About a year ago, as I was musing about the upcoming Canada Reads debates – having read all the finalists, read and collected reviews, taken parts in discussions and online chats – I made this observation:
“… you know, part of me wishes I could go into the debate one of these times to be convinced without having read any of them, or to test with some purity whether the debates stand on their own as a truly useful way of being introduced to the books. Of course, the debates can’t help but be predicated on some beforehand knowledge of the books and authors. Anyhow, it’s not how Canada Reads books have come to be marketed nowadays, is it? The five-book packages and bookstore displays started in November, and we’re meant to respond. Still, don’t you think it’d be an interesting approach to learning about the books to intentionally go in blind one year?”
Well, that’s pretty much what I’ve decided to do heading into Canada Reads 2014. I’m not going in utterly tabula rasa, but I am going in open to being convinced. Here is what I’ve done or not done:
I did previously read one of the books – Annabel by Kathleen Winter. I’m not rereading it, nor have I read or am I going to read any of the other contenders until after the Canada Reads 2014 debates and outcome.
I have been gathering and reading reviews and articles about all of the finalists. Links to those pieces are assembled in my ongoing Canada Reads 2014 virtual book club blog post.
I have recruited five wise and articulate readers to review the finalist books, with a view to the strength of each book and how it fits the Canada Reads 2014 theme of “What is the one book that could change Canada?” I’m excited to be publishing my friends’ pieces here in the days to come. Stay tuned!
Here are the Canada Reads 2014 pieces by my guest reviewers: