Once & Future

Charlotte Ashley – Book seller, collector, writer, editor, historian

October 25, 2010

All complaints aside, I’m still excited…

…about the Canada Reads “top 40″ to be announced Thursday!  In the end I folded and submitted a recommendation against my better judgement (it was a past Canada Reads winner, but given I suspect MANY past Canada Reads winners will be on the list, I’d like one on there that actually feels “essential”, to me).  The final list will be, I suspect, a bit of a Janus, with half the list being over-read, popular books the likes of Book of Negroes and Three Day Road, and the other half the product of write-in campaigns organized by enterprising or beleaguered authors.  And honestly, that’s not a bad mix.  If it makes it that way into the final five, we’ll have a fun little reading list.

I am nursing a little wish-list.  Books I’d like to read, but in all honesty probably won’t get to anytime soon if they don’t make the Canada Reads cut.  The sad truth is that for all my whining, I’ve actually read very little “recent” Canadian literature – not even the big sellers.  So with no further ado, here is my top-5 dream-list!

Canada Reads 2011 (If Charlotte Got To Choose)

1. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (I know, I know…)

2.  DeNiro’s Game or Cockroach by Rawi Hage (I’m not picky.)

3.  Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey (“epic”, “historical” and an Atlantic Canada Reads nod? I’m in!)

4. The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis (I need to laugh now and again, by god.)

5. Elle by Douglas Glover (More history – this time with added feminism!)

***

I’ll have to hold out until next year to get my fix of older titles.  I was so hoping to see certain names on a Canada Reads list — those authors have the misfortune not to have published anything major in the last ten years.  Canada Reads panelists of the future, how I hope you’ll Google me…

Canada Reads 2012 (If Charlotte Got To Choose)

1. The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy

2. Anything by Josef Škvorecký (Swell Season?  Bass Saxophone? Two Murders in my Double Life?)

3. Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche (Tell me a 16-book Canadian soap opera from the 1930s wouldn’t be dead fun to read.)

4. Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson (Poetry, queer lit, historical fantasy and international cred all in one.)

5. Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint (One of his best, I think – short stories.  Pretty please?)

***

Good luck to everyone tomorrow!

2 Responses to “All complaints aside, I’m still excited…”

  • steph says:

    The “I need to laugh now and then” comment was exactly what I’ve been hearing a lot of lately. My boss is convinced that CanLit is nothing short of depressing and dark all the time, so we’ve decided to do our own spin-off: Canada Reads…and Laughs!

    Terry Fallis is one author we’d like to read, too, and he’s willing to participate. She also recommended The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson. Have you read that? It’s old, but anyway. I think she’s right. And so are you. We do need some funny now and then, by god.

    I actually, embarrassingly, haven’t read a single one on either of your lists. Yet.


  • Terry Fallis says:

    Many thanks for the honour of including my novel in your 2011 wish list!


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