finishing Never Cry Wolf by Farley and collecting all I can find by him from cheap thrift shops. Today I came across The Girl From Away by Claire and it got me thinking I need a better strategy considering how much I have enjoyed the first two books and how many more I want to read... perhaps I should start read them chronologically? That or I just need to sleep less.

sep 4, 2010, 5:57 pm

Oooo she wrote more books?? That is great... of course it means adding to mount TBR :P

sep 4, 2010, 8:22 pm

I just found Travels with Farley by Claire Mowat today at a local second hand store (Along with much more by Farley). I also just found out about Pierre Berton... you Canadians... What else are you hiding?

sep 4, 2010, 9:06 pm

Well, if you haven't checked out Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe stuff, you are in for a treat. Try the audio though because he reads his own stuff and it just makes the story.

sep 4, 2010, 9:35 pm

Second that!!

sep 6, 2010, 2:49 pm

ahh finally someone I already know. I did just add three more shelves to the bookcase but I don't need them all till fill up straight away!

Redigeret: aug 9, 2011, 9:41 am

I am not even sure where to start. I liked and couldn't put it down but I have no idea why. It's one of those books that keeps you going and then afterwards you think "what was that?"

This is what I wrote for Nikolski by Dickner and oddly enough, I feel exactly the same way about Apocalypse for Beginners. It's a strange yet compelling story and one that I just couldn't put down. I would say, overall, that I enjoyed Nikolski slightly better but both are good.

dec 19, 2010, 11:45 am

I just looked up that book (Apocalypse).. I am going to have to add that one to my wishlist right now, it sounds great! :P

dec 19, 2010, 6:57 pm

I still can't get the touchstone to work for Apocalypse. Weird...

Just finished Lullabies for Little Criminals by O'Neill. I am not sure I have ever read a book that made me feel that uncomfortable but yet completely hooked me at the same time. It's not a happy book by any means but the underlying innocence of the main character made me keep reading because I just wanted her to have a happy ending.

Now that my courses are done for this term (well almost done.. I was sick with bronchitis and missed my last exam), I am catching up on all the reading that I haven't been able to do since September. Talk about withdrawal!! I seem to have quite a few Canadian novels out of the library right now so we will see how many I get through this week.

dec 19, 2010, 10:22 pm

Heehee... I have been catching up on reading as well, and was 'lucky' enough to catch my cough on the plane home rather than during classes. I hope you feel better soon!

dec 23, 2010, 12:13 pm

I have Lullabies for Little Criminals on my shelf and plan to read it soon.

dec 23, 2010, 2:27 pm

It's not an easy read by any means but its totally worth it. Hope you enjoy!

jan 9, 2011, 11:17 am

Just finished King Leary by Quarrington and I loved it. It's basically about an old hockey player looking back over his life and analysing his relationships with his teammates, wife and sons. I knew I liked Quarrington's writing style! And as an added bonus, I just realised that this book is on the Stephen Harper list.

jan 9, 2011, 1:44 pm

I was going to say! I bought this book when it was on sale for the Stephen Harper Reading Challenge, and am glad that you are liking it! :)

jun 12, 2011, 9:06 am

I have another Quebec title to add to the fray. Dogs at the Perimeter by Thien is her second full novel and I quite enjoyed it. It's really a novel about people who witnessed horrific things in their lifes and now they are trying to make sense of everything and re-connect with lost loved ones. Very well written.

Next up is Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul by Richards and then The Blue Light Project by Taylor. One coast to the other!

jun 18, 2011, 11:37 pm

I just love David Adams Richards (the few that I have read) and this one is no exception. Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul is about the murder of a native Indian in New Brunswick and the book tells of the investigation that follows. It flips from 1985, when the incident occurred, to 2006 when the murder is finally solved.

Now on the west coast...

jun 19, 2011, 3:56 pm

Sounds like an interesting book!

Redigeret: jul 18, 2011, 10:48 pm

There's a Seal in My Sleeping Bag by Hancock was quite good. It's a non-fiction book about a couple who study birds (and other things) up and down the BC coast. Anyone who has a pet seal named Sam has to be interesting right? :)

jul 18, 2011, 10:48 pm

Barnacle Love by De Sa started off really, really good and then it lost momentum about half way through. I really liked the story of how Manuel got to Canada but then once he got married, the story just fell apart. I was very disappointed in the ending.

jul 18, 2011, 11:46 pm

#91 - I hate that! And I especially hate it because I have Barnacle Love in my TBR pile.

I used to have a real thing about only being able to read 3/4 of a book. I think all through the 1990s, I only finished a fraction of the books I'd start. It would all go fine in the beginning, and then bog down half way through, and then at the three-quarter point I just couldn't do it anymore. I think I have more motivation to finish now because I look at it as a personal competition. I get a satisfaction of recording a book as "read" and checking it off my TBR list. Right now I'm almost finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I think I would have abandoned half-way through way back when. But now I'm sticking with it so I can say I read it. Not sure which approach is better.

jul 19, 2011, 7:49 am

I am glad I finished BL as I did enjoy it overall but the second half was almost like reading a different book. It was very strange!

I tend to force myself to finish most books and on occasion, I have been pleasantly surprised but for the most part, I finish and just feel like I wasted time that could have been spent doing something much more interesting. I stick with it because I really want to find those gems but is it worth it? Probably not.

aug 6, 2011, 9:19 pm

While I don't have the seal book, I do have There's a Raccoon in my Parka by the same author in my TBR pile. So will watch for the seal one now :P

aug 7, 2011, 8:10 pm

94 - My in-laws borrowed it but if it gets returned, I will put it aside for you. It's a cute book!

aug 9, 2011, 9:40 am

I am 2/3 of the way through Richard's Miramichi trilogy and I am enjoying them so far. The writing style takes a little getting used to and there are a lot of characters to keep track of but I love the way each character seems to come to life as I progress through.

The second book Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace focuses on Cindi who, in the first book Nights Below Station Street, came across as a wimpy forgetable person, but now, in the second story, she comes to life and you realise that there is much more to her.

I don't know what it is about Richards but I have enjoyed all the ones I have read so far (Mercy Among the Children is my fave). I'd be a few days before I can get to the last book but hopefully its good too.

aug 14, 2011, 8:39 pm

For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down by Richards is the third in the trilogy and by far my favourite. I love seeing the characters progress.

aug 15, 2011, 11:11 pm

I was really surprised to see so many negative reviews of The Sentimentalists by Skibsrud because I loved it. It reminded me of On Golden Pond for some reason (Henry.. Henry Fonda perhaps?). I thought it was well-written and engrossing. I finished it in an evening.

aug 23, 2011, 5:56 pm

95: I found a hardcover copy! :)
96: Why is it that I did not realize Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace was part of a series? I have Nights Below Station Street, I may have to dig it out now!

aug 23, 2011, 8:18 pm

If you want the third one, let me know and I will save it for you. Each one can stand on its own but they also build on each other (particularly character development).

aug 31, 2011, 11:01 pm

I swear I was destined to read Generica by Ferguson. Years ago, I got a freebie copy of a book called Happiness. I tried to read it but just couldn't get into it so it ended up being donated somewhere. Last year, I was on the hunt for a book with a similar title (Guernica) and bought this one in error. I soon realised my error but since this one looked interesting, I kept it.

I just finished reading it and now realise that I have come full circle. And can I tell you? I laughed myself silly. This book is a total spoof on all that is wrong with the world today. It was like Douglas Adams meets Office Space. Loved it.

It's not set in Canada so I can't add it here but the author is Canadian so he gets an honourable mention.

sep 10, 2011, 10:02 am

Eunoia by Bok is not set in Canada but it is by a Canadian author and it's the neatest little book. I saw a comment in a review that said something along the lines of "even for those who don't like poetry, they will appreciate this book" and I totally agree. Bok celebrates words and as someone who loves words and word games, this was a treat. The first five chapters are called A, E, I O & U and only that vowel appears anywhere in that chapter. And even then, he rarely repeats words. He also included a few other things like poems etc at the end and while interesting, I didn't like them near as much.

Redigeret: okt 23, 2011, 11:02 am

I just finished Shelterby Frances Greenslade and really enjoyed it. It's a sad book. Two sisters lose their father and then their mother runs off leaving them with a family friend. They basically spend the novel trying to deal with their situation and make sense of it all. It takes place in Northern BC (Williams Lake area) and the author does a good job describing each place so you can almost imagine being there.

Redigeret: jan 8, 2012, 10:15 am

Requiem by Itani is a beautiful novel. Bin is a Japanese Canadian who grew up during the war and was moved to an internment camp in BC. It's now 50 years later and he still hasn't come to terms with his life and all the things that happened to him while growing up so he decides to make a pilgrimage from Ontario to BC to try to make peace. As he drives, he reflects on his past so most of the novel is set during war time. Itani is fastly becoming one of my favourite authors.

jan 8, 2012, 10:17 am

Two great books written by Canadian authors (but set elsewhere) are Sisters Brothers - an anti-western western and Half-Blood Blues - a WWII book about a jazz combo.

Redigeret: jan 1, 2013, 12:26 pm

Fault Lines by Huston is a great book. I included it under Ontario because it was partially set in Toronto but really, it jumps around from California to Germany. It is written in the voices of four generations of a family starting in the present and working back. There are certain aspects brought up that seem rather benign at first but then when you read the next person's back story, it makes more sense. Very well done and highly recommended.

feb 4, 2012, 8:23 pm

Tell it to the Trees by Badami is quite good. I just finished We Need to Talk About Kevin and found the themes to be somewhat similar (dysfunctional kids). This is the story of an Indian woman who comes to Canada to be second wife to a Canadian man and finds herself trapped in Northern Canada with two kids and an abusive marriage. She befriends a tenant who rents a small cottage behind the house but then the tenant dies under suspicious circumstances so the novel is really a passage back in time to see the events that lead up to this tragedy. You get to see things from various points-of-view including the children which I found quite interesting.

I loved Tamarind Mem and found this one to be just as good. I have her other two on the shelf so perhaps it's time to move them up the pile.

feb 11, 2012, 2:01 pm

Not really set in Canada (although there are parts about Vancouver), Something Fierce by Aguirre is written by a Canadian born Chilean growing up in various place in South America. This is a great memoir about a young girl with revolutionary parents who are fighting for the right to return to their homeland. I was reading it when it won Canada Reads this year so yah me for being ahead of the game for once!

feb 12, 2012, 4:08 pm

Just catching up on your thread, after some time away from this group. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Requiem and Shelter. They're both on my TBR list for this year, and I'm planning to read Something Fierce too, after hearing so many good things about it.

feb 12, 2012, 4:09 pm

Just catching up in our thread now... I have started trying to read more Canadian poetry and recently put Eunoia on my wishlist, so I am glad to see that you enjoyed it! :)

mar 17, 2012, 2:38 pm

Touch by Zentner is a wonderful novel. It is a kind of fictionalised chronicle of a family growing up in northern Canada (the works page says BC so I am going with that but it never really states exactly where it is set) and it details all the legends and stories that follow a family through the generations. It is remarkably uplifting despite the fact that there is a lot of death in the novel. Very well done.

I also finished Motorcycles & Sweetgrass by Taylor. I liked it and found it to be somewhat similar to Touch even though they are vastly different books. It is a much lighter read but it has a lot of the spiritual/mystical elements. Who doesn't like ghosts in their fiction? :)

mar 18, 2012, 10:41 am

Continuing my Canadiana kick, I read Bride of New France by Desrochers. Interesting premise but the book was definitely lacking depth. It is about a young french woman who comes to Canada to be married off to a colonist. The historical parts were interesting but the story was rather flat and the characters one-dimensional. I never really engaged with any of it.

But I made up for it by then reading The Virgin Cure by Mckay. The main character is also a young girl named Moth who, through a series of interesting turns, ends up at a boarding house of sorts. The prevaling notion at the time was that sleeping with a virgin will cure a man of all that ails him hence 'the virgin cure' and this house is where young women are groomed and basically sold to the highest bidder. It is here that she meets a variety of people like Dr Sadie (a young female doctor who practices against the odds) who make her question who she is and what is it that she really wants from life. Very well done.

mar 18, 2012, 11:52 pm

112 - I don't think I could read The Virgin Cure, because it would make me too angry.

mar 19, 2012, 12:16 pm

It did make me angry but I think McKay took a somewhat light-hearted approach to a difficult subject so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. She used a very sympathetic female doctor who worked hard to protect these women (and encourage them to leave) so it really balanced things out. There were indeed some uncomfortable moments but overall, it was well done.

mar 20, 2012, 10:42 am

Catching up. I do have to tell you that I hated Fault Lines. I thought it was smug and relied on stereotypes. I guess if we all agreed on every book, publishers would have to release only a few books each year!

mar 20, 2012, 12:20 pm

I am always amazed when people have really different reactions to the same book. I think its really neat to see what people take away from things and how much we all differ sometimes. You are right, if we all liked the same things, the world would be a boring place!

mar 23, 2012, 6:05 pm

Not set in Canada but by a Canadian author (at least, he lives here so I am assuming he is Canadian) - The Cat's Table by Ondaatje. I tried for years to get through The English Patient and finally did this year (and actually quite enjoyed it this time around) so I was a little apprehensive about trying another one by him. But this story was really intriguing and I read it through in one sitting. It takes place on a boat en route from India to England. The main characters are three young boys who meet at the Cat's Table (a table of misfits) and spend their time aboard spying on others, getting into trouble and becoming acquainted with some of the other weird and wonderful passengers on board.

It really illustrates the notion that throughout ones life, we encounter a host of people, good and bad, who shape us in different ways. Some people enter and leave quickly while others stay on and become good friends but each one plays an important part in who we are.

mar 24, 2012, 10:04 am

Ondaatje is in fact Canadian.

A lot of people have been saying that The Cat's Table is the best thing he's done in years -- even critics who have hated his recent novels said they liked this one.

mar 24, 2012, 10:16 am

#117 what a relief - it's my book club's pick. I had real trouble reading In the Skin of a Lion and I'm plodding through Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, so I was rather dreading this next book. Nice to know I'm in for a treat!

mar 24, 2012, 10:22 am

118 - thanks!

119 - I found this one very accessible and now from some of the reviews I have read, it looks like many others feel the same way.

mar 24, 2012, 12:44 pm

A lot of people have been saying that The Cat's Table is the best thing he's done in years -- even critics who have hated his recent novels said they liked this one.

Good to hear. I adored Anil's Ghost, but I haven't been interested in anything he's come out with since. I am patiently waiting for The Cat's Table to come out in softcover.

mar 28, 2012, 7:20 pm

I got The Cat's Tail as a gift from my inlaws at Christmas this certainly makes me more likely to pick it up in the near future

aug 5, 2012, 6:02 pm

Just finished Maclean by Donaldson and liked it. It's set in New Brunswick and is about a man who, twenty five years later, is still struggling with his experiences from the Great War. It's basically a 'day-in-the-life' kind of thing. He wakes up one morning and realises that he needs some money to buy his mother a birthday present. As the day progresses and he tries to figure out where to get money, he reminsces about his time as a soldier.

The only nitpicky detail I have is that the publisher used Canadian spelling for 99% of it and then used 'jewelry' twice. Really? When you are a small Canadian press relying on grants from the Canadian government, perhaps you should use a Canadian dictionary when spell checking. Just sayin'... (can you tell this is a big pet peeve of mine?)

Redigeret: aug 19, 2012, 2:48 pm

I just finished That Reminds Me by Kurc. This one has been around for eons so I figured it was about time that I read it. It's a collection of short vignettes - some funny and some not so funny. It was published in 1990 so some of the authors were ones I had to look up but there are entries from Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Joy Fielding.

sep 24, 2012, 10:47 am

Oh Munro... how I love thee short stories. Runaway is just as awesome as your others.

mar 12, 2013, 8:20 am

Elizabeth and After by Cohen. I can't say I was impressed with this one. It was an interesting story but it was one of those books that you put down afterwards and wonder what it was even really about. There were two streams going; before Elizabeth died and then after. It basically chronicles life in a smalltown and highlights how much fun it is to live in a fish bowl so maybe that is why I didn't connect (city mouse that I am).

mar 12, 2013, 9:23 am

Was interested by the remarks on THE AUTHENTICITY HOAX. That Author's logic is a curious parallel to this discussion, though, having offered that bit a gentle pessimism, I find myself jumping in anyway. We need need more fiction abiout as much as we need a new tax, but since thery're already there, let me say a good word for Ontario's WACOUSTA (John Ricahrdson) though much of it happens in what is now Michigan. For PEI, there's my own HARMONY JUNCTION. But for non-fiction, there is the incomparable memoir THE MASTER'S WIFE, by Sir Andrew MacPhail. O yeah: back to BC, there's THE GOLDEN SPRUCE.

mar 17, 2013, 10:26 pm

You will have to wander over to the PEI thread and add your book there. We don't have too many selections there so new titles are always welcome!

I read How Should a Person Be? today (set in Ontario) and I am mixed. It is definitely not my type of book - I am not a fan of the whole stream-of-consciousness thing and while I am certainly not a prude, I found this one to be a little over the top (having a Nazi crap on you in a dumpster? Seriously.. who thinks that kind of thing up?) But I will admit, I was vaguely compelled to finish it and in the end, I found it to be an okay read. The characters irritated me with all their 'who am I?' and 'why do we exist?' ramblings but there was a small thread in there that I found I could relate too. It's kind of like seeing a child's finger painting hanging in an art gallery and alternating between laughing at the absurdity of it all and not being able to take your eyes off it because it continually draws you in.

mar 23, 2013, 4:57 pm

February by Moore. Another awesome book. This is a fictionalised account of an oil rig that went down in Newfoundland in the 80's. It looks at a young mother who lost her husband and it flips back and forth from life before the accident and life afterwards as she tries to rebuild. Very well done.

Redigeret: mar 25, 2013, 12:11 pm

Harmony Junction is a new one to me, I will keep my eyes open! Good to hear that you liked February buketyell.

Redigeret: jun 21, 2013, 8:53 pm

The Empty Room by Davis. Read only because I loved Our Daily Bread and wanted to read more of this author - loved it! I think had I have known the topic beforehand, I would have passed on it (just lost an aunt to alcoholism) but I am so glad that I didn't. This is basically a day-in-the-life of someone who is just starting to realise that they have a problem. The chapters jump back and forth between what is happening today and key events that occurred before that lead to today. Very well done (and sad... I have lost way too many people to this disease).

jul 21, 2013, 8:29 pm

Caught by Moore. Not my favourite of hers but enjoyable. Starts in Newfoundland, travels across Canada to BC, down to Columbia and then back to Newfoundland.. a true Cross Canada adventure!

aug 7, 2013, 11:53 am

Small Ceremonies by Shields. This was her first book about a new author trying to find herself. Well done.

aug 10, 2013, 10:35 am

The Box Garden by Shields. This is a sorta sequel (or parallel novel) to Small Ceremonies. They are each written from the point-of-view of a McNinn sister but cover different events. This one was about a divorced woman who is trying to find the strength to love again while she attends her mother's second wedding. Very well done. I have read a lot of Shields' latter stuff but these first two novels are just as good.

aug 11, 2013, 9:00 am

The Bull is Not Killed by Dearing. Part history and part love story (with a little fraud thrown in for good measure). Canadian author but the story is set in Portugal.

aug 20, 2013, 9:04 am

A Celibate Season by Shields/Howard. What a neat book! These two great authors decided to collaborate and write a book of letters between a husband and wife separated by her job. It was written a few years ago in a time before email and cheap cross-Canada phone rates. It chronicles the six-month separation of a stay-at-home dad, who is taking writing classes and trying to find challenging work as an architect, and a career-minded lawyer who gets a temp gig in Ottawa.

aug 20, 2013, 3:59 pm

I enjoyed A Celibate Season as well, but I am a sucker for epistolary stories. Nothing specataular about the ordinary people, but that was always Shields specialty. And quite a reminder of how much life has changed in 30 years.

aug 25, 2013, 9:02 am

Turtle Valley by Anderson-Dargatz. I got this book six years ago as an ARC and I know over the years I have tried a few times to read it but with no success. I love this author but for whatever reason, this one never grabbed me. This year I am trying to read the stuff that has been on my shelves the longest so I pressed on and finished this one finally. And loved it! Part of my earlier reluctance could be that this is a much darker story than her others.

The story takes place in BC and there a forest fire bearing down on Turtle Valley where Katrine has returned home to help her parents pack and evacuate. In the middle of the preparations, she realises that her past was not exactly what she thought and she starts to uncover family secrets that her family thought had been buried forever. The story has just about everything in it - mystery, drama, romance....

aug 25, 2013, 9:04 am

137 - that is the reason why I love her writing so much. She has the ability to write about normal, average people in such a fascinating way. The story pulls you in from the get-go and you don't want it to stop.

aug 28, 2013, 9:18 pm

Falling Angels by Gowdy. And continuing my run of dysfunctional family novels.... this one tops the list so far. Just when you think you have everyone figured out, they turn out to be more horrible than you thought.

Redigeret: sep 8, 2013, 6:22 pm

Going Home Again by Bock. I seem to have all of Bock's previous books on my TBR shelf but for whatever reason, never read any of them. He is one the many authors that I am convinced I will enjoy but have never actually read until now. Fortunately, I did enjoy this one so now maybe I will get to the rest!

This one has a lot going on in it but it is basically about a man who is separating from his wife and struggling to figure things out. His estranged brother comes back into his life and he seems to have finally grown up a little bit. His daughter is living in Madrid with mom and her new boyfriend, which is a bitter pill to swallow since his business takes him back to Toronto. And an ex-girlfriend walks back into his life and brings back memories of a tragic event that occurred many years before.

The transitioning from present to past was a little jarring at times but other than that, I enjoyed it

sep 18, 2013, 10:01 am

A Bird's Eye by Fagan. Good book but way too short. It rather reminded me of a super condensed version of Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

okt 5, 2013, 6:41 pm

Minister Without Portfolio by Winter. Awesome writer but meh story. I'm afraid I lost interest half way through and had to force myself to finish.

okt 6, 2013, 7:24 pm

Throwaway Daughter by Ye. Not something I would have normally picked up but I needed a 'Y' author for a challenge and found this YA book. Not a bad story - interesting and enjoyable.

okt 8, 2013, 8:45 pm

Kicking the Sky by De Sa. Awesome book! I was curious after reading Barnacle Love - the writing was good but the story was rather odd and disjointed. This one came together nicely.

okt 14, 2013, 12:57 pm

Emancipation Day by Grady. I really liked this one. I think it struck a cord as my first marriage was interracial and I always joked with my ex-husband that he was the whitest Trinny I knew. The book is about a black family who give birth to a very light-skinned baby and it looks at how they each react to this.

okt 17, 2013, 1:02 pm

Son of a Certain Woman by Johnston. This was quite the weird and wonderful trip! Religion, homosexuality, scandal.... everything one wants in a book all rolled into one. Now to finally read some of his stuff...

okt 17, 2013, 10:58 pm

1982 by Ghomeshi. What a cool blast from the past! I grew up not far from him so his ramblings about Thornhill, ON were quite familiar. And of course New Wave is the BEST kind of music so loved hearing about all the bands I grew up listening to.

jun 29, 2014, 9:58 am

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by O'Neill - like her last one, sad and depressing yet filled with hope.

sep 14, 2014, 1:44 pm

Sweetland by Crummey. Moses Sweetland is a resident of a remote Newfoundland community and the lone holdout when the government offers everyone a re-settlement package. Crummey offers another raw look at human nature, madness and the need to belong somewhere.

okt 6, 2014, 10:53 am

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Viswanathan. I wanted to like this book. She has a wonderful way of connecting words and describing things but the story itself meandered all over the place, there were way too many characters being introduced and her obvious anger bled through everywhere. This is a novel about a psychologist who returns to Canada to interview families who lost loved ones in the Air India bombing for a book he is writing. It focuses on one family in particular and shows how, many years later, they are still impacted by that fateful day. The author uses this as a platform to express her anger and frustration at the Canadian government and how they handled the affair. She seems to be pissed off at everyone and this ruined the book for me.

okt 7, 2014, 8:15 pm

My October by Rothman. Awesome book. It is 30 years after the FLQ crisis and the family is still feeling the aftereffects in Montreal.

okt 8, 2014, 10:07 pm

Walt by Wangersky is one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read. Highly recommended.