The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 10th annual Canada Reads contest has picked its winner, but it’s not Fernie’s contender.
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, defended by CNN broadcaster Ali Velshi, won the Canada Reads 2011 title.
Angie Abdou’s The Bone Cage was selected as one of five Canadian books to fight it out for the title of “most essential book of the past year.”
Abdou’s book, now in it’s third printing, made it through to the end of day two of debates where it was unfortunately shelved.
“Being part of Canada Reads is more than anything I ever hoped for my book, and it brings my book in to the hands of readers across the country,” said Abdou.
She was flattered to have her book in the company of Carol Shields’ book Unless.
“The rest of us are emerging writers, and she’s a writer with an amazing literary career,” Abdou said.
She said that one of the first things that struck her about all the books that were selected was how different they all were.
“If I got to pick a book,” said Abdou. “I would have picked Carol Shields.”
Georges Laraque, former NHL enforcer for the Edmonton Oilers, was defending The Bone Cage.
Laraque said in a CBC confessional, set up for Canada Reads, that he wasn’t nervous going in the first day of debates because he had a feeling that Essex County was going to be eliminated.
“I don’t think it’s the time now, or ever, to nominate a graphic novel to inspire people to read,” he said.
Essex County by Jeff Lemire is a graphic novel, and was the first book to be voted off. Sara Quin, of musical group Tegan and Sara, defended Essex County.
Everyone voted for Essex County, except Quin who voted to have The Bone Cage eliminated.
Laraque said that he had read all the books twice going into last week’s debates.
“I know them inside out,” he said.
Laraque said ”that if Canadians read The Bone Cage our Olympians would be treated better, and would be supported better. Everyone knows people that are into sports. It would help the relationship between parents of kids that were into sports.”
Laraque said that when voting on Canada Reads he wasn’t looking at what he liked, he was trying to think of what the majority of Canadians would enjoy.
On day two of the debate, after The Bone Cage was eliminated, Laraque said that he was in shock that it lost to Unless, by Carol Shields, which was defended by actor Lorne Cardinal.
Abdou said that it was harder than she expected to watch her book get eliminated.
After being eliminated, Laraque threw his support behind Velshi and The Best Laid Plans.
Unless was voted out at the beginning of day three, and then the final vote was between The Birth House by Ami McKay, defended by design diva Debbie Travis, and The Best Laid Plans.
Despite being eliminated on day one, Essex County went on to win the People’s Choice award.
Abdou said that one of the most rewarding things that came out of Canada Reads were the friendships she developed with the other authors involved.
“I think some people invisioned some kind of competition between the writers but there really wasn’t. The competition was among the debaters,” she said.
Abdou returned to Fernie last week from Toronto, and is now getting ready to tour her new book, The Canterbury Trail.