Archive for May 2009


Blog #4 Alice Munro wins Booker

How wonderful that Alice Munro has won the Man Booker International prize.  Her life’s work is being honoured among writers in the British Commonwealth.  What is interesting to me, a writer who is about to publish a short story collection,  is how much interest the short-story is getting recently.  Why does the short story form appeal to me  more than the novel form?

As a first-time writer  preparing to publish, I balked at reading Munro’s  Castle Rock collection as it is a series of linked stories similar to what I was attempting in my  modest collection of stories and reflections in Indian River.  I did read Munro’s stories after I finished writing my book.  I took confidence not in competing with a master like Munro, but in quickly realizing that my people, their life paths, my writing were so different.  I also began to accept that my stories tell different truths which others should know about too.

Book Club Ratings


Books rated by the Men’s Book Club,

Patty’s Pub, Ottawa


Out of Muskoka, James Bartleman                       4/10

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut 9/10

Stanger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein     8/10

The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown                                 9/10

Deafening, Frances Itani                                             8.5/10

Paris: 1919, Part I, Margaret MacMillan             9.5/10

The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin                                    8/10

Dude, Where’s My Country, Michael Moore          7.5/10

December 6th, Martin Cruz Smith                              7.5/10

Paris: 1919, Part II, Margaret MacMillan 9.5/10


Atonement, Ian McEwan                                              +

Good News For a Change, David Susuki & Dressel  +

The Stone Carvers, Jane Urquhart                                   + –

The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester   +

The Wars, Timothy Findley                                                     + +

The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen                                      + – !

The River Thieves, Michael Crummey                                + +

The Navigator of New York, Wayne Johnston                    + –

The Life of Pi, Yann Martel                                                             +

The Englishman’s Boy, Guy Vanderhaegte                              +


A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry                                                   + +

Colony of Unrequited Dreams, Wayne Johnstson               + +

Stolen Continents, Ronald Wright                                                +

The Night Inspector, Frederick Bush                                           +

Archangel,Robert Harris                                                                    +

Potato Factory, William Courtenay                                               +

The Constant Gardener, John LeCarre                                         + +

Great Questions of Canada, Rudyard Griffiths, ed.                  +

In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick                                 + +

In the Skin of the Lion, Michael Ondaatje                                       + +


Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis deBernieres                            + +

No Great Mischief, Alistair McLeod                                                     + –

A Walk in the Woods, Brian Bryson +

Road to Mars, Eric Idle                                                                              + +

In the Blood, Gordon Pitt                                                                            +

On Beulah Height, Reginald Hill                                                              + +

The Power of One, William Courtenay                                                  + +

Barney’s Version, Mordecai Richler                                                        +

Book Club Ratings


Books rated by the Men’s Book Club,

Patty’s Pub, Ottawa


On the Black Hill, Bruce Chatwin                8.5/10

A Long Way Gone, Ishmaial Beah              6.5/10

Restless, William Boyd                                  9.25/10

Law of Dreams, Peter Behrens                         9/10

The Song of Kahunsha, Anosh Irani              7/10

A Year in the World, Frances Maynes           5/10

The Places in Between, Rory Stewart             7/10

The Spire, William Golding                            5.75/10

Klee Wych, Emily Carr                                       8.4/10

The Road, Cormac McCarthy                       7.25/10


Here Be Dragons, Peter Newman                   8.3/10

Saturday, Ian McEwan                                       8.2/10

The Sea, John Banville                                            8/10

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen                     7.5/10

I is for Infidel Kathy Gannon                             8.5/10

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks                                     9/10

Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser                      7.5/10

Bloodletting and

Miraculous Cures, Vincent Lamb                        9.5/10

Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky                        8/10

J Pod,   Doug Coupland                                                   8/10


A Short History of Progress, Ronald Wright          9/10

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett 9/10

The Kite Runner, Khalid Hosseini                              8.9/10

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver           7.3/10

Dark Age Ahead, Jane Jacobs                                      8.3/10

Teacher Man, Frank McCourt                                          7/10

Shockwave, Stephen Walker                                        7.5/10

Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden                               9.5/10

The Time in Between, David Bergen                           5.7/10

The Wreckage, Michael Crummey                                 8/10


Mercy Among the Children, David Adams Richards 6.5/10

Tourist Season, Carl Hiasson                                             7.75/10

The Last Crossing, Guy Vanderhaeghe                                  8/10

Innocent Graves, Peter Robinson                                           8/10

Gould’s Book of Fish, Richard Flanigan                               6.5/10

And No Birds Sang, Farley Mowatt                                    7.25/10

How the Irish Saved

Civilization, Thomas Cahill                                                        8.3/10

Harry Potter and the

Philosopher Stone, J.K. Rowling                                              7.5/10

Krakatoa, Simon Winchester                                                     8.5/10

Rockbound, Frank Parker Day                                                       9/10