Canada – we have a winner!!!

After three, nail-biting days, CBC Canada Reads has crowned a winner and that winner is………..

That’s right friends – the talented and humorous author Terry Fallis was crowned the winner of 2011 Canada Reads when his fabulous novel, “The Best Laid Plans” beat out the other talented contenders, which were:

The Birth House” – Ami McKay – 2nd place
Unless” – Carol Shields – 3rd place
The Bone Cage” – Angie Abdou – 4th place
Essex County” – Jeff Lemire – 5th place

The competition was fierce from the beginning, but when CBC brought in such personalities like Debbie Travis, Ali Velshi, Georges Laraque, Sara Quin and Lorne Cardinal, you just knew it was going to be a battle to the death. Ali Velshi, who defended Fallis’ book, stated early on that he was going to take home the prize and lucky for him, Fallis promised to write him into a book if Velshi was able to win Canada Reads for him. So stay tuned for a mention of the famous Canadian CNN journalist in an upcoming novel by Terry Fallis!

Admittedly, it wasn’t a big surprise that I was crossing my fingers and toes for my hometown gal Ami McKay and I think that Debbie Travis did a great job of representing what the essence of what “The Birth House” was about and the message it hoped to portray to women and men. I think that Canadians lost some faith in Debbie Travis when she announced she couldn’t connect to any of the characters in “The Best Laid Plans” and therefore never actually ended up finishing the novel. It was somewhat disrespectful in a sense to go into a debate such as Canada Reads and not be 100% prepared and although I don’t fully agree with her decision regarding that issue, the poor woman has been attacked via Twitter to the point where she comtemplated quitting last night because the verbal abuse from CBC listeners was a bit overwhelming. She wrote fellow defender saying, “Debbie_Travis Debbie Travis: @GeorgesLaraque George I feel like quitting. …some people r getting so nasty….I thought this was supposed to be fun.wow so horrid”

When things get to this point and a defender feels like quitting because she wasn’t 100% prepared, I think it’s quite excessive. As she stated many times before the actual Canada Reads session took place, it is a game/debate and it’s supposed to be fun. She recently wrote a post about her Canada Reads experience and I wanted to share with you a quote from her post about her feelings on this topic.

The whole experience was fun and very worthwhile. Jian Ghomesi our host was brilliant and we got the country talking about books. Thank you to all behind the scenes of the CBC. There was an aspect to this event that has really disturbed me. We had a massive response from the world of social networking but there is a really horrid side that I have never experienced before. The purpose of this competition is to get people reading and to create dialogue and debate between us all. Twitter allows us to make short comments but it also allows some people to become verbal bullies. I am a pretty confident person who runs a successful company that I started from scratch. I employ marvellous and talented people who run our production company that produces a variety of TV shows, a design team that create my product line plus writers, crews etc…I am proud of my company WAM like a beloved third child but it hurt me to be called such names. And why? Because I was honest. I told the audience that I could not finish one of the books, it did not interest me or grip me. Just my humble opinion. I am a Brit and we say what we think. This book actually won, which is fine…it just wasn’t for me. It is so easy to be a bully when you are hidden behind a screen but please, don’t use the faceless aspect of twitter to be cruel and unkind.

I think her input was valid and I think that the harsh tweets were a little much. At the end of the day, she  defended “The Birth House” very well and she broadcasted what the core of the novel represented. Is that enough to go into the a reading debate? Probably not.

Ali Velshi did a great job presenting Terry Fallis’ novel and making it become the instant #1 seller at Indigo/Chapters! It is an amazing novel and should be read by all of Canada (and the rest of world too).

Congrats to Terry Fallis and everyone else that was a part of Canada Reads 2011!!!!

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