Canada Reads 2016 kicks off today! From March 21 - March 24, five panellists will go head to head to defend their chosen book in an outright brawl. Just kidding... that's not how it works. If it did, my money would be on Clara Hughes and Adam "Edge" Copeland in the final. You read about how to watch the competition here.
The five Canada Reads panellists will defend their book in a televised debate moderated by Gill Deacon. The five titles shortlisted for this illustrious competition are: Birdie by Tracey Lindberg, The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter, Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz and The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami. Each of these books have been reviewed on Let's Take A Shelfie if you want to learn more about them.
These five books fit the theme of starting over in their own way. What's similar about all of them is the act of starting over is initiated by a loss of a friend or family member. This loss kick starts a path for the main characters to follow which helps lead them to a better life.
If I got to decide the outcome of Canada Reads, here's how I would have it going down:
Day 1 elimination: Birdie by Tracey Lindberg - There's no secret that I found this to be the most challenging of the five. I will be rereading this book because I feel I completely missed the boat on my first go.
Day 2 elimination: The Illegal by Lawrence Hill - Keita's story of oppression and having to leave one's homeland, though important and uplifting, I feel, was not as intriguing when compared to the stories in the books that follow.
Day 3 elimination: Minister Without Portfolio - Oh, Henry. Even with his faults and poor decisions, you can't help but feel for him. If you put aside the way in which this book is written, you'll uncover a story of perseverance and love.
Day 4 elimination: The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami - This book has made its way onto my favourites shelf. Reading about a father's agony over a poor decision he made in his past was gut wrenching at times. Sripathi's story of overcoming his guilt and now raising his grand daughter in a land that's foreign to her is both moving and endearing.
Winner: Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz - The underlying theme of love and the bond that the two sisters shared is something that has stuck with me since reading it. Saleema Nawaz is a beautiful writer and I hope that her involvement in Canada Reads puts a well deserved spotlight on her work.
Since it's not up to me, we'll have to wait until Thursday to find out who's crowned the winner. I will likely be tweeting about #CanadaReads (and my NCAA Basketball March Madness bracket) over at @oriemg so feel free to join in the conversation. You can also leave your thoughts on who you think will win in the comments below.
Now, for your viewing pleasure, here are the book trailers for each of the five books:
Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz
A Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter