Last year, I challenged myself to read all the books selected for Canada Reads 2009. There was only one that I didn't finish (Mercy Among The Children by David Adams Richards) but that was because it was just too relentlessly depressing for me. I had to call it at page 64.
The book that won, The Book Of Negroes (published as Someone Knows My Name in most other countries) by Lawrence Hill had been my favourite read of 2008, so I was happy to see it selected as the winner. I also really enjoyed both runners up - The Outlander by Gil Adamson and and Fruit: A Novel About A Boy And His Nipples by Brian Francis.
It was so interesting to listen to the debate. I had been sure that The Outlander would come second and was surprised when it was beaten by Fruit, which I had read very quickly.
But you know what? A year later, Fruit has stayed with me. It was funny, yes, but also poignant and powerful in a way that I didn't realize as I read it. A year later, and I can still recall all the characters and events very vividly.
This year there are again five books to read. I've already read one of them (Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald, which was brutal but I loved it) and I'm about half way through Nikolski by Nicholas Dickner (I'm reading it in the original French, as I did with last year's La grosse femme d'à coté est enceinte, by Michel Tremblay and published in English as The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant).
Last year, I came across a Canada Reads challenge hosted by Melanie and Alexis of Roughing It In The Books. It was fun and I've signed up again this year. To participate, send an email to melanie AT roughingitinthebooks DOT com. All are welcome. Last year, I won a prize (thanks to Melanie's daughter for drawing my name out of a hat. She chewed on it a little first. It was sweet).
To do the Roughing It In The Books challenge, all books must be read by March 6. Canada Reads will take place from March 8-12 on CBC radio. If you live outside the listening area, you can download the podcasts or catch it all online.
Shall we read some books together?
The Books:Nikolski by Nicholas Dickner, defended by Michel Vézina