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What is the one novel that everyone should read?



The Battle of the Books is Back with Canada's only reality show for books. Hosted by the charming Jian Ghomeshi, Canada Reads 2014 kicked off yesterday with five novels and 5 panelists defending the book.

Which book will inspire social change? 

THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD by Margaret Atwood
-- defended by Stephen Lewis (one of Canada's most prominent philanthropists) 

THE ORENDA by Joseph Boyden
-- defended by Wab Kinew (award-winning journalist, aboriginal activist and hip-hop artist)

HALF-BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan
-- defended by Donovan Bailey (two-time Olympic gold medalist)

COCKROACH by Rawi Hage
-- defended by Samantha Bee (award-winning comic, actor and writer)

ANNABEL by Kathleen Winter
-- defended by Sarah Gadon (Hollywood actress)


Here is a recap of the opening statements for the Canada Reads 2014 books by the panelists: 

"All the Canada Reads books this year deal with controversial and challenging topics, whether it's colonization, racism, immigration, the environment or gender inequality...It's 2014, and these issues are very much still unresolved in our country. And they can often have a polarizing effect when we discuss them. But, Annabel offers us a way to move forward, because we relate to each character and their struggle, and we learn about compassion and tolerance. But as you read the book, you learn how to exercise compassion and tolerance. This is a way for Canada to move forward." Sarah Gadon

"This is not myth for missionary, this is confession for colonization. It gives voice to the indigenous, so we can have a new conversation. Without that, no truth, no reconciliation. And that's why The Orenda is the book to change our nation." Wab Kinew 

"Half-Blood Blues is a global novel....written by a amazing young Canadian author who sees Canada in a new and refreshing way. This book examines racial discrimination, identity, freedom, just to name a few." Donovan Bailey  
"Cockroach challenges us to think about the people who are living on the margins of society. People who are so far from belonging that they can't even conceptualize what that would feel like...Cockroach asks a lot of its reader...If we go through life not wanting to read about people who are difficult, who aren't poetic figures of nobility, how can we even possibly begin to change things for them? This book is about class, about loneliness, book is about isolation and exile, psychological and otherwise... I believe that change unfolds in the smallest ways. We can't change everything all at once, but we can change who we are in the moment. " Samantha Bee

"the apocalypse of climate change....there are some delicious sardonic attacks on capitalism. It creates a backdrop within with she says people have to fight the climate change that is coming." Stephen Lewis

In the end, Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood was first eliminated. Do you agree? Please tell us why in the comments below.




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