Thursday, March 29, 2018

Who Cares Who Wins Canada Reads?

Sharon Bala's novel The Boat People (defended by singer and TV host Mozhdah Jamalzadah) was the first book eliminated from this year's Canada Reads competition on CBC Radio. Bala quickly pointed out how steep the odds were against her and her book. Canada Reads has had something close to gender parity in its authors and advocates: this year 2 books out of 5 by women, and 3 women advocates out of 5. Yet Bala found that no book by a woman and defended by a woman has ever won Canada Reads.

But ... what else would you expect from Canada Reads?  Frankly, I would as soon watch "The Bachelor" or "The Apprentice."  They are all platforms for shouty, bullying, aggressive, vulgar performances -- no wonder men are likely to win!

But Canada Reads is supposed to be about books and reading. I guess I still dream of the CBC encourage listeners to treat Canadian books and writing with taste and judgment, instead of pumping out the demeaning drivel to which Canada Reads subjects the books and the audience every year.

Anyway, someone is supposed to win the competition today, I think.

Update:  Okay, I hear the winner was Mark Sakamoto's Forgiveness, which I understand to be an excellent book on legacies of the Japanese-Canadian internment in the Second World War -- and nonfiction too, usually a poor relation at Canada Reads.  It, and the other fine books that Canada Reads manhandled this year, should not be tarnished by my comments on the program.
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