While it took me longer than I would have liked I have finished reading the 5 finalists in this year’s Canada Reads competition. The theme for this year is books that break barriers and the declared winner was Ru by Kim Thuy, a selection I actually agree with. In regards to the debates, I am happy with how this one panned out. I’m glad that When Everything Feels Like The Movies made it to the final round, despite and because of its controversy. You can watch all of the debates on CBC’s website. In terms of how much I enjoyed the books though, this is how I would rank them (links to my reviews included):
1) And The Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier – One of the most beautiful books I’ve read in years. It’s the remarkable story of a few elderly characters who choose to die in their own way. Through their journey the characters start to find, that even at their age, there is still always something to be learned.
2) Ru By Kim Thuy – Poetic and moving, this book depicts the harsh realities of a refugees/immigrants coming to Canada. The book broke barriers with its writing style and harsh truths.
3) When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel Reid – The most controversial book in this series. In terms of breaking barriers, I felt that this book topped them all. The book contains graphic and violent homosexual content involving the bullying of a teen. The book is relevant as the story mirrors an actual even that took place in Canadian history.
4) Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee – Another remarkable story of immigration and suffering. The writing style is what bumped this book down the list for me rather than the content. The sacrifices and guilt that the author has had to live with in terms of his choices for a better life are hard to imagine but make for an interesting read.
5) Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King – I wanted to rank this book higher but in terms of the other books in this series it just didn’t stack up as well. This book is a very important book for Canadians to read and King broke a lot of barriers with his brash honesty and style of writing.
Onward to 2016! I wonder what next years theme will be?