Monday, 10 August 2009

The Winter Sea - another Canadian book finished! and Canadian Book Meme

"Romantic Beach Read by Canadian Author" I think sums up The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. I did think it had nice touches: the main character, Carolyn McClelland, is a writer, who goes to a distant Scottish town to visit her agent, and ends up in the very small village of Cruden, where she spends the winter writing what becomes the memories of her ancestor who once lived there during the Jacobite uprising of 1708. The history is well-done, and the story flips back and forth gently between the present time with Carrie and her writing, and the main story, which is the story she is writing of Sophia Paterson and John Moray. I have only been to Edinburgh, and very much one day would like to visit the rest of Scotland. So I read this book partly for the wintry Scottish atmosphere by the sea (the book IS titled The Winter Sea!) and partly because it was by a Canadian author, and because it is the book for my friend's bookclub meeting tonight, to which I am invited to attend.

To be fair, I read The Winter Sea in under 24 hours, and it is a light read - perfect for the beach, engaging, two love stories, fun characters - I like John Moray! and Graham Keith, and his uncle, and the older Jimmie Keith, plus Carrie and Sophia, and the Countess....there is political intrigue, but as Carrie is only a witness to the events leading up to the Jacobite uprising and its aftermath - it wasn't successful, as King James wasn't returned to the Scottish throne then - it surrounds and cushions the love story. I still and always will think Sophia's choice at the end of the book was the wrong one, but then I am speaking as a mother. I won't say here, so as to not spoil the plot. I do not often read romances because I read my fill when I was a teenager, but once in a while I am in the mood to read one, and this one was perfect for this very hot day. It is a very well-written book, fast-paced, and the characters are intelligent, and the setting beautiful, and the dialogue is good. So for anyone looking for a sweet beach read, this is a very good book to spend your time with.

And that's my second book read for the Canadian Challenge 3!!!

In honour of the Canadian Challenge, John at The Book Mine Set, the host of the Canadian Challenge, posted here on Aug 1 for all challengers to do. I found this via Kailana at The Written World, here. It is a challenge about Canadian books! So, to prove that I have not been an all bad-Canadian reader and have read some Canadian books, I accept the challenge (sound of gauntlet being thrown down):

Your Favourites:

1. Favourite Canadian author?
Yikes. So many: Kathy Reichs, Thomas King, Charles de Lint, Tanya Huff, Louise Penny, Guy Gavriel Kay, Giles Blunt, L.M. Montgomery, Kelley Armstrong.....

2. Favourite Canadian novel?
tie: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

3. Favourite Canadian nonfiction? Fear of Frying - James Barber (cookbook); Some Canadian Ghosts - Sheila Hervey (first read when I was 10, and scared me so much that I got goosebumps! Still has that effect on me); Never Cry Wolf - Farley Mowat; The Whale Watcher's Handbook - Erich Hoyt; A History of Reading - Alberto Manguel

4. Favourite Canadian picture book? ? None come to mind, I'm sad to say.

5. Favourite Canadian YA or juvenile chapter book?
Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery

6. Favourite Canadian science fiction or fantasy book?
1)Moonheart; 2) Dreams Underfoot, by Charles de Lint; the Fionavar Tapestry (3 books) by Guy Gavriel Kay; Summon the Keeper - Tanya Huff

7. Favourite Canadian romantic fiction?
The Emerald Necklace - Victoria Sheringham

8. Favourite Canadian mystery?
Uh-oh - so many to chose from.....I can't go with one book, it has to be a series. It would have to be Giles Blunt's John Cardinal series. The first one, Forty Words for Sorrow, is one I gave to everyone the year I read it. There are 4 now in the series, and my mother and I are waiting breathlessly for the next one to come out.

9. Favourite Canadian graphic novel?
Do we write them?

10. Favourite Canadian book blog?
Kailana, Raidergirl3, BookZombie, John himself (see link above).

11. Favourite Canadian fictional character?
Anne Shirley (childhood), Detective John Cardinal, RCMP Staff Sargeant Karl Ahlberg, any main character by Charles de Lint EXCEPT Imogene (but I still like her!), Emily Starr

12. Favourite movie based on a Canadian novel or story?
The English Patient (based on Michael Oondatje's book of the same name)

13. Favourite Canadian short story?
I'm going to cheat here. I don't have one favourite story, but my favourite short story collection is Dreams Underfoot, by Charles de Lint. I fell in love with Newford, and with so many characters and themes that he went on to write about; they all have their germination here. This is his first short-story collection based in Newford. There is an incredible array of stories here, from sad, to fantastical, to horror. This just builds and builds until Newford rises from the pages.

14. Favourite Canadian poet?
I hadn't read any since my university courses until lately when I picked up Don McKay's book, so it isn't fair to answer this yet. I know a local poet, Rob Mclellan, whose work I like.

15. Favourite Canadian poem?
The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert Service. Link here to an online copy of it.

16. Favourite Canadian play?
Dry Lips Outa Move to Kapuskasing - Thomson Highway (I saw a Canadian Native production of this play in the mid-90's, starring Graham Greene, one of our most famous native actors. Very very funny and heartbreaking, too, as is anything by Thomson Highway)

17. Favourite novel by an established Canadian author?
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (a book I reread every decade. The heroine is a writer, and it's a lovely book about growing up in Canada and finding one's voice); Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery (because Anne is my heroine!); The Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood;

18. Favourite novel by an up-and-coming Canadian author?
I just don't know any; I am making an attempt to read newer Canadian fiction now.

19. Favourite Canadian book award?
Giller Prize

20. Favourite Canadian publisher? It was McLelland and Stewart!

21. Favourite Canadian humorous book? tie - The Boat Who Wouldn't Float - Farley Mowat, and How to Be Canadian - Will and Ian Ferguson

22. Favourite Canadian newspaper? The Ottawa Citizen

23. Favourite Canadian magazine or journal? Canadian Living

24. Favourite Canadian dystopian novel? I haven't read any. I don't like this kind of fiction!

25. Favourite Canadian epistolary novel?
Annes' House of Dreams - L.M. Montgomery

So that's it. Not bad, I just have a lot of Canadian books to catch up on reading!


Table Talk said...

I am always amazed by the number of superb writers that Canada has produced very quietly without making much of a song and dance about it. I think it should be shouted from the rooftops. My own favourite, unfortunately, publishes all too infrequently and that's Ann Marie MacDonald. I thought 'The WAy the Crow Flies' was superb.

Bybee said...

You're doing so well! I loved your meme...a lot of them I couldn't answer but I do have a favorite children's picture book: Fifty(?) Below Zero by Robert Munsch.
My Canadian book pile is coming along slowly but surely. I'll be so happy when I finally get to 13!

Susan said...

Table Talk: I haven't read The Way the Crow Flies, or anything by her yet! she has a new one out, The Winter Vault I think it's called.

Thanks for wanting to shout us out! It's so not in the Canadian character - I think we prefer others to do the shouting for us, because we're always aware that we're only part of the whole world, and maybe we're not that good in the world's eyes!

Bybee: Robert Munsch is such a popular children's author! We have several of his books. Unfortunately, my kids prefer Thomas the Tank Engine, and dinosaur books by Jane Yolen!! lol neither of whom are Canadian. I'll come check and see how your Canadian books to be read list is doing....

Table Talk said...

Susan, I wish! 'The Winter Vault' is Anne Michaels new book. Mind you, that is brilliant. There's a review on my blog somewhere recently.

Susan said...

I've only just heard of it, but then again, new Canadian fiction doesn't always come to my mind each year, as it did when I worked in bookstores! I'll have to try her sometime - I will look for The Way the Crow Flies, then :-D and I'll go see your review about The Snow Vault.

Kailana said...

Good stuff. Every time I read someones version of this I think of different books for my answers. Glad you did it!

Susan said...

Kailana: thanks for doing it!! So I could get it from you! :-D I did like your answers, too. now for the other meme you did, about Canadian book titles read!