Raindropreflections: How Do YOU See Canada?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

How Do YOU See Canada?

niagara falls! clicky image for source.

I’m Canadian. I mean, if you’ve read my About Me page or maybe even some of my reviews, you know that. I also love books. But when you put the two together, something weird comes to mind: there aren’t actually very many YA books set in Canada.

Sure, there’s Anne of Green Gables and that book with the dog named Sirius that was set in Newfoundland (I can’t remember the title for the life of me) but the truth is, in YA fiction, which is what I read about 99 percent of the time, there just aren’t very many books set in Canada.

The truth is, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like reading or writing about places I actually live in. So, uh, I’m fine with there not being many books set in Canada. *gasp* It’s true. So, well, what I wanted to know is this: how do YOU see Canada, whether or not you’re a Canadian?

Do you imagine us all buried under fifty feet of snow? (As someone who lives near the West Coast, I find this laughable. It rarely snows here, guys. I know. We’re SO lucky.) Do you see a land of mysteries, maple leaves, and of course, pancakes?

And more importantly, have you read a YA book set in Canada? I’m genuinely curious. I don’t think those books would hold my attention, because of my wanderlust issues, but what images does Canada bring to mind for Americans? Brits? Indians?

 

14 comments:

  1. I'm Canadian too, and extremely proud of that fact! I can't think of any YA books off the top of my head that are set in Canada (except my own novel, which is set near Toronto). For that matter, I can't think of many adult books set in Canada, either. I'm the opposite of you – I'm always super excited when I find that very rare book that's set in Canada. If they're set in Toronto, well that's one of my favorite cities, and I get to say 'hey, I've been there!' If not, well, I haven't traveled extensively in Canada, so I get to live vicariously, same as I do with books set in the States or Ireland or Australia, or anywhere else in the world. I don't think we get enough exposure, and that's part of why people are so ignorant about our country – I've actually heard people who are surprised we have internet…electricity…don't travel by dog sled…don't have snow 12 months a year…and tons of other ludicrous, stereotypical things. I'm hoping that when my books comes out in January, people will get curious enough about Toronto or Canada as a whole that they make an effort to learn more.

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  2. BTW…I have mega wanderlust, too. It's getting worse as time goes on and I'm stuck in the same place. I've done quite a bit of traveling for someone my age, but it's not nearly enough…I don't think it'll never be enough! Once my book is published and I get my bills paid down, every extra cent I make is going into a travel fund!

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  3. I grew up in Michigan, so Canada was my neighbor. It was the first foreign country I visited, just over the bridge from Detroit to Windsor. So in that respect, I knew it wasn't that different. I guess everyone will have their one sentence description of a place they don't know much about. I've asked people from other countries their impression of America, and it's "McDonalds, cowboys, movies" while we might say Japan is Nintendo and pandas or France is the Eiffel Tower and wine. It's all totally superficial!

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  4. Same here… and I haven't done ANY travelling 🙁 I hope that your bookish plans work out!

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  5. LOL, that's totally true =)

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  6. Canadians rule =) Yes, you make a valid point. If we had more exposure. people wouldn't say silly things like that. I'm glad YOUR book is set in Canada!

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  7. So true, not very many YA books are set in Canada! But there are a few, one recent book that comes to mind right off the bat is The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (I think it's set on Vancouver Island? I haven't actually read it). I wish there were more, though — whenever I read a review that talks about the book being set in their hometown/region I go, "I wish I had more books like that for me!"

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  8. Seriously? I'm going to read that one now =)

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  9. Okay, so I read the title of this post in my feed and I was like, "pfft, are you kidding me? <33333333!" But you're so right — I actually don't mind the lack of books set in Canada, though I did like Ultraviolet by R J Anderson. That one's set in Ontario, so that's right up your way. 😛

    I think there's this kind of conception that USAeain cities (think NYC, Boston for big cities or small towns for their appeal) work really well, mostly because people know of them. I'm just not sure whether USAeains would pick up a book centred around Montreal or Sudbury. Though maybe I'm just stereotyping USAeains. Hehe.

    I'll be quiet now. 🙂

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  10. Oh, really? I'm going to be more excited to read Ulraviolet now 🙂

    That's completely true. Although reading tastes are totally subjective, it helps to have a feeling of familiarity with the setting.

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  11. Gosh, I can't think of ANY YA books set in Canada, let alone any I've personally read. Strange, now that you mention it. I've been to Vancouver and Niagara Falls, but that's the extent of my Canadian travels. When I think of the country as a whole, I think of: cold, spare, French, Niagara Falls, and moose. How ridiculously stereotypical! You need to write some books set in Canada to school us on its awesomeness!

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  12. Vancouver and Niagara Falls are pretty darn awesome, but I don't know where you got the French connection from =) LOL, that probably won't be me, but who knows?

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  13. I think of Canada as our cool easy going cousins of the North.

    😉

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  14. LOL. Weirdly enough, I think of the US as our cool fast-paced cousins…

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