I recognize that story telling talent is a global thing and I believe that we should all try to read stories from different places and different perspectives to get a broader world view. But, I love reading Canadian books. Here’s why:
Supporting my fellow
I want to help support a healthy arts community in my city, my province and my country. It helps ensure that there are funds to create new content that I can relate to (see below). Also, it’s good for the economy to keep as much money as possible within my city/province/country. This is why I will always strive to buy Canadian books instead of just borrowing them from the library. It’s much like how I try to buy as much as I can directly from Canadian stores (focusing on locally owned or run stores, first).
I miss my homeland
Despite living in Canada, I’ve spent 40 years being bombarded with American content (books, TV, movies, etc.). When you have to dig into the weeds just to find a few bits of your own nationality, it can be a bit disheartening. Being neighbours with the States means feeling like your country has been lost in the chaos of content. Everything is about the States. So much so that it surprises me every time something Canadian is mentioned in a book or movie. Reading Canadian books means that I’m more likely to be reading about cities or locations that I know about or have visited. Sometimes, it’s nice to read a story and know exactly where they are or what’s just around the corner.
It seems like every book I read is set in some magical land where you can wear t-shirts in March or where summer last more than 6 weeks. I’ve got nothing against either, but I can’t relate. Sometimes it’s nice to read something that feels familiar. A great example of this is The Break. Every other paragraph in every other chapter conveyed the bitter, snowy winter we get in the prairies. It’s not just snowing, it’s painfully cold. Your feet don’t just get chilled, they lose feeling (which is not safe – please go indoors before you lose feeling in your extremities).
It’s important to understand my neighbour’s stories
As important as it is to have a global perspective, it’s also important to know where my fellow citizens are coming from. For example, Canada largely ignores our Indigenous people, but we need to understand their perspective, their lives, their pain and their worries if we truly want to reconcile with them. Did you know that Indigenous people are often treated like second class citizens? Did you know that some full blood or reserve natives look down on “half-breeds” (people who are only half indigenous) or indigenous people living outside of reserves?
Since I started tracking what I read in Goodreads, my overall stats show that I’ve read only about 15% Canadian content. Last year was a bit better, at just under 20%. While I have no intention of reading exclusively Canadian books, I would like to keep my stats up in the 20% to 25% range, at least.