Starting the year off on a low note, I attended the funeral for the father of one of my old friends, who also happened to be my brother-in-law for many years up to about 12 years ago and the man that died is the grandfather of my nephews and niece. I've known him since I was a teenager though I wasn't all that close to him. He was a very nice man....
There wasn't a lot of attendees, not many of my old crowd went but one man that was there was someone I hadn't seen in over 30 years, perhaps once in that time I think but only briefly. In fact, I think it was at a wake for the father of another of our friends. I think I did the classic double take when I saw him. Nice to catch up, though.
Two more books to round up 2015
101 - Blind Goddess - Anne Holt
A Norwegian crime writer, her police detective is a female and there's a male criminal prosecutor. This story involves a drug ring that may be engineered by some lawyers and possibly a higher up figure. Not bad. Will probably read more.
102 - Hundred-year-old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
Good fun! Like the title says, an old Swedish man that escapes the nursing home on his birthday and ends up chased around the countryside by drug dealers who want the suitcase of money he took from the local bus station. In between chapters of that, they jump back and go over the adventures he's had in his long life in a kind of Forrest Gump kind of way, where he's had an inadvertent hand in some of the major events in history.
So that was 2015 reading, 102 books plus one i couldn't finish. 2016 is the year I'm attempting a reading challenge on a CBC Books group on Goodreads.com by filling in a Bingo card with various categories. You find books that match the themes, prefereably by Canadian authors but not restricted to them either. I will give it a go and I think I'll make a plan to pick up a few more "classic" Canadian books/authors. Our classic books of course, are not as old as classic UK books and authors. Most of the best known authors and books only go back to about the mid 20th century. I don't know much about the publishing industry in Canada but I would expect it wasn't much before that, just maybe smaller independent publishers rather than anything national. There are still a lot of smaller publishing houses, as well but Canadian authors and books are becoming a lot more numerous. Canada isn't really known for producing great movies and I can vouch for that. I would estimate that only about 15 percent are *really* good and most of the best ones are character driven, not big adventure movies or complicated crime dramas. In many of the ones I've seen, the writing is kind of cliche and the acting is ... not bad, just not great, but that could be the writing contributing to that.
But the more Canadian books I read, the more I respect the authors. We have some very well known authors that are famous outside the borders such as Margaret Atwood but a lot of the ones i've read in the past few years are very, very good, too. Some authors at the top of my mind are Gil Adamson, Miriam Toews, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Patrick deWitt, Michael Crummey, Linden McIntyre, Wayne Johnston, Susanna Kearsley, Frances Itani and Heather O'Neill. Classic authors include Atwood, Margaret Lawrence, Robertson Davies, Mordechai Richler and Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables).
There's a couple of good lists, here for the 10 authors you should read if you're Canadia
n student, this list of 25 classic Canadian novels
(including a couple 19th century ones). The 25 top Canadian novels on this list
have a few of the same entries but quite a few different ones, too. Not all of them are going to be to the taste of everyone, and I probably wouldnt' like a lot of them but I do intend on mixing in a few in my 2016 reads if i can.