Apparently these 10 lovely books:
- The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
- Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
- The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
- Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
- Essex County by Jeff Lemire
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The Birth House by Ami McKay
- Unless by Carol Shields
- Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall
These books make up the CBC Canada Reads top 10, announced this morning after a couple grueling weeks of online voting. And oh, was it grueling. As most of you probably know, CBC Canada Reads decided to spice things up this year and open the Canada Reads competition to the public. In the past, only five books were ever discussed, all of which were chosen by five judges who picked one of their favourite Canadian novels and defended it throughout the competition, which culminates in a huge debate in February.
But this year, in celebration of Canada Reads 10th anniversary, Canadians from the general public were invited to nominate and defend their favourite Canadian novel. From these nominations, the top 40 books were chosen. CBC then asked Canadians to, once again, vote for their favourite Canadian book to further cut this list down to the top 10 books you see above. This new format definitely stirred the pot. CBC Canada Reads became quite the target for criticism as people doubted the success of their new format. On the other hand, it has also created quite an air of excitement around this year’s competition. It has evoked a national discussion about Canadian literature bringing Canadian publishers, Canadian authors and Canadian readers together — book trailers were produced that people actually watched!
I’ve really enjoyed watching this competition unfold so far. I love that people are discussing, defending and promoting their favourite Canadian books and authors and that authors and publishers are responding. Whether it’s a negative or positive commentary about the competition, bottom line, it has people talking about Canadian literature, a topic that deserves, and is starving for, their attention. My only critique is that some of the books chosen in the top 40, and even in the top 10, have already graced the Canada Reads competition and I think its time for them to share the spotlight.
How do you feel about it? Do you like the new reader-focused format? Will you be buying or reading any of this year’s top 10?