Thursday, July 1, 2010

O Canada - looking back 20 years

Birthday celebrations are often a time to look back, to reminisce about all the good times we had ~ and the good books we've read.
To celebrate our nation's 143rd birthday I've decided to look back twenty years ago to see which award winning Canadian books were all the rage in 1990.

Lives of the Saints, by Nino Ricci

Winner of the Governor General's Fiction Award and the Books in Canada First Novel Award. This book was absolutely huge for Ricci. His tale of a young boy's life in an Italian-Canadian community is utterly compelling for it's flair for details and astute observation of setting, combined with a lyrical writing style and engaging storyline. Ricci followed up with two more novels about Vittorio Innocente and his family: In a Glass House and Where She Has Gone. A feature film of the same name starring Sophia Loren was released in 2004.

According to Jake and the Kid: a collection of new stories,
by W.O. Mitchell

Winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. A follow up to the 1961 Canadian classic Jake and the Kid, these new stories are more wonderful tales of 1940-50's Western Canadiana. Set in the small town of Crocus in rural Saskatchewan, these yarns evoke a nostalgia for a simpler and gentler time. Heartwarming, uplifting and amusing, these are great stories for the whole family.

Running West, by James Houston

Winner of the Canadian Authors' Association Award. A historical novel set in early 1700's of Northwestern Canada. Based on the actual journals of the explorer Wm. Stewart, James Houston has crafted a wonderful story of love and wilderness adventure. The young exiled Scotsman and his rescued Dene traveling companion must endure many dramatic hardships on their journey towards a better life in the New World. Heroic characters and a fantastic historical northern setting are the major appeals for adults and teens alike.

The Dark Side of Life in Victorian Halifax, by Judith Fingard

Winner of the Evelyn Richardson Award for Non-fiction. A great exploration of the seedier side of life in late 19th century Halifax. Learn about prostitutes, thieves, con men and those good souls who tried to steer them towards the straight and narrow. A nice mix of popular and academic interests.

The Second Season of Jonas MacPherson, by Lesley Choyce

Winner of the Dartmouth Book Award. An exploration into the impact of grief and loneliness and how the human spirit must come to terms with mortality. Eccentric "Down East" characters and an ocean side setting make this an appealing choice for fans of East Coast lit.

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