Canada Reads 2015: Day 1

As usual, the man with the beard is at the front of the line. I call him “The Legend” because every single time I’ve attended a Canada Reads taping, he’s held that position without fail. I actually arrived at the CBC building before he did, but I didn’t want to upset the “natural order,” so I waited for him to start the line before I joined it.

The pre-show procedure is slightly different this year. Instead of lining up before going into the studio, we’re ushered into a holding area where we can leave our belongings. When the time comes, we’re led to the studio and our seats. After the usual audience warm-ups and introductions to the host and panelists, the fun begins…

I haven’t grinned this much in months.

In picking Wab Kinew, I think the CBC made a very good choice. He was armed with many witty remarks, including a quip at the beginning about being the new host. This year’s panelists were also looking to make good first impressions; I think Martha Wainwright and Elaine “Lainey” Lui did particularly well in that regard. Lainey’s introductory defense of When Everything Feels Like The Movies wasn’t quite on the level of Wab Kinew’s from last year, but it did come close.

At the end of the debate, one book was eliminated. I thought that And The Birds Rained Down, The Inconvenient Indian and Intolerable were most likely to go first.

Unfortunately, I was correct.

Today’s eliminated book:
Intolerable: A Memoir Of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee.

I got a few pictures after the show was over.

Panelist Cameron Bailey is on the right; he’s defending Ru by Kim Thúy. I follow him on Twitter, where I’ve jokingly said that we look alike when our heads are shaved. Interesting fact: we both have Bajan ancestries.

Host Wab Kinew, who deftly navigated his first day of hosting Canada Reads.


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