Canada Reads is CBC’s annual “Battle of the Books.”
It’s a literary contest with 5 celebrities championing 1 book each. Panelists then vote to eliminate books until a single title remains – a book the country should read.
Over four days, the five champions will bring their diverse perspectives to this year’s theme: One Book to Transport Us.
This year’s celebrity champions and their chosen books are:
Olympian and broadcaster Rosey Edeh champions The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
Summary: In the fantasy novel The Midnight Bargain, Beatrice is making her debut at “bargaining season” — an annual event where wealthy young men and women gather from all over the world to make advantageous marriages. But she harbours secret plans that will upend society. Rather than get married, Beatrice plans to bind a greater spirit and become a full magician. Performing the secret ritual goes against the rules of her world, which prohibits women from practicing magic while they can still bear children. With the help of the wealthy Lavan siblings, fiery Ysbeta and her handsome brother Ianthe, Beatrice searches for a way to change old patriarchal traditions.
Summary: Two Trees Make a Forest is a nonfiction book that explores how geographical forces are interlaced with our family stories. A chance discovery of letters written by her immigrant grandfather leads Jessica J. Lee to her ancestral homeland, Taiwan. There, she traces his story while growing closer to the land he knew. Throughout her adventures, Lee uncovers surprising parallels between nature and human stories that shaped her family and their beloved island. In the memoir, she also turns a critical eye onto colonialist explorers who mapped the land and named plants, and both relied on and often erased the labour and knowledge of local communities.
Actor and filmmaker Devery Jacobs champions Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
Summary: Jonny Appleseed is a novel about a two-spirit Indigiqueer young man who leaves the reserve and becomes a cybersex worker in the big city to make ends meet. But he must reckon with his past when he returns home to attend his stepfather’s funeral. Jonny Appleseed won the Lambda Literary Award for gay fiction and was shortlisted for the the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. It was also longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee champions Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Summary: Hench is a novel about Anna, a woman who pays the bills by doing administrative work for villains. But when an incident involving the world’s most popular superhero leaves her injured and gets her fired, Anna realizes what happened to her isn’t unique — and she might have the means to take down the so-called hero who hurt her. How? With every office worker’s secret weapon: data.
Chef, recording artist and TV host Roger Mooking champions Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi
Summary: Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel about twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi believes she was a spirit who was supposed to die as a small child. By staying alive, she is cursing her family — a fear that appears to come true when Kehinde experiences something that tears the family apart, and divides the twins for years. But when the three women connect years later, they must confront their past and find forgiveness.
The Canada Reads’ debates take place March 8-11, 2021.
Follow along here!