Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Canadian Book Challenge Eh? Take One

I've finished my first book in the Canadian Book Challenge (Eh?) and it was quite the beginning. Corey Redekop's Shelf Monkey is a book for book obsessives, an in-joke that does not fall flat. In fact, there are enough twists and turns to satisfy even the less obsessive book lover.

It's hard to objectively deal with a novel like this because I am the target audience, a book obsessive in good standing. I rarely go anywhere without a book. I prefer commuting by transit because I never got good at reading while driving. The mental map I have of the city I live in is laid out not in terms of neighbourhoods, but in terms of where the bookstores are. So liking a novel like this is almost a forgone conclusion.

That said, I do not feel the need to be objective. How often do we book lovers get a novel written about us? How often do we get to see our quirks and obsessions in print? Not that it really goes a long way to making me feel more normal. I mean, finding out you are not the only inmate at the asylum does not mean they made a mistake by committing you. But that's okay, because the library is good and I have good company.

Next up, I'm going to finish up Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing. Then it's either on to Farley Mowat or, more likely right now, Phyllis Brett Young's The Torontonians. I'm intrigued by the notion of an international bestseller about Toronto that was written in the very late fifties.

Toronto? International? 1950s? It seems so improbable now. The impression we normally get is that 1950s Toronto was a kind of. . . I guess I can't say dark ages, considering the fact that everything was supposedly so white. We are taught that Toronto was originally some boring, uptight town where the week's excitement consisted of going to church on Sunday. (Come to think of it, lots of people still have that impression today, minus the church going part.) We are taught to believe that nothing happened in Toronto until at some magic point in the late 60's/early 70's a switch was thrown and Toronto suddenly became the cosmopolitan, multicultural hub we like to think it is today.

So, The Torontonians has squeezed its way onto my ever-growing CanCon reading list. At some point, I'm also going to have to get around to reading Andrew Daley's Tell Your Sister. I bought it from the author that the last Small Press Book Fair and I just haven't got around to cracking it open yet.

Anyways, the morning is slipping away and I really should finish my Christmas shopping before I head into work.

So long for now.


John Mutford said...

It's a good point that there have been more than a few books written about book obsessives. Perhaps someone could charge them with pandering, but who cares if it's written well.

Corey Redekop said...

Glad you enjoyed it.