Sunday, October 25, 2009

Book 4 - Complete

Finished "Why I Hate Canadians" by Will Ferguson last night ...

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Iran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams of My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Paradise Lost - John Milton
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Play it as it Lays - Joan Didion
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. I was a Teenage Katima-Victim - Will Ferguson
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. Snarky Responses to Yahoo! Answers - Matthew Cory
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. The Ultimate Weight Solution - Dr. Phil McGraw
101. Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life - Dr. Phil McGraw

WHY I HATE CANADIANS, first of all, is a highly entertaining book. From a literary critical perspective I need to say that first and foremost. Will Ferguson is a fantastic writer; I've read his BASTARDS AND BONEHEADS book (where he ranks Canada's Prime Ministers, as well as other important historical figures, by whether they were a bonehead or ... well ... y'know), and he is also the author of Canadian History for Dummies, which I've read excerpts of. I don't always agree with him - I think he's tough on William Lyon Mackenzie King as a Prime Minister, and I think his TOTAL lack of sympathy for the group rights claims of the French-Canadians, coupled with his TOTAL empathy with the Native Canadian plight, is at least mildly hypocritical (I tend to agree with him as to which group has more of a claim to special treatment due to historical and current mistreatment; however, I feel that from an intellectual honesty point of view there are probably better arguments he could make).

Which is probably my only criticism of this book; his general point - that Canadians can achieve something grand and great if we simply disabuse ourselves of our national illusions (our 'niceness', for example) and stop comparing ourselves to the big ole elephant we share a continent with, along with a healthy dose of criticism of the modern subdivision/shopping mall culture, separatism, etc., is well taken. But I feel like Ferguson sometimes loses some strength and intelligence in his argument in favour of wittiness, cleverness, or a great turn of phrase. The book doesn't lose MUCH for this - but it does mean we need to be careful to not find ourselves agreeing with him SIMPLY because he has a great way of putting his thoughts. Agree with him when and because he's right, not because he's a good writer.

That said, he IS a good writer and I eagerly anticipate the other Will Ferguson book on my list; I WAS A TEENAGE KATIMA-VICTIM, which was one of my favourite finds in this book; a nation-wide voluntarism opportunity for Canadian youth and young adults cut by the Mulroney Government in 1986 and reinstated in 1996 by the Chretien government. BOTTOM LINE: This book looks at a healthy dose of Canadian history (the voyageurs and habitants, the Natives, even the history of Sudbury), as well as considering where Canada is today (the results of the above in many cases), in a witty, easy-to-read (from an enjoyability factor, not because it is facile), manner with a good dose of intelligent, considered observation; this last falters ONLY when he sacrifices following through an important line of thought, in favour of a witty line of writing.

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