Books in Canada

In the Ottawa Citizen on the weekend there was a Canadian booksellers list of the top books of the decade.

The source is a bit lacklustre (the major bookselling company in Canada, you know who I’m talking about), but I was still unjustifiable pleased to see that I had read eight out of the eleven (eleven?) top fiction books. The criteria for how the books were chosen further undermine the list: the works that most impacted booklovers. And that means what exactly? Well, the list was driven by the book’s impact and popularity. Um, what? Are people who read books but are not book lovers per se included here? How much is the bestseller list weighted, and how exactly would one measure impact?

I mean, I really did think The Time Traveller’s (sic) Wife was a good read, but I don’t think it belongs on the top (eleven?) of the whole decade. It’s a bit like the Tiger Woods story making the top stories of the decade, in the same sized type as September 11.

I didn’t do as well in the non-fiction sections of the list though a notable read was Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a great but really difficult book about a woman from Somalia; and Anne of Green Gables made the list of “Life-Changing Books”. I believe that category was compiled by surveying. Fair enough.

On a side note, did you know that Prospero is also a part of the Chapters Indigo umbrella? I was in the store on Bank Street before Christmas and noticed that all of the headings on the walls were exactly the same as those in Chapters. And then the cashier confirmed that I could indeed use my Chapters reward card at that store. Now you need to know that I really really want to buy my books at the independent book stores here in town, and I have two of great reputation within walking distance of my house, but I have just had poor luck finding what I was looking for in those stores. I do keep trying though because I think it’s important.

I would love to hear what you think of the list, and what you are reading too. Can this list be complete without any Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart, Carol Shields, Wayne Johnston, or any other favourite of yours?

And one last thing – did anyone catch 18 to Life on Monday night on CBC? I thought it was cute and has some potential.

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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8 Responses to Books in Canada

  1. JoeGirl says:

    Oh, Fin. Your second post is lovely. Alas, you know I am not a big reader, so I will trust your notations implicitly 😉

    Keep ‘em coming!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I read that list and tallied, too! I am with you on the T.T.W. – great read, but I don't think DaVinci Code was included (maybe one from the '90's?) Funny, the summer I read The DaVinci Code (which raised the bar for books to come), I was looking for something good to read & just went to the weekly Books section in the Citizen and picked #1.
    I am now reading Malcolm Gladwell “What the Dog Saw”, preparing to go back and re-read the latest Gabaldon book “An Echo in the Bone”.

  3. Katie R says:

    I too was surprised by some of the items on the list. I'd read quite a few of the top fiction books. I have to say that while I enjoyed the Birth House it was in no way a top book for me. However, I thoroughly enjoyed The Book of Negroes and The Time Traveller's Wife is in my Top 5 favorite books.

  4. Jenn N says:

    P.S. I am the “Anonymous” above… =)

  5. Jenn – You are absolutely right about DaVinci Code. It was a huge bestseller, and also had people travelling to Europe and visiting churches etc, so definitely had an impact.
    I also read The Corrections and loved it – plus also loved the controversy with Oprah.
    Katie – The Book of Negroes was great and it was you who had recommended it to me originally. I think you would like Infidel too.
    Joe – I know time is always hard to find but you would be an awesome reader. I can bring something for you to borrow next time we meet if you like!

  6. zoom says:

    Hi. I just wanted to say hello, and welcome to the blogosphere.

  7. I stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say hurray for starting and keep on writing. 🙂 Laura

  8. I'm pretty bad about newer books – more a matter of catching up on a history of literature than modern snobbery, though I am guilty of the latter due to frequent disappointment in modern writers and an awareness of my limited time on Earth. So, despite missing most (ok, all) titles on the list, it's hard to believe it shouldn't have included “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon (2000 Pulitzer Prize). One of the most brilliantly wonderful novels I've ever read.

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