So Canada Reads is over, and I'm not sure I'm ready for it to be over. It was something to look forward to watching the debates each night, discussing my favourite reads with other readers, and watching the twitter feeds and other people's reactions to what happened. Apparently something about a meteor, asteroid and the end of the world happened this week too, but I was still involved with Canada Reads. I have my predictions, reactions and all that in one post, it was my intention to do it in individual posts, but time has not been my friend these past few weeks.
I was very impressed with all the panellists As they all believed in their book, but they also didn't kick the other people's books into the dirt - honest critiques yes, but they all seemed to generally respect each other, the other books, authors and reading in general. In 2011 Canada Reads, I didn't get that. There was the fight if a book should be there because of its format, a panellist not finishing a book, and it got heated, but in a nasty way. This year was awesome - and all the panellists did their books justice. Somewhere better than others, some lost steam in the end. Some spoke up even if it would be controversial, but all were great. I hope future panellists have the same love of reading and vote what they truly believe in.
My Predictions - Pre -Debates
I think Two Solitudes will go early, and as much as I hate the idea of it, Away will also likely be voted off early. I'm fairly certain the arguments of "they are to literary/academic" will be used for one or both (which is an argument I hate seeing used against a book - as I find it kind of insulting to both those who read and don't read a book - but that is not something I want to get into)
Final two: Will more than likely be Age of Hope and February. I don't think Indian Horse will win, despite it being a fan favourite, I don't see it winning Canada Reads, but I could see it making it to the final two. And there's a quick little prediction for Canada Reads 2013. I'd intended to have a nice, elaborate write up, but real life got in the way.
So I told myself to avoid twitter, social media and the like all day (which for the most part was easy, as I was at work) and do not spoil myself on who was voted off each day. I wanted to wait until I got home and they aired the debates on TV - which I recorded so I could watch and re-watch the debates, analyze it and make a prediction before they revealed who won - but I couldn't wait and seconds of sitting down for my lunch break, despite my rumbling stomach, I was looking up on my up who was voted off each day. Yeah, I have no patience. I still watched the event on TV and feverishly took notes - many of which are far to illegible to read now. But I was excited to watch how the outcome happened.
I have to say, I didn't really like the book trailers - although the majority of the time I don't like book trailers, I felt some of these just didn't do the books justice. If I had only watched the book trailers, I would have never have read February, Away or The Age of Hope. Indian Horse and Two Solitudes were maybes after watching the trailers. Jay did one of the best jobs on day one with his opening statement (love letter to tolerance), but I found during the rest of day ones' debate, that he wasn't as articulate in his arguments. Carol's opening statement was also well done, and she really did her book justice on day one. Although, hand down Trent was one of the best panelists on day one and throughout the week.
I didn't think The Age of Hope, would be voted off first, although I didn't think it would win either, it was interesting that it went first. It wasn't my favourite book of the five, and clearly most of the panel felt the same way. I wouldn't say it surprised me that it went first, but it wasn't the one I thought would have been axed off first. I was surprised on how the votes went and who voted for who. Carol's vote against Away surprised me the most.
Ron MacLean did a good job at defending The Age of Hope, especially pulling on the themes of depression, I wish he'd left some of the puns and jokes out, he was funny and entertaining, but I think it also affected the effectiveness of some of the points he was trying to make. Still, despite it being voted of first, and the fact it wasn't my favourite book. The Age of Hope is still well worth reading. (All of them are. I may not have liked Indian Horse as much as the others, but every book on this year's Canada Reads is a book I'd recommend to someone, unlike previous years.)
And now here's where my notes become harder to read So I'll just do a quick little summery, because, my poor notes look like the cat wrote them - no seriously, I was writing so fast, my normally borderline legible writing looks like I gave the pen to the cat and let her go crazy! I guess I was immersed in what I watched!
Day Two and Day Three
Away is gone!? Darn it! Well, I wanted it to go to the end, but I never expected it to win. And I wasn't at all surprised it was voted off early. I loved the book, Jane Urquhart is a spectacular author. But the book just isn't one everyone will read or want to read. People see it poetically/lyrically written, they hear it's a literary book and they run for the hills. The magical realism doesn't help the book much either. Charlotte Gray made an excellent point regarding the writing of Away versus some of the others, literary versus rapid fire writing, and she was right. Not to say some of the "rapid fire" written books are bad, some are fantastic reads - but people, including the panel seem to be avoid books that are written like Away these days.
Jay Baruchel stepped it up on day two. Day one he wasn't very articulate, with his arguments on his books but day two (and onwards) he kind of kicked butt, and ended up being one of the best panellists there, in the end he really did his book justice.
I seem to be the one of only the only people not surprised or upset (besides the panel members who voted it off) that Indian Horse was voted off. It was a good book, but not the best of the batch. It was my least favourite book of the group. A lot of what Charlotte Gray said I agreed with. She was making excellent points against Indian Horse, and I'm glad she had the guts to give an honest critique against the book - because very few people seem to want to take it up. She was giving her opinion not insulting the book. She did one of the best jobs at critiquing all the books, throughout the debates, perhaps having her book voted off so early fuelled her.
I felt Carol lost steam on Day Three. Day one and two she was a very good defender of her book, (up there with one of the best) by the end, it just wasn't filled with as much fire as she was in the beginning and she seemed to have lost her steam. The voting surprised me here the most I think. I wasn't expecting a tie on day three, and I wasn't expecting Carol to vote against February when she was more vocal against Two Solitudes throughout the debates.
Well one of my predictions were right. February Won! I felt it was the hardest debate to follow, it was hard to get the comments from the panellists as they were all talking over each other, it was very hard to figure out who was saying what at times. It was definitely a heated debate. And surprisingly a close vote as well. In the end I was happy February won and I was very happy overall how the debates played out.
After watching this, I'm very tempted to start a "Canadian Blogger Reads" with some fellow bloggers out there. Just because I don't want it to end.