The Canada Reads debating begins today! Canadians will enjoy vibrant, passionate discussions about literature as 5 defenders try to keep their book in the running to become the one book that all Canadians should read. To prepare, I have been busy reading!
After many pages and careful consideration, here is my line up in order of what book I liked best and hope wins Canada reads down to the book which I feel should be voted off first. I have added commentary but click on the blue titles for links to my complete reviews.
The Break – This is the one story that Canadian’s need to read! it is not only artfully written but it touches on so many important issues – sexual violence, violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, possible postpartum depression, racism, spousal abuse, child abuse – and yet balances the story with strength, resilience, love, kindness and caring. It is a story of strong women looking after and loving each other in good times and through hardship. I am looking forward to hearing Candy Palmater’s arguments for this story and am expecting to see this book win when I attend the final debate!
Fifteen Dogs – this was very creative, thought-provoking and unlike any other tales I have read. It makes me reflect on my actions and our dog’s, Dixie’s role in our family. Being the book nerd that I am, I am still thinking about the physical feel of this book with its’ classic and luxurious, thick, textured pages. I enjoyed learning about the process of printing with vegetable based ink on the Zephyr Antique Laid acid-free paper.
Company Town – although sci fi is not my favourite genre, Canadians should read this book and think of the future. We need to reflect and consider how quickly technology is evolving and the lasting impacts of inventions and progress. While this may not be the one book that all Canadians need to read, I do recommend this novel and think it would lead to great book club discussion or amazing debates in a high school classroom.
The Right to be Cold – although I really appreciate the author’s dedication to the Arctic, the difference she has made and sharing her story, I admit that I am still finishing this book. I have been bogged down by the acronyms and mention of so many people and groups which, in my opinion help to lose her important message. I appreciate the underlying story but really feel that this book could have benefited from stronger editing to encourage more readers to finish it’s important message.
Nostalgia – this one is the one that i struggled with most. It took me over a week to finish the story . In this future setting, individuals take on a new identities after erasing their initial lives to start fresh with a fictional history, memories and new life. It is a thought-provoking read but I would not vote for it being the “one book that Canadian’s need to read now”.
Regardless of the outcome, I am glad that Canada Reads gets people reading books that they might not generally choose, gets people talking and creates excitement (not to mention book sales) about CanLit. It is difficult to rate books and to share constructive criticism when I can imagine the care and devotion that goes into writing a book, sharing your thoughts and being open to the feedback of readers across the country. In the end, all 5 books are winners and each reader has their own preferences and opinions.
Let the debates begin!!!