On CBC’s Canada Reads

Posted January 11, 2019 by Bluestocking Bookworm in Discussion, General / 3 Comments

This is the first year since I started my blog that I am not super enthusiastic about Canada Reads and I was trying to figure out why.

Part of it could be that I already have a fair number of ARCs for the year (21!), and I don’t want to add to that. The other part could be the books chosen, as this year seems to be more focused on memoirs and nonfiction, which are both genres I don’t generally read.

You can check out the Canada Reads longlist here. This year’s theme is One Book to Move You.

Now, overall I really like Canada Reads, which is put on every year by CBC Books. In years past it has really broadened my reading scope. But I would also love to see some changes made to the program.

Like, who picks these books? How is the shortlist decided? I generally don’t have a problem with the theme being pre-set, but if this is supposed to be about Canada reading books, then how is Canada getting a vote and a voice?

What I would change

Overall, I would love to see more public participation. Right now, the books are chosen using some unknown method, and famous Canadians tell us why we should read them. So, where is the average reader in that equation?

Let us vote in a book that we felt was kicked off way too early last season. Let us vote on the shortlist. Let us have a say!

I would also separate fiction and nonfiction, because they bring different things to the table.

I would also really like to see the debates operate more like an actual debate. Give each of the defenders some questions they each have to answer about their books. It seems to be a bit of a free-for-all on the debate shows, which is just frustrating for me.

Show some love for YA! Last year there were two YA books on the longlist, and one made it to the debates. YA books are super awesome, and they need to be acknowledged more, instead of perpetuating this attitude that only literary fiction is “worth” reading.

I am currently on the fence about the restriction to Canadian authors. I love that Canada Reads focuses on Canadian literature, and there is some AMAZING Canadian literature out there… but there are also amazing and underrated books out there by authors of all nationalities.

And on that note…


What books really moved you? I am going to compile a list of suggestions to post on Monday. They do not have to be authored by Canadians, but if they are, let me know so I can note that.

Is there any sort of program like Canada Reads where you are? Maybe on a smaller scale, done through the library or for the town you are in? How is it handled? How would you change it? Do you like how Canada Reads is done now, or would you like to see some changes made?

Stay bookish, lovelies!



3 responses to “On CBC’s Canada Reads

  1. Perhaps some of the best, most moving books for me of all time are indeed by an American, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, and it’s sequel, The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One. They’re so well done (and I hope Amanda Lovelace wasn’t about of the bs that went down with you)

    • Bluestocking Bookworm

      She wasn’t directly involved, no. She said some stuff when it all originally went down a few years ago, but nothing like some of the others.
      And she did sever ties with me (after we had been friends for years) over it, which was more than a little upsetting, but that is her right.

      However, I do agree with you that her poetry is very moving and well written. I actually have two copies she sent me before the whole kerfuffle that are destined for my LFL to help other women.

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