Katy used her first post to introduce herself and I suppose I should do the same thing. I, like Katy, am not a writer, but I do have a literary background. My undergraduate degree is in English Literature (with a History minor), though I departed from that stream for my Masters, which is in Information Studies (Library). Even after a library-based degree, I do not work in a library. I changed my mind (as I like to do) and decided to give the policy route I try. I am currently a policy analyst with the government. I recently lived in Toronto for a couple years, but am now safely back in Edmonton.
I would call my reading of Canadian Literature a survey, and not a complete one. This is mostly because a fairly high percentage of my Can-Lit experience comes from a survey course I took during my undergrad degree. This course, a full-year requirement for English Majors, had a Western focus and challenged a lot of the cannon pieces. We did not read anything from Quebec or the east coast; we did not even read Stephen Leacock or Farley Mowat or W.O. Mitchell. But we did read a wide variety of novels, poetry, and short stories from different segments of Canadian culture. It was here I was introduced to Thomas King (Truth and Brightwater), Earl Birney, and Canadian post modernism (it does exist).
I won’t list every author I have read, but I will say this: when I look at lists of “The Best Canadian Novels”, often the ones I have read are not on there. To me, this says something about my professor (he was pretty quirky). Not to say the books I read were any better, I read some terrible books (Alias Grace, some book about Emily Carr that I have blocked from my memory), but the selection provided a great opportunity to see Can-Lit from a different view.
Since my university career, I have read a few other Canadian authors on and off. I have read Thomas Wharton (though not all of his novels, as Katy has), I went through a Jane Urquhart phase. Most recently, I read King Leary by Paul Quarrington. But I still feel like there are a lot of holes in my Can-Lit library.
So now, I have to go back and get the cannon view- try and beef up on the major writers. When Katy suggested we take on this project together, I agreed, mostly because I need the motivation to start reading again. Now that I am finished school, it seems it is easy to fill up any spare time with other activities (watching T.V., browsing the internet), but I miss reading and this will give me the opportunity.
I have decided to start the project with Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I have a nice old copy I picked up used somewhere and it has been calling me from my shelf.