Saturday, February 23, 2008

Canada Reads

John Mutford made me aware of this CBC radio program last year when he was lobbying the CBC for a place on the 2008 panel. It appears that the five-person panel is again made up of celebrity types and that John, despite his love of books and reading and what that passion would have added to the discussions, was probably never seriously considered to join the group. That's an assumption on my part, of course, but it certainly appears that the CBC did not want to put a "non-celebrity" into the mix.

I was reminded of John's quest this morning when I noticed a Vancouver Sun article about the 2008 programs that will be aired next week.
The format, which produces an energetic, often heated conversation, stays the same: Starting Monday, five celebrity panelists will each bring a favourite work of fiction to the table. At the end of each day, one book will be voted off. The book all Canadians are urged to read in 2008 will emerge Friday.
Perhaps the best news about "Canada Reads" is that those of us out of range of a CBC radio station will be able to listen in this year because podcasts are being produced for each of the daily segments.
This year, the debate can be heard on CBC Radio One at 11:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. In addition, it's being televised on the digital channel Country Canada ( and, for the first time, there's a podcast (see so that, as Jansen says, you can follow the debate while walking the dog.
Perhaps John shouldn't feel too badly about being left off the 2008 panel. It looks as if he's been beaten out by a Canadian astronaut.
This year, the wow factor will be provided by astronaut Steve MacLean, who will represent the novel Icefields, by Thomas Wharton. How often do you get to hear an astronaut muse about literature?
Frankly, I think that the CBC is still missing a sure bet by not including someone like John on the show to debate his favorite Canadian book of the year. I doubt seriously that anyone chosen this year will exhibit the kind of passion that a true book lover like John would have shown.

But since I'm always a little bit irritated that I know so little about Canadian authors and what is happening in the book world north of the border, I'm going to try to make the podcasts work for me...maybe next year, John, maybe next year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sam, I've been away from the blogging world for a while but thanks for the kind words. This is the first year I haven't tuned in (my grapes are still a little on the sour side). Anyway, I hope you enjoy.