I almost finished reading and reviewing all five of the Canada Reads novels in time for the debates. So close! It’s the fastest I’ve read through them since I’ve started keeping up with Canada Reads these last few years.
In general, I found that the selection for this year was a bit lacking than the previous years, though I did enjoy a few of them. This is also the first time that I’ve successfully predicted and agreed with the winner! Check out how I ranked the books this year and don’t forget to click on the titles for the full reviews!
How I ranked the books this year:
5) Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter – Follows the life of Henry, a worker in northern Alberta, who then goes to work in Afghanistan to try and piece back his life together when his girlfriend leaves him. A tragic and horrible accident occurs in Afghanistan leaving Henry with guilt and consequences. Sadly, this is the worst book I’ve read in years. I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it. Read the full review to find out why.
4) The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami – Follows a grief stricken Indian family who have to deal with the loss of a daughter they disowned and now have to care for her only child. Another disappointing read for me. I did not care for most of the characters and felt little sympathy for them as the situations that arise in the story are ones that they alone create. Isn’t that the story of us all though? Read my full review to learn more.
3) Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz – Two sisters who are brought up by mixed parents and mixed religions have a bond that not many share; one that is shaped by extreme loss. Sadly, the tale is narrated by the one sister who is reminiscing over their shared childhood as she is coming to terms with the sudden death of her sister. A book with a potent tale, that’s for sure, but I couldn’t determine whose story it really was in the end. Read my full review to learn more.
2) Birdie by Tracey Lindberg – Is the spiritual and highly poetic story of a young Native American woman named Birdie. She begins a sort of vision quest by finally learning to deal with her abusive and very-troubled past. A beautiful and potent read that stresses some real issues that Native American women today still face. Read my full review to learn more.
1) The Illegal by Lawrence Hill – Keita wants to be an elite runner and he definitely has the skills to do it but unfortunately for Keita, he was a born in a country with a tyrannous government and the country that he flees to is unforgiving with refugees. While the countries in the book are technically made up, it’s easy to see which one’s they’re making reference to. A massive reflection on some very present day issues. Enjoyable read with memorable characters. Oh and, RUNNING! Yay! Read my full review here.
How Canada Reads ranked the books:
5) Minister Without Portfolios by Michael Winter
4) Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
3) Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz
2) The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami
1) The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
I was spot on in my own ranking with two of the books this year in comparison to the final list which, I think is the best I’ve done so far.
Want to read about previous Canada Reads years? Check out my rankings and reviews for 2015 and 2014!