July 05, 2005

Looking for a little literary help

Last year, I declared a "No Science-Fiction September" on my reading schedule, after realizing that I had had an all-science-fiction August and deciding I needed a little variety in my reading habits. As a result I read a bunch of books that I wouldn't have done otherwise, and generally speaking I enjoyed the month immensely.

I want to do something similar this September. This time, however, I'd like your help. I blogged a few weeks ago that my exposure to Canadian literature has been woefully limited, and I'd like to correct that.

So I am soliciting suggestions from you, my faithful readers. What four or five Canadian novels should I spend September reading? Drop me a comment suggesting titles, along with a one-sentence synopsis of the books and why it's worth reading. A few general guidelines:

  • Already on the list is Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches. My sister gave me a copy for Christmas, and I haven't started reading it yet, so this is as good a time as any to commit myself.
  • In a comment to another blog post, someone suggested that I ought to try a collection of Alice Munro's short stories. Can anyone suggest a title?
  • I would prefer to balance newer literature with older, e.g. if Life of Pi is on the list, then so is something considerably older such as Barometer Rising.
  • I don't want to re-read anything I've read before, so Life of Pi is not actually going to get on the list.
  • Novels focused arond aberrant sexual relationships are severely frowned upon. I really have no interest in reading about adultery, homosexuality, child sexual abuse, or affairs with bears, no matter how many Governor-General Awards it may have won.
  • Votes for The English Patient need not apply. (Suggestions for other works by Michael Ondaatje are welcome.)

In the end: No voting, no random drawing, nothing like that: I'll just take all your suggestions under consideration and choose the ones that I find most appealing. I want to start gathering these in mid-August to make sure they're on hand for September, so selection will run until, say, August 7.

Help me out!