Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught X 101

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught X 101.  For X, I'm going to go with Canadian-set stories.  Living next door to the U.S.A., we often get overshadowed and overlooked... and we end up reading all these stories set just across the border.  So it's awesome to find a book that's actually set in Canada.  Even better still is finding one that's set in a place you're familiar with (which, let's face it, isn't always guaranteed; Canada is a big country)!  So here are some of the awesome books with Canadian settings that I've read over the years.

Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught Canadian-Set Stories 101:

Awake and Dreaming
by Kit Pearson

This author's books appear on this list twice.  This one in particular takes place in my part of the country (and includes ferry travel), so it was quite fun to read.  (It also incorporates some fantasy elements, unlike some of the other books on this list which are historical fiction.)

Free as a Bird
by Gina McMurchy-Barber

This book also has a local Canadian setting (in New Westminster, British Columbia), and though it takes place in the past, it's not so far in the past that it's completely unfamiliar.  Just thinking about the main character getting lost and ending up in certain parts of the city makes me shudder!

The Hidden World
by Alison Baird

I read this book before I read one of my all-time favourite YA trilogies, Willowmere Chronicles (which is by the same author).  I really enjoyed it.  Finding books set in Newfoundland that aren't historical novels seems to be a tricky thing to do... so this fantasy was a pleasant find!

Jane of Lantern Hill
by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Actually, any of L. M. Montgomery's books could be on this list.  Many are set on Prince Edward Island, which gives her books a unique setting and flavour that you don't really find anywhere else.  Jane of Lantern Hill is set in both Toronto, Ontario as well as on Prince Edward Island... so it's got a double dose of Canada!

The Lake and the Library
by S. M. Beiko

This is one of my more recent reads, and while it isn't the most well-written book of the bunch, it has a different setting (a small town in Manitoba) and it incorporates a unique fantasy element that will appeal to book lovers.

My Book of Life by Angel
by Martine Leavitt

This one is a historical verse novel about a fairly recent time.  It takes place in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver during the time when serial killer Robert Pickton was prowling the streets.  When the police swooped down on his pig farm in 2002, they found the remains of multiple missing women, many of whom were sex-trade workers.  This book is about a teenage prostitute who lived in the area where Pickton was finding his victims.  It's not a huge part of the story, but it still provides some creepy undertones and underscores the dangers that girls like Angel have to face.

The Sky is Falling
by Kit Pearson

This is actually the first of a trilogy about a sister and brother who are sent to Toronto, Canada from England during World War Two.  These are sort of coming-of-age stories, with Norah and Gavin growing up far from their parents.

That Scatterbrain Booky
by Bernice Thurman Hunter

This is the first book of another historical trilogy, also set in Toronto, but during the Great Depression years.  I read the books many years ago, but I remember the stories being charming and the characters likable.

White Fang
by Jack London

A few years back, I read a number of classics, including White Fang and The Call of the Wild by Jack London.  Both books portray the stereotypical idea of Canada as the "Great White North".  But they're still interesting, even for Canadian readers... most of whom are probably as unfamiliar with the setting of these books as non-Canadians!

by Charles de Lint

This book is set in Ottawa, Canada.  Not that I remember that in particular.  What I do remember is the wonderful fantasy world that de Lint created.  The author usually does a good job of combining myths and legends with our present-day world to create fascinating stories and unique characters.

What are some of your favourite stories set in your country?


  1. I haven't read any of these books yet. The Booky one sounds good though. I think there are some movies about Booky too!

    1. Yes... I think I saw the Christmas movie a few years ago. It was pretty cute!

  2. I haven't read any of these, but you're right, Canada doesn't seem to be a popular book setting. I've read a few, I believe - the last one was based in Quebec, I believe.

    1. I can't recall a book I've read that was set in Quebec. Hmmm... You know, this sort of thing would make an interesting challenge, too: read a book set in each of the provinces and territories. (It would certainly be more manageable than a US challenge where you'd have to read 50 books!)

  3. I hate to admit it, but I've actually only heard of one of these books... I'm horrible and American XP

    At least two of them have peeked my interest though, so hopefully I can expand my horizons. Great list! And a great idea for a class!

    1. I'm sure a lot of Canadian readers haven't heard of many (if not most) of these books, either. No worries. And I hope you find something here that you enjoy, if you do decide to give one or more of them a try!

  4. Replies
    1. That's why I chose them. :) It seems like Canadian authors often get overlooked... even in their own country!