CBC Canada Reads 2017: Meet The Contenders

I’ve decided to following along at home with the 2017 CBC Canada Reads. When CBC announced the 15 books on the longlist, I chose 8 of them that appealed most to me, and I was able to get through 5 of my picks them before they announced the 5 contenders yesterday (January 31, 2017).

Yesterday, CBC announced the 5 contenders and the 5 Canadians that will be defending them. Luckily for me, 2 of the books I read are now in the final 5: Fifteen Dogs and Nostalgia. One more of the final 5, The Break, was on my list to read, but I wasn’t able to get it from the library in time. Including The Break, I’ve got 3 books to read before the competition begin on March 27th.

So, in case you haven’t seen the list splashed all over the blogosphere yet, here is a little bit about the 5 contenders and their defenders for CBC Canada Reads 2017:

Mitic is a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who lost both of his legs in a landmine accident in Afghanistan. Since then, he has competed in the Canadian version of The Amazing Race and he is now a city councillor for Ottawa. He sounds like a guy with a plethora of different life experiences to bring to Canada Reads, and I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say about Nostalgia.

In my review of Nostalgia, I mentioned that I didn’t really think it was the next book that all Canadians should read. I still think that there are better choices out there, but with its deep message about the division between the “haves and the have nots,” I can see why this one made it into the list.

Humble The Poet (A.K.A. Kanwer Singh) is a spoken-word artist, rapper, and generally multi-talented guy from Toronto. I don’t know much about him, but he seems to be a good choice to take on this book. The book has a couple of layers, you have the surface layer – talking dogs with human consciousness – and then the deeper layer of the message or moral of the story.

I didn’t really like Fifteen Dogs when I read it (here is my review). I couldn’t get into it because I found the whole talking dogs thing, and the way the humans reacted to it, a little unbelievable. But I think Humble The Poet seems like a good choice to defend this one. I think he’ll be the kind of guy who can tell us all about that deeper layer without getting stuffy and academic about it, or caught up in the unbelievableness of it all..

I can’t call myself a fan of Chantal Kreviazuk, but I have listened to her music and I like it. She has some First Nations ancestry, so maybe this makes her an obvious choice to defend this book about Inuk culture and activism to save the Arctic.

It’s not really a theme I am well-versed in, but I’m looking forward to getting outside of my comfort zone to read this one.

This book actually sounds really cool, and I’m not sure why I didn’t pick it in my list of books to read. I’m glad I get to read it as one of the final 5 now. Tamara Taylor is an actor, and because I don’t watch TV, I don’t really know much about her. But here’s what she said about the book on the CBC Canada Reads site:

“Canada is the ultimate melting pot. Canadian women are mixed, multi-ethnic, smart, strong, scrappy and funny, and it is rare that we get to see reflections of ourselves in literature. Madeline Ashby, my new girl-crush, clearly decided that it was time to change that in the most prophetically imaginative way. Set on an oil rig in the future, our half-breed heroine takes us on a hunt for a serial killer and her self-worth, both of which will affect the fate of her town”

The Break was on my list of 8 books to read from the longlist, but I wasn’t able to get it out from the library in time to read it before they made their announcement. I chose this one because it promises a juxtaposed narrative with converging storylines. I’m still looking forward to reading it once I can get my hands on a copy.

Again, I don’t really know anything about Candy Palmater, but she seems like a smart and funny lady. I’ll have to wait until I read the book myself, but this might just be the one I’ll be rooting for come March 27th.

Update: Here is my review of The Break.

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