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Pickle Me This

March 9, 2010

Canada Reads: Independently 2010: UPDATE 8

I was looking through the twitter posts about Canada Reads today, and found one that said, “Every year, I get psyched about Canada Reads, and then life gets in the way and I don’t read any of the books”. Or something like that, in 140 characters. And for an instant, I thought that was profoundly sad, and pretty weird, until I remembered that the bookish circles amongst whom I travel the internet are probably way outnumbered by people like that. That though no doubt many people pay attention when Canada Reads rolls around, those who read every single book, those who start up spin-offs, and other spin-offs, or read the books from spin-offs, or blog the whole thing three years in a row, for example– these are sort of extraordinarily book-loving people.

All of which is to say that those of you who’ve read the Canada Reads 2010: Independently books are awesome, and that I very much appreciate you having my reading be just a little less independent. Thanks for all the feedback I’ve gotten so far with your top Canada Reads picks– others still have until Thursday to have your voice heard (even if you haven’t read them all). The Canada Reads 2010: Independently winner will be announced on Friday!

This week, Writer Guy read How Happy to Be: “I “got” Maxime, maybe because I could understand her dilemmas, her struggles. Ultimately, however, what makes it shine is Onstad’s prose: she’s a natural, seemingly effortless, writer. It’s easy to forgive and forget certain plot contrivances when the writing is skillful and fun.”

She who is Buried in Print read Wild Geese: “The dynamics of this story are complex; the emotional alliances between the characters are unpredictable and shift as easily as Caleb’s temper, and the reading experience is painful at times as, like Lind, we are temporarily immersed in this cruel world. But the overall sensation is one of endurance and survival, and it’s clear to see why this novel has endured in the Canlit canon…”

Charlotte Ashley (who has read Canada Reads AND Canada Reads Independently. Impressive, no?) read How Happy to Be and reports: “The figure of the girl who is directionless and out of control until motherhood finds her and gives her some purpose is not without precedent (I’m thinking Natasha from War and Peace, or in some ways myself). But by the same token, it made me feel that Max’s issues earlier in the book were not really that “real” after all, and all her whining and confusion was really just self-absorbed adolescence drawn out too long and she just needed to grow up. Maybe this was what Generation X lacked – the characters didn’t grow up.”

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