Thursday, February 09, 2012

Canada Reads 2012- They picked a winner for Canada Reads? True story.

A year or so ago, a Filipino restaurant opened in Yellowknife. My wife and I were very excited. We love Yellowknife, and for the most part think it has a surprising lot to offer, considering its relatively small size. A wide variety of restaurants, however, is lacking (especially compared to Whitehorse which is only marginally larger). Unfortunately the Filipino restaurant was poorly managed and it folded in a mere month or two. What bothered me about this is the effect that it could have. Will people be reluctant to open another Filipino restaurant now? "Someone tried that before and it didn't work." Nooooo!!! It could work, it just needs to be run better!

I'm a little afraid such a thing could happen with non-fiction's status in Canada Reads. I don't know what their ratings were for the Canada Reads debates this week, but from my perspective there's been little hype about it in the blogosphere this time around. Granted, I've been very busy and sick and totally distracted, so maybe it's just me, but today when I checked the CBC site, I was shocked to find that not only were the debates this week, but they've even picked a winner already (Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter).

Assuming for a moment that it wasn't just me, that there really was a lack of public interest this year, I really hope people don't blame it on the non-fiction approach. I'd suggest it had more to do with the fact that they tried too hard to keep interest up ever since the books were announced back in the fall. It seemed like every day since then Terry Fallis or the in-house producing team was blogging something about the books. They even had the debating panelists share their thoughts on their chosen books well in advance of the debates. Really all they had left for debate week was the daily vote-off. If you spend all day at the udder, you'll just get sick of milk. Not a real saying, but who cares.

So next year, I really hope they try going back where they started. Let the panelists decide what books to champion (including non-fiction, if they want). Canada Reads needs to be kept simple and low key. The excitement will build from there.


Jules said...

I didn't follow it this year all, but I also noticed how little hype there seemed to be about it this year. I wasn't aware of how some things changed, just that there was a lot of drama and controversy during the debates. I don't read non-fiction often, so prefer the fictional Canada Reads - and I think they need to keep it the way it was.

They should host both a Fiction and Non-Fiction event every year. That way they can reach out to as many readers as possible - which in the end is the goal of Canada Reads.

Chrisbookarama said...

I totally forgot about it too until it started this week. I do like some non-fiction, though none of these titles thrill me, but mostly I'm a fiction reader.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I really didn't pay a lot of attention to the hype leading up to the event, although I have noticed Terry Fallis kicking around CBC a lot.

I only knew that Canada Reads finals were on because I was tuning in to Q anyway. The week was fairly entertaining; I was sufficiently annoyed by one of the panelists to enjoy the process.

By the way, "If you spend all day at the udder, you'll just get sick of milk" - it's a real saying now!

John Mutford said...

Jules: I'd like a random mishmash. They used to let poetry compete with the novels, I'd just as soon put them all together.

Chris: I read more fiction than non, but I could have still gotten into a non-fiction format, had it been done better.

Barbara: It's a bit on the Dr. Phil side though, don't you think?

Melwyk said...

I agree. I wasn't following CR at all this year. The nonfiction format, to me, seems dull. Not a lot to talk about though as we saw they things they chose to bring up could be quite controversial.

I also agree that going back to the original format -- readers who choose their own books to defend -- would be the most interesting. Fiction, poetry, whatever. But personal choices.

Perogyo said...

This was my first year following along with Canada Reads, so I can't compare with past years.

I really enjoyed most of it though, especially the twitterverse discussions.

Once upon a time I talked in real life with people about books. Now it's only the internet. So lovely to hear people challenge each other about books, and talk about how to compare books, especially ones which are true, without judging the author or their experiences.

Loved most of the panelists, but Staci McKenzie was out of her league I think, and I did not like the tone of Anne-France Goldwater's discussion. I had no idea who Shad or Jian Ghomeshi were before this but I am a big fan now. Men who talk about books are so very cool. (That's you too!)

I would love a Canada Reads Picture Books edition. Pipe dream?