Canada Reads is an exciting time of year for CanLit lovers! It combines the passion of literary contests with the excitement and strategy of a game show. Does the best written book win? The most popular book? Perhaps not, books might get voted off early by debaters with a strategy to save their own skin… errr… covers. Regardless of the winner, Canada Reads gets Canadians buying books, reading books and talking about books which is an amazing feat!
CBC radio began this “battle of the books” in 2012 and each year a theme is chosen along with 5 personalities to defend each of 5 books. The debates take place over 4 days and at the end of each day, a book is voted off until one book remains which all Canadian’s should read.
As I researched this post, it was great to learn that the publisher of the winning book donates a portion of their proceeds to charity!
The debates beginning tomorrow include the following titles:
- The Marrow Thieves, (Cheri Dimaline) debated by Jully Black, singer.
- Forgiveness (Mark Sakamoto) debated by Jeannie Beker, fashion icon.
- American War (Omar El Akkad) debated by Tahmoh, actor.
- Precious Cargo (Craig Davidson) debated by Greg Johnson, tornado hunter.
- The Boat People (Sharon Bala) debated by Mozhdah Jamalzadah, TV host.
Prior to the debates, CBC has shared many insights into each book, author and debater. They have also prepared trailers which do a great job of representing each book.
Reflecting about past Canada Reads, I thought it would be interesting to share the past winners. This list makes me realize that I have a lot more reading to do! The chart below shows the successful books and authors each year since 2002.
|2002||Michael Ondaatje||In the Skin of a Lion|
|2003||Hubert Aquin||Next Episode|
|2004||Guy Vanderhaeghe||The Last Crossing|
|2005||Frank Parker Day||Rockbound|
|2006||Miriam Toews||A Complicated Kindness|
|2007||Heather O’Neill||Lullabies for Little Criminals|
|2008||Paul Quarrington||King Leary|
|2009||Lawrence Hill||The Book of Negroes|
|2011||Terry Fallis||Best Laid Plans|
|2012||Carmen Aguirre||Something Fierce|
|2014||Joseph Boyden||The Orenda|
|2016||Lawrence Hill||The Illegal|
|2017||Andre Alexis||Fifteen Dogs|
In 2017, it was invigorating to attend the finale of Canada Reads when Andre Alexis won the honour with his book Fifteen Days winning the title of the one book that Canadians should read.
As this post is uploaded, I will be enroute to Day 1 of Canada Reads and am looking forward to the excitement, strategy and perhaps, treachery as the 2018 debates begin. Watch for Canada Reads posts each day as the contest continues and join me in discussing some great Canadian books!
Which book do are you rooting for? Which book do you think will be voted off first?