Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Anticipation will get you nowhere

Today was a smaller day than projected. First, we got to the doctor and found out that our appointment wasn't actually scheduled (which wasn't my fault, for once). And then the Canada Reads 2010 lineup was revealed, and I'm not so excited now. Though it's not all bad-- Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner is on the list, and I'm pretty passionate about that novel, so I'm pleased it's going to get wider exposure-- it was one of my favourite books of 2008, and you can read my review here.

But I find the rest of the lineup distinctly blah: I read Generation X years ago and might like to revisit it, particularly as it's such a reference point, but I don't know how satisfying that reread would be. I read Good to a Fault last year, and though many many people loved this book, I didn't. Which was odd, because its domestic realm is a place where I spend a lot of my literary time, but the story needed a good edit and didn't come alive for me. I have never read Fall On Your Knees, though I've started it a thousand times but never got very far in (oddly, however, McDonald's The Way the Crow Flies is a book I absolutely adore). The only book of the bunch that was new to me is Wayson Choy's The Jade Peony, which I'm going to read now.

Participating in Canada Reads this year would involve me buying two books I used to own but gave away, and that's never a good sign. So I suspect I'll not be taking part, and I'm really disappointed about that. Last dear I so enjoyed reading all the books, looking at them critically, attending the Canada Reads Panel at the Toronto Reference Library, and listening to the broadcasts in March. Last year, however, I was inspired to get involved by a list of book I had a genuine interest in visiting (or revisiting, in one case). In particular, I liked the inclusion of a quirky book from a small press (Fruit), and that I got to discover an important Canadian writer I'd been neglecting (Tremblay). I am not so convinced that year's list would reap similar rewards.

I'm also not convinced that any of these are books I'd recommend for all Canadians to read, though does any book, I wonder, hold such general appeal?