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March 6, 2009

What would you bring?

All week I’ve been contemplating the inevitable– whatever will I decide to bring to the table the day CBC calls me up and asks me to be a panelist on Canada Reads? I’ve thought about this even more than I’ve thought about my Academy Awards acceptance speech, which is saying something. In addition to the fact that I’m delusional.

I’m really convinced that there is merit in celebrating underread “classics”, and that new books indeed could do with a boost, but we just don’t know enough about how they’d stand up yet. My longish shortlist would probably include The Fire Dwellers by Margaret Lawrence, The Watch that Ends the Night by Hugh MacLennan, Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood, and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s The Blue Castle. Of more recent books, perhaps Muriella Pent by Russell Smith, Alligator by Lisa Moore, Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner, The Way the Crow Flies by Anne-Marie MacDonald, or The Republic of Love by Carol Shields.

No doubt you strongly disagree with my picks. But wouldn’t it be boring if you didn’t?

11 thoughts on “What would you bring?”

  1. Kate S. says:

    The Blue Castle is my favourite L.M. Montgomery and it always makes me happy to encounter a fellow fan of it!

  2. Steven W. Beattie says:

    If you do get the call, please, please don’t saddle me with reading The Blue Castle or As the Crow Flies. Have mercy on a poor, embattled literary critic …

  3. Kerry says:

    The Way the Crow Flies is wonderful! I never got past page four of Fall on Your Knees, but I adored this novel. And you might regret any harsh words said The Blue Castle– it has a legion of passionate fans who’d have NO mercy for a poor embattled literary critic who’d dare to knock a book he’s never read!!

  4. patricia says:

    Yes! Blue Castle!! Nuts to that poor embattled literary critic!

    Kerry, have you read the new bio of L.M. Montgomery? I ate it up. Probably devoured it too quickly – will have to sit back and reread lots of bits of the bio. In her day there were quite a few nasty embattled literary critics who gave poor Lucy Maud a hard time, but she has prevailed!

  5. Kerry says:

    Patricia, I read it this Fall, and couldn’t believe how much I didn’t know about Montgomery, or even more astoundingly, how much this gap in my knowledge had never occurred to me, being so familiar with her books. The relationships with literary critics in particular– I wrote about it here
    About ol’ William Arthur Deacon, the critic who called it as he saw it, which was… wrong. Indeed, Maud prevails, history shows. Too bad she (and he) never got to realize.

  6. Melanie says:

    Funny, I was just making up my own list for the day when that call comes…

    The Blue Castle had crossed my mind, I’ll second you on that. I’ll gladly saddle up any literary critic with some LMM. 😉

    Nikolski was another I’d thought of, along with many more I couldn’t choose between. Oh, to be a notable Canadian personality!

  7. Kerry says:

    You *are* notable. I’d call you for a panel anytime.

  8. Steven W. Beattie says:

    Hm. I’m not feeling the love here …

    Guess I brought it on myself, though, huh?

  9. meli-mello says:

    I’m just reading this now. I had no idea you also asked the same question – I guess it is on everyones minds these days. 🙂

  10. patricia says:

    Thanks for directing me to that wonderful post about Deacon, Kerry. What a horrid, cruel, pompous ass he was. Whenever I encounter that loathsome elitist attitude, that desire to educate “the Canadian public into more ‘sophisticated tastes'”, I become so enraged. For me of course, it is quite personal – I seem to continually come against this attitude with the kind of work I do. It doesn’t get much more ‘low-brow’ than me.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Muriella Pent would also be a great choice – I think it’s Smith’s best work to date.

    Now if only Canada Reads would pick you and Steven next year…I would actually listen to that show, rather than just read about it on Steven’s blog. Heh.

  11. patricia says:

    Oh, and yes, Melanie, you are very notable, my dear, and so funny! I nominate you, Kerry, and that poor embattled literary critic guy for next year’s show.

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