Hi, Savvy Readers! It’s the (second) most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not talking about Halloween (or Christmas); I’m talking about the CBC Canada Reads debates!
Don’t know what that is? Well, each year, the CBC picks five Canadian books and has five prominent Canadians debate the merits of each book. At the end of the three day debates, one book is selected by the panelists as the book Canadians need to read that year. Last year, one of our favourite memoirs – Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto – took home the crown!
Since we’re still in the early stages the tournament, only the longlist has been announced. Out of the fifteen titles that the CBC announcement this morning, we are super excited about four of them. Without further ado, here are the books we’re hoping make an appearance on the shortlist!
By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
First things first, when the back cover blurb starts “In the tradition of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz,” you know you are in for one excellent book. Detailing the rural Hungarian deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the back-breaking slave labour in Auschwitz I, the infamous death march in January 1945, the painful aftermath of liberation, and the journey towards healing, By Chance Alone is Max Eisen’s incredibly moving, painfully emotional memoir about his life during the Holocaust and after.
That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung
If you’ve read basically any of my posts on here, you likely already know how much I love this book. In particular, you likely know how much I loved the first story – “Grass” – and how amazing it’s first paragraph is. Told in interconnected short stories from one suburb in Scarborough, That Time I Loved You is the story of the inner lives behind the tidy front gardens and picture-perfect windows of suburbs on the rise during the 1970s. Seriously, do yourself a favour and read “Grass”. You’ll be hooked immediately. I hope this book makes a run at the title!
The Crazy Game by Clint Malarchuk
Any Canadian knows just how vital hockey is to our national identity, so it makes sense that arguably one of the best hockey books ever written would be chosen for this contest. Giving us an in-depth look at his life and career that had never been seen before, Clint Malarchuk – perhaps most famous for having a skate slash his throat and nearly end his career – shows us how he was able to survive having the most difficult job in professional hockey while living (and out of control skate blades) while living with high anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Deeply emotional and uncharacteristically open, The Crazy Game is a memoir that you do not want to miss.
The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll
The Fauna Sanctuary is a refuge for thirteen chimpanzees that were rescued from a medical research lab. There, primatologist Andrew Westoll lived and worked voluntarily with these chimps, helping to rehabilitate them back to health. Through his eyes, we see the biographies of the residents of Fauna Sanctuary and, with expert care and empathy, discover the ways in which they were able to heal their lives and learn how to be chimps again.
Which books on the Canada Reads longlist are you most excited to read? Or do you already have a favourite? Which one do you want to see take home to title? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @SavvyReader!