Canada Reads 2018

TalkCBC's Canada Reads Fans

Join LibraryThing to post.

Canada Reads 2018

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Jan 14, 2018, 2:45pm

The long list is out:

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
The Boat People by Sharon Bala
Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
Brother by David Chariandy
Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote
Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
American War by Omar El Akkad
Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
The Measure of a Man by JJ Lee
Out Standing in the Field by Sandra Perron
The Clothesline Swing by Ahmad Danny Ramadan
Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto
Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks
Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga

Ali Hassan returns for his second year as host. The panellists and the final five books will be announced Jan. 30, 2018. The debates will take place March 26-29, 2018, and will be broadcast on CBC Radio One, CBC and online at

For more info on the long-listed books, go to:

Jan 20, 2018, 5:49pm

The only one I've read is Dance, Gladys, Dance which is set in Winnipeg, my home town. It's quite funny, or maybe quirky is a better description. I would love to see it get on the short list but Manitobans haven't made it onto the Canada Reads list for quite a few years now.

I want to read Brother because it was mentioned in so many best of 2017 lists and I think Seven Fallen Feathers was on quite a few as well. The rest are unknown quantities but I'm sure we'll hear more in the coming weeks.

Jan 28, 2018, 10:44pm

I was so happy to see The Measure of a Man on the list. I never would have expected enjoying a story about working as an apprentice to a bespoke tailor, but found this memoir both interesting and touching.

JJ Lee is such a character, too! I have run into him around town at various literary events, and he is so fun. He loves talking to everyone, and is genuinely interested in stories. I would love to hear more of him on CBC

Jan 30, 2018, 12:54pm

Just heard the announcement of the short list so I thought I would come here and share. I have not read any of these.
American War Omar El Akkad
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
The Boat People by Sharon Bala
Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson
Forgiveness Mark Sakamoto

Jan 31, 2018, 7:28am

Yay, for this thread. I have put 3 of the 5 titles on hold at the library but there are far too many holds for far too few copies in the system. I will probably end up purchasing them if I plan to read them before the games begin!

Edited: Jan 31, 2018, 9:45am

Selected three to add to my reading list; one from the longlist, two from the short.
1. Out Standing In The Field
2. Precious Cargo
3. Forgiveness

Edited: Jan 31, 2018, 9:49am

The three I have chosen to read include 2 of yours (Precious Cargo, Forgiveness), and also The Boat People

Edited: Jan 31, 2018, 10:48am

>7 jessibud2: I would prefer to be more objective, but my eye spies books with some immediate personal connection. Would set my bar high and binge read all 15, but 3 seems manageable. Any attempt to increase my ratio of Cdn content and support local writers. Some CanLit is way out of my league.

Jan 31, 2018, 10:48am

>8 frahealee: - Exactly.

Jan 31, 2018, 8:04pm

>4 gypsysmom: I've not read (nor had I heard of) any of these. They all sound really good, but I will wait until I watch/listen to the competition to decide which ones to add to my tbr.

Jan 31, 2018, 9:02pm

I've read Forgiveness and American War from the shortlist, and I think both are terrific choices for Canada Reads. I'm disappointed Tomboy Survival Guide didn't make it onto the shortlist. I highly recommend it!

Feb 1, 2018, 9:11am

Forgiveness and The Boat People were on my wish list. I'll read all 5 finalists in advance of the debates....I have more fun arguing with the radio/computer screen that way!

Feb 1, 2018, 11:05pm

Mar 3, 2018, 10:53pm

I just finished listening to American War and it was fantastic. Timely and scary yet fantastic.

Mar 4, 2018, 9:39am

I'm going to start with The Marrow Thieves as soon as I stop browsing through LT!

Mar 4, 2018, 10:00am

I finished Forgiveness yesterday and a lively discussion ensued on my own thread about my review of it.

I will be starting Precious Cargo today.

(touchstones don't seem to be working this morning)

Mar 4, 2018, 3:02pm

Loving all the ideas and discussion here! Have put some on reserve at the library...... but it will be a loooooong wait.

Mar 26, 2018, 5:30pm

Ok, day one is a wrap. Did anyone here watch or listen to it? First book voted off is The Boat People. I have only read 2 of the 5 books - Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto, which I sincerely hope wins it all, and Precious Cargo by Craig Davidson.

Every year, there seems to be one person on the panel who is really annoying. This year, for me, it's Jully Black. I kept yelling at the tv for her to shut up and stop interrupting everyone. That said, the discussions and debates today were good. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 6:20pm

*pictures Shelley yelling at the TV*

I’m rooting for Forgiveness, too, just from the way you described it.

Mar 26, 2018, 6:50pm

>19 SqueakyChu: - LOL! I liked the woman defending The Boat People; she herself is an immigrant and I thought she did a very good job at defending the book. One of the questions each had to answer was, why should your book win Canada Reads. She said that this book puts a human face on immigration and humanizes it. But it just didn't resonate with everyone. Of the 3 I did not read, I think that would have been my best and I think I will still try to read it at some point. The other 2 sound much too dark and grim for my taste and I doubt I will read them at all. All the defenders are well-spoken and did a good job today, but Jully Black was just a bit too loud and pushy...Good thing they haven't invited me to moderate! ;-)

I don't know if this link will work for people outside Canada but here is a link to the daily summaries:

Mar 26, 2018, 9:22pm

Thanks for the reminder. Bad day at work (a co-worker passed away on Friday), so wasn't even thinking about this.

Mar 26, 2018, 10:16pm

>21 LibraryCin: - So sorry for your loss.

Mar 26, 2018, 10:56pm

>22 jessibud2: Thank you. It's been a long day. I should probably try to get to sleep early tonight.

Mar 26, 2018, 10:57pm

As for Canada Reads, I wait to see what I want to add after the debates, but so far, I might end up adding them all! I was disappointed that "The Boat People" is gone already!

Edited: Mar 27, 2018, 7:22am

>24 LibraryCin: - My guess is that the one that will be voted off today will be either Precious Cargo, which I did read and love or American War, which to me just sounds too grim (but I haven't read this one). But we shall see. I won't be available to listen on radio this morning but I will watch on tv this afternoon

Mar 27, 2018, 11:37am

>25 jessibud2: I thought those two would be the first ones to go. I was rather shocked that The Boat People went first - it seemed to fit the theme the most. I guess I will go with Forgiveness now.

Mar 27, 2018, 7:17pm

Craig Davidson's Precious Cargo was voted off today.

Mar 28, 2018, 6:55am

I've read The Boat People and thought it was very enlightening , though the writing left a little to be desired. I was sorry to see it voted of the first day. I gave it 4 stars. I've also read Forgiveness, so I guess I'll root for that one now. I agree, American War is not my sort of book nor do I think the Marrow Thieves would be.

>26 Yells: Exactly!

Mar 28, 2018, 7:29am

I think it is a good sign that Forgiveness has not had a single vote against it so far in the first 2 days. I am really hoping it wins. And to be honest, though it may not be so *PC* to say this, it just feels wrong that a book with *America* in its title (American War), would win CANADA Reads. ;-p

Mar 28, 2018, 9:19am

>29 jessibud2:

it just feels wrong that a book with *America* in its title (American War), would win CANADA Reads

Heh! Those pushy Americans... ;)

Mar 28, 2018, 9:36am

>30 SqueakyChu: - I knew you'd understand, lol! ;-)

Mar 28, 2018, 1:33pm

Don't want to give away anything yet, for those who want to watch or listen to it later, but I will just say that my fave, so far, Forgiveness is still in there and tomorrow - the final day - will either win or lose because there are only 2 books left. I just know in my gut that it will win..... ;-)

Mar 28, 2018, 1:44pm

I think you are correct. I honestly thought that it would come down to Forgiveness and The Boat People in the end. I got it partially correct :)

Mar 28, 2018, 1:45pm

I agree that Forgiveness: A Gift from my Grandparents will probably win now. I just love Canada Reads! I wish they'd do it twice a year.

Edited: Mar 28, 2018, 1:47pm

>34 LynnB: Or maybe have more books and debaters. Or even space it out a bit more. I get all excited about the debates and then it's over in a few days.

Edited: Mar 28, 2018, 5:04pm

I pounced on American War when I saw it at our independent library on our little B.C. island. P just read it and I will too (eventually) and P. thought it was a very interesting take on the divisions in America, was thought provoking and well written. Yes, it has the "America" in the title but this Canadian author is a well traveled journalist in some dicey areas of the world and does his research (Civil War) and understands the shakiness of the world powers, which as Canadians were are greatly vulnerable. So I haven't had trouble with this part of it at all. I remember people's concerns that John Vailllant's brilliant novel was set in Mexico." Not a problem for me!

Great to follow people's reactions and opinions here!

Mar 28, 2018, 6:40pm

>36 mdoris: - Hi Mary. Glad to see you jump in here! I am very much a wimp when it comes to my reading. I don't like to read anything at night that might enter subconsciously or otherwise into my dreams. There is enough of that just watching the news (which I don't do at night either, btw). Which is not to say I read only fluff, not at all. But from all I've heard about American War and The Marrow Thieves, they just are not to my taste. And variety is what makes the world go round, isn't it? :-)

Can't wait till tomorrow!

Mar 28, 2018, 7:44pm

Mary, you are better person than me. When I read that American War is " speculative fiction" and " dystopian" I just think no! I'll keep P's thoughts in mind and maybe one day I'll read it.

Edited: Mar 28, 2018, 7:52pm

American War is excellent but very dark. I love dystopian stuff so it was right up my alley, but if you don't like that kind of thing, it might be a little too dire for people. It's certainly not a happy book but it is rather interesting to see how circumstance changes a person.

I haven't read The Marrow Thieves yet but I am on hold for it.

Mar 28, 2018, 8:49pm

>37 jessibud2: Hi Shelley, I 100% get what you are saying. For sure there are some very disturbing reads out there and we want to be informed by not crazy scared enough that it would disturb sleep/dreams. I am not much of a dystopian reader either but there has been enough in the recent political world to be troubling our thoughts and create concerns for the future and interesting to see where someone takes that.

Edited: Mar 28, 2018, 9:38pm

>29 jessibud2: it just feels wrong that a book with *America* in its title (American War), would win CANADA Reads. ;-p

When they were first introducing the books, the same thought went through my head!

But I still want to read it. :-) I like dystopia.

Mar 28, 2018, 9:44pm

>40 mdoris:, >41 LibraryCin: - I am not a fan of dystopia and rarely even read mysteries or thrillers. I know I am probably in a minority but that's ok; there is plenty of reading material out there for me! :-)

That said, I will go out on a limb here and just say that I honestly think Forgiveness will win tomorrow. So far, it has not had even one single vote against it, and for that alone, it seems inevitable. But it was also really well-written. Of the 2 remaining books, I think Tahmoh is the better defender, as a speaker, but I think Sakamoto's book will prevail. Of course, I (like so many others) also thought trump would ever win, so I guess we will just have to wait and see... ;-p

Mar 29, 2018, 9:14am

>42 jessibud2: I can relate. I refuse to read dystopian literature, past or present. For personal reasons, my vote would have gone to Precious Cargo. My daughter has Down syndrome, and is one of those kids stepping onto that bus every day, with a driver I may or may not know. I appreciate the author's honesty concerning how it was deemed a base job, succumbing to the humility due to dire financial need. This is often the impression I get, but of course, it cannot be voiced aloud. Why should my daughter have to put up with that bias? Yet, it exists. At 18 she is funny and smart and capable and lovable, she simply proceeds at a slower pace than the jet-fueled ambitious strive-up-the-ladder corporate or commercial mentality, and I for one, thank God every day for her. My sons also struggled with reading dystopian themes in high school, especially Three Day Road and Lord of the Flies. Ghastly stories. They don't get it, because of their sister, and they also are thankful for being freed from greed and many other vices that others must rely on. No drugs, no alcohol, no abuse situations, no war. They have been cadets, know the detail, but it doesn't touch them.

Point being, that I would have voted Precious Cargo tops because it DID use humour to broach an underlying situation that exists, always has, always will. I am glad the author learned his lesson, and brought it to national visibility. Forgiveness will be my hope for top book, because you cannot convince me that a fictional book can be more powerful than a memoir. Not this time.

I am determined to catch the 11am livestream today - yesterday I watched the discussion online later, and cried my eyes out, feeling deeply for the characters involved, for the debaters, for the collection of young people in that room who have yet to experience unfathomable hardship in life. Speaking as a 50+ witness to a weary world, I would not miss the next sunrise for anything !

Mar 29, 2018, 9:25am

Picking up on frahealee's last point, which I agree with, I'd like to add that I think it's wonderful to see so many young people in the Canada Reads audience. I know day 3 included school groups, but there were several young people there on day 2 as well...and more men than in the past, too. Canada Reads seems to be doing a good job in promoting literacy and Canadian books.

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 9:52am

>43 frahealee: - I retired 2 years ago from teaching. I taught at a school for physically and developmentally disabled kids here in Toronto. I also loved Craig Davidson's book and in fact, I lent it to a friend (who used to teach with me) and as soon as she returns it, I plan to gift it to one of our school drivers, who I am friendly with. He and I used to talk books all the time and he, like most of the drivers we had, was a terrific guy and so great with the students. I know he will love it. Yes, it is *lighter* than the other 4 books but, as you said, humour can be a powerful tool to understanding and getting at issues that can be uncomfortable, and I think Davidson was very perceptive and sensitive in this book. I was also sorry to see it go so soon.

>44 LynnB: - Yesterday, near the end of the hour, moderator Ali Hassan mentioned a shout out to other groups who were listening and following Canada Reads: high school classes, library groups, across the country. I agree and think it's great to involve a younger audience, too. And although I won't read The Marrow Thieves, I think it's a great idea to include a YA book among the 5 finalists. Also, I was really impressed to hear Greg Johnson mention yesterday that he has purchased copies of a few of the books for some schools near him (I think that is what he said).

Mar 29, 2018, 9:58am

>45 jessibud2: Yes Greg Johnson said that he purchased 25 copies of the book for distribution- a great idea!

Mar 29, 2018, 11:25am

What I love about the choices this year is that each one seems to resonate with different people for different reasons. Some people have children with special needs, some have relatives who lived through displacement of some sort, some live on reserves and some are volunteering to help refugees (or are refugees). All these books are so important for many, many reasons and it's nice to see these topics highlighted in some a public way.

>46 torontoc: I loved that he did that with 2 of the books. It's too bad that there wasn't a budget somewhere that could put these books in all schools across the country.

Mar 29, 2018, 12:02pm

WHEW! That was hot and heavy today! Forgiveness is the 2018 winner of Canada Reads, and I even guessed correctly on how each one would vote. But I still think Jully Black is a piece of work. What the heck was she going on and on about Jeanne Beker *attacking* her???

Mar 29, 2018, 12:05pm

Wow! Day 4 was so exciting. Around about 40 minutes in, I became convinced that American War would win because of Tahmoh's excellent defense of it.

I was surprised that Mozhdah voted against it as she seemed to be leaning towards in earlier on. I thought, at first, that Jully would vote against it as well, but as the debate went on, it became clearer that she was warming up to it.

Mar 29, 2018, 12:17pm

>48 jessibud2: Hurray! This American plans on reading Forgiveness (even if it is because I and my older son are fascinated with Japanese culture. My son took his third pleasure trip to Japan just a few months ago.

Mar 29, 2018, 12:19pm

>48 jessibud2:
I had a sense that Jully was voting more against Jeanne than against the book. I grew up watching Jeanne, respect her and her story immensely, so maybe I was voting in that vein as well. Who knows. Guilty as charged, but I would not have voted for anything Jully presented. If she mentioned the Pope one more time, on Holy Thursday no less ... grrrr. Immensely disrespectful. This book discussion was about the books read, not about the news clips about politics and religion.

>49 LynnB:
I agree. Each time Tahmoh spoke, or wiped his cheek or nose, my respect for his own upbringing and ability to grasp you by the throat and make you listen to him each time he opened his mouth, took my breath away. Quite a guy to have on your side. I still won't read the book, nor will I see him on tv (we have none) but he made a profound impact on this panel, on these books, on the plight of interwoven experiences contained within this country, shore to shore to shore. He melted a few borders in the process.

Well done, all.

Mar 29, 2018, 12:24pm

>49 LynnB: - I knew Mozhdah would vote against American War because she stated several times that she prefers real stories (non-fiction) over fiction. And she really had a hard time finding something that she liked about it, in that last question. I also had a very strong feeling, especially after today's debates that Jully would vote against Forgiveness because she really seemed to have it in for Jeanne. The deciding vote was going to be Greg and I honestly wasn't sure but am so happy that he voted the way he did. Lots of tension and excitement.

Mar 29, 2018, 12:27pm

>51 frahealee: - I agree. I had never heard of Tahmoh before and was quite impressed with his passion and ability to convince. I also won't read the book, because it is not my thing, but he sure was convincing. And I agree about Jully. She just got on my nerves, from the get-go. And did she really need to sing, yesterday? Sheesh

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 4:12pm

Jully got on my last nerve today. I understand that she is a passionate person but man, dial it down. This is supposed to be a good-natured debate about books but she seemed to think it was her own personal platform for championing her various political views. I think I sprained my eye from rolling it so much.

Tahmoh was a great debater and so the vote was closer than I thought it would be. But I am glad that Jeanne's book won. It really did fit the theme better than American War. I have never been a fan of hers but she really got me at the end with the emotion she felt. That made me tear up as well. Excellent debate!

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 12:42pm

>54 Yells: - I think I sprained my eye from rolling it so much. LOL!! Well said! And I agree about Jeanne. I also was never a fan but also teared up at the end. I felt drained by the end of it all! Lots of emotion all around

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 4:00pm

>54 Yells: >55 jessibud2: Not a fashionista in any sense of the word (I would prefer a turtleneck dress to avoid matching a top to a bottom when I first moved to Toronto in 1983!), but Jeanne's tenacity in choosing an industry that did not favour anything but 'dropdeadgorgeous' and her ability to flourish within that community, her longevity, is what made me a fan. City TV and shows like hers softened my culture shock moving from small town to city.

I appreciated her viewpoint of the child not being responsible for the sins of the parents, so to speak. Nor for the parents pushing their experiences on the children, 24/7, enough to make you hide under the bed to escape the relentless lessons and negativity. She emerged from those earlier experiences forceful and self-confident in her own desire to pursue fashion. I can relate to that, even having family members try to thwart your progress because they think you're nutso! I studied tourism and have friends in Germany who still get blamed for Hitler. Ugh.

Her age, experience, cultural background, lifestyle choices are all vastly different to mine, and yet we could unite and agree that this book, Forgiveness, is life changing, life affirming, beautifully crafted, a solid salute to the past with affection for the lessons learned, and doused in hope for future.

I am exhausted after this, not knowing what to expect. I have followed past years, books, authors, etc. but have never watched the debates. Quite a spectacle. I hope there is a 'Giller-effect' suited to the short list books and the long list. My eldest son is in army basic training right now in Quebec, moving on to B.C. for med-tech training. Viewing the military through a woman's eyes and again, memoir-style enlightening tale of truth, was a privilege to share. My son loves the Japanese culture as well, almost moving there to teach, and will be thrilled to hear that Forgiveness, this exceptional book, won the day. Thanks also to all of you here, for opening the tea party doors to newbies. If the authors and debaters can expose their own stories, through discussion and example, so should we all. Our individual lens is as important as the view we see through it.

Naptime... zzzz.

Mar 29, 2018, 3:37pm

>56 frahealee: - Thanks, Francine, for your input. I also feel exhausted. I only started following the debates a few years ago, myself and this may be the first year that I've read any of the books before the debate (I only read 2 of the 5 this time). But I agree wholeheartedly that the theme was an excellent one and that each book, in its own way, addressed it. Forgiveness is the one that spoke to me most eloquently, though, on so many levels. There was a very good discussion about it on my own LT thread ( starting at post #128, if you want a peek.

Someone made a point yesterday, I think it was, that I had mentioned in my review of the book, that I don't remember ever learning about any of this in school; not the internment of the Japanese, not about residential schools. Maybe that would be a good starting point: changing school curriculum to reflect our true history.

>50 SqueakyChu: - Thanks, Madeline, for joining in. You are probably the only American to do so! Yay you! :-) If you can't find a copy down there, I can ask Madeleine to return it to me after she is finished and I can send it to you. Unless you want to come visit again and get it in person! :-) If you want to actually see and hear some of the actual debates, here is a link, though I have no idea how long it will remain active:

Mar 29, 2018, 4:21pm

If anyone knows how to share e-books (kindle), I will happily share Forgiveness or The Boat People.

I listened to the debates as podcasts (while I worked - don't tell my boss) and last year's are still there so I think they keep the links for a bit. I have been listening to them for a few years and never really piped in so I am new to this thread. I love the banter with everyone and love, love, love the fact that we are sharing great Canadian books with people. Thanks everyone!

Edited: Mar 29, 2018, 10:24pm

>57 jessibud2: I don’t have time now, but I’ll come back to this link another time. Thanks!

Mar 30, 2018, 9:08am

I thought you might be interested in this morning's edition of the CBC radio show *q*. Host Tom Power has Mark Sakamoto and Jeanne Beker as his guests, discussing the book, among other things. It's a great interview:

Mar 30, 2018, 2:24pm

Well, I ended up adding all 5 books to my tbr. Sigh... I thought I might with this batch, based on descriptions, and I did.