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Pickle Me This

January 25, 2010

Canada Reads 2010: Independently UPDATE 3

So here at Pickle Me This, Hair Hat just nudges Century out of the lead, mainly because Century isn’t a book that cares about racing.

Julie Forrest reviews Katrina Onstad’s How Happy To Be, and finds that “while biting and satirical, it’s also tender and sweet, and reads like a coming of age story (34 is the new 24, I suppose).”

Writer Guy reads Hair Hat: “What a wonderful work this is: whimsical, sad, profound, and it captures the not-so-ordinariness of many seemingly ordinary lives.”

Charlotte Ashley is reading Canada Reads AND Canada Reads independently, and pairs Nikolski against Wild Geese. Her assessment of the latter: “Contemporary participants in “Canadian realism” should read Ostenso carefully. If you’re going to make your reader hurt, you ought to give them some kind of release, otherwise what you’ve created is nothing more than beautifully written suffering porn… Ostenso does not punish us in this manner, but instead offers us a very well-considered and beautifully executed climax and conclusion. I can’t recommend this one enough.”

And Wild Geese‘s champion Melanie Owen chats with Julie Wilson about her own Canada Reads challenge, dropping a mention of our humble imitation:”Sometimes, I feel really nervous when people ask for book recommendations. I mean, how do I know the one thing that makes me love a book isn’t going to be the exact reason someone else hates it: like my love for classic, the more depressing the better, Canadian literature? When Kerry Clare asked me to recommend a book for Canada Reads Independently, it took me forever to think of something that I felt I could defend because the book you recommend says a lot about you. And, of course, I want to be liked just as much as the book I am recommending.”

Well, Wild Geese is up next for me, so we shall see, Ms. Melanie Owen! I actully suspect that I really am going to love all five of these books, which is not terrible of course, but brings with it certain complications. I think that Century and How Happy to Be are going to end up treated most harshly in the judging, due to their placements at the extreme ends of the accessibility scale. Hair Hat is indeed in the running for my favourite, but then it’s not all up to me, is it?

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