Canada Reads had a new moderator this year. Gil Deacon is an author and a broadcaster. I really didn't like her questions the first day.
1.) Which book least embodies the theme?
2.) Which novel is most relevant to Canada today?
3.) Which book surprised you?
It was made very clear that this is not a literary discussion but a game show for fun and entertainment. I guess I always knew that but hoped it would have some literary value. It was also mentioned that it is not about 'the best', but about the book that all of Canada should read. So..it really is about the message.
My friend Gayle loves to learn something in a book, but I really just want to enjoy the story. If there is a subtle message that makes me think, I am delighted!
It was also mentioned that there are serious themes of mental illness, death, trauma, tragedy, DESPAIR. These situations do cause you to 'start over'. But Vinay brought up the idea of transformation and I think "The Hero's walk" showed that in a powerful way. All of the books addressed 'starting over', but "The Hero's Walk" was more powerful for me because it clearly demonstrated the first step in transformation- admitting that you don't know everything, that you may have been wrong.
"Minister Without Portfolio" was the first book to be eliminated. But Adam 'Edge' Copeland really did a great job of supporting it. He is a wrestler but his defence of the book was the exact opposite of the book- so articulate. Metaphor after metaphor!
The second day the book eliminated was "Bone and Bread".
The questions were better the second day and the discussion became more interesting. The first day, none of the panel wanted to say anything negative about any of the books, but the second day the real opinions surfaced.
I was surprised that Farah was offended when Bruce mentioned that perhaps the Canada Reads book should take place in Canada. That is a question that has often been explored, but she wanted an apology from Bruce. I didn't understand that.
The third day, "Birdie" was voted off. It really is a difficult read.
And so, the winner is "The Illegal". Clara supported the book well and was beloved by everyone. If Clara didn't have to vote for her own book, I think she would have voted to keep "The Hero's Walk". Even Lawrence Hill, the author of the winning book, expected "The Hero's Walk" to win.
A great panel with thoughtful discussion. Canada Reads 2016.