The One Book to Break Barriers is the theme of 2015 Canada Reads. The panelists and the books they are championing have been chosen. They are:
And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, defended by Martha Wainwright
Tom and Charlie are living out what's left of their lives on their own terms in a remote forest, two pot growers their only connection to the outside world. But then two women arrive-a photographer on the trail of survivors of a decades-ago forest fire and an elderly escapee from a psychiatric institution-and everything changes. Originally published in French, And the Birds Rained Down , the recipient of many prestigious awards, is a haunting meditation on aging and self-determination. Jocelyne Saucier 's novels have received countless prizes, including the Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie. Rhonda Mullins's translation of Saucier's novel Jeanne's Road was nominated for the Governor General's Award. 'Nostalgic and beautifully grotesque, this novel is delightfully baroque and, although short, so striking it simply will never leave you. ... A parable of second chances, independence and ultimately love, expertly centred around the Great Fires of early 20th-century northern Ontario, this novella will awe you.
Intolerable: A memoir of extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee, defended by Kristin Kreuk
In the 1960s, Kamal Al-Solaylee's father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden, in the south of Yemen, but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots, his properties were confiscated, and the family was forced to leave. The family moved first to Beirut, which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world, then Cairo. After a few peaceful years, even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culminated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The family returned to Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the world. Intolerable is part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis. This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much about.
Ru by Kim Thúy, defended by Cameron Bailey
Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.
The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King, defended by Craig Kielburger
The Inconvenient Indian is at once a "history" and the complete subversion of a history--in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be "Indian" in North America. Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, this book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands. This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope -- a sometimes inconvenient, but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future.
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid, defended by Elaine Lui
An edgy and extravagant YA novel about a glamorous boy named Jude. School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire. Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck! But train wrecks always make the front page.
The debates start March 16 to 19th. This year Canada Reads is hosted by Wab Kinew. If you have never listened to him before he is fantastic!