Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Canada Reads Again!

Another Sunday, the last one in November! It's time to start thinking about what your favorite books of the year were. I'm sure there will be a deluge of top ten lists starting soon. Speaking of lists... Canada Reads has a new list, a list of panelists and the books they are defending in 2011.

The rules were different this year. Canadians picked the list of books which the panelists then had to chose from. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it's very democratic but on the other, will the panelists defend these books as passionately as the books they might have chosen?

I was happy to see that the list had two books that I actually read before: The Birth House by Ami McKay and Unless by Carol Shields. I even reviewed both books on the blog back in the Dark Ages. I loved them both and find myself torn between them.

The Birth House I loved because of its historical aspect and also it is set in Nova Scotia. I will always have a bias for books set in Nova Scotia. When I saw that Debbie Travis was defending it, I first thought huh? It's kind of like having Mike Holmes or that Property Virgins lady defending it. (If you don't know who Debbie Travis is she's a popular Canadian host of Do-It-Yourself shows like Painted House). But then I thought, why not? It's not like musicians, hockey players and actors are in any better position to defend a book. Plus, she's actually written some books. So there you go.

Now Unless is a very different book by one of my favorite authors Carol Shields. Unless is not my favorite book by her though, that's The Stone Diaries. Unless is a complex novel with themes of feminism and motherhood, so I thought it was an interesting choice by Lorne Cardinal. Not that I don't think a man can defend it, I'm just curious to see how he handles it. (And Officer Davis was one of my favorite Corner Gas characters.)

Have you read any of the Canada Reads 2011 books? Any favorites?


  1. I haven't read any of these, but The Stone Diaries is on my TBR list so I'll have to read Unless as well.

    I wish the US had a US Reads program! Boston just started doing a version of this with a short story by Tom Perrotta, a local author.

  2. I have The Stone Diaries on my shelf but have not gotten to it yet. I need to make sure that it is on my 2011 list of reads

  3. I haven't heard of any of those books. Like Cass, I would love if the U.S. did something similar. It would at least be more enriching than Dancing With the Stars or American Idol.

  4. Having just read a really interesting book of interviews with Sherman Alexie--I put up a quote on my page--I wonder if any of the books on the list above are (his word) Indian?

  5. I also loved The Birth House, one of my favorite books read in recent years.

    I'm off to review this years list (I have a soft spot for CA authors).

  6. I read those two, plus Essex County, and prefer that one the most. I really, really didn't like The Birth House. I was okay on Unless (I did enjoy it more than The Stone Diaries) but it certainly wasn't added to my favourites list. I'm curious about the Bone Cage and The Best Laid Plans though.

    And like you, I question how enthusiastically they'll defend these books. Sure they picked them, but from a top 10 list that they had nothing to do with.

  7. I'm a hardcore fan of "The Birth House", but I'm also rooting for Terry Fallis' book "The Best Laid Plans" because I'm reading it now and it's so funny :)

  8. Cass- The Stone Diaries is so different from anything I've read before.

    Bookmagic- Hope you enjoy it!

    Michelle- I bet they could make it as flashy as either of those.

    Shelley- Not sure. The Birth House has a character with a native ancestor but that's all I remember.

    Mari- Hope you find something to read.

    John- Yeah, that's a little questionable. I hope they won't be easily swayed.

    Reedrreads- Now I want to read Best Laid Plans. I could use funny.

  9. I liked The Stone Diaries better than Unless, too. I was excited to see The Birth House on the list! Yay, Nova Scotia!

    I guess those are the only two I have read. Eventually I will read the other 3. I really need more time in a year...


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