#CanadaReads | Day 1 Recap

Canada Reads Day 1

Screen capture from CBC Books/Canada Reads

Happy Monday, friends! I know that I normally post Mondays Musings at the start of the week, but since Canada Reads has started, I thought I’d take a break and write a Canada Reads recap instead. I hope you’ll stick around and share your thoughts with me as well!

If you want to watch the broadcast before reading this post, click here. That being said, I promise to not give away who gets eliminated!

So, to kick us off, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts while watching the debate:

Best opening statement: Bruce Poon Tip defending Birdie
Wow. I quoted a bit of Bruce Poon Tip’s opening speech in a tweet above, but I would highly recommend watching the full statement. He brings up one of the central themes of Birdie — of viewing and treating everyone you meet as family members — and stresses how important this is. If you view your neighbour like a family member, you’d (hopefully) never want to hurt them. (More on families and pain later!) This is so useful when thinking about tolerance and empathy. I was impressed.

Best rebuttal: Vinay Virmani defending The Hero’s Walk‘s “negative” characters
Not only did I love Virmani’s rebuttal, I also wanted to take a second to say how much I admire his (and all the other panelists’) composure during today’s debate. That’s not an easy thing to do! I really enjoyed hearing what Virmani had to say after Adam Copeland’s criticized the characters from The Hero’s Walk for being too “negative”:

“Often the people that we love the most are also capable of hurting us the most as well.”

“The entire family starts over. Yes, their actions are hurting each other, but they are growing, they are transforming, they are getting that second chance unfortunately through tragedy, but that’s what life is.”

Most emotional moment:
I felt so touched listening to Clara Hughes tell the audience about Yusra Mardini. Mardini was in a boat with 20 Syrian refugees like herself when their boat started sinking. Selflessly, she jumped out and swam alongside the boat (for three and a half hours!) after efforts to stay afloat were unsuccessful. Not only was Hughes able to connect this real-life story to The Illegal, she also used it to prove how relevant the book is to Canadians and new Canadians as well.

Funniest moment:
When Farah Mohamed pulled out the Montreal bagels for the panelists! It makes me chuckle to think that she had a bag of bagels sitting on her lap the whole time.

Best quotes:
There were so many fantastic quotes that resonated with me throughout today’s debate. Since I couldn’t choose one, here are a few of my favourites in addition to the quotes above:

“When people are confused, they push [Reconciliation] away, because they don’t understand.” – Bruce Poon Tip

“We need to give faces, we need to give voices to the faceless and the voiceless and realize that we are all connected as human beings.” – Clara Hughes

“You don’t choose, sometimes, how or when you’re going to start over. And that, I think, they call it life.” – Farah Mohamed

(I thought this was such a perfect rebuttal to all the criticism her book’s main character, Beena, received.)

And, lastly, I’ll admit that I gasped when I heard what the eliminated panelist said when their book was cut from the competition: “I feel like the most Canadian book was eliminated.” If you watched the debates, do you agree with this panelist?

Did you watch the debates? What did you think? Who are you rooting for to win? Has your pick changed after watching the panelists defend their books?

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3 thoughts on “#CanadaReads | Day 1 Recap

  1. Erin says:

    This is the first time watching Canada Reads and I thought most of the arguments were very heartfelt and thoughtful. I was especially shocked when Adam Copeland threw his final punch after his book was eliminated. Interesting. I’m curious to see how everything turns out. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of the books this year, so I’m not emotionally invested in any of them winning. I’m sure they’re all good.

    • Karen says:

      I have to say I was extremely shocked about that as well. I didn’t stick with the novel he was defending so I can’t say if his character changes quite a bit, but it seems like the “most Canadian” comment was a little misguided. I couldn’t help but think his version of Canada was a white one… That being said, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps I misinterpreted things!

  2. Naomi says:

    I thought the first day was great. I even teared up a couple of times – the story about the swimming girls, but also when Clara Hughes was talking about her father.
    I was okay with the result of the day. And, I feel like a couple of the panellists were able to convince me more about their books, so that I’m not as neutral as I was when I started. (Vinay and Bruce, mostly , I think.)
    We really didn’t get to hear a whole lot yet about The Illegal and Birdie, so hopefully today they’ll get to talk more about their books.
    Yes, I was cringing at the remarks made after the vote. I was hoping the person would stop before it got worse! I’m wondering if what the person said will come up today at all, and how the author of the book felt about it.

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