Canada Reads 2009

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Canada Reads 2009

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1LynnB
nov. 25, 2008, 7:03am

At long last....today is the day we find out the panelists and the books. I can't wait. I really wish they did this twice a year.

So, questions for this string: how many of the books have you read? What's your first impression of which one will win? And anything else you want to talk about......

I love Canada Reads.

2arcona
nov. 25, 2008, 12:55pm

I love Canada Reads too. I haven't read any of the books nominated this year, but I'm looking forward to reading The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. I hope I enjoy The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant as much as Nola Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring from 2008 because urban conversational books are not the type of book I would normally read. I'm not really interested in "young boys coming of age" after a year's study of Irish literature many years ago so I'll probably leave Fruit by Brian Francis till the end and hope it gets eliminated before I get to it. I admit though that it might be good and hope to have all the books read before the discussion starts.

3LynnB
nov. 25, 2008, 3:52pm

I plan to read them all before the debates start. I've already read Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards, but I don't remember it in great detail.

4LynnB
Editat: nov. 29, 2008, 8:24am

The group "Canadian Bookworms" also has a thread on this year's Canada Reads if any of you want to check it out.

I've ordered the 5 books from CBC...and I'll receive a free book bag to boot.

5Ebba
des. 4, 2008, 10:56am

I also look forward to Canada Reads every year. I just finished reading Mercy among the children and will start on The Outlander shortly. My goal is to have read all of the books before the debate starts. It's more fun that way ! This year I decided to borrow all of the books from the library since I recently became unemployed. Looking on the bright side; more time for reading.

6Deesirings
des. 28, 2008, 9:46pm

I am hoping to read the five finalists before the debates start. I've never participated before. I happened to own one of the books (Mercy Among the Children) and hope to get the others from the library in time (I've just signed up for the queue at the Ottawa Public Library). My spouse and I had discussed joining a book club and we haven't yet done anything about it. I'm hoping he'll be excited about Canada Reads too and we can use it as a springboard into joining or forming a book club (we're in Ottawa, if anyone else is interested...). It would be really fun to read and discuss with others in advance of the big contest on CBC.

7LynnB
des. 29, 2008, 8:58am

I'm in Ottawa, too. I would be glad to join a group, or to use this forum since I don't drive and I don't think my husband will read the Canada Reads selections.

We joined a book club together, and I read those books aloud to him as we commute 45 minutes twice a day to and from work. He likes that better than reading on his own. (And with the bus strike and the bridge closure, the 45 minutes has been much longer and we are well ahead of our book club picks...even reading "extra books" as he calls them).

8Nickelini
des. 30, 2008, 4:16pm

I just started Fruit, by Brian Francis. So far it's really funny and I think it will be a quick read.

9LynnB
gen. 1, 2009, 6:46am

I've decided to read all five in a row (although my public policy book club is meeting on the last Tuesday of January, so I have to squeeze that book in, too). I figure the panelists are reading all five together, so thought I'd try to put myself in a similar situation. I'm starting with The Outlander by Gil Adamson.

10diganwhiskey
gen. 1, 2009, 10:49am

I have long admired Canadian contemporary fiction from across the border! The presentation is great, with the authors' favorite books and music. I have a Kindle and the one of five that is available to download is the Gil Adamson so I will be reading that one first.

11LynnB
gen. 3, 2009, 1:22pm

The Outlander's ending left me somewhat unsatisfied, although I otherwise really liked the book. Admittedly, Mary was a mixture of resourceful practicality and mildly mad naievty, but...(well, I won't say more to avoid spoiling the ending for those who haven't read it yet). If anyone wants to debate the merits of the ending, may I suggest that we set up a separate thread?

Now, I'm about 20 pages into Brian Francis's Fruit (a novel about a boy and his nipples).

12LynnB
Editat: gen. 4, 2009, 7:50am

I really liked Fruit but doubt it will win. Humourous books seldom do, although King Leary may have broken that taboo.

I've finished one whole chapter so far in The Book of Negroes.

13LynnB
gen. 10, 2009, 7:57am

I'm on The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant by Michel Tremblay. Next up will be Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards and then I'll be done.

14lakingston
gen. 12, 2009, 10:49am

I have already read The Book of Negroes and The Outlander and LOVED them am currently reading The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant and it's OK...I would rank (so far) 1- Book of Negroes, 2-Outlander and 3-The Fat Woman.

15Nickelini
gen. 26, 2009, 10:54am

I've officially given up on The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant, but The Book of Negroes is waiting for me at the library.

16sydamy
gen. 26, 2009, 6:40pm

Nickelini, I just started The Fat Woman today on the train. I only read about 10 pages and was already thinking, I hope this gets better/easier to read. Now you are scaring me? How far did you get before giving up? Was it the story or the translation?? Book of Negroes was very good. I have not talked to anyone who did not love it.

17Nickelini
gen. 26, 2009, 7:31pm

I think I made it to page 35. It wasn't that bad, but I'm in school and have a lot of assigned reading to do, so if I'm going to sneak in an extra-curricular read, it has to be really good. I also have to read Great Expectations for my book club in February, and its almost 500 pages. If I didn't have all of this looming, I would have stuck with it.

18sydamy
gen. 26, 2009, 9:35pm

I'll keep going and let you know if if gets any better. I also have Feb bookclub selection to read, The Reader and I just bought Team of Rivals which I cannot wait to start, so this will get read, but slowly.

19LynnB
gen. 27, 2009, 7:00am

I read all of The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant. I grew up in Montreal -- a decade or so later than the novel is set -- but it reminded me of my childhood. All the neighbours on their balconies, the street as one large family, everyone searching for a missing cat. These things have happened to me. I certainly wouldn't rate it as highly as the other Canada Reads selections, but it's a true slice of Canadian life, so I'm glad I read it.

20arcona
gen. 27, 2009, 3:50pm

I hate to admit defeat but gave up on The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant about p. 40. Just too hard to read without any paragraphs (my biggest problem), too many characters and not much of a plot to hang on to. I did enjoy the knitters at the beginning (and at the end - I peeked before I gave up.) I really enjoyed Mercy Among the Children and The Outlander and have great hopes for The Book of Negroes - just waiting for my name to climb the list at the library.

21Nickelini
gen. 27, 2009, 3:55pm

And try Fruit--if anything, it was an easy read.

22sydamy
gen. 27, 2009, 7:37pm

Yikes, this is not very encouraging...

23arcona
feb. 18, 2009, 8:09am

I just finished Fruit by Brian Francis and while it was well-written, it's not what I expect for a Canada Reads selection. It had such a Young Adult feel to it that I don't think it qualifies as "the book all Canadians should read", while The Outlander and Mercy Among the Children were so much more appropriate. I'm still waiting for The Book of Negroes - if my name doesn't come up soon on the library lending list, I'm going to have to buy it to get it read. I can't wait for the radio show and the discussions in March.

24Nickelini
feb. 18, 2009, 10:35am

My turn for The Book of Negroes came up at the library, but I was only allowed to keep it for a week and I had so much other reading that had to be done, that I just took a pass. I'll have to buy that one too. I buckled and bought The Outlander yesterday, which I've been waffling over since it was first published. Now I just have to get around to reading it! I agree about Fruit--definitely not for everyone (interestingly, the touchstone for this one has changed since the last time I posted. It's now The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington: a Novel. Is this a US edition?)

25LynnB
març 3, 2009, 12:05pm

Let's see how good we are at reading the panelists. Which book do you think will be the first voted off?

I'd say Fruit is headed back to the shelf.

26loosha
març 3, 2009, 12:13pm

I'm still waiting for Fruit and the Fat Woman from my library. From the discussions, I don't think I'm missing a winner. I still think the Book of Negroes deserves a win. CBC radio will be on all week in my house! (not unusual anyways.)
I wonder what the thinking was behind changing they title? I didn't think it was a very good title anyways, but Someone Knows My Name is not much better.

27Nickelini
març 3, 2009, 2:08pm

Well, I haven't had time to read all the books yet, and I think I've got my favourites waiting for me . . .

Of the two I read, I think The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant should go first, seeing that I gave up on it at page 35.

28Nickelini
març 3, 2009, 2:13pm

#26- I wonder what the thinking was behind changing they title? I didn't think it was a very good title anyways, but Someone Knows My Name is not much better.
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Well, in this case I think the word "Negro" is a loaded term in the US, so I think they were avoiding a PC-type issue where some people would balk at the title. Generally not good for sales. I know I thought it was odd when I first saw it. As for their new, improved US title, I think it is completely bland, forgettable, and blends-in-with-everything else.

29Nickelini
març 3, 2009, 2:16pm

By the way, if you miss anything on the radio, it's all available at the CBC Website.

30arcona
març 3, 2009, 3:05pm

I haven't had the chance to read The Book of Negroes but I've read everything else (except I couldn't finish The Fat Lady Next Door is Pregnant). From the discussion, I think Fruit might go first but they've said so little about the Fat Lady that it's hard to say. Fat Lady would be my choice - I'll be very disappointed if they vote off Mercy, Outlanders or Negroes first.

31loosha
març 3, 2009, 3:06pm

I totally agree.

32Nickelini
març 3, 2009, 5:19pm

Well, I'm all caught up on the broadcasts, and I have to agree with everyone that Fruit will probably be the first to fall. Although I liked it quite a bit, but it doesn't have Canada-wide appeal. I will be sad to see it go though just because Jen Sookfong is such a good presenter. She's very focused, quick and succinct. A few of the others really ramble on without saying anything (they should go into politics). Also, they've already had a lot of great discussion about it, while they've hardly said anything about The Outlander.

33arcona
Editat: març 4, 2009, 1:04pm

I'm devastated - Mercy Among the Children is gone, and Fat Lady and Fruit are still there. When I hear the panelists debate, I always wonder if they read the same book I read. They don't seem to give much credence to the pleasure of reading which to me is the most important reason to read fiction. If I want to slog through a book, I'll read non-fiction because I want to learn about something. Fiction should be pleasure.
Oh well, surely The Book of Negroes or the Outlander will survive tomorrow. That being said, I couldn't believe King Leary won last year either. I know I would never recommend it, Fruit or the Fat Lady to anyone.

34Nickelini
març 4, 2009, 4:45pm

I was surprised that Mercy Among the Children was the first to go too, although I've heard pretty unanimously that it is extremely bleak (it's been sitting on my dresser waiting for me to pick it up all winter, but alas . . . ). I don't feel totally sorry for it, however, as it DID win the Giller. I still expect The Book of Negros or Outlander to win.

35LynnB
març 5, 2009, 6:39am

I was sure Fruit would be the first to go given the debates. I think there was some strategic voting.

That being said, I am no great fan of Mercy Among the Children. Sydney was just too pacific for my tastes, and others were just too mean to him for no reason.

What next? Surely The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant or Fruit...but who knows?

I have to say that I loved The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant. Every page reminded me of my life in Montreal...it is a true portrait of "balconville" -- especially the cat.

36Nickelini
març 5, 2009, 5:26pm

I don't know about you, but I'm having lots of fun listening to Canada Reads. This is the first year that I've made a point to follow it. Anyway, that was a close call today for the Outlander. Do you think it will survive? I was sort of surprised, because I think it had the least amount of attention so far. Anyway, if I were a beating person, I'd put my money on The Book of Negroes, although it's clear to me that anything can happen.

37LynnB
març 6, 2009, 6:37am

My choice would be The Outlander. I'm surprised Fruit has survived so long, given the comments about it at the beginning of the debates.

Have you voted on line? There will be a People's Choice winner announced next week.

38loosha
març 6, 2009, 12:19pm

I've been listening every day (while I do my pilates exercises). I must read Fruit, still on reserve at the library. I'm with you, Nickelini, The B of N left quite an impression on me.

39Nickelini
Editat: març 8, 2009, 3:18pm

SPOILER ALERT
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And the winner is: The Book of Negroes. Not much of a surprise from over here in the cheap seats. This has been on my TBR list since last year, so I will definitely hunt it down.

edited to take out spoiler space, since it's been a few days now.