By Giulia Frisina and Shazia Islam
Jane Urquhart’s Away was voted off Tuesday in the second round of the Canada Reads: Turf Wars hosted by CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
The debates featured a panel of five Canadian celebrities each defending a book from five separate regions in the country, each representing their own turf:
- Actor Jay Baruchel encouraged viewers and his fellow panelists to read Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan.
- Olympic gold medalist wrestler Carol Huynh stood up for Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese.
- Comedian Trent McClellan advocated for February by Lisa Moore.
- CBC host of Hockey Night in Canada Ron MacLean lost his battle for his book The Age of Hope by David Bergen during Monday’s vote.
- And historian Charlotte Gray had to forfeit her book Away by Jane Urquhart, the second one to be cast off in the debates.
The objective is to convince both the audience and the panelists which is the one book that all Canadians should read.
During the debates at the CBC Broadcast Centre in downtown Toronto, Gray said that Away, published in 1993, was a well-written book that differed greatly from today’s CanLit that, in her opinion, lacks description.
But fellow panelist McClellan had a difficult time placing these books under the microscope of public scrutiny.
Huynh echoed McClellan’s sentiments and told Humber News that she based her evaluation on how she experienced the book on a personal, even physical level.
“With novels in general, people have their own opinions. I just want to speak from the heart,” Huynh said.
McClellan told Humber News that reading all five books gave him a newfound appreciation for literature and the people who create it.
The debates also presented a learning opportunity on verbal sparring for Baruchel.
Despite the challenges, Baruchel told Humber News the debates can make a positive impact on the future of CanLit.
Vicki Ziegler, a member of the studio audience, said the debates are encouraging people to have their say about the books through attending the live tapings, posting on Twitter, or joining a chat forum.
Freelance writer and book reviewer Jennifer Dawson Oakes told Humber News that she would be happy if all five books won the Canada Reads 2013 title.
The turf wars continue until Thursday when the winning book will be announced.