Monday, August 10, 2009

Toronto Books

I saw Kate's list of 15 Toronto books, inspired by Amy Lavender Harris and of course was immediately eager to do it! Exactly my thing, I thought!

Except I only got to eight!! I mean, I did have obscure rules that I set for myself: no books that just have a few scenes here (like Clara Callan or Owen Meaney). And no multiple works by the same author, although Jim Munro, Margaret Atwood and Russell Smith (betcha don't see that list too often) each have a bunch of books set here of which I am fond. Also, no non-fic, because I almost never read any.

So, then, just over half of what I was supposed to come up with--boo! Toronto, I'm sorry I've let you down! Do I get any points for the fact that the first three are set in Parkdale (and are [likely coincidentally] three of the my favourite things I've read in the past few years)??

Anyone who also feels like doing this, please please send me a link so I can see (and maybe steal) some of your ideas!! Or feel free to use my comments-land if you are a non-blogger still interested in making book lists.

The Killing Circle by Andrew Pyper

When I Was Young and in My Prime by Alayna Munce

Stunt by Claudia Dey

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (I have seen and owned multiple editions of this book, one of my favourite comic novels, and I have never seen the cover at this link before. Do you think it's odd? I think it's odd.)

Muriella Pent by Russell Smith

Where We Have to Go by Lauren Kirshner

Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask by Jim Munro

Heaven Is Small by Emily Schultz

You let me down easy
RR

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

That Edible Woman cover is terrifying...

Hmmm... One Toronto-centric book I love is "In the Skin of a Lion" by Michael Ondaatje.

And I must mention my favourite Ottawa books!: The Divine Economy of Salvation (by Priscila Uppal) and Garbo Laughs (by Elizabeth Hay)

August said...

This is the third year in a row I'm doing something called The Canadian Book Challenge, in which the idea is to read 13 Canadian books from one Canada Day to the another. I'd do that anyway, so it's mostly a way to connect with some other Canadian bloggers and get some new books, but it's nice to see what other people are reading. Otherwise I try not to do too much list-making or challenge-participating or what have you.

Pyper's "The Killing Circle" is the only book (of fiction, anyway) I've ever seen that mentions my hometown. He gets the geography completely wrong (half a day's drive from cottage country? try twenty hours in a car), but it was still a bit thrilling.

"The Cunning Man", by Robertson Davies is an excellent Toronto novel, which I plan on reading later this year. Roxane Ward's "Fits Like a Rubber Dress" went interesting places eventually, and is worth reading if you can get past the weak, trashy early bits. Sarah Dearing's "Courage My Love" is a Kensington Market novel that probably could have used another draft, but is still worth reading.

Rebecca Rosenblum said...

Late-breaking brainwave--the Booky books by Beatrice Thurman Hunter!!

http://www.scholastic.ca/titles/bookytrilogy/index.htm

Also, Fred: I enjoyed Divine Economy also! August: I enjoy the store Courage My Love, so perhaps the book too. I wonder which came first...

Ariel Gordon said...

Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig was pretty nifty...

August said...

The book is named after the store.

Amy Lavender Harris said...

Wow; another great list! You know, you're entitled to put your own book on the list ...

The Edible Woman is still, in my opinion, Margaret Atwood's most clearly realized novel. It's also extremely funny -- although not quite as amusing as The Robber Bride, which I reread every few years just out of sheer malicious pleasure.

Courage my Love sends up Kensington Market very clearly. If you're into Kensington Market novels, it's also worth checking out Vivian Meye's Bottom Bracket (Sumach Press, 2006) and Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (Tor, 2005).

August said...

I'm biting my tongue on The Edible Woman like you wouldn't believe. ;)

I've been wracking my brain trying to think of Toronto books I'd recommend, but almost none of the CanLit I enjoy takes place here. I even fired up my database (yes, I have a specialized application to keep track of my books; when you have more than a thousand and are willing to loan them, it makes sense).

Ray Robertson's "Home Movies" starts off here, but the bulk of the action takes place somewhere else (great book, though). It's not a novel, but I think many of the stories in Yashin Blake's "Nowhere Fast" are set here, and I really enjoyed that book.

Was "The Tracey Fragments" set here? I can't recall. I enjoyed that book.

Michel Basilieres said...

David Gilmour's novels, of which I mention only the haunting A Perfect Night to Go to China and the sublimely elegant Sparrow Nights. John McFetridge's viscious and streamlined crime novels Dirty Sweet and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, which I gaurantee will present Toronto as you've never seen it in fiction before.

Michel Basilieres said...

August mentions Ray Robertson, so I remember his Moody Food, which takes place in the Yorkville of the sixties, and which I like and admire very much.

Rebecca Rosenblum said...

Thanks for all the suggestions--so much of this is exciting but I...haven't read it. So much to get to!

But I can vouch for *The Robber Bride* being great fun--though the first time I read it, I was young and didn't get any of the jokes and took it extremely seriously and *still* liked it.

writer_guy said...

That was a fun exercise: http://theprocrastinationnation.blogspot.com/2009/08/15-toronto-books-in-15-minutes.html

AMT said...

c'mon - add owen meaney! i mean, the narrator has all of his perspectives and various flawed memories in part because he left for canada, now has the anglican church instead of the episcopalians, so it's in some ways very much a canadian book about/by americans... and plus, ok, my bias, the seecond time i read it i was on the bloor danforth line, and i got to st george station right when the narrator mentions st george station (the only time, i think) and it was perfect and scary.

Troy Jollimore said...

Yes, "In the Skin of a Lion," absolutely. Such a lovely book.