So, we’re up to Thursday morning — three broadcasts down, two to go — and I’ve been listening religiously to the Canada Reads broadcasts. Yesterday, we learned that Generation X was the first book voted off the table; today we’ll find out the results of yesterday’s vote and learn which book is off, and which three remain.
I wasn’t sorry to see GenX go, because, as you know, I simply couldn’t get into it and in the end refused to read it. But as the debates continue and the voting marches forward I notice an interesting thing happening. I went into this cheering for Good to a Fault, a book I enjoyed tremendously but could see flaws in as well. Now I find myself getting super-defensive when I’m listening and a panelist says anything bad about Good to a Fault. As for the remaining three books, all of which I liked things about, I find myself focusing on how depressing Fall on your Knees is, how The Jade Peony was really three stories instead of one, how I didn’t like the lack of resolution in Nikolski. In other words, the competitive structure of the show, and the fact that there’s a book I really like, is polarizing my attitude toward all the books, because I want GtaF to win (although I don’t think it will).
Despite this, I still think Canada Reads is great. With all the ridiculous reality spectacles we’re encourage to watch and care about during this, the fall of western civilization, Canada Reads at least encourages us to get vicious and competitive and to oversimplify our complex responses … to something that really matters. Books. I love this country.