Canada Reads 2012

20 Jan

I recall last year’s Canada Reads, and how addictive those live debates were. How exciting it was to see well known Canadian figures championing for their chosen book. This year the selected titles are all of the non-fiction genre, and there are certainly some compelling titles up for battle this year.

I will be the first to admit, that I know nothing of hockey and really have no interest in the sport. Nevertheless, hockey is our national sport in this country and so it only makes sense that Ken Dryden’s The Game, an insider’s look into the sport, would make its way onto the list this year.

Being Canadian, and of a certain age, I am all too familiar with the band The Rheostatics and their former guitarist Dave Bidini. On a Cold Road is essentially a tour diary that Mr. Bidini wrote while on an across Canada tour with his band. I can certainly see the appeal in this book, as it will offer the reader a bird’s eye view of the behind the scenes in a musician’s life.

Prisoner of Tehran is Ms. Nemat’s emotionally charged personal account of her time spent in one of the country’s most notorious political prisons, where she was subjected to torture. She narrowly escaped execution, due to the intervention of one of the prison guards who had fallen in love with her and by converting to Islam and marrying him she was eventually freed. Prisoner of Tehran was longlisted for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, and won the prestigious Italian literary prize the Grinzane Award.

Being somewhat familiar with the historical details regarding the Pinochet regime in Chile, Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre is on my list of books to read this year. When the author was six, her family fled their home and moved to Canada. Five years later, Carmen’s Mother decided to join the Chilean resistance movement in South America, and moving back to Bolivia brought Carmen and and her youngest daughter with her. This harrowing memoir depicts the double life Carmen lived, as she struggled to live like a normal teenage girl, all the while devoting herself to the cause. Something fierce has been named to the longlist of the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

Lastly, we have The Tiger by John Vaillant, is an account of a Siberian tiger terrorizing the residents of a remote Russian village. Vaillant recounts the hunt of the powerful tiger, as a team of tiger trackers make it their mission to stop the killing tiger before it strikes again. The Tiger has won a slew of awards, with the feature films rights being purchased this year by Brad Pitt.

With such an eclectic range of compelling titles, and interesting mix of defenders, I imagine the live debates are going to be rather impassioned this time around. I look forward to being in the audience this year, and witnessing all the action up close…and of course, championing for my favorite title from the sidelines!

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