Sunday, December 23, 2007

Home(sick) for the Holidays

I'm feeling a little homesick this week. It would be nice to be with my extended family at Christmas, but I just couldn't swing it. So, no Saskatchewan for me this year...although technically most of my family is now in Alberta...but Cipriano's glee at getting away to Sask just rubbed some salt in the wound! No, seriously, every now and again I feel this longing for where I grew up, even though I've now lived away from Saskatchewan longer than I lived in it. Childhood years seem so much longer somehow. In any case, to assuage my homesickness, I was thinking about books set in Sask, and I realized I haven't put together a book list in ages. So,here's a book list about Saskatchewan.

This is one I just reviewed; it's a wonderful story collection. Her novel, The Horseman's Graves, is still ahead for my delectation.

This is an old chestnut but it is still amusing (at least to me). It is an academic study of the fictional Sarah Binks, and both in subject and form it is cleverly put together. Sarah is known as the 'sweet songstress of Saskatchewan', and she has to be the worst poet in Canadian history. An example:
The farmer is king of his packer and plough,
Of his harrows and binders and breakers,
He is lord of the pig, and Czar of the cow
On his hundred and sixty-odd acres.

3. Joanne Kilbourn mystery series / Gail Bowen

For some light mystery reading, I like this series set (mostly) in Regina. One of my favourites was "Murder at the Mendel", (set at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.) Although Joanne seems to come across a LOT of dead people, I guess it's not too far-fetched, as Regina has held the distinction of being the murder capital of Canada in real life.

4. A Student of Weather / Elizabeth Hay

This 2001 novel by this year's Giller Prize winner is one of my favourites of her books. It begins in Saskatchewan, and is the story of two sisters and how their lives are affected by the appearance of a young metereologist in their household during the Dust Bowl of the 30's. It doesn't stay in Sask the whole book, as the younger sister heads off to Ontario and New York.

5. All in together Girls / Kate Sutherland

One I've also just reviewed, this is a short story collection with some stories set in Sask. It's an enjoyable and recognizable read, and after you've finished it I dare you not to try to find her first collection, Summer Reading. Because you'll want to!

**And before anyone tells me I forgot one, As for me and my house by Sinclair Ross would be on my Anti-List. Can someone tell me WHY this book is so famous and taught so often? It gives me the heaves. The only good thing to come out of it is Saskatchewan poet Lorna Crozier's collection, A Saving Grace: The Collected Poems of Mrs. Bentley, a series of poems from the point of view of the main character.


  1. Neat book list! I'm sorry that you can't go home. :( I hope you have happy holidays anyway!

  2. Thanks Eva! I think of it as being able to avoid airports, which I hate. Plus, webcams are an amazing invention!


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