I’ve never participated in Canada Reads before. I’d like to say that sometimes my reading schedule doesn’t allow for it, or that I’m not interested in the books, but the truth is that, while I really believe in the value of my job and the project I work on (which I’d rather not discuss the specifics of), I don’t make very much money, and buying all those books at once is far and away beyond my means. Not unless I can find them used or remaindered, of course, and good luck with that. Toronto’s used bookstores are picked clean the day after the titles are announced. Usually. This year things are different.
Kerry Clare is running a concurrent programme, called Canada Reads: Independently, in part as a response to the criticism that this year’s lineup for the CBC event only features books that have already received considerable attention here in Canada. I will be participating; I already owned three of the five books her panelists chose, and the other two were not hard to find on my budget. But! Through some miracle of fate, three of the official Canada Reads titles have fallen into my lap, so I will be participating in that as well, hunting the bookshops for the remaining
two title s as I go along. (And if some kind publisher or publicist wants to help a poor boy out by supplying copies a copy of Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony or Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault, that poor boy would sure be grateful. *cough* Update: Only one book left to find.)
Wait, wait, you say. What about the five book reviews you’re behind on? Good point. I’m five books behind! What’s going to happen is this: sometime over the weekend, I’m going to post my review of A Mixture of Frailties, by Robertson Davies, thereby wrapping up The Salteron Trilogy. Rather than moving directly on to The Deptford Trilogy, which I’ve already finished reading, I’m going to start in on the Canada Reads and Canada Reads: Independently books, alternating between the two lineups until I’ve completed them all. (I think the world can wait for yet another assessment of The Deptford Trilogy, don’t you?) That way I can participate more or less as it happens, something I’ve never been able to do before. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be starting with Generation X, by Douglas Coupland, and then Ray Smith’s Century.