Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Canada Reads - Day Two

On today's Canada Reads episode, apparently they voted off two books: Cocksure by Mordecai Richler, and A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. Not really, of course. It was just Cocksure, but from the lack of talk about A Complicated Kindness you'd swear it had been eliminated as well. Hats off to Samson for sneaking his choice through.

Speaking of A Complicated Kindness, I remember enjoying the book when I read it a year ago. It was a pleasant read, sometimes humourous, sometimes emotional and usually entertaining. Yet for all that, whenever I hear someone sing its praises I start to dislike the book. It's a good summer read maybe, but it's not that great. Why it runs away with awards and accolades is beyond me. Personally, I like books that resonate with me after I've finished it. This didn't.

Cocksure on the other hand, did resonate. While it wouldn't have been my choice out of this years books, I'm sorry to see it go this early. I understand that McTeer would be taken aback by the way children are used in this story. I was too. But I also understand that that was the point! Should comedy always be comfortable? Of course not, otherwise we'd be stuck watching Full House reruns (shudder).

Nelofer voted against Rooms For Rent today, claiming that she liked poetry. If she liked it so dang much, she'd have no problem defending it against novels. As Samson said, poetry shouldn't be marginalized. Nelofer also made a silly comment that most Canadians know Al Purdy but Boyden could use the exposure from a Canada Reads win. While many Canadians may have heard of Purdy, most Canadians haven't read Al Purdy. We're a country of poetry-phobes. Boyden's book is a great piece of fiction, I'm not denying that, but just as many (if not more) people could enjoy Rooms For Rent if they'd only give it half a chance.

Anyone following my predictions of this year's Canada Reads debate can see that Miss Cleo I am not. But nonetheless I'll take a stab at it again and guess that Deafening will be eliminated tomorrow. Samson seems to be against it, Musgrave has been silent about it for the most part except to say yesterday that she finds the violence in it (and Three Day Road) a bit too graphic, and here's where I get a little anxious, I think (hope) that Thompson votes against Deafening this time around instead of sticking to the Rooms For Rent vote he tried today. If he doesn't switch camps (he DID acknowledge a couple of jokes in Rooms For Rent today), that means there'd be another tie (Nelofer seems to be bent on getting Rooms For Rent voted off) and the deciding vote would fall to McTeer. Oh no. McTeer was actually in support of Purdy's book before, but she's not going to vote off her own book! Yikes.

My fingers are crossed. Scott Thompson PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote off Deafening tomorrow!


Robert Hiscock said...

Deafening ought to go tomorrow. I found myself agreeing with much of Scott Thompson assessment of it today and I Don't think McTeer read the same novel I did. It was over written. Its details distracted and it wore its symbolism like sandwhich boards. I just don't think it stacks up. If there is any justice it will disappear tomorrow -- but then again, if there were any justice Cocksure would have been voted off today.

megan said...

I havne't read "Deafening" yet - but after today, I want it to go too! I guess that's the bad thing about this debate... it makes some of the books sound terrible, when really, the very fact that they are on the panel means that they are very much worth reading... but anyway... I know "A Complicated Kindness" didn't get much shpiel today but I'm very impressed by Samson... I don't know why but I expected him to fumble for a crowd-pleaser whenever he spoke up, but that guy has backbone AND articulation!

John Mutford said...

I too thought Samson would crumble- he gave off that impression during the preview show. But you're right, he's proving himself more assertive than I would have thought.