On March 16, Canada Reads 2015 kicked-off the debate of five books in search of the one book that can break down barriers. The five Canada Reads 2015 finalists and their champions are:
Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee (HarperCollins Canada, 2013) championed by Kristin Kreuk, actor.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King (Doubleday Canada, 2013) championed by Craig Kielburger, activist and social entrepreneur.
When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel Reid (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2014) championed by Elaine “Lainey” Lui, entertainment reporter.
And The Birds Rained Down by Jocelyn Saucier (Coach House Books, 2012) championed by Martha Wainwright, singer-songwriter.
Ru by Kim Thúy (Penguin/Random House Canada, 2012) championed by Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival.
All five books are deserving of praise and each stands on its own merit, I cannot emphasize this enough. However, as I read each book through the lens of the one book that can break down barriers – that can challenge stereotypes, illuminate issues, open minds and change perspectives – I felt not all responded in equal measure to this year’s Canada Reads challenge. Of the five, The Inconvenient Indian and When Everything Feels Like The Movies emerged as the strongest contenders for me. I felt that Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee was also a strong contender, until I read When Every Thing Feels Like The Movies. I was so impacted by this book that with the exception of The Inconvenient Indian, I found myself measuring the other books against Mr. Reid’s.