14 February 2010

Reading is Fundamentalist

Only a couple of weeks left for everyone to read the Canada Reads books.

I remember the first Canada Reads. That is to say, I thought I remembered the first Canada Reads, because I remember posters we had at the library where I worked in high school. But then I see on the CBC site that the first Canada Reads was in 2002, and at that point I hadn't worked at the library for 2 years - so I actually don't know where that memory comes from (this is not unusual for me. I have a surprising number of memories that, when I try to reminisce with someone, they say "that never happened.")

I have never participated in Canada Reads. For no real reason. Looking at the past competitions, I've read at least one book from every list except for 2004 and 2007. So, I must not be completely out of touch with CanLit. I can't believe that Colony of Unrequited Dreams lost in 2003. Can we, like, do a recount or something? That is such an incredible book, I think Mr. Justin Trudeau must have made some irrevocable error in his defense of it. There's really no way that book should have lost.

And while I'm on the topic of past competitions, I see that last year contained both Book of Negroes and Mercy Among the Children. I want to look for increased suicide rates among Canada Reads aficionados, but I doubt that's the kind of records Stats Canada keeps. Those are two very heavy, sad books. Book of Negroes I read a year ago (almost to the day, I think) and Deb and I had a little debate about the depressingness of it. But all that said, I would still recommend it to everyone. Now, Mercy Among the Children was just intolerably sad, it broke my heart. I saw it while I was book shopping yesterday (big shout-out to disposable incomes!) and just looking at it on the shelf made me sad. I've pretty much decided not to read anything else by David Adams Richards, because the blurbs for his other books make me think his other books will be more of the same.

So, back to the matter at hand: the current Canada Reads list. When it was announced, I was happy to discover that I’d already read 2 of the books. Reading the other three seemed like a manageable feat, so I put the books on hold at the library and have been making my way through them. This post is getting long, so I’ll save my thoughts on the five books for another day.

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