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Old 01-29-2014, 12:25 PM   #1
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Canada Reads

I’m wondering what people think about the Canada Reads competition. In years past I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the discussion about the choices and I’ve ended up reading most of the 5 finalists.

Beyond my interest in the books themselves, I’ve enjoyed the window into the reading habits, opinions and tastes of some prominent Canadians as they support their nominations. Last year I found it fascinating to listen to Carol Huynh, our Olympic wrestler defend Indian Horse (great book) and Ron MacLean defend The Age of Hope, another great book. This year I’m really looking forward to hearing Stephen Lewis talk about The Year of the Flood (overated book) and Donovan Bailey defend Half Blood Blues (excellent book).

Although I’ve shared my opinion about some of the books, I’m still a little confused about the selection criteria. From what I can gather it’s supposed to be a book that can “change the nation or the world.” I love some of the books, but certainly don't think they measure up based on that criteria.

I’ve read all of this year’s contenders except Annabel, which I plan on reading before the discussions in March. So far my favourite, and the one I feel meets the criteria best, is The Orenda.

So, I would love to hear the thoughts of others, Canucks or non-Canucks, regarding Canada reads. What books do you like? What do you think of the defenders? What do you think of Jian’s moderating? Do the books meet the criteria? Is this a worthwhile competition?
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:44 AM   #2
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I always pay attention to the books in the mix, but I rarely listen in so I can't comment Jian's moderating, but he's a pretty fair interviewer.

I find it a bit dumb that they have chosen a second in a series book with Margaret Atwood. Surely there are other writers Canadians should find out about. She's had three books in the running now.

I've only read a handful of the novels that have been in the running over the last decade. I need to read more Canadian, but this year is not the year.

I guess it depends on the interpretation of change. It is just a popularity vote to get a list down to ten that the panelists pick the five from.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:28 AM   #3
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I know a volunteer who helped recently at an event that Margaret Atwood spoke at. Many of the writers present were graceful and modest. Margaret Atwood neither acknowledged nor thanked the volunteers.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:09 AM   #4
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I'm on the same page regarding Atwood personally and regarding the choice of The Year of The Flood. I too thought it made no sense to pick the second book of a trilogy. Atwood, and others, claim all three can be read independent of the others. I completely disagree! I also felt that the first (Oryx and Crake) was the best of the three so why not choose that one. As a person I always find Atwood just a little too superior.

I'm a sucker for the competition though because I listen to CBC and my fiction reading is dominated by Canadian authors. We've always had a lot to be proud with our authors and in my opinion they just keep getting better! The winner last year, February by Lisa Moore, was brilliant and I just finished Caught, which was different, but also wonderful.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:05 PM   #5
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^Are you on GoodReads? I'd love to see your list of Canadian books.

Oryx and Crake was one of the debated books in 2005.

Overall, I think the books that have shown up give a pretty good cross-section of Canadian authors that people should at least look at, but there's some obvious misses for authors. Steven Galloway hasn't had any of his books show up!

Those appearing more than once in the 65 books that have been in the running over the years: Margaret Atwood (3), Mordecai Richler (2), Joesph Boyden (2)
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:10 PM   #6
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No, I really don't know much about GoodReads. I happened upon mobileread when I purchased my first ereader about 5 or 6 years ago and only participated in the Calibre and Sony forums just to get used to my reader. It's only recently I've gotten involved in book discussion areas.

I do keep track of all the books I've read and where authors are from so I can quickly determine how many Canadian books I've read. What is GoodReads?
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Old 01-30-2014, 02:00 PM   #7
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GoodReads is a social networking sort of site for those that love reading. It's a great place to find reviews and find other books. Lots of us on MobileRead hang out on GoodReads as well and use it to track what we're reading and what we want to read. You can see what I'm up to for my reading challenge if you click on the 2014 link in my signature.
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:05 AM   #8
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Well, all the discussion starts today. I've now read all the books and still think The Orenda is the best, although Annabel was really good. I still don't think either Year of the Flood or Cockroach come near the other three.
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Old 03-04-2014, 10:35 AM   #9
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^I think I just accepted your friend request. I'm thinking of reading more Canadian next year so I'll try to keep track of this year and next year's selections from the reads thing as possibilities.
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