You know the story about the girl who wakes up one day and realizes that she’s in love with someone who she’s known all her life, but never really paid attention to before? It’s a pretty common theme in trashy romance stories, and one I always dismissed as just plain stupid. I mean, how could you know of someone but not realize they are the ONE for you? And then one day just BAM! Oh, him! Of course! Silly me for not seeing it sooner!
Then, one day, it happened to me. But in my romantic comedy it’s not a guy I fall in love with. It’s the radio.
Yep, in this mad world of technological gadgetry and sci-fi wonderment, I found myself falling head over heels for that old, simple broadcasting device. I’d always known it existed, but never really paid it much mind. Until a few years ago. I can’t tell you specifically what happened. Something just … clicked, in my head, and there was no going back.
I could go on and on about the joys and marvels of the radio, and maybe I will one day. But not now. Today, gentle reader, I feel the need to wax poetic about one of my favouritest radio programs of all times.
It’s called Canada Reads. And it’s A.W.E.S.O.M.E.
First, for all you non-Canadians out there, this is not just a show for Canucks. And if your country has a similar program, let me know!
Every fall, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) gets five prominent Canadians to pick a book they think all of Canada should read. If you’re a keener like me you can read them all over the course of the winter. Or you can wait and see what happens before committing your valuable reading time. In March, the five get together and battle it out on the radio. For five days they pick apart each other’s selections, trying to argue their own novel to the top of the list. Every day a book is voted off, until there is only one left standing.
The rules are simple. The books have to be written by Canadians, and they have to be fiction. After that they can be anything at all. Canada Reads has introduced me to all sorts of amazing novels from authors I would never had heard of otherwise. Books like Rockbound by Frank Parker Day, published in 1928. And King Leary, by Paul Quarrington, now easily on my list of top 10 favourite books.
Best of all, it’s hosted by Canada’s best radio personality – EVER – Jian Ghomeshi. And I’m not just saying that because I have a huge crush on his voice. (Secret note to Jian: if you’re ever looking for a side gig, I will pay you to read me to sleep every night. Call me.)
With five books on the table, there are 124 possibilities for the order the books will end up in. I think. I did that math on a napkin in a bar, so I wouldn’t bet money on its accuracy.
This article wouldn’t be complete without some injection of my own narcissistic views (I do like making everything about me). So, here is my opinion of how the 2010 selections should be ranked, with a brief summary of my all important thoughts on each novel.
CANADA READS 2010 PROJECTED RESULTS
1) Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner, translated by Lazer Lederhendler
Defended by Michel Vézina
~ There is usually one book by a French author in the series, and they are always fantastic. Nikolski is no different. Never heard of Dickner before, but now I can’t wait to get my hands on more!
2) Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Defended by Perdita Felicien
~ Wonderful novel. If I could I’d tie it with Nikolski. Read it. Now. Go!
3) The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy
Defended by Samantha Nutt
~ Vancouver’s Chinatown in the early 1900s. I love stories that take me away from the typical white person plight and into a world I’d normally never access.
4) Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland
Defended by Roland Pemberton aka Cadence Weapon
~ I would have liked this a lot more if it were my first Coupland. But it was my seventh or eighth, and after a while they all start to sound the same. Coupland is a master of quippy one-liners that make you go Yes! Exactly! Sadly, he hides these in pages and pages of annoying characters.
5) Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott
Defended by Simi Sara
~ Boring. So, so boring. I’m interested to hear how Simi Sara can defend it. What am I missing here?
That’s what I think. What about you? The series starts Monday, March 8th and runs all week. You can listen to it on CBC’s Radio 1, or download the podcasts (previous seasons are also available) and enjoy at your leisure.
Join the party! And the ranks of those of us in love with our radios!
Canada Reads 2010 © CBC
Jian Ghomeshi © Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
Feature photo, Robby Van Moore, Creative Commons