August 7, 2010

Take Me Away to Canada, Eh?

Take Me Away Saturday

For those of you unfamiliar with Take Me Away Saturday: I started it because I love books that take place in different cultures and are about different cultures. Take Me Away is a way to share with other readers books that can transport them into another culture. Each week I feature a different country or culture (ex. Cherokee, Jewish, etc. that do not have a specific country per se) and list some books that can transport you there. (Note: ex. not necessarily books by a German or an Australian, but books set in Germany or Australia.) I try to provide a variety of fiction genres as well as nonfiction selections.

I am keeping a map of the countries we visit, which you can see at the bottom of this post. There is also a list of both countries and cultures visited in past Take Me Away posts. Check them out and discover some good books to read and recommend some, too!

This week we are visiting the North American country of Canada:

Click on the titles of the books below to read reviews and/or purchase the book. Disclaimer: I do not receive commissions if you purchase a book through the link I provide, whether from Amazon, Indiebound, or otherwise.

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada by Will Ferguson

Canada's number one humorist delivers a funny, idiosyncratic, and warmly humane book full of sly observations and witty stories culled from his travels among the people and places of his homeland.

Hatchet (Brian's Saga Series #1) by Gary Paulsen

Brian Robeson, 13, is the only passenger on a small plane flying him to visit his father in the Canadian wilderness when the pilot has a heart attack and dies. The plane drifts off course and finally crashes into a small lake. Miraculously Brian is able to swim free of the plane, arriving on a sandy tree-lined shore with only his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present. The novel chronicles in gritty detail Brian's mistakes, setbacks, and small triumphs as, with the help of the hatchet, he manages to survive the 54 days alone in the wilderness.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

In Alias Grace, bestselling author Margaret Atwood has written her most captivating, disturbing, and ultimately satisfying work since The Handmaid's Tale. She takes us back in time and into the life of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the nineteenth century. Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. Dr. Simon Jordan, an up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness, is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Is Grace a female fiend? A bloodthirsty femme fatale? Or is she the victim of circumstances?

The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

The frigid isolation of European immigrants living on the 19th-century Canadian frontier is the setting for British author Penney's haunting debut. Seventeen-year-old Francis Ross disappears the same day his mother discovers the scalped body of his friend, fur trader Laurent Jammet, in a neighboring cabin. The murder brings newcomers to the small settlement, from inexperienced Hudson Bay Company representative Donald Moody to elderly eccentric Thomas Sturrock, who arrives searching for a mysterious archeological fragment once in Jammet's possession. Other than Francis, no real suspects emerge until half-Indian trapper William Parker is caught searching the dead man's house. Parker escapes and joins with Francis's mother to track Francis north, a journey that produces a deep if unlikely bond between them. Only when the pair reaches a distant Scandinavian settlement do both characters and reader begin to understand Francis, who arrived there days before them. Penney's absorbing, quietly convincing narrative illuminates the characters, each a kind of outcast, through whose complex viewpoints this dense, many-layered story is told.
Mercury by Hope Larson

In 1859 French Hill, Nova Scotia, Josey Fraser has just met handsome Asa Curry — a man with a mysterious and traveled past. While quickly winning young Josey's heart, Asa reveals a secret ability to locate gold on the Frasers' farm. But there is darkness in the woods...and in Asa. In the same town one hundred fifty years later, Tara Fraser is dealing with the aftermath of her house burning down; a house that has been in her family — and Josey's — for generations, when Tara discovers a pendant that turns out to be much more than a simple heirloom. As Josey's story plunges into tragedy, Tara's emerges with the promise of gold. A compelling combination of history and romance, marked with Larson's signature touch of magical realism, Mercury is a remarkable depiction of two girls tied by blood and separated by time.

So, You Want to be Canadian by Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen

So, you want to be Canadian? Who doesn't these days? Canucks are enjoying a major renaissance in attention, from their enlightened social policies to their wild and wooly pop culture. This playful, trivia-packed book is a long-overdue celebration of all things Canadian, from the mysteries of "eh?" to the difference between an Ogo Pogo and a Windingo to how to prepare moose stroganoff (mmm!). Featuring a dreamy list of Canadian hotties, a toe-tapping roundup of Canadian smash hit songs, a handy Canadian-American translator, and pointers on how to eat, dress, and apologize like a Canadian if you weren't lucky enough to be born a Canuck, So, You Want to Be Canadian demonstrates once and for all why Canada is so cool (formerly just cold).

Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery

Favorites for nearly 100 years, these classic novels follow the adventures of the spirited redhead Anne Shirley, who comes to stay at Green Gables on Prince Edward Island and wins the hearts of everyone she meets.

Do you want to recommend/share books that take place in Canada? Or do you want to share other thoughts? Please leave a note in the comments!

Be sure to check back for another trip in books! Here is what is coming up next:

Amish Culture
African country of Morocco

Where we've been and the books that take us there:
The Americas and the Caribbean
Triple Threat-Baltic States
Middle East
Sierra Leone
Australia, Pacific Islands
New Zealand
Cultures Across the World
Australian Aborigines
Sioux Nation
Inuit Culture


  1. I was unfamiliar with this feature, but I like it!

  2. lol, I love the "eh" :P And this is a great list! Alias Grace is SUCH a great book - my favourite Atwood so far.

  3. Some great choices, and as a Canadian I whole-heartedly suggest reading about Canada. Hachet is always a favourite among teacher's for a novel study and Anne of Green Gables is my absolute favourite series. I try to re-read every year!!
    Some other good ones are:

    The Way Lies North by Jean Rae Baxter

    Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

  4. Great list of books! I chuckled at the title Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw.

  5. I recommend Crow Lake and Through Black Spruce, two of my favorite set in Canada books. Oh, and Miriam Toews for her quirky books.

  6. Thank you! I loved this post. It's so funny to see we've gone from being just cold, to 'cool'!!! lol Two authors I highly recommend are Louise Penny - Inspector Gamache mysteries, and Charles de Lint, for fantasy books. Will Ferguson also wrote How To Be Canadian, which I gave my husband for Christmas one year (he was raised in England). No one knows when eh? came into existence here, but we now have a variation: "hey" which we use in greeting, which covers "hi, how are you?" :-D among friends.

    I am still laughing at the idea that it's cool to be Canadian! thanks!

  7. Thanks for visiting my country this weekend! I recommend Come Thous Tortoise and The Birth House.

    I enjoyed Mercury. Glad to see it on the list.

  8. May I also recommend Ami McKay's "The Birth House?" It's a marvelous book for women.

  9. I've been waiting for this one for a long time!!

  10. Great feature - I loved Alias Grace and of course the entire Anne series :)

    I read lots of Canadian writing, as I am Canadian! But one of my particular interests in Ukrainian Canadian writing. I always talk about lots of Canadian stuff on my blog, including Ukrainian-y stuff like Vera Lysenko's Yellow Boots, and much more.

    Thanks for highlighting Canada this week!


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