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Monday, April 17, 2006

Canada Reads - Day One

Great first show. Though I think I've misjudged Nelofer's abilities. I've been saying all along that Three-Day Road would probably win, and after the preview show last week, it seemed that others thought Nelofer was the most prepared, at least according to the poll results on the "Answer This" section of the Canada Reads website.

But after today (unless this is her strategy) she doesn't seem like the great defender we all thought she'd be. She defended the book as a learning tool, which is always a mistake when defending a piece of fiction. As John K. Samson said in so many words, learning through a piece of fiction should be incidental, not the drive behind reading it in the first place.

Each year there's always a panelist who makes you think "what the heck book were they reading?". Olivia Chow remains the ultimate example of this from the time she tried to claim that Oryx and Crake was a love story. Say what?! This year's nominees for the Olivia Chow "What book were YOU reading?" Award are Nelofer Pazira who made similar claims of love in Three-Day Road and John K. Samson who twisted himself into a pretzel trying to find trans-Canadian themes in A Complicated Kindness.

Listening to today's show, I'm a little more hopeful that Rooms For Rent might actually win. John K. Samson and Maureen McTeer both spoke favourably about it today, Samson even went as far as saying that if his book doesn't win, he wants Rooms For Rent to take it. This is great, especially since Thompson didn't seem to like it (despite my earlier prediction that he'd be the only hope for this book- why can't he find the humour in these poems?) and since Musgrave is defending it with an unfortunate "Canadian identity" argument that the country seems to be growing tired of.

But seeing as I love to make predictions, this is what I think will happen tomorrow:

Nelofer: Deafening
Thompson: Deafening
Samson: Deafening
McTeer: Cocksure
Musgrave: Deafening

So Deafening goes silent tomorrow. I know this goes against my earlier prediction that A Complicated Kindness would be the first to go, but there just didn't seem to be any discussion of it today. That said, while there were some positive things said about Deafening today, I get the feeling people were trying not to alienate McTeer as they were vying for her support later this week.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You have an interesting take on Canada Reads. It would seem that John Samson's lay-low philosophy seems to be working already, as you have changed your mind that A Complicated Kindness would be the first book turfed, in favour of Deafening. See? He's pretty wily; watch him.

I really need to read the rest of the books!