This year, the theme for Canada Reads is on NONFICTION.
The general public nominates a bunch of books; the suggested titles are whittled down to a Top 40 list, then to a list of Ten Finalists. Then things change a bit... when it gets down to the five books on the shortlist, five judges discuss the books on CBC radio throughout the week, and a book gets eliminated from the final five each day until there is a winner. (This is kind of like the literary equivalent of "Survivor").
For a list of the contenders, or for more info on Canada Reads, click HERE.
One of the books to make it to the shortlist of five is a memoir called Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre.
(UPDATE: Feb. 09th - Carmen was announced as the winner/"Something Fierce" as the winning book on Canada Reads!!!)
On Monday, one of the book judges, a miserable old cow named Anne France Goldwater, made some really volatile comments about Something Fierce, and about one of the other finalists, The Prisoner of Tehran.
Goldwater said the Tehran book was full of lies, and that Carmen Aguirre is a "terrorist who should never have been let in to Canada."
I find this all very interesting for a number of reasons.
First of all, I think Ms. Goldwater is doing a disservice to literacy and the arts and all those nebulous concepts. Secondly, I think Goldwater has missed the point about being a book judge - she doesn't come across as fair and unbiased to me. Thirdly, Carmen Aguirre was the main focus of the final thesis of my MA (completed in 2009 - before Carmen's memoirs were even published), so it's kind of interesting to see her name in the news so much these last few days (albeit for the wrong reasons...)
I really hope that Tehran and Something Fierce each experience a HUGE spike in sales as a result of the controversy stirred up the cranky old battleaxe Ms. Goldwater!!!
My MA thesis HERE or a shorter version of it HERE.
Feb. 06th - "Terrorist" article in the Globe and Mail HERE.
Feb. 07th - Miserable Hag defends her comments, in the Globe and Mail HERE.
One of my favourite comments in response to the Hag's defense of her stance (posted on the Globe & Mail online):
"She's a fat loud mouthed pig who is likely sexually frustrated and needs to get laid."
(Admittedly, this is an ad hominem attack, but in this case: SO WHAT?)
Another comment (online) that I really liked:
"She appears to have completely missed the point of Canada Reads - to encourage reading - not about panelists doing whatever it takes - including trashing the books and slandering their authors - to win a "debate". Is she an unmitigated narcissist or just obtuse?"