You can read the whole list over here, but none of it will turn your hair white from shock. From a list of 40 titles, listeners chose 10 titles that’ll compete in the first non-fiction edition of the annual competition. From the looks of it, the book that all Canada should read next will probably be an acclaimed book from probably the past ten years, a la Louis Riel, Shake Hands with the Devil, The Tiger, et cetera.
At this point, readers should always be hoping for some out-there picks to make it on the list. Canada Reads starts influencing folks as soon as the shortlist is announced, so if a Canadian bookstore isn’t stocking all these titles, they probably soon will be. A few of these titles aren’t doing huge numbers at the moment, so it’ll be nice to see kicking around places in larger quantities.
The best part about this year will be how the discussion is framed. Previously, they’ve had five judges arguing about works of fiction. Whenever there was something like a book of short stories, like David Bezmozgis’ Natasha, or a book of poetry, Al Purdy’s Rooms for Rent on the Outer Planets — in short, something that wasn’t a novel, the question became how to compare and decide the relative worth of two different works from different forms.
Which is a pretty interesting conversation to be having, and I could imagine a similar one happening here. They’re working under a broad banner, with books whose implications can be personal or societal or what have you. As long as another dud judge like Nicholas Campbell doesn’t sneak on, this should be a good year for the contest.