Canada Reads 2019

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Canada Reads 2019

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Jan 3, 2019, 10:24 pm

So Jan. 10th the longlist will be revealed!

Jan 4, 2019, 3:08 pm

thanx for telling me! I am always so excited by Canada Reads. I don't usually read the long list, but I will read the five finalists before the debates start.

Jan 9, 2019, 8:11 pm

>2 mdoris: Just one more sleep!
>3 LynnB: I'm excited too.

Jan 10, 2019, 12:34 pm

Just took a look at the long list. Here they are in the order CBC has them on the Canada Reads page.
Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung
Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
Brother by David Chariandy
By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
Corvus by Harold R. Johnson
The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi
That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
The Crazy Game by Clint Malarchuk, with Dan Robson
Life on the Ground Floor by James Maskalyk
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll
The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong

If you want to look at the more detailed descriptions go to this link:

There are three that I have been wanting to read: Brother by David Chariandy, An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim and The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary so I've got holds on them at my local library. Hopefully one or two will make it onto the short list.

What looks good to you?

Jan 10, 2019, 3:28 pm

I haven't read any of them yet!

Jan 11, 2019, 1:03 pm

i have read Brother and thought it was very good. He has since written another book, a letter to his daughter and I have that one on reserve at the libarary. When I read through the descriptions there were some more books I wanted to read. It will be interesting to see what they choose for the short list.

Jan 11, 2019, 1:48 pm

An Ocean of Minutes is wonderful- I am glad that it is on the longlist

Editado: Jan 11, 2019, 3:52 pm

I read An Ocean of Minutes and while I liked it, I am not sure how it fits on the CR list. I am curious to see if that one progresses. I also read The Chimps of the Fauna Sanctuary but have no recollection of reading it (I bought a used copy last summer but didn't realise I had read it until I tried logging it here). I did give it 4 stars though.

Jan 20, 2019, 3:39 pm

>8 torontoc: >9 Yells: I just finished An Ocean of Minutes and I loved it too. As to how it fits on the list the theme this year is "One Book to Move You" and I think it certainly does that.

Jan 20, 2019, 4:07 pm

>10 gypsysmom: I think my problem with it is that it didn't move me. I enjoyed the story but it was like any other dystopian novel I have read: entertaining but not realistic or believable. I felt the same way about The Marrow Thieves least year. An interesting way to spend an afternoon but nothing that will stay with me afterwards.

Editado: Jan 25, 2019, 8:35 pm

I just finished Brother by Chariandy - now this one I loved and can see why it's on the list. I was definitely moved.

Michael and Francis are Trinidadian Canadian brothers growing up in the suburbs of Toronto. They are being raised by their mother, who works insane hours to keep a roof over their heads, and struggle to deal with poverty and racism.

I also have Homes: A Refugee Story and By Chance Alone out of the library so we will see how those go.

Editado: Jan 27, 2019, 3:29 pm

Homes: A Refugee Story by al Rabeeah and Yeung. This one is a short yet powerful memoir about a young kid growing up in Iraq and Syria before coming to Canada with his family as refugees. His family left Iraq when he was ten and arrived in Syria looking for a better life. Three years later, they fled again as violence took over that country as well.

Editado: Jan 27, 2019, 3:36 pm

There is one I've been wanting to read:
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary

I don't think I've heard of any of the others! (Nor the authors.)

Jan 27, 2019, 8:01 pm

>12 Yells: I have Brother out from the library and I'm hoping to get to it in a few days, maybe before the short list is announced.

>14 LibraryCin: I have just finished The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary which I had also been wanting to read for a while. I can say that it was as moving as I hoped it would be; Andrew Westoll did a wonderful job of conveying the horrors of the biomedical research done on the chimps but also leavened it with the stories of the chimps living in the sanctuary and the wonderful woman who runs the sanctuary. I think it is definitely One Book to Move You.

Jan 27, 2019, 11:37 pm

>15 gypsysmom: Good to hear! Thank you!

Editado: Jan 29, 2019, 2:07 pm

I am a page into By Chance Alone and I am already bawling. This has 'moving' in spades.

Editado: Jan 29, 2019, 2:51 pm

Short list to be revealed Jan. 31st. >4 gypsysmom: Wendy just two more sleeps!

Jan 31, 2019, 10:49 am

All righty, so we have:

Chuck Comeau defending Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung
Lisa Ray defending Brother by David Chariandy
Ziya Tong defending By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
Yanic Truesdale defending Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
Joe Zee defending The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong

Interesting mix - should be a fun debate!

Editado: Fev 2, 2019, 10:57 pm

I've read the first two and just started the third one (but it's making me cry too much so I am taking it slow). I have the last one on hold so hopefully that comes soon. I will have to have a closer look at the fourth one. It wasn't on my radar but maybe it should be.

Jan 31, 2019, 11:48 am

Thanks for posting Danielle. i was just about to look it up.

Jan 31, 2019, 3:26 pm

thank you! I'm off to the book store tomorrow!

Fev 2, 2019, 8:52 pm

>19 Yells: Thanks for posting. I saw the list first thing on Thursday morning but then my life took over. I already had Brother out of the library although I just started it today. I've put holds on the others but who knows if they will come in on time. The Woo-Woo has 66 holds before mine.

Fev 2, 2019, 11:15 pm

After bawling through the intro, the rest of By Chance Alone was pretty straightforward so I am finished and I am mixed. The man when through hell and back so I was definitely moved by the story (it never ceases to amaze me what humans can do to each other), but I found the writing to be really weak and felt it could have used a better editor. I am not sure how much he wrote versus Winnie Yueng - I am assuming he wrote the introduction and that part I found quite emotional and touching. The rest seemed really clinical and removed. I am curious to what others think. It's an important story to tell but I feel like someone did this poor guy a disservice.

Editado: Fev 2, 2019, 11:17 pm

>23 gypsysmom: 66? ouch! I think I am 4th in line so I might get it before the debates start if people to read fast. I just put Suzanne on hold so I definitely won't get to that one.

Fev 3, 2019, 8:02 am

I'll be in Egypt during the debates....I'm so sad about that. My challenge will be listening to the debates once I return without finding out who won. I know when I go to the CBC website, the winner will be front and centre. Any suggestions on how I can manage to avoid knowing the winner and still find the debates to listen to?

Fev 3, 2019, 1:56 pm

>26 LynnB: It's tricky. I have a hard enough time listening in the evenings to try to not see what happened that day, let alone missing the winner. I think I've managed both (when I've managed to avoid and when I accidentally saw it), but I don't remember how I managed to avoid. :-(

Fev 3, 2019, 3:18 pm

I cover my monitor with my hand, but that's a bit hit or miss!

Fev 3, 2019, 5:59 pm

I have them automatically download to my phone. You just need to subscribe to the podcast and it pops up when ready.

Fev 4, 2019, 3:38 pm

Finished Brother last night. I had just come home from a Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert so I couldn't sleep. It's well-written and has some contemporary issues like racism, immigrants, working poor etc that will resonate with lots of people. I just didn't find I understood the two main characters as much as I would have liked. It's a pretty slim novel (less than 200 pages) and this is one case where I would have liked more character development. I also got a little confused as the story switches between events now and ten years previously and I couldn't always recollect where the previous chapter in the time line left off because of the intervening discussion. So, as of right now, it wouldn't be my choice to win.

Fev 8, 2019, 8:05 am

I'm leaving for Egypt on March 10th and have decided to take the five finalists with me to read on the trip. My son will download the podcasts for me so I can listen to the debates when I get home without knowing who won.

So, you won't be hearing much from me on this thread, but I'm reading and listening! Hope everyone enjoys the debates and posts their views so I can catch up when I get back.

Fev 12, 2019, 12:35 pm

>31 LynnB: Have a wonderful trip. I've now got By Chance Alone to read but the others may take a while to come from the library. Hopefully they get to me before the debates start.

Editado: Fev 18, 2019, 11:23 am

The Woo-Woo by Wong. The fourth book on the Canada Reads list this year and not at all what I expected. From the subtitle, I was expecting something humourous but this was quite different. It's a memoir of a young Chinese woman growing up in Vancouver in a really bizarre, eccentric family. All the female relatives have some sort of mental illness but it's blamed on the Woo-Woo (ghosts) so no one ever gets proper treatment. The family's way of showing love is through swearing, insults and violence (her mom lights her foot on fire to remind her that sleeping in is lazy). Needless to say, Wong grows up angry at the world and repeatedly lashes out at anyone who tries to get close. The book is really her therapy session as she tries to make sense of it all and deal with her own health issues.

Fev 20, 2019, 5:33 pm

>33 Yells: Gosh, that does sound like rather a difficult book to get through. Maybe I won't be disappointed if my library hold doesn't come through before the Canada Reads week.

Fev 20, 2019, 5:39 pm

I have now read By Chance Alone, Max Eisen's memoir of surviving Auschwitz and the post-war upheaval in Europe. For anyone who hasn't read a Holocaust memoir (or novel) I am sure it will be a revelation. Maybe I'm jaded but I found his writing style rather wooden and I wished he had collaborated with someone who could put a little more oomph into the book. I'm not saying it's not an important thing to bear witness to the Holocaust; Max Eisen has done a great service by talking and writing about the Holocaust. I just think he is maybe a more effective speaker than writer.

Editado: Fev 20, 2019, 8:32 pm

>35 gypsysmom: Yup, I felt the same way (see >24 Yells:). The story is important and definitely needs to be told but the writing style didn't do it justice.

>34 gypsysmom: I liked the book but it was exhausting to read. I am not sure I've ever read about a more dysfunctional family.

Fev 22, 2019, 3:35 pm

>36 Yells: I had forgotten you had written that. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one. It will be interesting to see what the panel makes of it.

Mar 18, 2019, 3:03 pm

Well I've now finished the third nominated book Suzanne by Anais Barbeau-Lavalette and I won't be rooting for it to win either. It's a novel about a real woman, Suzanne Meloche, who was the grandmother of the author. She abandoned her children when they were very young and then led a very unconventional life (for the times) sometimes as an artist, sometimes as a secretary, even once as a mail carrier. She had numerous love affairs and participated in the Freedom Ride to the deep South in the 1960s. Having read the book I'm no closer to understanding her and I thought I would. I'll have to see what transpires next week. I don't think I am going to get to read the other two before then.

Editado: Mar 18, 2019, 9:14 pm

>38 gypsysmom: That is the only one I haven't read and I won't any time soon. Interesting choices this year - I am curious to see how they are defended.

Mar 20, 2019, 1:58 pm

Just listening to the intro podcasts and getting excited! Apparently Wong's parents haven't read her book yet but they put it on hold at the library. That should be an interesting family reunion once the hold comes in...

Editado: Mar 25, 2019, 6:09 pm

Don't read any further if you don't want to know what the first book to be eliminated was.

The Woo-Woo was eliminated at the end of the first day. There were 3 votes against it with 1 vote against Homes and 1 vote against Suzanne.

Mar 25, 2019, 8:02 pm

This is the first time I've watched Canada Reads and found it very good and interesting the debate amongst the book representatives. It is well done!

Mar 25, 2019, 9:06 pm

>42 mdoris: I haven't watched or listened to the debates for a few years since we always managed to be away when they were on. My impression of this group is that they are much better at identifying themes, styles and writing downfalls than some earlier panels were. I was quite impressed by the level of the discussion. Maybe it will become more heated as books get knocked off but it looked good today.

Mar 25, 2019, 10:56 pm

>41 gypsysmom: Got all excited about the debates and then forgot to listen to the first one. Doh! Will listen tomorrow and chime in.

Mar 25, 2019, 11:00 pm

I tend to watch/listen while I do other things, so admittedly, I miss things. I have decided on two of the five books that I do want to read (I think!). One I may not want to read. (I tend to listen, then decide what to read. I know many of you try to read them before the competition!) The other two books, I haven't heard (or paid enough attention to!) enough to decide yet.

Mar 26, 2019, 1:32 am

I listened to all the previews, and CBC makes it so easy to listen to the debates however you want, which is very cool.

I haven't read any of the books going in, and so far nothing is grabbing me. Although I was hoping from what I'd heard so far the the book that got voted off today (Day 1) was the one that I most wanted to NOT win. So all good, I guess?

Always fun to listen to, whether or not you know the books and presenters.

Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 3:49 pm

So nerd that I am, I stayed up late and listened to the podcast in bed (for the sake of my husband's sanity, I did use ear buds!). I am happy with the first choice to go. I enjoyed the book and while I do think it's a very important topic, I found it hard to relate to. There are some things that I don't have to experience in order to understand but this was a little too bizarre.

I think it will come down to Homes: A Refugee Story and By Chance Alone and I hope Homes takes it.

Mar 26, 2019, 3:54 pm

>47 Yells: I haven't read Homes: A Refugee Story so I don't know enough about it to predict if it will last to the final two but my gut feeling is that it will come down to Brother and By Chance Alone. We'll see what Wednesday brings.

Mar 26, 2019, 3:58 pm

I watched most of the broadcast today including the Q and A session at the end when you really see the passion of the panel members. If you can I urge you to watch the live stream because I don't think it is included in the repeat broadcasts.

So today there was one vote against each of Homes, By Chance Alone, and Brother and two votes against Suzanne meaning the book with two votes against it was eliminated. That leaves three in the running for Wednesday.

Mar 27, 2019, 5:53 pm

I couldn't listen live today so I just watched the show on the CBC website and I have to say I was surprised at the vote.

There were two votes against By Chance Aloneand three votes against Brother so Brother has been eliminated. That leaves By Chance Alone and Homes in the running for the final day. Will Homes continue its climb up the ladder or will By Chance Alone overcome what some of the panelists feel (and some of us also noted) is a lower quality of writing to beome the winner?

Mar 27, 2019, 8:53 pm

Every year, there's a presenter who I either really like or really dislike. No strong feelings this year, but I have to say Lisa Ray comes off as soooooo fake.

Mar 27, 2019, 10:16 pm

>51 Nickelini: I agree that she is my least favourite of the presenters. I didn't know any of them really before the show started but I am getting very fond of Chuck Comeau.

Mar 27, 2019, 11:54 pm

>51 Nickelini: She is rather intense, isn't she? And she keeps talking over people.

So far, I have predicted who was going home each time. If Homes wins, I may have to go buy a lottery ticket! This never, ever happens.

Editado: Mar 28, 2019, 1:58 pm

I haven't listened yet but I spoiled myself this morning (because that is how I roll). What does everyone think about the winner? I am a little disappointed primarily because of the poor writing style. I know that seems a little petty but it really did affect the way I read the book and to be honest, if this is 'the Canadian book' that we are announcing to the world, it would be nice to showcase a book that is properly edited.

Mar 28, 2019, 9:20 pm

>54 Yells: I watched the whole show this morning and it really came down to the fact that the writer of the winner was one of the last remaining survivors of the Holocaust and this is probably the last time a Holocaust book would be written by a survivor. Yannick Truesdale changed his vote based on that fact which was one of Ziya Tong's last statements about the book. Joe Zee also mentioned that.

I agree with your spoiler statement and I really thought the other book would win. Having said that I haven't read Homes so I really shouldn't compare them probably.

Mar 28, 2019, 11:46 pm

Ahhh, I did so well avoiding any of the results all week (I've been listening/watching at home in the evenings), but as I listen/watch while I do other things online, with about 20 minutes to go, I opened an email from Chapters/Indigo promoting the winner! Sigh. I didn't read the subject line (not sure if that would have clued me in or not). I just saw what book it was (didn't even see any mention of Canada Reads), but because it was one of the final two books, I immediately deleted the message, then realized it was probably the winner (and it was).

Now, I haven't yet read any of the books (I listen to it and then decide which I want to read... unless, of course, I've read any before they even make it to Canada Reads). But, it was the one I was hoping for, based on what the book is about.

And there is only one from this year that I didn't add to my tbr.

Mar 29, 2019, 10:44 am


Abr 2, 2019, 6:56 pm

My son downloaded the podcasts for me to listen to when I returned from travelling on March 31st. Until I'd heard them, I didn't even turn on CBC radio because I didn't want to know who won! I always read the five books before the debates start so I can yell at the radio (computer) much like my Dad used to yell at NHL/CFL players on TV.

I enjoyed the debates, and they gave me a deeper appreciation of some of the books than I'd originally had. I liked the comment that, had Suzanne Meloche been a man, she wouldn't have had to choose between her work and her family. (Or, if she'd been born a generation or two later). I like the perspective of Homes being supportive of anti-Islamiphobia. I wish it had won.

Abr 2, 2019, 7:22 pm

>58 LynnB: Maybe this answers my question on the other thread... "Homes" was your favourite, then?

Abr 2, 2019, 7:25 pm

I wasn't overwhelmed by any of them, but Homes: A Refugee Story and Suzanne were my favourites.

Abr 2, 2019, 9:51 pm

Homes: A Refugee Story and The Woo-Woo were the two books I didn't read. After hearing the debates I decided that I could live without reading The Woo-Woo but I think I'd like to read Homes. Chuck Comeau did a great job of defending it.

Abr 2, 2019, 10:36 pm

>61 gypsysmom: They are both good but The Woo-Woo is an exhausting read.

Abr 3, 2019, 3:41 pm

>60 LynnB: Thanks! Funny, the only book I decided not to read (after listening) was "Suzanne".