If You Liked x, Read y: CBC Canada Reads Edition 2018

March 29, 2018

We love tuning into CBC’s Canada Reads, and this year was no exception. We have some If You Liked x follow up reads to the books championed during the debates.

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Here's our recap of this year's battle of the books!

 

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Day One: The Boat People by Sharon Bala = = = Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist by Martina Scholtens (Brindle & Glass) 

The Boat People was the shocking first elimination from Canada Reads 2018. We wished there’d be more time for the panelists to discuss the stunning humanity in this book: giving individual Tamil refugees a voice instead of a faceless mass. Likewise, Martina Scholtens’ memoir Your Heart is the Size of Your Fist personalizes and individualizes refugee journeys through the eyes of their practising physician.

 

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Day Two: Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson = = = Hot, Wet, and Shaking by Kaleigh Trace (Invisible Publishing) 

After a tiebreak, Precious Cargo was out at the end of Day Two. We think back to panelist Jully Black’s assertion that “[people with disabilities] get horny!” and recommend Kaleigh Trace’s collection of personal essays Hot, Wet, and Shaking: How I Learned to Talk About Sex. We like that this is written from the (dis)abled author’s perspective, and not an outsider reporting – for all of Craig Davidson's sensitivity about his charges. We’re all for people writing on their own lived experiences, and laughed and cried along with Trace’s essays, just as we did in Davidson’s memoir.

 

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Day Three: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline = = = Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette (Kegedonce Press) 

All of the panelists agreed that The Marrow Thieves should be taught in schools, and we think that another book should join it: Lightfinder, by Aaron Paquette. Just as The Marrow Thieves follows a group of Indigenous mostly-youth trying to save their peoples from a futuristic Canadian government hell-bent on harvesting their bone marrow, Lightfinder also features a small group of youth led by their Aunty and Kokum, looking for a lost loved one and discovering old powers new to them.

 

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Day Four Winner: Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto = = = The Endless Battle by Andy Flanagan (Goose Lane Editions) 

During the debates, Greg Johnson said that the parts of Forgiveness about Mark’s grandfather could have been a book on its own: if you agreed, here is that book. Nominated for the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing, The Endless Battle is based on the first-hand account of the author’s father – Andrew "Ando" Flanagan – after he and his New Brunswick regiment was captured at the Battle of Hong Kong. Like Mark’s grandfather, their story of survival in the brutal Japanese POW camps is both inspiring and devastating to behold.

 

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Day Four Runner Up: American War by Omar El Akkad = = = Corvus by Harold Johnson (Thistledown Press) 

Panelist Tahmoh Penikett defended American War on the basis of empathy – that we need more of it and that the lack of empathy is what prompts the breakdown of intra-American relations in that novel. We see the same themes of climate change, warmongering, and a breakdown of relations – brought North – in Cree author Harold Johnson’s novel Corvus. Just as American War reckons with the States’ past and present, Corvus reckons with Canada’s, including its treatment of Indigenous communities and resource exploitation.

 

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For previous years' Canada Reads recaps, click here.


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