The Canadian Reading Challenge: Recap

The Canadian Reading Challenge

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My Canadian Reading Challenge started in January 2016, when I challenged myself to read a book that takes place in or was written by an author from each of the 13 Provinces and Territories within a year. Since I typically read 40 or more books a year, it seemed like something I could accomplish and still leave plenty of reading time for book club and other interests.

Twenty-two months later, I have finally achieved my goal! Today I’ll share my complete reading list with you. There’s a wide range: novels, picture books, non-fiction, classics and virtually unknown. I hope it will inspire you to start your own challenge!


Badlands, Robert Kroetsch (see blog post)

British Columbia

Big Blue Forever: The Story of Canada’s Largest Blue Whale Skeleton, Anita Miettunen

A Family Is a Family Is a Family, Sara O’Leary

Stanley Park, Timothy Taylor


The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (see blog post)

New Brunswick

Photography for the Joy of It, Freeman Patterson (see blog post)


Latitudes of Melt, Joan Clark (see blog post)

The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, Heather Smith (see my review on Goodreads)

Northwest Territories

On Thin Ice, Jamie Bastedo (see blog post)

Tracking Triple Seven, Jamie Bastedo

Nova Scotia

Breakdown, Budge Wilson (see blog post)


Consumption, Kevin Patterson (see my review on Goodreads)


The Secret of Jalna, Ronald Hambleton (see blog post)

Shooter, Caroline Pignat (see blog post)

Magnified World, Grace O’Connell (see blog post)

Room, Emma Donoghue (see blog post)

Harry and Walter, Kathy Stinson

Adult Onset, Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Dance of the Violin, Kathy Stinson

They Left Us Everything, Plum Johnson (see blog post)

No Relation, Terry Fallis

Prince Edward Island

The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Although L.M. Montgomery is one of Canada’s most beloved authors, I think I need to expand my horizons here, and in some other areas. I see some interesting possibilities in Fiction Set in New Brunswick and PEI.


A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny


Good to a Fault, Marina Endicott (see blog post)


I started reading Pierre Berton’s Klondike, but the copy I’d borrowed was an old paperback with tiny print and I just couldn’t do it. I had trouble finding something else, but lucked out with:

City of the Lost, Kelley Armstrong

It felt a bit like cheating, because although the novel was set in the fictional village of Rockton, Yukon, it really could have been any remote location in North America. However, it was an enjoyable mystery and I liked the characters, and I was pleased to learn that it’s the first in a series. I plan to read A Darkness Absolute and This Fallen Prey as well, so if I fell short in this area of the challenge, maybe I can make up for it in volume. 😉


Across Canada by Story, Douglas Gibson (see blog post)

Even though it took nearly twice as long as I expected, I am so glad that I completed this challenge. I’ve read so many books that I might never have even heard of otherwise, and learned a lot about my country in the process.

What are your favourite Canadian books?

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Janet Barclay

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  1. Hazel Thornton on November 11, 2017 at 9:30 am

    What a cool project, Janet! Congrats for finishing. Who cares how long it took?

    • Janet on November 11, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Thanks, Hazel! For a while, I wondered if I’d ever finish, but I’m really glad I did.

  2. Nancy on November 11, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    That was quite a project–congratulations on finishing, Janet! How did you choose the books you read? Did you plan to read more than one book from each province when you began your project?

  3. Janet Barclay on November 12, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Thank you for your kind words and interesting questions!

    The challenge was to read one book from each province, but I decided to include all the Canadian books I read during the 22 months in my recap because the one I read first wasn’t necessarily the best choice, and I wanted to provide more options to others who might be interested in doing the challenge or finding Canadian books to read.

    I borrowed several books specifically for the challenge, either from the library or my sister and her husband. The others were books that I owned and hadn’t read yet – except for the photography book, which I’d read before.

    • Nancy Griifiths on November 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Thank you Janet! Great selection. Happy reading!

  4. Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018! | Janet Barclay on March 29, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    […] Challenge, but the categories didn’t excite me. That’s when I decided to start my own Canadian Reading Challenge. Since I finally completed that a few weeks ago, I decided to check out Modern Mrs. Darcy’s […]

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