Today was the first day of Canada Reads 2009, is there a better day in the year? I have my doubts. It’s always exciting to hear what the defenders of each book has to say. In case you don’t already know here are the books and their defender:
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill defended by Avi Lewis
- The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay defended by Anne-Marie Withenshaw
- Fruit by Brian Francis defended by Jen Sookfong Lee
- Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards defended by Sarah Slean
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson defended by Nicholas Campbell
As seems to be the most logical question when trying to select a book a whole nation, particularly one as vast Canada, should those defending the books were ask what makes a novel great, and why you would want all Canadians to read it? This is a great question and it has made me think about what it is that makes a book stand out for me. I really don’t know what it is, but I think there are couple of things that definitely contribute to greatness in novels.
First I think it has be entertaining. If the novel isn’t able to keep my attention, and this can be difficult sometimes, I cannot finish it. So, I guess this would be the most important aspect in making a great novel. It also has to evoke some kind of emotion. The books that are most memorable are ones that have stirred strong emotions. I’m sure each of you could think of at least one thing that makes for a great novel. What would that be?
It seems from the way the discussion progressed today that The Book of Negroes may not be the hands down winner I thought it would be. When asked which novels were the ones they liked the least all but two were mentioned by the panelist. Right now it seems that the front runners may be The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant (which is one of the two books I’m really rooting for) and The Outlander.
Tomorrow the voting starts. Each book is eliminated until the winner is named. I’m really excited to see who will join the pantheon of past winners. Tomorrow should be another fascinating debate, until then keep reading.