Saturday, July 4, 2015

Book Bingo Blackout!

All done! My first book bingo challenge is complete and it feels great.

These are the books in the final three categories:

PUBLISHED THE YEAR YOU WERE BORN [1960]: The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien

To Kill a Mockingbird was the only 1960 title I could think of off the top of my head, and with the upcoming release of Go Set a Watchman, I considered re-reading it. When I searched online for other books published in 1960, I spotted one that has been on my radar. It's on lists with titles like 1001 Books to Read Before You Die and the author is said to have influenced some of my Irish favourites, like Anne Enright and Colm Toibin.
The Country Girls is the first in a trilogy about two friends who want their lives to be different from those of their parents. The 1950s time period and the complicated relationship between Baba and Caithleen reminded me very much of Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name from her Neapolitan trilogy. I finished Edna O'Brien's novel a couple of days ago and I feel like I'm still processing it. Her characters are vivid and still there in my brain, not easily forgotten.


I've been a fan ever since Ali Smith's debut novel, Like, and this is the only one of her books that I hadn't yet read. (See my reviews of How to be both and There but for the.) It was my turn to choose a book for our feminist book club and I'm so glad that I remembered Artful. It's an innovative hybrid: four essays about art, linked with a fictional narrative about someone haunted by the ghost of her/his partner, and it's bristling with flagged passages, ready for our upcoming discussion. The book made my brain stretch in the best possible way. It has also lodged in my brain a Doris Day song from my childhood: "Let the Little Girl Limbo."

NONFICTION ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN OR STATE: Weird Edmonton: The Odd, Quirky and Wonderful People, Places, History and Hauntings by Mark Kozub

Trivia is perfect for browsing, which is what I've previously done with Weird Edmonton. For bingo, however, I read it straight through, picking it up in between other books. I love that the cover photo is of our stunning Art Gallery of Alberta. For conversation starters, it'll come in handy to know stuff like:
  • More than 30 species of mosquito are found in Edmonton.
  • Edmonton's river valley features North America's largest expanse of urban parkland and it includes 150 km of walking trails.
  • The term BYOV, "Bring Your Own Venue," was first coined at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, which is the second largest in the world (after Edinburgh).
  • Edmontosaurus is a duck-billed dinosaur first discovered in the late 1800s southwest of here.
  • Edmonton has the largest population of Dutch elm disease-free trees in the world: more than 60,000.
  • In the 1950s, a horse trapped in an abandoned coal mine shaft was rescued when people could hear it whinnying through the wall of their basement.
  • The first mosque in North America was the Al-Rashid, built in Edmonton in 1938.
  • Daryl Katz, owner of the Edmonton Oilers, bought the multi-million-dollar home next to his and demolished it to build an ice rink for his kids. After reading about it, I walked over with my dog to have a look, since it's only about a mile from my house.
    The Katz mansion (background, 2400 sq m) and rink at 4 Valleyview Point.

Previous posts on this project are here (2 lines), here (4 lines), and here (6 lines). Overall thoughts and stats:
  • I've read more widely than I would have otherwise and I feel enriched for having done so. 
  • 9 out of the 25 were chosen especially for this bingo card: The Country Girls; Law of the Desert Born; Soccer; The Wife, The Maid and the Mistress; Artful; If I Ever Get Out of Here; Phenomenal; My Guardian Angel; and Weird Edmonton.
  • One of my categories was "Borrowed from the Library," but every single one of these books came from the public library (including one on interlibrary loan).
  • 20 out of 25 are written by women.
  • 10 out of 25 are in audiobook format.
  • 5 out of 25 are in graphic novel format.
  • 6 out of 25 are by Canadian authors, 10 are by Americans and the remaining 9 are from Ireland, Uruguay, Italy, Australia, France, England, Scotland and Spain.
  • 7 out of 25 are by PoC/Aboriginal authors
What's next? A new card! It was so much fun that I'm doing it again.

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