Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Canada Reads 2009

Here are the titles for Canada Reads 2009 and the celebrity panelists who will be lobbying for their book to win Canada Reads.

The Outlander, by Gil Adamson. Panelist: Nicholas Campbell

Fruit, by Brian Francis. Panelist: Jen Sookfong Lee

Mercy Among the Children, by David Adams Richards. Panelist: Sarah Slean (Paul’s favourite!)

The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant, by Michel Tremblay. Panelist: Anne-Marie Wittenshaw

The Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill. Panelist: Avi Lewis

If you’re not familiar with Canada Reads, this is a feature CBC Radio runs every year where five celebrity panelists battle it out over which book should be the one that all of Canada reads next year. Surprisingly, even to me, this has been a remarkable success over the last few years, with the winner (and often the runners up) become bestsellers in Canada. The books chosen are always excellent and, frequently, challenging works (over the years titles chosen have included Hubert Aquin’s Next Episode and Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers).

Although I usually find the Canada Reads panel discussions and the “voting off” of particular titles to be frustrating to listen to, this is a great program that does a tremendous amount to promote Canadian literature. How can anyone complain about that?