Literary pioneers and the to-be-read shelf

This is a picture of my to-be-read shelf. Every writer and avid reader has one, and mine is heaving with books. That's why I sigh with joy, and frustration, every time people give or loan me books. Yes, I want every book in the world and I also want enough sunny days to sit in the backyard and read them. I'm glad a friend insisted that she lend me Sisters in the Wilderness: the lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill by Charlotte Gray. It follows the lives of literary pioneers Susanna Moodie (Roughing it in the Bush) and Catharine Parr Traill (The Backwoods of Canada and The Canadian Settler's Guide) who came to Canada in the early 1800s. The book is a double biography that goes behind their literary works to reveal the women as the authors, wives, mothers, sisters and daughters that they were. It examines the hardships and joys of life in Canada in the early days. It explores how they nurtured their writing careers while raising children, running farmsteads, withstanding the heat, snow, cold and diminishing bank accounts, and managing husbands who were ill equipped for the harsh reality of the backwoods of Canada (they probably had never met a mosquito before moving here!). And then there were the challenges of submitting articles and manuscripts when the mail took months (by boat, train and dog sled), there were publishers that didn't pay (say it ain't so!) and books to sell during hard economic times to a population spread out over this vast land. And critics! There were critics even in their own family (sisters eh!?). I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it for those interested in Canadian history (literary and otherwise), and to see how the life of a writer hasn't changed much (except we now have snail mail). My rescue cat Sprite enjoyed the book as well. She gave it a thorough going over with her teeth and gums. Naturally, I had to adhere to the-my-crazy-rescue-cat-who-used-to-live-with-coyotes-ate-your-book-so-I-will-replace-it rule of book lending.
Cats enjoy Canadian literature. Check out the Canadian flag on my vest in the background - True north strong and free!


Anonymous said…
My book shelf to be read pile looks like yours, yes, yes it does, lol. I shall not speak of the other to be read piles in the house, but will for sure check this one out and add it to one of them!

Ah, the chewy catty--
Jan Markley said…
It's one more for your pile Deb.

Yes, she's one crazy kat!
Dawn said…
Looks like another for my groaning TBR pile :-)
I can't keep up with all the books I want . . . and keep buying. I'm a sucker for books by new authors, especially since I'm hoping to be one one day. I always dread checking out a blog post in which a book is reviewed since I know I'm going to WANT that book.

I didn't realize you were living in Calgary, too. I'm looking forward to meeting you in the near future. :D
Jan Markley said…
Yes, Dawn and Stina - so many books, so little time (and lately, sunshine).

I look forward to meeting you too Stina!

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