Canada Reads – Day 3

cov-mercy-outWell the third day started off with the revelation of the vote that took place at the end of yesterdays episode. And with three votes David Adams Richards’ Mercy Among the Children is the first book to be proverbially put out to pasture. This is the book that scares me the most to read, from what I’ve heard on Canada Reads 2009 it’s not sounding that all intriguing. But I’ll still be sure to read it anyway.

Now today’s discussion that provided the best discussion was when Jian Ghomeshi asked the panelists what character resonated the most with them. I was a little surprised that many had to say that that character was either Peter Peddington from Fruit or Aminata from The Book of Negroes. From what I’ve been hearing from the panelists they didn’t seem to like Fruit but I could be wrong.

It’s hard to say what’s going to happen tomorrow but we do know that book number two will be out of the running. The two books I’m most rooting for The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant (not really for the book because it’s becoming difficult to keep reading, rather, for Michel Tremblay’s other works they are fantastic) and Fruit are still in the running. The book that seems to be getting the least attention is The Outlander and I’m not sure why that is. I’m really keen to read that book, it’ll probably be the next one I get in the group.

Well, I’m off to finish The Book of Negroes. Only 70 pages to go and it’s great, but I don’t think it’s the book that all of Canada should read.


Canada Reads – Day 2

When Canada Reads starts up it seems to be over just as quickly. With that in mind I try to savor every minute of the debates. Today, again, I feel that we have a wonderful group of people on the panel and I really like Nicolas Campbell’s strategy.

In day two there seemed to be a lot of discussion about Fruit. Now I don’t have a problem with that but most of the discussion seemed negative. Now Campbell and some others on the panel don’t think Fruit is a book they couldn’t recommend to everyone. This would be a down side to the book, but I think that the Canada Reads 2009 pick should be something that challenges readers in someway, which I think Fruit does. The concept of talking nipples is fantastic and it’s the most memorable part of the novel so I’m not really sure why Jen Sookfong Lee thinks she needs to mention that all the time.

Nicolas Campbell has a wonderful strategy. His strategy, and he’s said it himself, is to draw the panelists attention away from his book (The Outlander). I guess that’s because if you don’t talk about it the negatives cannot come out. But I’m alright with that, from what I’ve heard about the book I’m really excited to read it now.

The first blow came at the expense of David Adams Richards’ Mercy Among the Children. This seems to be getting quite a bit of negative press on Canada Reads, almost as much as Fruit. It has been getting so much negative feedback that I’m not really looking forward to the book, it’s getting to the point where it’s looking like reading it will be a daunting task. I’ll try not to let that bother me when I get to it

So, where does this take us on the Canada Reads 2009 journey? Well, the panelists voted for the first book out. We aren’t going to find out exactly what that book is until the beginning of tomorrows instalment. I’m afraid that the first book out will be Fruit by Brian Francis but I hope it’s not. I really think the panelists need to see the book for what it is and appreciate the quirky qualities it possesses. It also seems that The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay is leading the pack, which is great. The characters are wonderful, and I don’t think Tremblay could write a bad character if he wanted even the worst person he’d write about would have some kind of endearing quality.

It’ll be interesting to see where the panelists take us tomorrow.

Canada Reads 2009 – Day 1

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:

  1. The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill defended by Avi Lewis
  2. The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay defended by Anne-Marie Withenshaw
  3. Fruit by Brian Francis defended by Jen Sookfong Lee
  4. Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards defended by Sarah Slean
  5. 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.

Canada Reads 2009

For a fan of Canadian literature and the CBC what could be more exciting than the beginning of another season of Canada Reads?  Nothing!  I can feel the buzz in the air and the constant firing of the synapses.  This comes with only one regret, not having read all the books for this round of Canada Reads.

The 2009 selections come with a couple of books I’ve wanted to read and some I’ve never considered reading even though I’ve come across them many times.  I’ve already finished one of the books for this season and have another two on the go, one of which I’m past the half way mark.

Again just to recap here are the books for the 2009 take on Canada Reads:

  1. Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes
  2. Michel Tremblay’s The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant
  3. Brian Francis’ Fruit
  4. David Adams Richards’ Mercy Among the Children
  5. Gil Adamson’s The Outlander

Now, I’m not entirely sure what is more exciting, Christmas Eve or Canada Reads Eve?  I’m really excited to see what the panel has to say tomorrow.

It’s no surprise to many of you blog fans out there that actually keep an eye on the Canada Reads competition that Fruit seems to be the underdog that everyone is rooting for.  At this point, it’s the only one I’ve finished but I did love it you can find my full review here.  But I do have The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant on the go as well as The Book of Negroes.  I’m enjoying both these books but because I love work Tremblay has done for the stage I’d really like to see his book be victorious.  So, basically I’m torn between Tremblay’s and Francis’ novels.

I also want to remind those of you that may not have noticed yet that I’m going to be giving away a copy of the winning novel Canada Reads 2009 because, well, it’s the book deemed a must read by Canadians.  Feel free to enter it’s a giveaway open to everyone and anyone.  All the best to those that enter, the winner will be selected Saturday morning.

I hope there are others out there as excited about the week ahead as I am!

My First Giveaway!

This is part of the book giveaway carnival being hosted over at bookroom reviews.

So I thought I would give this a shot. I’ve been the recipient of a few prizes when others have done giveaways and thought it’s been more than time for me to host one of my own. I’ve been trying to think of the best thing I could giveaway. After giving it significant thought I’ve decided to giveaway a copy of the winning novel in this years Canada Reads 2009, or if you already have the novel you may select one of the other contenders.

To celebrate great Canadian writing you need to tell me what your favorite Canadian novel is and if you really want you can tell me why it’s your favorite.

The novels up for Canada Reads this year are:
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay
Fruit by Brian Francis
Mercy Among the Children by David Adams
The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Canada Reads runs on CBC from March 2-6 so the winner will be selected the following day. All the best to everyone who enters. I must also say I hope to hear about some great Canadian novels that I haven’t read yet.