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“I love that Canadians love books, and that we boast a disproportionate number of outstanding authors. I’ve had the privilege of hosting CBC’s Canada Reads for the past seven years. It’s a celebration and discovery of homegrown lit. Last year, an American observer wrote, “Let me get this straight: In Canada they have a hit reality show … and it’s about books?! Wow.” I loved reading that. Pride. “ – Jian Ghomeshi, Broadcaster. Quoted in Canadian Living magazine, July 2014

Have you ever tuned into the above mentioned Canada Reads show on CBC Radio? I’ve followed along in the last few years and enjoy the lively format of a notable Canadian devotedly defending his or her literary favourite with a panel of fellow debaters. The discussions among panel members are often funny, even feisty, and always entertaining. It’s been proven that the final selections and the winning choice enjoy an enormous surge in sales following the show. The past seasons’ winners are listed on the website and it is worth a perusal if you’re new to the program. Tune in to Jian Ghomeshi on Q on CBC in early September to learn how the 2015 season will unfold.

Sticking with a CBC/Canada theme … CBC Radio has compiled a Canada Day themed list:  “100 Novels That Make You Proud to Be Canadian” I found myself impressed by the list itself – such a great collection of books – but, even more impressive, is the fact that all the authors are Canadian. Click on the red banner below to be taken to the page showing all 100 novels. I’ve included a few of the titles I’ve read below as a little teaser … How many have you read?

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book-u6-a183-b207-r423 419 by Will Ferguson Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards The Birth House by Ami McKay Annabel by Kathleen Winterfallonyuorknees-books100latenightsonair-Books100cellistofsarajevo-books100secretdaughter-books100lifeofpi-books100room-books100thebestlaidplans-books100

Happy Canada Day and Happy Reading Canadian!

CBC Radio One’s annual program “Canada Reads” provides a forum for five Canadian titles to be debated and defended by five noteworthy Canadians.  After each debate, a novel is voted out of the running until only one remains. This selection is deemed the essential novel for all Canadians to enjoy together. If you’ve not tuned in before, the debates are entertaining, witty, and occasionally feisty. Jian Ghomeshi as the host is brilliant at directing the conversation and unveiling unique perspectives and impressions.  The tenth edition of Canada Reads will air in February 2011.  In honour of this anniversary, rather than simply announce the 5 novels to be debated, Canadian readers have been asked to submit their choices for a list of  “Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade” (published after January 1, 2000).  This list will be narrowed down over the next few months and the top selections will be debated.

I count many Canadian books among my favourites but a particular standout for me published in the last decade is The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor. It was one of our book club selections and our members were unanimously enthused. The novel, as the title suggests, follows the many incarnations of one Charlotte Taylor – an amazingly resilient woman and pioneer as she ventures forth and establishes herself in early Canada. The Ottawa Citizen states: “The sweep is epic, a romantic narrative filled with passion, rebellion, adventure, heartbreak, triumph, legacy. It’s a heck of a story.” Sally Armstrong, a founding editor of Canadian Living magazine and editor at Homemaker’s and Macleans magazines, has taken her family’s lore relating to a great-great-great Grandmother and with wonderful imagination filled in the archival gaps with memorable characters and adventures. The fact that the tale itself is based on a woman whose pluckiness inspired generations to recount and share the legend of her just adds to the charm of the book. 

I will submit my request for The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor to be considered as a Canada Reads Top 40 Essential Canadian Novel … but in the meantime I hope you get a head start and enjoy it yourself!

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