2013 Books and Panelists Announced

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2013 Books and Panelists Announced

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1Nickelini
nov. 29, 2012, 7:09pm

Books and panelists announced today: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2012/11/29/canada-reads-2013.html

Olympic gold-medal wrestler Carol Huynh (B.C. and Yukon), Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese.

Ron MacLean, sportscaster (Prairies & the North), The Age of Hope by David Bergen.

Charlotte Gray, historian and biographer (Ontario), Away by Jane Urquhart.

Actor and filmmaker Jay Baruchel (Quebec), Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan.

Comedian Trent McClellan (Atlantic provinces), February by Lisa Moore.

Q host Jian Ghomeshi will once again host the book debate.

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I heard the last 10 minutes of Q today, and judging from their banter, it's going to be a good show this year. I've read February, which was excellent. Away is at the top of Mnt TBR, so I'll read that in December. Not sure if I'll get to the others.

2rabbitprincess
nov. 29, 2012, 7:43pm

Looks like a pretty good lineup overall. Maybe now I'll FINALLY read Two Solitudes, which has been waiting patiently to be read for a couple of years.

3gypsysmom
des. 8, 2012, 12:25pm

I just finished Indian Horse and I recommend it highly. Richard Wagamese is a wonderful writer but the story is what grabbed me.

I'm planning on reading Away and February for sure. I've got a hold on The Age of Hope but there are quite a few ahead of me so I don't know if I'll get it in time. I read Two Solitudes ages ago and hardly remember it but I don't think I'll have time to re-read it.

4Nickelini
des. 8, 2012, 1:09pm

I'm almost finished Away and I'm really loving it. Definitely one of Urquhart's better books.

5LynnB
des. 11, 2012, 8:49am

I really liked Away when I read it several years ago. I'm planning to re-read it. I've read Two Solitudes recently, and Indian Horse, too. I have February and Age of Hope on the TBR shelves. Seems like a very good crop of books this year.

6HannahJo
gen. 2, 2013, 10:30pm

Away is lyrically written, although I think it runs out of steam near the end. I just finished February and found it deeply moving even with the difficult topic of grief. Looking forward to the others, especially the Wagamese one.

I wasn't looking forward to the theme of turf wars, but I too think the book choices are great. I wonder if Canada reads will ever have any Quebec books in translation- I would love to explore that side of Canadian literature.

7Nickelini
Editat: gen. 3, 2013, 1:00am

I wonder if Canada reads will ever have any Quebec books in translation- I would love to explore that side of Canadian literature

A few years ago they had The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay.

edited to add: I see that Nikolski was translated from French (but it doesn't mention the Tremblay book was--I was sure that was written in French, but maybe not?)

8LynnB
gen. 3, 2013, 9:11am

Both of the books Nickelini cites were (a) originally written in French and (b) excellent reads! I grew up in Montreal, and Michel Tremblay's book sounded just like the neighbourhood I was raised in.

9rabbitprincess
gen. 3, 2013, 6:22pm

Also Next Episode, by Hubert Aquin, translated by Sheila Fischman.

10HannahJo
gen. 4, 2013, 12:04pm

Good to hear! This is my third year following Canada Reads, so I just needed to go back in time a little more.

11LynnB
gen. 9, 2013, 9:25am

I've started reading the five finalists. Have already read Two Solitudes twice; and Indian Horse. Read Away quite a while ago, so I plan to re-read it.

First up for me to read is February by Lisa Moore.

12mamabear54
feb. 1, 2013, 10:16am

I think Volkswagen Blues was also originally written in French by a Quebec author. Our book club had our own Canada Reads panel about ten years ago (using the actual CBC selection of course) and had a defender for each book. Members then voted for the book they felt was defended the best. Volkswagen Blues was one of them. I think Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers was another that year as was Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake but I could be confused as we did this for two years in a row. It was fun and added some focus to reading the books which can sometimes be chosen for some pretty obscure reasons.

13rabbitprincess
feb. 1, 2013, 5:34pm

Cool idea for the book club! :)

14Nickelini
Editat: feb. 8, 2013, 3:03pm

Trailers of the books . . . http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/2013/02/check-out-the-canada-reads-book-trai...

(the videos don't seem to match up with the titles, maybe they'll realize and fix it . . . )

15arcona
feb. 9, 2013, 9:14am

My books have been so slow coming in from the library that I think I'll only get three of them read before the debates start. That is, if I can get through Two Solitudes before Monday. It's small print in a large book but it seems interesting enough. I've finished February and Away.

17arcona
Editat: feb. 11, 2013, 7:53pm

Glad to see The Age of Hope go first. It was one I hadn't read yet but wasn't looking forward to either. Now the only one I haven't had a chance to read is Indian Horse which I want to read, even if it might be after the debates finish, and the last half of Two Solitudes which I am still working on and hope to finish this week. It's a good read, but slow going. I wasn't fond of Away either and won't be disappointed if it goes next.
(edited to fix touchstone)

18gypsysmom
feb. 11, 2013, 8:53pm

Despite being from Manitoba I'm not sorry to see Age of Hope go. Charlotte Grey enunciated my feelings about the book very well. It just didn't move me and I felt disconnected from the main character. I predict that Two Solitudes will be the next to go. Tune in tomorrow to see if I'm right.

19Nickelini
feb. 11, 2013, 9:54pm

I predict Two Solitudes will go next too. Even though it's been on my "should read" list for years and years, it just leaves me cold. I haven't read The Age of Hope, but it sounds like I might like it.

20rabbitprincess
feb. 11, 2013, 10:31pm

Two Solitudes is my favourite on principle despite my not having read it yet, because I've enjoyed most of Hugh MacLennan's other work, but I won't be upset if it doesn't win. I'm weird and don't really care who wins...I just like seeing which books make the cut to the final five.

21LynnB
feb. 12, 2013, 1:06pm

I think Away might go next. Or Two Solitudes. I liked Age of Hope, but Indian Horse is the one I'm cheering for.

22Nickelini
feb. 12, 2013, 3:02pm

Lynn calls it . . . is there a prize? Or just the glory? Although I really enjoyed Away, and am an Urquhart fan, I'm not disappointed. This is supposed to be a book for every Canadian, and I don't think Away is that book. Furthermore, it was on the best seller list forever and it was nominated for a slew of awards. Anyone who hasn't read it yet and learns about it or reminded of it through Canada Reads will still read the book.

One thing that ticked me off in the discussion was that two of the panelists complaining that they just couldn't understand how a mother can abandon her children. I've come across this sentiment with other books before and I don't understand how people don't understand. Anyway, that's just a pet peeve of mine and I still like those panelists (unlike the year Debbie Travis was on and made me really dislike her!).

Okay, so tomorrow is the day Two Solitudes goes. Right?

23LynnB
feb. 13, 2013, 6:31am

Yep, it's bye bye to Two Solitudes, I believe.

I'm wondering, too, about the panelists who say they can't understand why a woman would leave her children. I'm wondering if they have ideas so ingrained that they can't read the story -- it's pretty clear in Away why Mary leaves.

Have you noticed how little is said about February? Is this a tactic on the champion's part -- it will just "sneak" to victory?

24HannahJo
feb. 13, 2013, 5:00pm

I have only been following Canada Reads for a couple of years, but there is usually at least one panelist I end up disliking. Debbie Travis was a disaster, and I am still upset at that Quebec judge last year for her shrill bullying (calling Aguirre a terrorist and Nemat a liar regarding her rape and torture in an Iranian prison). This year I am enjoying the panelists, and appreciate their sincerity and respectfulness.

I do wonder why Ron McLean chose the Age of Hope to defend. While not a bad book, there are many stronger books from the Prairies (perhaps something by W.O. Mitchell? Margaret Laurence? Diane Warren? Marshall McLuhan?) I still don't have a clear idea why Age of Hope resonated with him.

I slogged through Two Solitudes and felt like I was in high school again. Perhaps it is because I live on the West Coast and we just do not have the same history and culture.

Indian Horse was my favorite, powerful and timely, and I am sad to see it go. February was amazing, though, and would be a deserving winner.

25Nickelini
feb. 13, 2013, 5:32pm

I do wonder why Ron McLean chose the Age of Hope to defend.

He didn't. In November, CBC Canada Reads took nominations at their website and then set up polls for people to vote for the books. The Age of Hope was the book that people voted on for the Prairies & North. None of the panelists picked their book. Although I didn't participate, I could have and I did follow it.

That said, I don't know how many times Giann Gomeshi has referred to the pseudo-celeb picking "their" book. Every time I say "huh?!"

26HannahJo
feb. 13, 2013, 6:48pm

Being confused, I checked the CBC website. The public voted for their favorites, then the panelists chose from the top five lists for their region. Maybe none of the five Prairie books were a good fit for Ron McLean?

http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/2012/11/canada-reads-2013-the-top-5s.html

27Nickelini
feb. 13, 2013, 6:52pm

Oh! That makes sense. I could swear it came down to the poll deciding the winner, but then how does that work if the panelist hates the book? This makes more sense. Thanks for clarifying!

28Nickelini
feb. 13, 2013, 7:12pm

I have only been following Canada Reads for a couple of years, but there is usually at least one panelist I end up disliking. Debbie Travis was a disaster, and I am still upset at that Quebec judge last year for her shrill bullying (calling Aguirre a terrorist and Nemat a liar regarding her rape and torture in an Iranian prison). This year I am enjoying the panelists, and appreciate their sincerity and respectfulness.

I missed last year, but I heard about that. Yikes--it must have set a tone! I don't follow it very often but this year it worked with my schedule. I agree about the panelists--at least no one is annoying me!

29LynnB
feb. 14, 2013, 6:48am

I was very surprised to see Indian Horse eliminated yesterday. What is more surprising to me is that Two Solitudes may win. I've analyzed the votes, and so far, there have been more votes against February than against Two Solitudes! Should be an interesting conclusion.

30Nickelini
feb. 14, 2013, 9:32pm

Well, I was more relieved that Two Solitudes didn't win than I was excited that February won. I read February a couple of years ago, and loved it. I think it's a gorgeous book. However, I don't think it's a book every Canadian needs to read. My husband? wouldn't work for him at all. I could go on to list other people in my life that wouldn't enjoy it. So I don't think it's for everyone. But it was as worthy as any other book up there.

As for Two Solitudes, it's been on my wish list for years, but I've now pushed it farther down. As the February-guy said, Two Solitudes seemed like required reading, and even the guy who defended it described reading it as "a civic duty." Also, Charlotte Grey said it had no characters, and just symbols and types. Pffft. No thanks. Two Solitudes is on every list of "important Canadian books," so it didn't get knocked off the canon here. It will continue to hold its important spot in CanLit. And when I'm old and have read everything else, I will read it too.

I still think the panel was good, but some of their comments today frustrated me. Ron McLean commented that he didn't like Helen from February because she wasn't a perfect character. Hello! Since when do characters need to be perfect? And then Carol Huynh--who I really like--said that she didn't connect with Helen because she didn't go after her goals. Hello! Miss the point of the book much? I guess when you're an Olympic gold medal winner it's hard to understand people who get stuck. Carol was also one of the panellists who couldn't relate to the main character of Away. Is she missing the point of reading books? New worlds, different ways of thinking? Really, I do like her, but some of her comments were . . . less than erudite.

But then again, I guess if we're picking books that all of Canada should read, her opinion is as valuable as anyone's. Even if it's kinda silly.

Anyway, I will find myself copies of Indian Horse (and be frustrated that it isn't about lacrosse, as McLean suggested), and the the Age of Hope, which I think sounds really interesting. And maybe even Two Solitudes, which I'll squirrel away for the future.

31arcona
feb. 14, 2013, 9:56pm

@30 Nickilini -
Two Solitudes is good enough that it shouldn't be put off indefinitely. I finished it after the debates were over and realized that no one on the panel mentioned that although it was written about the French and English in Quebec, it applies equally to all society who want fairness and justice despite the reality that justice is easier to obtain for those who have money, and that religion often appeals to the poorest and least educated in our society, especially when it's leaders are the better educated and wield influence. This was easy to recognize in Quebec because it was the English with the most money and prestige and it could be explained as a French/English divide, but I think the book has a more universal message than just that. Don't put off reading it till you have nothing else left to read - it does have an important message but I agree that the book is a bit long!

32Nickelini
feb. 15, 2013, 12:50am

#31 - See? That entices me more than anything its defender had to say. You should have had the job ;-)

33JenMDB
feb. 15, 2013, 8:27am

@30 Nickilini Thanks for directing me here.

That comment McLean made about lacrosse and Indian Horse was silly. Hockey is Saul's portal to the white world. The white priest at the residential school introduces him to the sport and later, playing against and for white teams highlights all sorts of prejudices. Those are the meaty points of the book. Lacrosse just wouldn't provide the same opportunities both from a literary viewpoint and from a real life one. Also, hockey makes a great read accessible to more readers.

34Nickelini
feb. 15, 2013, 12:20pm

I took the lacrosse comment to be tongue in cheek.

35LynnB
feb. 15, 2013, 1:32pm

I am among the majority who thinks this was the best Canada Reads ever. I think any of the books would have been worthy of winning.

I am surprised that Two Solitudes lasted as long as it did in the debates.

I'm glad February won because it will bring Lisa Moore more profile across Canada.