A two-sport Olympic champion, a screenwriter and actor, a retired WWE wrestler, a social entrepreneur, and an adventure travel CEO, the defenders this year represented the spirit and diversity of this country. And in true Canadian fashion, there was a lot of love for the other books while debating and lots of apologies, especially when it was time for eliminations.
Vinay - "We all get along so well". Gill - "That’s about to change.” #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016
So I will admit that when I heard Wab Kinew was not going to be host this year, I was majorly disappointed. I mean, I'm excited he's entering national politics because he definitely belongs there, but he was one of the best things about the show. And this year, Gill Deacon managed to make me forget that I missed him. She did a great job, was knowledgeable and funny, and just as passionate about the books as the defenders were.
Sure they got a little heated at times, what debate doesn't? But it was a debate about books, a NATIONAL debate about books and that was never lost on anyone around the table. The topic of starting over took us into discussions about refugees, reconciliation, diversity, and relationships. And it also looked at the oft-discussed topic in CanLit - what makes a book Canadian.
“Birdie’s life is many womens lives in this country today” #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016
“How can we accept Syrian refugees when we can’t accept our own." #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016
“What you see as negative, I see as real. Relationships aren’t black or white” #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016
“You don’t choose how or when you are going to start over. That’s what they call life” #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016
“What is my responsibility as a relative to the Indigenous people?” Excellent question @brucepoontip #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 23, 2016
Talk about dramatic, nail-biting moments. Some days it was kind of easy to predict which book would be voted off, other days it wasn't. There were definitely some shockers along the way, everyone watching was obviously invested in a book and it's hard to see that book go.
The Illegal wasn't my favourite book of the group but it was the one I chose as the winner. It's the one that I think has mass appeal. I work in a bookstore and it has definitely been the most popular selling the book of the group, even before the finalists were announced. Clara Hughes did an incredible job defending it and I know her passion for the book has rubbed off on people around the country.
To Sum It All Up
“Respect your opponents. Treat them kindly. But obliterate them.” - Lawrence Hill #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 23, 2016
“We’re in a country where we can nationally debate books and reading.” We are, and we rock. #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 23, 2016
Time is up already??? No fair. #CanadaReads— Shan (@goodbooksandtea) March 21, 2016