Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Happy Canada Day!!! and Canadian Challenge 2 Wrap-Up

Happy Canada Day!!! July 1 is our national day, a holiday from coast to coast. Here in Ottawa we have a huge party on Parliament Hill, which I wrote about last year, here. This year, my husband isn't feeling very well, so we are staying close to home. We were going to go back to the Dinosaur Museum (which everyone who lives here calls the National Museum of Natural History), but this time we are going to a park nearby, Andrew Haydon Park, where there are rides and games and fun for everyone. As I'm doing this post before we head out because storms are expected later (and you know me and lightning.....) I'll add pictures later. We are all, by the way, wearing red again! Wherever you are, enjoy July 1!!

In keeping with today's theme, I thought I would wrap up the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? and review a Canadian book, my last for the challenge. I'm so patriotic, aren't I?

Well, bad me. The Canadian Challenge 2 Eh? is over, and I read 3 out of 13 books for the challenge. So not so patriotic after all!! John at The Book Mine Set hosted this one for the second straight here, and his wrap-up is here. I was supposed to read 13 books by Charles de Lint. I read The Blue Girl, Wolf Moon, and The Dreaming Place. I haven't reviewed The Dreaming Place yet, so here is a quick review, as it was the best one out of the three, and a very good story.

The Dreaming Place was read for both Carl's Once Upon a Time 3 Challenge, as well as the Canadian Challenge 2 Eh? I was really hoping it would be better than The Blue Girl, which I reviewed here, and I am happy to say it is. The Dreaming Place is a young-adult novel about two cousins, Nina and Ash. Ash has come to live with her cousin after her mother has died. Ash is angry, and being stalked by a mysterious man. Nina has hippie parents, including a half-Native father, and this is important later in the book. Nina is unknowingly learning how to shape shift into the bodies of different animals. However, this is done through dreams, and she cannot control it. When she goes into a coma because she is trapped by a spirit - a manitou in the dream world, only Ash is able to go save her. Ash's negative emotions drew the spirit's attention, but Nina also has a link through her father to the manitou, that must be broken to save Nina. I really liked too, how Ash learns about her anger, and that she has choices.

This is a beautiful story. Nina and Ash, Cassie, the manitou, Nina's parents, all the secondary characters, are all well-drawn, believable. The dialogue is very good (if a bit dated by references to Debbie Gibson, and the Beauty and the Beast tv show!), realistic and concise - these people are talking to each other. I loved it. This is Charles at his best. The travelling in time and space, the use of Aboriginal mythology, the shape-shifting, the magic fo the shaman - these are all accurate. I say this because I have some knowledge of Aboriginal spirituality.

This is a story about the Manitou, the Native American spirits who live in the spirit world but can tap into ours, and how dangerous it is to play at religion. There are spirits all around, and the characters - all of them - come to understand that any promise to the spirits, in whatever form it takes - prayer, ritual, playing with one's heritage - does have a price. Knowing and honouring the path one follows is one thing, but making promises without knowing the cost, is another.

The Dreaming Place is one of Charles' older books, and in it I can see the beginning of his combining of Native American and Celtic mythology into one spirit world. The danger is the same - time moves differently, manitous and faeries can't be trusted, and the spirits of the dead wander here.

This book is 4.8 out of 5. I would make it five if it were longer! A very good book.

So another challenge not completed. And I plan on entering the third round of this challenge! I refuse to give up, I will get to 13 Canadian books read in a year! I have some books already lined up: Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson (thank you Chris at Book-a-rama for your review!), Tanya Huff - (at least three to catch up on some of her series), Kelly Armstrong (same), and more Charles de Lint, since the one book I really wanted to read, Forests of the Heart, I didn't get to. Plus, since I have Canadian history books to read for the Classics by 19th Century Women Challenge - A Gentlewoman in Upper Canada by Anne Langton, Winter Studies and Summer Rambles by Anna Brownell Jameson, - and I want to read Three Day Road and possibly Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden, I think I have a better chance this coming year of succeeding. Anyway, I plan to!!!

Have a very Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadian book bloggers, and enjoy this day wherever you are in the world. Happy Reading!


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, The Dreaming Place sounds a very interesting read, I had not heard of it before, but will have a look for it in the library.
Thanks for dropping by my blog.
It certainly sounds as if you had some interesting travels in Britain, love the photo from York, a great place, so much history. It must have been a great experience living in Britain.

Susan said...

Book-pusher: I hope you can find it in your library. Let me know if you can't.

And your blog is a pleasure! I read some of the earlier posts and was having so much fun reading them!!! We do like many of the same kinds of books.

It was one of the best times of my life to live over there. I'm really glad (for many reasons, like marrying my husband!) that I took that chance. The kids really enjoyed our trip this past Christmas, especially as -other than spending time with their grandparents - they now recognize London scenes, in Dr Who and other movies! lol they both want to go back very soon. Have you ever been?

DesLily said...

(late as usual) I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday! looking forward to the photos!

Julia Smith said...

Happy Canada Day a few days late, fellow Canadian!

Hope you had a great day celebrating. I enjoyed your review of The Dreaming Place. I know what you mean about book challenges. I started Dewey's Book Challenge and thought 6 books in a year was do-able. Meanwhile, I'm only on the 2nd book. I have a lot of other reading to do that pushes my own reading back all the time. Ah, well - I've still got half a year!

If you like memes and feel like doing one...Tag! You're it!

Susan said...

Deslily: Happy Independence Day to you!!! I hope you're enjoying the Florida celebrations :-D

Julia: I'll come see what meme you tagged me with, thanks! meanwhile, wasn't July 1 a very fun day? Except I came home with a cold, even though we weren't out late! And it's been cloudy/rain/now cold ever since....if summer's here, it's not here! Hope things are improving soon down east for you too....

Kailana said...

I'm late, but Happy Canada Day!

Susan said...

Kailana: To you, too! I'll come visit your blog soon, I'm so far behind these days......

Jodie said...

I enjoyed your review of The Dreaming Place - I'm not sure I'll go out and buy it (because I really need not to buy so many books) but I will certainly read it if I happen across it! I think you will love Forests of the Heart.

I really liked Monkey Beach - there was supposed to be a film being made, but I don't know if anything came of it...