Canada Reads 2015

I’m running a bit behind this year in my annual Canada Reads post, I apologize.  I just want to start off by saying that I really enjoyed the debates this year. Wab Kinew did a wonderful job hosting and moderating.  The flow of conversation was great, everybody got a chance to voice their opinions and there was only a minimal amount of panelist interruption, which drives me nuts.

The five books nominated were diverse and intriguing, each touching on the debate subject of breaking down barriers .  I think, correct me if I’m wrong, this is the first time the debates included a mix of fiction and non-fiction titles, as well as a young adult novel! What a shock that was!! I’m still working on finishing off all of the titles but I’ve enjoyed the ones that I’ve read so far. Here are the five titles to add to your reading list:





Defended by: Kristen Kreuk








Defended by: Elaine Lui









Defended by: Martha Wainwright









Defended by: Craig Kielburger






And the winner is….




Defended by: Cameron Bailey







I have to say this year’s debates were close.  Until the final moment I really thought that When Everything Feels Like the Movies was going to take it. Don’t get me wrong Ru is a beautiful book and I do recommend that everyone read it.  As a side note this is one of those occasions where I would like to mention that this would be a great book to have a physical copy of. I know I’m biased but the design and structure of this particular book is so gorgeous, I found it really enhanced the reading.

Anyways, Cameron Bailey did a good job defending Ru but Elaine Lui was AMAZING in her defence of When Everything Feels Like the Movies. The book had been in the media with some criticism of the so-called vulgar content and during the debates a particular review was quoted from. Elaine’s response was so passionate I had to share it:

So yes Ru was technically the winner this year but since the debates have ended there’s been a lot of talk about When Everything Feels Like the Movies and isn’t that really the point? To start a conversation and spark your curiosity?










Literary Awards Season Roundup – Part 1, The Scotiabank Giller Prize

It’s a fun time in the book world right now!! What I like to call Literary Awards Season with nominations, shortlists & awards being announced for more great prizes than I can keep track of. Top of mind for me is the Scotiabank Giller Prize, The Man Booker Prize, The Governor General’s Literary Awards (GG), Roger’s Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize & of course the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading. These are the prizes that I tend to keep track of in the store when ordering stock and making recommendations to customers.  

Of the awards mentioned the Scotiabank Giller Prize is probably the most influential within Canada, leading to sales boosts among winning authors of upwards of 500%! This is called the “Giller Effect” and interestingly enough this fall there was a course offered at Carleton University to study it.  Oh how I wish I would have had the time to attend that course, fascinating stuff. In addition to the expected sales increase this year the prize has doubled the purse amount with the winner receiving $100,000 and $10,000 going to each of the finalists.  

This year’s jury – Canadian author Shauna Singh Baldwin, British novelist Justin Cartwright and American writer Francine Prose read 161 books.  On September 16th a longlist of 12 titles was announced and on October 6th the shortlist finalists were revealed!

Without further ado here is the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist:

The Betrayers - David Bezmozgis

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis








Tell by Frances ItaniTell - Frances Itani








Us Conductors by Sean MichaelsUs Conductors - Sean Michaels








The Girl Who Was Saturday NightThe Girl Who Was Saturday Night - Heather O'Neill by Heather O’Neill








All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews








The Ever After of Ashwin Rao Ever After of Ashwin Rao - Padma Viswanathanby Padma Viswanathan








The 6 authors nominated range from well established to a first time novelist with varying degrees in between.  As always I will attempt to read all of the nominated books and guess the winner which will be announced on Monday, November 10th.  I would love to hear predictions so feel free to share your thoughts!


2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize – Shortlist

2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Let the fun begin! Book lovers everywhere rejoice! The shortlist for the 2012 Giller Prize has been announced: 

  • Will Ferguson for his novel 419  
  • Alix Ohlin for her novel Inside
  • Nancy Richler for her novel The Imposter Bride
  • Kim Thúy for her novel Ru, translated by Sheila Fischman
  • Russell Wangersky for his short story collection Whirl Away

I don’t know about everyone else but I’m ridiculously excited to read all of the nominated titles. Of course, with shortlists also available for the Writers’ Trust and Governor General’s awards it is a busy time in Canadian literature.  Every year I make it my personal mission to read as many of these titles as possible, this year will be no exception as I am sure that they are all wonderful.  Congratulations to all of the nominees.

Happy reading!



2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize – Longlist

Giller Prize LogoMy favourite time of the year has rolled around once again with the start of the Canadian literary award season.  First up we have a longlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize:

Also, CBC has announced the winner in the 2012 Reader’s Choice Award.  The public was invited to vote on their favourites from a list of books that were eligible for the Giller Prize and the winner is…..

Peggy Blair for her novel The Beggar’s Opera

I should, of course, mention that currently we have copies of all of the nominated books.  My apologies for the delay in posting the list, but happily that means we are now only a couple of weeks away from the shortlist on October 1st

Personally, I’m holding out for the 1st to try and make any kind of predictions as they will inevitably be completely wrong anyways!  Feel free to let me know if you have any strong opinions or guesses as to which wonderful book will take home the prize.

And of course, congratulations to all the nominees!!