Arts & Entertainment

Diversity in Canada Reads

While the English version of Canada Reads has been held since 2002, I started tuning in around 2011 (maybe).

In each of the years, I’ve read one of the books, on average:

  • 2011: Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid Plans (winner, and continued to read all his books since), Ami McKay’s The Birth House
  • 2012: Carmen Aguirre’s Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter (winner, as audiobook)
  • 2013: Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes (but I think I didn’t tune in this year)
  • 2014: Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood
  • 2015: Kim Thuy’s Ru (winner), Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian
  • 2016: None
  • 2017: None
  • 2018: Four out of five books – Mark Sakamoto’s Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents, Sharon Bala’s The Boat People, Craig Davidson’s Precious Cargo: My Year of Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077, Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves – notably I don’t want to read Omar El Akkad’s American War

There was a recent Globe and Mail article with the controversial title, “Why Canada Reads is bad for literature”, which is behind a paywall and potentially online-only as I even went to the library and didn’t see it in March 20 paper edition.

What I appreciate is that year over year the novels on the short list, the authors and the panelists who champion the books. It’s Canada Reads week and two books have been eliminated at this point. We wait in tenterhooks for Thursday!

HomesAbu Bakr Al-Rabeeah and Winnie YeungChuck Comeau
By Chance AloneMax EisenZiya Tong
BrotherDavid ChariandyLisa Ray
SuzanneAnaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda MullinsYanic Truesdale
The Woo-WooLindsay WongJoe Zee