Canada Keeps Reading Day 1

March 16, 2015

It was a nail-biting first day of book debating on Canada Reads. After introducing each title, the brave panelists were asked to select the book they felt was least likely to "break barriers", the theme to this year's debate. It was difficult for them to choose but ultimately only one book can be left standing so the votes were tallied, a tie broken, and Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee was the first book to go.

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It was a nail-biting first day of book debating on Canada Reads. After introducing each title, the brave panelists were asked to select the book they felt was least likely to "break barriers", the theme to this year's debate. It was difficult for them to choose but ultimately only one book can be left standing so the votes were tallied, a tie broken, and Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee was the first book to go.

If Intolerable was your Canada Reads pick and you're feeling like this is the end of the story for you, we've got you covered. We've put together a selection of five titles, from another memoir to fiction to poetry, that can continue the conversation.

 

CanadaReads_Intolerable

 

The Bells of Memory: A Palestinian Boyhood in Jerusalem
by Issa J. Boullata (Linda Leith Publishing)

Also a memoir of life in the Middle East, Issa J. Boullata’s The Bells of Memory, however, is a love letter to Jerusalem before 1948. Growing up in a Palestinian family in the 1930s and 40s, Boullata reflects on his family, friends and teachers, the scents and foods of his childhood, and his first ventures into the working world.

The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God
by Michael Springate (Guernica Editions)

In this novel, Springate imagines a relationship between Elena and Mahfouz. After a wonderful spring where they commit to a deeper relationship and Mahfouz befriends Elena’s young daughter, Mahfouz travels to Egypt. However, he doesn't return and his father is picked up on unknown charges. Separately, Elena and Mahfouz must come to terms with the political and historical factors keeping them apart.

Palestine
by Hubert Haddad, translated by Pierre L’Abbe (Guernica Editions)

Haddad’s novel takes the reader right into the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A wounded Israeli soldier who doesn’t even remember his own name is taken in by a Palestinian family. Becoming a part of their family, the soldier, and the reader, discover firsthand what it is like to be an inhabitant of the colonized West Bank.

Mahmoud
by Tara Grammy & Tom Arthur Davis (Playwrights Canada Press)

In this play the reader meets three new Canadians – Mahmoud, an Iranian engineer, now taxi driver, who loves his Persian culture; Emanuelos, a gay Spanish perfume saleman who loves talking about his boyfriend; and awkward Iranian Canadian teenager Tara who just wants to be “normal”. These three strangers find themselves crossing paths as they experience racism, sexism, homophobia, and homesickness.

Alien, Correspondent
by Antony Di Nardo (Brick Books)

With a Western journalist’s outside perspective, Di Nardo provides a delicately balanced look at Beirut. Through his poetry he is able to provide an unromanticized view of everything from larger issues in the Middle East to every day domestic life.

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We'll be following the debate all week so if you're interested in more Canada Keeps Reading picks stop by tomorrow.


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