A reader asked for a recommendation for books regarding the Canadian Rockies and Western Canada, and I was stumped. Reviewing what we have on Canadian literature at A Traveler’s Library, I found the list was pretty skimpy, so have made a resolution to cover Canadian literature in the next few months. I’m seeking out really good books that will add some value to travel, and I’m starting with two for that Western region and one general interest.
Green Grass, Running Water (1993) by Thomas King, Cherokee writer . This one is set in Alberta, Canada.
Canada (2012) by Richard Ford . Set in Saskatchawan.
The Last Spike: The Great Railway 1881-1885 (2010) by Pierre Berton, about the building of the cross-Canada railroad. I’m looking forward to reading this when it arrives from my inter-library loan request. Berton is an acclaimed Canadian writer and railroads are a perfect subject for travelers. I’ve always wanted to ride across Canada on the railroad.
I put out a request through social media for suggestions and got ideas from Lisa, who talks about all things family travel including books at Gone with the Family. She suggested Green Grass and The Last Spike and the following Canadian Literature:
Tay John (1883) by Howard O’hagan–the Rockies and western Canada.
The Studhorse Man (1969) by Robert Kroetsch, Setting: Alberta
Lisa also pointed me to a useful site for people wanting to discover Canadian literature. The Canadian Book Review has the mission of making people aware of Canadian literature and includes a helpful guide to Canadian literary prizes as well as an eclectic collection of reviews. Of course his site concentrates on Canadian authors, whereas A Traveler’s Library is interested in Canada as a subject, and many if not most of the authors he lists are more concerned with the universality of their work.
Also on My List
Islands : The Complete Stories (2002) by Alistair MacLeod. Although I mentioned this book in one of my reports on my trip to Nova Scotia, I still have not read it completely and reviewed it here.
From Richard Ford’s Afterword to the novel, Canada
Specific books that helped For with writing about Canada:
Saskatchewan: A History by John H. Archer
Saskatchewan: A New History by Bill Waiser
Without Reserve by Lynda Shorten, interviews with native people.
And When Did You Last See Your Father? by Blake Morrison’s memoir.
Canada Books Previously Reviewed
Three Among the Wolves (2004), by Helen Thayer. Setting: Yukon and Arctic Circle. Review by Pamela Douglas Webster
Trick of the Light (2011) by Louise Penny. Penny’s mystery series is set in and around Montreal, Quebec Province.
My Famous Evening (2004) by Howard Norman. Setting: Nova Scotia. This is one of my favorite books and eerily paralleled my trip with my sister.
If you are interested in the music of Canada, search through the “Where Do You Want To Go?” search box on the right hand side of the main page at A Traveler’s Library. Kerry Dexter of Music Road has written many times about music of Canada.
See why I need more Canadian literature? Provinces I don’t have covered (now or in scheduled reading): Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. In addition there are three territories: Northwest Territories, Nunavut,Yukon.
Your recommendations are welcome for books we should check out for Canada–particularly NEW books. Let’s travel to Canada