Review: The Watch that Ends the Night – Hugh MacLennan

2017: 82
3.5 of 5 stars
Published 1959

This is the final book I needed to read to complete my 2017 Bingo Reading Challenge “Card”! The square called for a book published in the year you were born (or decade if you couldn’t find something). That gives me a few months to research books that might work for next year’s Bingo challenge!

George Stewart is married to Catherine, the love of his life whose health is precarious due to a heart condition. But she was married to a man before him, a man who became his best friend, Dr. Jerome Martell. Jerome went missing in WWII, presumed dead in a POW camp. But Jerome has returned to Montreal and the apple cart is upset.

The story then retreats into the pasts of all three characters to bring t heir stories from the 1930s right up to the early 1950s when the story began. George became a third wheel in the relationship between Catherine and Jerome and was a good family friend to them both up to when Jerome left Montreal to take his medical skills to the Spanish Civil War.   Montreal in the 1930s was crackling with politics, with the Spanish war between the Fascists and Communists firing imaginations worldwide. George then has to deal with the huge impact that Jerome’s return has caused. I did find that the narrative got dragged down by too much philosophy near the end. I don’t think it really added to the story much, just gave the author a chance to express his own views on the world and the individual.

It’s the story of relationships, friendship, politics, families, love, survival and loyalties. The characters are interesting and the dynamics between them are written very realistically. I’m reading this book nearly 60 years after it was written, but it doesn’t feel dated at all.

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Summer Reading Challenges Completed


Well, I’ve done it. On Goodreads, in the CanadianContent group (also here on WordPress at A Year of Books), we were challenged to read a book from each province and territory in Canada over the summer. It could be a book based in that province or a book written by an author from that province. My initial list changed over the course of the challenge, as I found other books that I enjoyed or did not finish another and had to find something else to replace it. I discovered some books that I really, really enjoyed and a few authors new to me and I hope to read more by them.

These 13 books are also part of the #20BooksOfSummer challenge at 746Books. You can see my original list of  Cross Canada books here with others that I thought I would read to  make up the 20. The final list is a bit different.  I’ve actually read more than 20 since June. I have added a  list of seven more at the end of this post and call that challenge complete!

Here, then, is the final list with links to the reviews:

British Columbia:
Title: The Jade Peony (Review)
Author: Wayson Choy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Finished: June 19
Have I Visited B.C.?: Yes

Alberta
Title: Prairie Ostrich (Review)
Author: Tamal Kobayshi
Rating: 5 stars
Finished: July 5
Have I Visited?: No

Saskatchewan
Title: Alone in the Classroom (Review)
Author: Elizabeth Hay
Rating: 2.5 stars
Finished: July 9
Have I Visited?: No

Manitoba:
Title: The Summer of My Amazing Luck (Review)
Author: Miriam Toews
Rating: 3 stars
Finished: July 25
Have I Visited?: No

Ontario
Title: The Only Cafe (Review)
Author: Linden McIntyre
Rating: 4 stars
Finished: July 17
Have I Visited?: Yes

Quebec
Title: Barney’s Version (Review)
Author: Mordecai Richler
Rating: 4.5 stars
Finished: June 14
Have I Visited?: Yes

New Brunswick
Title: The Town that Drowned (Review)
Author: Riel Nason
Rating: 4.5 stars
Finished: August 16
Have I Visited?: Yes

Nova Scotia
Title: Ava Comes Home (Review)
Author: Lesley Crewe
Rating: 3.5 stars
Finished: June 11
Have I Visited?: Live here

Prince Edward Island
Title: Chronicles of Avonlea (Review)
Author: L. M. Montgomery
Rating: 4 stars
Finished: August 18
Have I Visited?: Yes

Newfoundland & Labrador
Title: First Snow, Last Light (Review)
Author: Wayne Johnston
Rating: 5 stars
Finished: August 22
Have I Visited?: Yes

Nunavut
Title: Rankin Inlet (Review)
Author: Mara Feeney
Rating: 4.5 stars
Finished: June 26
Have I Visited?: No

Northwest Territories
Title: Late Nights on Air (Review)
Author: Elizabeth Hay
Rating: 4.5 stars
Finished: August 30
Have I Visited?: No

Yukon
Title: Gold Fever (Review)
Author: Vicki Delany
Rating: 3 stars
Finished: June 9
Have I Visited?: No

To finish, seven more books to make up the 20 Books of Summer Challenge:

Court of Lions – Jane Johnson. 4 stars, Finished June 25
Electric Shadows of Shanghai – Clare Kane. 4.5 stars, Finished
All is Beauty Now – Sarah Faber. 5 stars, Finished July 20
Persuasion – Jane Austen. 4 stars, Finished August 2
Lost in September – Kathleen Winter. 4 stars, Finished August 6
Holding Still for as Long as Possible – Zoe Whittall. 3 stars, Finished August 11
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy. 3.5 stars, Finished June 12

2017 Bingo Challenge – Completed!

bingoYay Me! I’ve completed my Reading Bingo Card!! (ed. no I haven’t, I have 2 more to read. I posted by mistake but I’ll leave it for now)

Now, having said that, this might not be the final version. I have a mind to change out the audio book at some point at the very least. The one I used is one that I think might have been very much abridged, not the full novel so I might get one from the library through Overdrive before the end of the year.

Am still working on the Cross Canada Reading Challenge and the 20 Books of Summer challenge but expect to be able to complete those on time. And at the moment, almost all of the authors but one are either Canadian born or are Canadian residents/citizens even if born elsewhere. They are considered Canadian writers. The only one that isn’t is the audio book, another reason to replace it. Still, it’s finished even if I don’t get round to doing that.

I did do a bit of shuffling around as per a suggestion from someone on Goodreads. Here then is the completed “card”:

B1 – A book from CBC 100 Novels that Make You Proud to Be Canadian
Lullabies for Little Criminals – Heather O’Neill  Reviewed

B2 – A Book from a Province/Territory You Want to Visit
The Jade Peony – Wayson Choy (British Columbia) Reviewed

B3 – Canadian Memoir
The Game – Ken Dryden – Finished and Reviewed

B4- A Banned Book
The Diviners – Margaret Lawrence  Reviewed

B5 – Canada Reads 2017
Company Town – Madeline Ashby   Reviewed (shortlist Canada Reads 2017)

I1 – Booked turned into a movie
The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton 2016 TIFF  Reviewed

I2 – Written by an Indigenous Author
The Break – Katherena Vermette – Reviewed 

I3 – YA
100 YA books (CBC)
BayGirl – Heather Smith  Reviewed

I4 – Written by LGBTQ author
Slammerkin – Emma Donoghue – Reviewed

I5 – sci-fi/dystopia/apocolyptic novel
Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji – Reviewed

N1 – past long or shortlist Canada Reads novel
Canada Reads previous winners
Rockbound – Frank Parker Day (Canada Reads 2005 winner) Reviewed

N2 – Non-Fiction
Shag Harbour Incident – Graham Simms  Reviewed

N3 – Your Favourite Canadian Novel
Planned: Fall On Your Knees – Ann-Marie MacDonald Reviewed

N4 – Audio book
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whithead  Reviewed (but I might re-fill this at some point)

N5- Giller Prize short-list/longlist or winner
Scotiabank Giller Prize past winners
The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall   Reviewed

G1 – Canadian Mystery
Gold Fever – Vicki Delaney Reviewed

G2 – Book about someone immigrating to Canada
The Piano Maker – Kurt Palka  Reviewed

G3 – Book Published in 2017
The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill   Reviewed (published Feb. 2017)

G4 – Translated novel
Ru – Kim Thuy  Reviewed (Canada Reads 2015 winner)

G5 – Book written in your province/territory/city/state (or country if not in Can)
Ava Comes Home – Lesley Crewe  Reviewed

O1 -Canadian novel published the year you were born (1959)
The Watch That Ends the Night – Hugh McLennan Reviewed

O2 – A book outside your comfort zone
Fifteen Dogs – Andre Alexis  Reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

O3 – A Book of poetry
Runaway Dreams – Richard Wagamese  Reviewed

O4 – A Canadian Classic
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood  Reviewed

O5 – A Book from the CBC 100 True Stories that make you proud to be Canadian
Stalin’s Daughter – Rosemary Sullivan   Reviewed

Two Summer Reading Challenges

On Goodreads, my CanadianContent group has monthly reading challenges. July’s is to read across Canada, that is, to read books set in each province or by an author from each province. That’s 13 books by Canadian authors, and since that’s a lot for one month, they’ve decided to extend it from June 1 to end of July. I have most of the ones I want to read picked out. Also, June’s challenge is to read some books by Indigenous authors. There’s a couple that I have so I’ll do that, with one of them working for the Cross Canada challenge and which will fit the ongoing 2017 Bingo reading challenge. Still with me?

On 746Books, Cathy has a summer reading challenge, too, and hers runs from June 1 to the end of August. She’s planning to read 20 books though if you join the challenge, you can aim for 10 or 15. Her list of choices has some interesting looking books. I may see if I can get hold of a few of them through the library. Here is a page with links to other people that are participating.

I think I will join this challenge since my Cross Canada one will knock off 13 which is a good start. That challenge ends July 31, and I generally average 7 or 8 books a month.

The Cross Canada books are: (I haven’t found one to fit for Alberta but I will do. )

British Columbia:
Book: The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
3.5 stars, Finished June 19
Have I Visited BC?: Yes, and visiting again this year

Alberta
Book: Don’t know but there’s a good list of authors from Alberta here to investigate.
Have I Visited Alberta?: No

Saskatchewan
Book: Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay
Have I Visited?: No

Manitoba:
Book: Ravenscraig by Sandi Krawchenko Altner
Have I Visited Saskatchewan?: No

Ontario
Book: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (or something by Margaret Atwood)
Rating:
Have I Visited Ontario?: Yes

Quebec
Book: Barney’s Version – Mordecai Richler
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars  Finished June 14
Have I Visited Quebec?: Yes

New Brunswick
Book: Incidents in the life of Marcus Paul or Crimes Against My Brother by David Adams Richards
Have I Visited New Brunswick?: Yes

Nova Scotia
Book: Ava Comes Home by Lesley Crewe – Finished  June 11
Have I Visited?: Live here

Prince Edward Island
Book: Tide Road by Valery Compton
Have I Visited PEI?: Yes

Newfoundland & Labrador
Book: Baygirl by Heather Smith  – Finished May 27
Have I Visited?: Yes

Nunavut
Book: Rankin Inlet by Mara Feeney
Have I Visited?: No

Northwest Territories
Book: Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay
Have I Visited?: No

Yukon
Book: Gold Fever by Vicki Delany – Finished June 9
Have I Visited the Yukon?: No

I’m still not sure what else to fill up the 20 for the 20 Books of Summer.

Court of Lions by Jane Johnson
Gone Astray – Michelle Davies
The Way Back to FlorenceThe Way Back to Florence – Glenn Haybittle
Some others waiting to be read in my Kobo account are:
The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong Lee
At Risk by Alice Hoffman
Poles Apart by Terry Fallis
Quicksand by Steve Toltz
Barkskins by Annie Proulx

I think that’s a good start and I’ll likely add a few more at random to make the 20.

2017 Bingo Challenge Update 14/25

bingoNow that the excitement of the Canada Reads 2017 is over, I can get back to concentrating on my reading for the Bingo challenge. Here’s another catch up post, mainly for my own use. I now  have 14 squares filled in, over half way through. I still don’t have any completed line!

I struggled through the poetry book by Margaret Atwood and decided to try Runaway Dreams by Richard Wagamese which is going along better. He does have a lovely way with words but I confess, poetry doesn’t really do much for me as a rule. I’m nearly done that so I’m counting it as complete since I did already have that square filled with the Atwood poetry anyway. Still don’t actually have a complete line filled but the April challenge for the CanadianContent group is to work on the To Be Read pile (TBR) and if I can get one of my Lesley Crewe books read, that will give me two lines! So here’s the update:

B1 – A book from CBC 100 Novels that Make You Proud to Be Canadian
Possibilities: Barney’s Version Mordecai Richler, Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese

B2 – A Book from a Province/Territory You Want to Visit
Planned: Alone in the Classroom – Elizabeth Hay

B3 – Canadian Memoir
The Game – Ken Dryden – Finished and Reviewed

B4- A Banned Book
Planned: The Diviners – Margaret Lawrence

B5 – Canada Reads 2017
The Break – Katherena Vermette Finished and reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

I1 – Booked turned into a movie
The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton 2016 TIFF – Finished and reviewed

I2 – Written by an Indigenous Author
Planned: The Next Sure Thing – Richard Wagamese

I3 – YA
100 YA books (CBC)
Planned: BayGirl – Heather Smith

I4 – Written by LGBTQ author
Slammerkin – Emma Donoghue – Finished and Reviewed

I5 – sci-fi/dystopia/apocolyptic novel
Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji – Finished and Reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

N1 – past long or shortlist Canada Reads novel
Canada Reads previous winners
Planned: Rockbound – Frank Parker Day (Canada Reads 2005 winner)

N2 – Non-Fiction
Planned: Shag Harbour Incident – Graham Simms

N3 – Your Favourite Canadian Novel
Planned: Fall On Your Knees – Ann-Marie MacDonald

N4 – Audio book
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whithead Finished and Reviewed (but I might re-fill this at some point)

N5- Giller Prize short-list/longlist or winner
Scotiabank Giller Prize past winners
The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall – Finished and Reviewed

G1 – Canadian Mystery
Company Town – Madeline Ashby  – Finished and Reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

G2 – Book about someone immigrating to Canada
The Piano Maker – Kurt Palka – Finished and Reviewed

G3 – Book Published in 2017
The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill – Finished and Reviewed (published Feb. 2017)

G4 – Translated novel
Ru – Kim Thuy – Finished and Reviewed  (Canada Reads 2015 winner)

G5 – Book written in your province/territory/city/state (or country if not in Can)
Planned: something by Lesley Crewe, I’ve got a stack of books I’ve borrowed

O1 -Canadian novel published the year you were born (1959)
Planned: The Watch That Ends the Night – Hugh McLennan

O2 – A book outside your comfort zone
Fifteen Dogs – Andre Alexis – Finished and Reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

O3 – A Book of poetry
Runaway Dreams – Richard Wagamese – nearly finished

O4 – A Canadian Classic
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – (currently reading)

O5 – A Book from the CBC 100 True Stories that make you proud to be Canadian
Stalin’s Daughter – Rosemary Sullivan – Finished and Reviewed

2017 Bingo Challenge Update (10/25)

bingoA month after my last update, I now  have 10 squares filled in for my 2017 Bingo challenge. I will be finishing at least one book this month that will fill another one. I’ve been making an effort to read all of the shortlisted Canada Reads novels (aside from one which is my next book to start) and I realized that most of the ones I’ve read are usable for the Bingo challenge.

One of the books, the Audio Book, is one I might switch out later this year. The book I listened to was only an abridged version and it kind of feels like cheating. What I heard only lasted about an hour and a half. I heard from someone else that the full audio version of it was over 10 hours long.

I’ve also changed a couple of choices since my last post. I’ve bought the new book by Heather O’Neill with a birthday Indigo gift card which fits the “published in 2017” square and bought Company Town with the remainder of the gift card. I discovered that could be used for the “Canadian Mystery” square.

B1 – A book from CBC 100 Novels that Make You Proud to Be Canadian
Possibilities: Barney’s Version Mordecai Richler, Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese

B2 – A Book from a Province/Territory You Want to Visit
Planned: Alone in the Classroom – Elizabeth Hay

B3 – Canadian Memoir
The Game – Ken Dryden – Finished and Reviewed

B4- A Banned Book
Planned: The Diviners – Margaret Lawrence

B5 – Canada Reads 2017
The Break – Katherena Vermette Finished and reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

I1 – Booked turned into a movie
The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton 2016 TIFF – Finished and reviewed

I2 – Written by an Indigenous Author
Planned: The Next Sure Thing – Richard Wagamese

I3 – YA
100 YA books (CBC)
Planned: BayGirl – Heather Smith

I4 – Written by LGBTQ author
Planned: The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

I5 – sci-fi/dystopia/apocolyptic novel
Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji – Finished and Reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

N1 – past long or shortlist Canada Reads novel
Canada Reads previous winners
Planned: In the skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje (Canada Reads 2002 winner)

N2 – Non-Fiction
Planned: Shag Harbour Incident – Graham Simms

N3 – Your Favourite Canadian Novel
Planned: Fall On Your Knees – Ann-Marie MacDonald

N4 – Audio book
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whithead Finished and Reviewed

N5- Giller Prize short-list/longlist or winner
Scotiabank Giller Prize past winners
The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall – Finished and Reviewed

G1 – Canadian Mystery
Planned: Company Town – Madeline Ashby  (Canada Reads 2017)

G2 – Book about someone immigrating to Canada
The Piano Maker – Kurt Palka – Finished and Reviewed

G3 – Book Published in 2017
Planned: The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill

G4 – Translated novel
Ru – Kim Thuy – Finished and Reviewed  (Canada Reads 2015 winner)

G5 – Book written in your province/territory/city/state (or country if not in Can)
Planned: something by Lesley Crewe, I’ve got a stack of books I’ve borrowed

O1 -Canadian novel published the year you were born (1959)
Planned: The Watch That Ends the Night – Hugh McLennan

O2 – A book outside your comfort zone
Fifteen Dogs – Andre Alexis – Finished and Reviewed (Canada Reads 2017)

O3 – A Book of poetry
Possibilities: Margaret Atwood – The Circle Game, Runaway Dreams – Richard Wagamese

O4 – A Canadian Classic
Planned: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

O5 – A Book from the CBC 100 True Stories that make you proud to be Canadian
Stalin’s Daughter – Rosemary Sullivan – Finished and Reviewed

2017 Bingo Challenge Update (6/25)

bingoI’m progressing quite well on this year’s 2017 Bingo challenge with 6 squares filled in already and currently reading a book that will fill a 7th. I’m sure that progress will ebb and flow as the year goes on. I want to read lots of other books, too, though I got quite enthusiastic figuring out what I might want to read for this challenge and pencilling in, so to speak, options. Last year, I did end up changing a few entries as I read books that I thought would better suit one of the themes and no doubt that will happen this year, too. I will post updates from time to time.

B1 – A book from CBC 100 Novels that Make You Proud to Be Canadian
Possibilities: Barney’s Version  Mordecai Richler, Indian Horse – Richard Wagamese

B2 – A Book from a Province/Territory You Want to Visit
Planned: Alone in the Classroom – Elizabeth Hay

B3 – Canadian Memoir
The Game – Ken Dryden – Finished

B4- A Banned Book
Planned: The Diviners – Margaret Lawrence

B5 – Canada Reads 2017
Planned: The Break by Katherena Vermette

I1 – Booked turned into a movie
The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton 2016 TIFF – Finished and reviewed

I2 – Written by an Indigenous Author
Planned: The Next Sure Thing – Richard Wagamese

I3 – YA
100 YA books (CBC)
 Planned: BayGirl – Heather  Smith

I4 – Written by LGBTQ author
Planned:  The Wonder – Emma Donoghue

I5 – sci-fi/dystopia/apocolyptic novel
Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji – Finished and Reviewed

N1 – past long or shortlist Canada Reads novel
Canada Reads previous winners
Planned: In the skin of a Lion – Michael Ondaatje

N2 – Non-Fiction
Planned: Shag Harbour Incident – Graham Simms

N3 – Your Favourite Canadian Novel
Planned: Fall On Your Knees – Ann-Marie MacDonald

N4 – Audio book
Planned: Stone Mattress – Margaret Atwood

N5- Giller Prize short-list/longlist or winner
Scotiabank Giller Prize past winners
The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall – Finished and Reviewed

G1 – Canadian Mystery

G2 – Book about someone immigrating to Canada
The Piano Maker – Kurt Palka – Finished and Reviewed

G3 – Book Published in 2017

G4 – Translated novel
Canadian Translations You Have to Read
Planned: Twenty One Cardinals – Jocelyn Saucier

G5 – Book written in your province/territory/city/state (or country if not in Can)
Planned: something by Lesley Crewe, I’ve got a stack of books I’ve borrowed

O1 -Canadian novel published the year you were born (1959)
Planned: The Watch That Ends the Night – Hugh McLennan

O2 – A book outside your comfort zone
Possibilities: Essex County – Jeff Lemire (graphic novel), Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws: Short Fiction, The Deep – Nick Cutter (horror ) , The n-Body Problem – Tony Burgess (horror)

O3 – A Book of poetry
Possibilities: Margaret Atwood – The Circle Game, Runaway Dreams – Richard Wagamese

O4 – A Canadian Classic
Planned: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

O5 – A Book from the CBC 100 True Stories that make you proud to be Canadian  
Stalin’s Daughter – Rosemary Sullivan – Finished and Reviewed