Some thoughts on Canada Reads

This week, the five finalists of the 2010 Canada Reads series were announced. Congratulations to the following authors:

1. The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis (Ontario)
2. The Birth House by Ami McKay (Nova Scotia)
3. The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou (Saskatchewan) 
4. Essex County by Jeff Lemire (Ontario)
5. Unless by Carol Shields (U.S.)

A wide spectrum of themes are covered this year: sports, politics, midwifery, mother-daughter relationships and...a graphic novel, a genre that deserves a lot more attention in English-Canada. I was interested in the Canada Reads series this year as I've never been before, and I think it was because of the variety and the representation of both women and youth in the Top 40 Books of the Decade (click here and scroll down to see the full list). There were many young authors that I had never heard of before, but I may have discovered where we might find them in the future.... Check out my next post.

Sometimes, the obvious is right in front of us.
I was pleased with the 2011 list of finalists (although I wish that my favourite Maritime writer had been among them!), especially because there were three women in the top five. Yes, CBC I have been counting and with good reason, as you will see. The judging of books is very subjective, and male writers tend to get the lion's share of press and awards, and as we all know, a positive press review and a recognized award help immensely with book sales.

Just look at the situation for women writers south of the border in terms of some major literary awards. The following statistics were originally published on Vida: Women in Literary Arts. NB, This is only a partial list, but you'll quickly understand what I'm talking about.

Amazon- Top 100 Editor’s Picks 2009

77 Men
23 Women

Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2009

Innovator’s Award- 1 Man
Robert Kirsch Award- 1 Man

LA Times Favorite Fiction 2009

16 Men
9 Women

The National Book Awards 2009

Fiction- 1 Man
Nonfiction- 1 Man
Poetry- 1 Man
Young People’s Literature- 1 Man

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009

71 Men
29 Women

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of 2009

10 Men
0 Women

Slate- Best Reads of 2009

15 Men
7 Women

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1948-2009

40 Men
16 Women

© 2010 VIDA
Author: Amy King

Other Book-Related posts

Spare Room by Helen Garner
The Nikolski Coincidence
Make Me A Woman
Tattoos on the Heart
Reads from Men  (Review of books by Hage, Russo, Franzen and Conlin)
Happy Home For Broken Hearts
Death to the Dictator! by Afsaneh Mosadam
The Selves by Sonja Alhers
Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber



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