Canada Reads 2015: Day 4

This last day of Canada Reads brings excitement and sadness at the same time. Starting tomorrow, this event won’t be available to distract me from the wreckage which is my life right now. But for now, I’ll take joy in this.

…And then there were two: Ru, defended by Cameron Bailey and When Everything Feels Like The Movies, defended by Elaine “Lainey” Lui. Today’s debates were less vociferous than earlier ones, but by no means did either panelist take victory for granted. Lainey made a particularly hard-hitting point when confronted with Barbara Kay’s infamous attack on Movies in her National Post column. Not to be outdone, Cameron whipped out his passport for his closing statement and drew on the struggles of his parents in immigrating to Toronto from Barbados.

Much like last year, I couldn’t tell which way the votes would swing. Unlike last year, the vote totals would be a surprise…

Today’s eliminated book:
When Everything Feels Like The Movies by Raziel Reid.

The winning book for Canada Reads 2015:
Ru by Kim Thúy.

Lainey ended up being the only panelist to vote against Ru. All of the other ones, including Lainey’s former BFF Martha Wainwright, voted against When Everything Feels Like The Movies. That honestly surprised me; I thought the vote would have ended up going to a tiebreaker. However, when Craig Kielberger and Kristen Kreuk voted against the latter book, the former’s victory was sealed. (We found out about Martha’s vote after the fact.)

I always enjoy attending Canada Reads debates and this one was no exception. I think last year’s debates were the absolute intellectual high point, but by no means did this year’s discussions disappoint. All of this year’s panelists were strong, although I wish Kristen had better opportunities to elucidate the strengths of Intolerable. With that said, Lainey’s lawyer-like defense and Cameron’s smooth and articulate approach definitely made deep impressions with me, not to mention Craig bravely going toe-to-toe with Lainey on Tuesday. It took more time for me to come around on Cameron, but when I thought he needed to step up his game, he did so without attempting to be Lainey 2.0. Besides, since we share Bajan roots, I was rooting for him anyway.1 🙂

Oh yeah…I’ve got pictures today.

That’s Martha Wainwright on the left. The picture is slightly blurry, but I don’t mind.

If there was one picture I was really hoping to get, it’s this one with Lainey. When I asked her my question yesterday (which she thanked me for asking, by the way), I forgot to tell her that I loved her own book, Listen To The Squawking Chicken. I solved that problem today, though.

I hope I have a job by this time next year. In any event, Lord willing, I’ll be able to enjoy next year’s books and debates.

Left to right: Cameron Bailey, Kim Thúy and CBC anchor Suhana Meharchand.

Special thanks and respect to this year’s host and panelists: Wab Kinew, Cameron Bailey, Craig Kielberger, Kristen Kreuk, Elaine Lui and Martha Wainwright.

1. Both of my parents, along with Cameron, grew up in Barbados – specifically, the parish of St. James. My father grew up in Holders Hill (or was it Paynes Bay?), while my mother grew up in Upper Carlton. Being able to share those details with Cameron and have him relate to them is blowing my mind as I type this sentence. Speaking of Cameron, though he was born in London, England, he grew up in Rock Dundo before immigrating to Canada when he was eight years old.


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