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Dear Neal

September 21, 2011

Dear Neal.

– Yes, faithful reader of my blog (assuming you are out there).

How are you doing these days?

– I’m a little burdened with school work. Distracted from this blog, that’s for sure.

I’ve noticed.

– My apologies. I wish I could say that I will try harder in the future, but no matter how hard I try, I can only envision my commitment being even more and more challenged. Try not to hold it against me.

I’ll try.

– Thank you.

Other question.

– Shoot. I can take whatever you throw at me.

Where did you find that book that you’re currently reading? It is really, absolutely, a book that I have never heard of before.

– That, oh! faithful reader, is a great question. Have you ever heard of the Giller Prize?

Of course I have!

– Wonderful! Well, on the same day that the Bookers released their short list, the Gillers released their long list! It was a great list (seriously, the amount of quality writing that came out of Canada this year is pretty shocking). This is one of the listed nominees. I’ve got high hopes for it.

Why did you pick that out of all of the possible books?

– I don’t have a great answer for that. The CBC Book Club website has a contest running where you can make suggestions for the short-list. Not that they will actually be taken by the adjudicating committee, but they are very interesting to read. And this is one of those books that keeps popping up. Over and over and over again. People, the lay people of reading, people like you and I, seem to love this book. So I picked it up (knowing that I don’t need another book for a very, very long time), and have enjoyed it as both a source of serious reading as a distraction from the nonfiction that has been completely sucking up my life.

But why not something else? Like one of the listed books that you already own?

– Good question.

That isn’t an answer.

– I know. I even own many of those already. Haven’t read them. Need to do that, I suppose. This one really caught my eye (and I didn’t even know it was a collection of short stories until after I had it in my bag on the bus ride home from the book store). Not that the others haven’t, but… well… you know how that goes.

What else was listed?

– Last question I can answer tonight. I’ve got reading to do.

  • David Bezmozgis for his novel, THE FREE WORLD, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • Clarke Blaise for his short story collection, THE MEAGRE TARMAC, Biblioasis
  • Lynn Coady for her novel, THE ANTAGONIST, House of Anansi Press
  • Michael Christie for his short story collection, THE BEGGAR’S GARDEN, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
  • Patrick DeWitt for his novel, THE SISTERS BROTHERS, House of Anansi Press
  • *Myrna Dey for her novel, EXTENSIONS, NeWest Press
  • Esi Edugyan for her novel, HALF-BLOOD BLUES, Thomas Allen Publishers
  • Marina Endicott for her novel, THE LITTLE SHADOWS, Doubleday Canada
  • Zsuzsi Gartner for her short story collection, BETTER LIVING THROUGH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES, Hamish Hamilton Canada
  • Genni Gunn for her novel, SOLITARIA, Signature Editions
  • Pauline Holdstock for her novel, INTO THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • Wayne Johnston for his novel, A WORLD ELSEWHERE, Knopf Canada
  • Dany Laferrière for his novel, THE RETURN (translation, David Homel), Douglas & McIntyre
  • Suzette Mayr for her novel, MONOCEROS, Coach House Books
  • Michael Ondaatje for his novel, THE CAT’S TABLE, McClelland & Stewart
  • Guy Vanderhaeghe for his novel, A GOOD MAN, McClelland & Stewart
  • Alexi Zentner for his novel, TOUCH, Knopf Canada


But Neal, what does that *Reader’s Choice mean!?!?? I am so curious!

– Save that question for next time. A good story about that, and the novels that I picked up as a result of it. Until then, go check out one or two or six of these novels. So many of them are definitely worth checking out.


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