What with the Giller being the Canadian literary prize
that has long been my main source of some great CanLit reading suggestions and another longlist that I can't stop myself from glimpsing through, saints preserve us, I'm back on the CanLit reading trail, but getting hold of the books any time soon always tricky. If only Canada had its very own Book Depository and free postage world-wide, I couldn't help but be tempted. Two of this year's Giller judges Margaret Atwood and Colm Toibin so expect a deserved and much-scrutinised winner and sadly The Cellist of Sarajevo didn't make the cut, but many thanks to KevinfromCanada for sending me a link to some great debate about the book at Thefictiondesk.
But somehow I do seem to get hold of the books helped greatly by itinerant children who have been flitting in and out of Canada this year and blogfriends who kindly send them.
I have the Giller to thank for my discovery of Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam. I had the usual one heck of a job to get hold of a copy here in the UK and was eventually grateful to Vincent Lam himself who sourced me a copy from his publishers in Canada. I know it has been published here in the UK but I've heard little about it, did it sink without trace?
That absolutely must not happen to the The Outlander by Gil Adamson, (actually not a Giller) the book that took me ages to get hold of. Eventually a copy was my reward from a Canadian TV company for allowing them to use a picture from dovegreyreader scribbles.
Inventive or what and of course I learnt that previously unknown fact about a horse's anatomy. But just see how The Outlander is deservedly waltzing off with a whole heap of prizes and shortlistings at the moment and will be published in the UK by Bloomsbury in 2009 thank goodness. It has won the International Association of Crime Writers Dashiell Hammett Prize, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, is nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and just this week walked off with the Canadian Best First Novel Award.
Then in recent weeks more parcels of Canada-Giller bounty.
Wendy, who is quietly blogging about some really good books over at offmytrolley and who comments here very kindly sent me a Giller longlister which since yesterday is a shortlister, The Boys in the Trees by Mary Swann for my birthday, it was a lovely surprise and thanks again Wendy.
Ages ago Triple Blessings who often comments here, won one of the dovegreyreader birthday prize-draws back in March and so we posted a parcel off to Saskatoon. I added in three children's books by Devon-based Michael Morpurgo for the triplets that do bless, figuring that Michael might be a lesser know author to Canadian children and I was right. He's been very well received.Triple Blessings then most kindly sent me a book parcel in return and now I have two more books which I have been desperate to read, Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay winner of the Giller Prize in 2007 and how blogendipity-ly fortuitous is this, included alongside, The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro. I'd never heard of it until it was recommended on here just last week by KevinfromCanada again so I'm more than excited and a huge thank you to Triple Blessings.
Then the Kayaker returning from his white-water-river-guiding-summer of work in British Columbia (breath easy again Canada, go to red alert UK, washing machine repair man on stand-by please ) managed to pick up yet another 2008 longlisted and now shortlisted Giller book for me at Vancouver airport, and it's another Kevin recommend, Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. I think we must congratulate the Kayaker who had the good sense to check his e mails at the airport just in case I'd sent along a shopping list. Of course I had.
I read and loved Joseph Boyden's last book Three Day Road in pre-dovegreyreader scribbles' days; the Great War from a very unusual perspective as two Cree Indians find themselves instinctively adept and capable in trench warfare.It makes for harrowing but completely essential reading if you are keen to discover new perspectives on history you may be familiar with.
All in all I never cease to be amazed at that wonderful synergy amongst readers and booklovers, and the power of the litblog to provide a constant conduit for that flow of energy, fuelling reading lists around the world. My thanks for all the wonderful suggestions that continue to pop up in comments, please keep them coming because as you can see I take you at your word.