Canada Reads 2023

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Canada Reads 2023

Jan 12, 2023, 8:23 pm

There used to be a Canada Reads group on LT but it seems to have disappeared so this seems like an appropriate place to discuss this year's contest.
The longlist of 15 books has just been announced. The theme this year is One Book to Shift Your Perspective. What do you think of the choices? Which ones do you think should make it to the short list? How many have you read and what did you think of them?

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton
Revery: A Year of Bees by Jenna Butler
Half-Bads in White Regalia by Cody Caetano
Greenwood by Michael Christie
Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin
All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay
Dandelion by Jamie Chai Yun Liew
We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Finding Edward by Sheila Murray
Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah
We Spread by Iain Reid
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Jan 12, 2023, 8:39 pm

The list certainly covers a lot of genres and seems evenly split between the two sexes. I'm also happy to see some books that have been out for a few years like Station Eleven, Greenwood, Mexican Gothic and Moon of the Crusted Snow and received much critical acclaim at the time they were published. Too often it seems to me that Canada Reads only dips into the recently published.

I have actually read three of the books on the longlist: Greenwood, Moon of the Crusted Snow, and Station Eleven. Of those I think Greenwood would be the one that would best shift your perspective. Plus it takes the reader across Canada from coast to coast. I have had a hold on Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands for months but it is still far down the list. Former President Obama had it on his list of favourite books for 2022 so it must be pretty great. I'm also interested in We Spread and Revery: A Year of Bees. I think they would give readers a different perspective.

I'll be interested to see, firstly, what other LT members think of this longlist and, secondly, what books make it to the shortlist. January 25th is when the panellists and the books they choose will be revealed so we have two weeks of anticipation.

Jan 13, 2023, 8:32 am

Interesting list! I've read a few: Moon of the the Crusted Snow (loved it), Station Eleven (definitely in the minority - didn't really enjoy it much), Hotline (quite liked it - a feel-good immigration story). I just finished Moreno-Garcia's Velvet Was the Night and it was good. Kind of a madcap wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time adventure/love story. I just put Mexican Gothic on my library list.

Editado: Jan 13, 2023, 10:28 am

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Guy Gavriel Kay make the list, Canada's preeminent fantasy author. It makes me wonder if he's ever gotten this close before.

Finding Edward appears to be the underdog in terms of profile, although it also appears to be a critical darling. Looks like something that would especially benefit from making the shortlist.

I'm intrigued by the premise for Moon of the Crusted Snow.

Jan 13, 2023, 4:11 pm

I've read Ducks, Moon of the Crusted Snow, We Were Dreamers, and Station Eleven. I liked all of them.

Jan 15, 2023, 1:05 pm

>3 Yells: Thanks for recommending Hotline. It slipped under my radar last year.

Jan 15, 2023, 1:07 pm

>4 Cecrow: Guy Gavriel Kay is from my city, Winnipeg. In fact he was in university when I was and I ran across him from time to time. I haven't read All The Seas of the World yet but I plan to. I don't think he needs the boost of Canada Reads like some of the other authors so I wouldn't think he would mind if he was skipped over.

Jan 16, 2023, 12:31 am

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Jan 16, 2023, 8:41 am

>6 gypsysmom: You're welcome! I read it last year because it was nominated for one of the awards. While I didn't think that it was strong enough to win, I was moved by the story. I can see it being debated on CR so I'll root for it to move on.

I bought and devoured a copy of Revery by Butler. I am on a bee kick these days so I was excited to see this one. It's a tiny little book about a year in the life of a bee colony in rural Alberta. It's part memoir, part history and part call-for-action - i thought it was well done.

Jan 16, 2023, 12:46 pm

>8 CindaFBC: You are welcome. I would highly recommend Greenwood especially because quite a bit of it takes place in BC. Plus it's a great story.

Jan 16, 2023, 6:53 pm

I've read Mexican Gothic and it was super creepy, a good scary read. I really enjoyed reading it. I had no idea the author was Canadian, and nothing about the book is remotely Canadian. One Book to Shift Your Perspective? eh, idk.

Jan 17, 2023, 6:05 pm

The Canada Reads group goes dormant every year, and I usually revive it when the list comes out. But, maybe this thread in a better-established group is better.

I've read Station Eleven and thought it was okay. Loved Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.

Jan 17, 2023, 8:56 pm

>12 LynnB: I didn't mean to trample on anyone's toes. I couldn't find the group on LT either dormant or not so I thought of posting here. Sorry. Feel free to revive the group.

Jan 18, 2023, 7:31 am

>13 gypsysmom:, no offense at all! I really think it's better this way. More people will see the discussion and, I hope, join in.

The five panellists and the five books they choose to champion will be revealed on Jan. 25, 2023.

The debates will take place March 27-30, 2023.

Jan 19, 2023, 1:05 am

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Jan 25, 2023, 12:33 pm

And now the five contenders have been chosen:
Ducks by Kate Beaton, defended by Mattea Roach a Jeopardy super-champ
Greenwood by Michael Christie, defended by Keegan Conor Tracy, an actor
Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah, defended by Gurdeep Pandher, a Bhangra dancer
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, defended by Tasnim Geedi, a Tik-Tok creator
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, defended by Michael Greyeyes, an actor

So I have read two of these and I hope Greenwood makes it all the way because it is a great book that didn't get as much attention as it deserved. I have holds on the other 3 at my library and I might get Mexican Gothic before the debates but I doubt the other two will come in on time. Oh well! Always can read them after the debates.

Jan 25, 2023, 12:41 pm

I've read Hotline & Station Eleven and have Greenwood and Mexican Gothic from the library. I might just have a chance of reading them all before the debates - woohoo! They sound like good choices so should be a good debate.

Jan 25, 2023, 1:12 pm

I've read Station Eleven and Ducks: Two Years in the Oilsands. And I'm a huge Jeopardy! fan, so my heart will be cheering for Mattea Roach.

Jan 25, 2023, 1:17 pm

>12 LynnB:, >13 gypsysmom:

I couldn't find the dedicated group either, so I'm glad to hear it's just me.

I'm actually pretty excited about the books and presenters this year. Some years it's a big yawn for me, although I always follow along with the discussion. I'm looking forward to Ducks, but it's only in hardcover and it's physically large. I'd really prefer a softcover. Greenwood sounds great. I've read Mexican Gothic and while I enjoyed it immensely, a reader would never know the author is Canadian. And I've owned Station Eleven for years and while it doesn't appeal to me at all, for some reason I can't make myself give it away. Maybe I should finally read it.

Jan 25, 2023, 1:25 pm

I just looked up Hotline -- the only one I'd never heard of -- and it sounds really interesting

Editado: Jan 25, 2023, 1:58 pm

Hotline is a nice feel-good immigration story. I read it last year and quite enjoyed it.

Jan 26, 2023, 8:29 am

>19 Nickelini: Just in case you (or others) don't know, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is a graphic memoir -- huge, but not long to read.

Jan 26, 2023, 9:55 am

>22 LynnB: yes, that’s why I said physically big. I don’t need to add such a big book to my house

Editado: Jan 26, 2023, 4:26 pm

Editado: Fev 12, 2023, 10:48 pm

Just seeing this thread now. Have only read "Station Eleven" and "Mexican Gothic". Can't recall what I rated them, but likely both along the lines of a 3.5 (good).

Unlike many others, I don't read the choices ahead of time. In fact, I don't/won't necessarily read all that make the short list. I listen to the debates, then decide which to read.

ETA: I do already have "Moon of the Crusted Snow" on my tbr. And "Greenwood".

Editado: Fev 12, 2023, 10:49 pm

>16 gypsysmom: And I missed that the 5 had been chosen! Now I know. And I've already read two of them, with one on the tbr (that I'd forgotten was there), so that leaves the other two as possibilities to add to the tbr.

Fev 14, 2023, 12:11 pm

I've now finished all but Ducks (and I'm waaaaaay down the list at the library so I don't think I'll read it before the debates). I really enjoyed Greenwood & Hotline so I hope they go far. I read Station Eleven years ago and found it okay. I liked Mexican Gothic but have no clue why it was chosen for Canada Reads. It's not set here and doesn't seem to connect to the theme so who knows. Can't wait for the debate!

Fev 20, 2023, 9:08 pm

One of my coworkers was excited to tell me she had bought Greenwood, HotLine, and Station Eleven (the later I've owned for many years and never read--I think my husband bought it, actually). She's finished them and I have Mexican Gothic, so we are going to swap next time we're in the office. Ducks, I think, will have to wait, although I do very much want to read it.

I also am puzzled why Mexican Gothic is in the running. I enjoyed it very much indeed, but I think it will get knocked out early due to it's complete unCanadianess

Fev 21, 2023, 6:37 pm

I've read all but Hotline, and there's a fairly long waiting list at my library, so I'm not sure when I'll get to it.

I loved Station Eleven so much I've read it three times now (once in print, once on audio and then in print again so I could refresh my memory for a book-club discussion).

I also thought Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands was excellent. I enjoyed Greenwood and Mexican Gothic too, but not as much as the others.

Fev 21, 2023, 11:20 pm

>29 mathgirl40: comments like yours is why I still own Station Eleven. I should give it another try

Mar 4, 2023, 4:12 pm

I am starting to read the five finalists now. I've recently read Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands and am now re-reading Station Eleven

Mar 7, 2023, 9:07 am

Over 3/4 through Station Eleven and liking it. I recall that I didn't like it the first time through....but that was pre-COVID.

Mar 7, 2023, 6:48 pm

Station Eleven was a pleasant surprise as I liked it much better the second time around.

Next up: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mar 10, 2023, 7:51 am

I agree with everyone who is wondering why Mexican Gothic is on the short list. Barely Canadian...the author lives here. And how is this supposed to change my perspective?

Next up: Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah

Mar 12, 2023, 1:19 pm

About to complete my Canada Reads reading with Greenwood by Michael Christie

Mar 24, 2023, 1:43 pm

I've completed all the books.

Didn't like Mexican Gothic. Can't figure out why it's there. Hoping the debate will shed some light on that mystery. I suspect it will probably be first to go.

Hotline was okay...but maybe glossed over the immigrant experience a bit too much.

Liked Station Eleven more than when I first read it. Maybe COVID changed my perspective.

Loved Greenwood but not sure it changed my perspectives.

Loved Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands and I love Jeopardy!. With super-champ Mattea Roach defending this book, it's the one I'm cheering for. It my view, it and Station Eleven best fit the changing perspective theme.

Mar 26, 2023, 2:01 pm

Hey, everyone. I just noticed that the debates will be at 10:00....they used to be at 11:00. So I just want to make sure no one else is surprised and misses the debate on Monday.

Here are all the ways to check out the debate:

ONLINE: CBC Books will livestream the debates at 10:05 a.m. ET on, YouTube, Facebook and CBC Gem. If you'd rather listen to the debates online, they will air live on CBC Listen.
ON RADIO: Canada Reads will air on CBC Radio at 10:05 a.m. in the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones. It will air at 11:05 a.m. in the Maritimes, 1:05 p.m. in Labrador and at 1:35 p.m. in Newfoundland.
ON TV: CBC TV will broadcast Canada Reads at 1 p.m. in the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones. It will air at 2 p.m. in the Atlantic time zone and at 2:30 p.m in the Newfoundland time zone.
PODCAST: The episode will be posted each day after the live airing. You can download the episodes on the podcast app of your choice.

Mar 26, 2023, 2:04 pm

Thanks for the update!

Mar 26, 2023, 4:58 pm

Thank you for the reminder that it starts tomorrow! :-)

Mar 27, 2023, 11:43 am

My prediction today is that Mexican Gothic will go (I loved it, but don’t think it belongs here). I predict Ducks will win, even though I haven’t read it yet.

I’m currently reading Station Eleven and with 120 pages left, I’m hating it and hope it gets knocked out early

Mar 27, 2023, 11:54 am

>40 Nickelini: I predict the same thing (despite the fact that I haven't read Ducks yet).

I read Station Eleven years ago and remember being underwhelmed. I thought about rereading it before the debate but never got to it. I am curious to see how far it goes - does it resonate because of COVID or do we all have COVID fatigue and want something else to focus on?

Looks like everyone else felt the same way about Mexican Gothic. I'd love to see it as a TV series, but glad that it isn't winning Canada Reads. Interesting debate today.

Mar 27, 2023, 7:35 pm

I enjoyed the debate today. Not surprised, either, by the decision to eliminate Mexican Gothic. Hard to predict what will be next since all panelists, except Tasmin, voted against it.

Personally, I found Station Eleven resonated more for me having lived with COVID. Mattea expressed the opposite view....if her view prevails, it may be next to go.

Mar 27, 2023, 10:29 pm

It's been too long since I read "Station Eleven" to really remember what I thought. But I liked it (3.5 stars - good). I also read "Mexican Gothic" a year or two ago; I gave it 3 stars (ok).

I haven't read the others, but have already added "Ducks" and "Hotline" to my tbr. Not sure yet whether or not I'll read "Greenwood".

Mar 28, 2023, 9:10 am

>43 LibraryCin: I liked Greenwood a lot ... except the ending seemed out of character somehow. Still, a great family saga that I really got into.

Mar 28, 2023, 10:22 am

>44 LynnB: I felt the same way - it's actually my favourite of the four that I have read. It's a great story to get wrapped up in but I do agree that the ending was a little odd.

Based on enjoyment only, I would rate them:
Mexican Gothic
Station Eleven

Based on Canada Reads, I would say Ducks and Greenwood will make it to the end.

I broke down and bought the e-version of Ducks last night and I'm about 20% through it. I kept my library hold because I do think this is a book best enjoyed in paper, but since it will be a long time before I get it, I wanted to get a sense of it now. Interesting so far.

Mar 28, 2023, 10:24 am

And just an aside... there are some interesting clothing choices today. It might take some time for my retinas to recover.

Mar 28, 2023, 6:10 pm

I predict it will come down to Station Eleven vs. Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.

Mar 28, 2023, 8:42 pm

>47 LynnB: I'll be annoyed if Station Eleven wins, but I don't disagree. However, in the past, I don't think best sellers (or books that have been made into Apple TV series) have done all that well, have they? I think the panel, in their endless earnestness, tends to go for a somewhat underdog. That's been my takeaway. I'm open to being corrected.

But then Ducks made Obama's 2022 favourites or some such list, so maybe not an underdog either

Editado: Mar 28, 2023, 10:37 pm

>46 Yells: LOL!

I actually decided, before the end of the show today, that I would not add "Greenwood" to the tbr. There was talk of it being "lyrical" and "literary", neither of which is appealing to me.

Mar 29, 2023, 8:34 am

>49 LibraryCin: I didn't find it lyrical or literary, nor did I find it an over-the-top climate change story. It's a sprawling family drama novel that goes back several generations and follows the paths of two men. At times I found it similar to a Jeffrey Archer novel, to be honest. It's a long book and it does touch on some serious issues, but at its heart, it's really just a family drama. I'm a bit of a sucker for these types of novels so that's probably why I loved it.

Most of the way through Ducks and yikes... those four blank squares really do punch you in the stomach. I'm just coming up to the Ducks part. What a sad legacy to leave future generations.

Editado: Mar 29, 2023, 9:59 am

Minutes before the debate and I'm thinking Mattea will vote against Station Eleven and Michael against Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.

Could Hotline sneak up the middle and win?

Mar 30, 2023, 10:14 pm

Ah, I forgot to get watching and saw who won before I got to watch/listen! I did so well every other day this week avoiding hearing which book was voted out before I got a chance to watch/listen. Have just started now...

Editado: Mar 31, 2023, 11:05 am

I think the debates were excellent this year. I wish they would do Canada Reads twice a year. We need one in November to pump up our Christmas wish lists.