Saturday, July 02, 2011


Today is the opening Readathon for the kickoff of the Canadian Book Challenge 5! So delighted. I'll be reading from noon today to noon tomorrow -- at least for as much of that time as possible. I'll be posting updates here throughout the event when I need a break from reading.

Starting things off, here's my stack of possible reading for the next 24 a few that you can't see because they are ebooks! As you can tell, the library is my main supplier ;)


3:00 update -- time for a tea & cake break, and an update...

So far I've been doing great. I'm reading outside on my porch, my favourite place to be, even though it's pretty warm and humid today. Good thing one of the books (Raising Orion) has a bit of ice and Baffin Island in it!

I've read parts of:

The Widows of Paradise Bay by Jill Sooley
The Sound of Living Things by Elise Turcotte
Raising Orion by Lesley Choyce
2 stories from Goodnight Sweetheart by Richard Teleky
3 stories from Mystery Stories by David Helwig

It's been a wonderful mix so far, and I am enjoying all of them.


6:00 Update:

So unbelievably hot out! I was wilting out there in the heat so have retreated indoors. But the reading itself has been progressing nicely. I finished one book and then felt a bit restless so read the first chapter or so of a few different titles.

Raising Orion
by Lesley Choyce

Read parts of:
Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
The Canterbury Trail by Angie Abdou
Am I Disturbing You? by Anne Hébert

Tim Horton's Sightings: 2 (These are Canadian books after all!)

Hope everyone's doing well with their choices and enjoying themselves -- I definitely am!


10:00 Update:

Thrown off my planned 3 hr updates by a huge thunderstorm that rolled through starting around 7:30. BLACK, black clouds, wind & thunder & lightning. Didn't want to turn the computer on during it but it lasted forever! Must admit it was a bit distracting from the reading as well. But seems to be settled down so here I am.

Since the last update I've spent my time reading books by and about Quebecers.
I've finished:
Am I Disturbing You? by Anne Hébert (it is a novella so not that impressive of a feat, really).

Read bits of:
The Sound of Living Things by Elise Turcotte
Terra Firma by Christiane Frenette

The funny thing is that all three of these French books have been translated by Sheila Fischman, one of my favourite French-to-English translators in Canada.

And read quite a bit of Queen's Court by Edward O. Phillips. This one is set in Montréal, right near the neighbourhoods I spent a lot of my Montréal life in, so I'm really enjoying the descriptions of the main character refamiliarizing herself with her new home. Always fun to recognize landmarks. And while there has been no Tim Horton's mention yet, she did mention Stratford. So that's been very enjoyable.

Also interesting, I found a few new words that I'm not familiar with.

From the Hébert, "equinoctial", an adjective meaning

1. Happening at or near the time of an equinox
2. Of or relating to equal day and night
3. At or near the equator

From the Phillips, "velleity", a noun indicating

1. The lowest degree of desire; imperfect or incomplete volition.
2. A slight wish or inclination.

So despite the storm, I've had an informative stretch of reading!


1:00 Update

Still at it! I really got into Queen's Court after my last update and powered through to finish it. Lots of fun -- really enjoyed it and will have a fair bit to say about it later. I loved the Montréal setting! It was a great introduction to Edward O. Phillips' writing.

I also read 2 stories from David Helwig's Mystery Stories, and a few poems from some collections I have lying about waiting to be read.

Now that it's getting late I've returned to the lighter reading of Jill Sooley's The Widows of Paradise Bay (Paradise Bay is in Newfoundland) and I must say, I've been laughing out loud at this one, despite its rather macabre subject matter. It's a great pick for late night reading. I also have two books from Porcupine's Quill Press waiting for late night perusal: two titles from their series of wordless novels told in woodcuts. Perfect for these tired eyes.

Not sure how much longer I'll last but I'll give it a good try.


4:00 Update

First off, I have to say I am utterly surprised that I am still up & reading. I just HAD to finish The Widows of Paradise Bay before turning in. Told in three voices, I wanted to know what happened to each of the three widows before I could possibly put the book down. And who would have thought, another Tim Horton's sighting! That makes 3 so far ;)

I've also read through the two wordless novels from Porcupine's Quill, Wanderlust by Megan Speers (meh) and Book of Hours by George A. Walker (very affecting).

But now my nice warm bed is calling my name... I need to sleep for a while but intend to jump up again in a few hours to finish off a few more stories. Good luck to anyone else who is still awake!

Morning Update: Well, I slept longer than I intended to...but I still have a few hours to cram some reading in! Hope everyone else is back at it as well....

I have a variety of great to pick one!


NOON - Final Update

I am so sad it is already noon! I feel like I'm just on a roll once more. To wake myself up I read a couple of Margaret Avison poems and a short story by David Helwig. Then I started Anna's Shadow by David Manicom. It's about Russia, Canadian diplomats and good! I've made it nearly 100 pages in and I am really loving it. Definitely going to keep reading this one even though the official Readathon is over for me :(

Here are the official stats for my day of reading:

Read & Finished: 6

Raising Orion by Lesley Choyce
Am I Disturbing You? by Anne Hébert
Queen's Court by Edward O. Phillips
The Widows of Paradise Bay by Jill Sooley
Wanderlust by Megan Speers
The Book of Hours by George A. Walker

Read Parts of and Planning to Continue With Immediately:

Mystery Stories by David Helwig
Goodnight, Sweetheart by Richard Teleky
Monoceros by Suzette Mayr
Anna's Shadow by David Manicom

Read Part but Marking as Unfinished:

The Sound of Living Things by Elise Turcotte -- I just can't seem to get into this one, perhaps because its about the intense relationship between a single mother and her precocious four year old. Just not really my style after all.

Tim Horton's Sightings: 3

The characters in Widows of Paradise Bay, Monoceros and Raising Orion all pop out to Tim's at some point.
And I wonder if they will in any of the Helwig stories I haven't read yet? One of my favourite Helwig books, Smuggling Donkeys, certainly had many Tim's mentions.

This was great fun, and I made it the closest to 24 hours that I have ever reached. Thanks to John for organizing!

I'll finish off with an excerpt from Margaret Avison's poem "In a Season of Unemployment" (in The Essential Margaret Avison from Porcupine's Quill Press). When I came across it this morning I thought it was perfect for our shared enterprise:

Not a breath moves
this newspaper.
I'd rather read it by the Lapland sun at midnight. Here we're
bricked in early by a
stifling dark.


  1. Good luck with the read-a-thon!
    I am not participating because I had other plans (which have been cancelled), but I will try to post a few reviews on Canadian short stories. And of course, I'll pop over the participants' blogs to provide encouragements!

  2. Wouldn't you think that being summer, and me a teacher, this would fit perfectly with my schedule? Sadly, no. It's July 4th weekend here in our neck of the woods, lots of fireworks, picnics and whatnot, plus I'm also having a tea party for my mother which is requiring lots of preparation. Blah, blah, didn't want to spend your read-a-thon reading my comment did you? All this to say, your stack of books looks so wonderful, and I'm happily envious of you and the time you have to enjoy them.

  3. Great list-- though I've read 0 in your stack! Good luck!

  4. Em - thanks! And have fun with the short stories. I have a couple collections in the stack to read in between other bits ;)

    Eva- hehe...thanks for the encouragement!

    Bellezza - I am one of those people who thinks that sitting at home reading for 24 hours sounds like the best kind of holiday weekend, lol. Actually the family we usually do holiday wknd with is away this year so I have a vast, blissful empty weekend to fill with books, cake and tea. Thank goodness my husband is an excellent tea maker and provider ;)

    John - thanks!! Will be checking out everyone else's lists too.

  5. YOur stack of books looks wonderful. I wanted to pull out a whole bunch, but didn't want to feel overwhelmed. I'm also on a tea break. I did step outside with the dog and it's rather nice other than the high humidity. Good luck. Will check back in on another break.

  6. Wow! You're doing well!
    Be careful not to mix the plotlines ;)

  7. Heather - I discovered in my last Readathon attempt that tea was an absolute necessity ;)

    Em - I decided to stick with one book these last few hours for that very reason...

  8. You're doing great, much better than I am but I'm just about to dive in again.

  9. Really impressed, you're flying through them!

  10. WOW! That a great stack of books. Nice that you can read on your porch. Not so here - it is miserable outside today. Best of luck with your reading.

  11. Tea is a necessity, today I'm making it iced! That is a great stack of books.

  12. Just popping in before going to bed. Good luck for the rest of the read-a-thon.
    I'll check again as soon as I'm awake to give at bit of encouragement at a time that might be critical...

  13. I'm perving over your bookstack and missing libraries with English books like you wouldn't believe!

    I guess you came into the same trouble as me, the heat! We had to retreat to the splashing pool for a bit and I couldn't take my Kindle in there. ;)

    Can't wait to hear what you think about Raising Orion. Good luck for the rest of the readathon!

  14. I don't think I could read just a chapter and then go on to the next. I read a children's book after the adult book. NOw I am ready to start Dust City along with more tea.

  15. Wanda, Em - thanks again!

    April - I had my outdoor reading cut off first by excessive heat then by a loooong thunderstorm rolling through! Too bad, I love my porch.

    Gavin - wish I'd have thought of iced tea in advance!

    Medea - hmmm, kind of difficult to read ebooks in a pool ;) Glad you found a way to cope with the heat, in any case. I think I'd miss English libraries most of all if I moved to another country. Of course, I probably wouldn't have a job to move for if it wasn't IN an English library, but that's another story ;)

    Heather - I like to sample books by reading the first chapters...but I also have some poetry books that have been good palate cleansers!

  16. It's been a long while since I've read Lesley Choyce, I have a copy of 'Cold Clear Morning' on stand-by around here some place. Of those books I have read, 'World Enough' is probably my favourite. I look forward to your review of 'Raising Orion'. I'm currently in Montreal with Lures!

  17. I'm also getting a storm, or was. I haven't really heard of your choices before, so I may check them out later.

  18. Oh I love a good thunderstorm. I'm a little envious. I thought we'd have one today but it was just a short lived shower.

  19. Wanda - I think my favourite Choyce is still The Republic of Nothing. But I enjoyed this one as well...more to come

    Jules - unsettled weather for all of us, it seems! I'm enjoying everyone's updates -- so many different choices we're all tackling

    John - I don't mind the thunder, but the lightning and strong winds do make me nervous...fortunately there was nothing to worry about after all, just a rather picturesque sky. But best of all, no power losses!

  20. Wow! You're doing great! I really need to need something by David Helwig.

  21. Good morning!
    You are flying through those books and are really tempting me with some of them.
    I love your updates!
    I hope your rest will make you refreshed for more reading in the morning!

  22. Well, I haven't made it to 4:00 yet, but it's an hour away.

    Did 3 voices on so little sleep make sense? I'm impressed!

  23. Yay! You're back reading!
    As I was saying to Jules, I've just read a short story mentioning Tim Horton's, thought of you! (and still mixing up the blogs a little.
    Good luck for the last few hours!

  24. John - yes, they were fairly distinct, though I did have to double check once or twice due to tiredness ;)

    Em - so funny -- which story was it?

  25. "Madame Poirier's Dog" by Kathleen Winter. I'll post a review tomorrow.

  26. Brilliant idea to read short stories as a pick-me-up. I don't think poems would work for me at that point, I might totally lose it.

    Love your count of Timmies sightings. There we none in my books.

  27. You've finished 6 books? That's amazing!

  28. See now, you are another one of those speed reading demons I was mentioning to Medea. Great job, and congrats on winning the prize pack!

  29. Em - I look forward to a review! And 6 books in context means one was a novella and two were 'wordless novels' - they don't take too long to absorb.

    Heather - I find a short story between really helps keep the novels straight in my head. Of course by this morning I was jonesing for some Tim's, even though I don't usually drink it ;)

    Wanda - reading quickly is my only superpower :)

    Thanks everyone for the comraderie during this Readathon. It was fantastic fun!

  30. Congratulations! Amazing feat. (AND a thunderstorm!)

    The only title from your stack I've read is the Anne Hebert; love her, and Fischman too.

  31. Ann- thanks ;)

    Carin - it was such fun, even with thunder :) I really like Hebert though this book was not the best one I've read of her oeuvre. More later!

  32. Congratulations! what an impressive lot of pages you've turned. (Next year we are NOT having company on that weekend!)


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