Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

CBC Canada Reads: The Halfway Mark!

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CBC Canada Reads 2013

Today marks the halfway point in the CBC Canada Reads debates hosted by Jian Ghomeshi; two books have been eliminated and three remain, with a winner to be crowned on Thursday.

The first two debates, which took place yesterday morning and earlier today respectively, have been characterised by impassioned advocating on the part of the panellists, a friendly rivalry between broadcaster Ron MacLean and actor Jay Baruchel and somewhat genteel disagreements compared to 2012's controversial clashes. But as the stakes rise, the panellists are feeling the pinch and the gloves are sure to come off.

The first casualty in the competition was The Age of Hope (HarperCollins Canada) by David Bergen, defended by Ron MacLean, with each of Charlotte Gray, Jay Baruchel and Trent McClellan voting it out (MacLean voted against Two Solitudes while Carol Huynh picked Away for the chopping block).

Today's debate saw Jane Urquhart's perennial best-seller Away knocked off with votes from Trent McClellan, Jay Baruchel and Carol Huynh. Away's champion, Charlotte Gray, voted to boot Two Solitudes, while Ron MacLean, the day's only free agent, surprised the crowd by voting against fan favourite Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese.

Lively moments from the second debate, which played to a packed house, included Charlotte Gray comparing books to music, characterising Away as classical to Indian Horse and February's "rap" ("which I also love," she added) and teasing Jian Ghomeshi, saying his sharp suit made him look like "a funeral director". Ron MacLean joked that he had only read the four remaining books the night before, then worrying aloud that "my quips might have been my undoing". Carol Huynh, who donned a t-shirt with Yoda on it, weighed in on the sudden ban on Olympic wrestling, the sport in which she won Canada a gold medal. Jay Baruchel exclaimed against MacLean's teasing, joking "I don't need to be more nervous".

Indian Horse has maintained a significant lead on CBC's fan polls (and Open Book's!), but the other titles have been shifting constantly through the debates, with Lisa Moore's February jumping into second place as of the time of this posting.

Stay tuned to CBC Radio, TV and their website to hear which book is next to fall, and return to Open Book on Friday for a summary of the competition!

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