Simi Sara, Marina Endicott and Jian Ghomeshi onstage at the CBC Canada Reads 2010 announcement.
Shortly after the Canada Reads 2010 announcement yesterday morning at the CBC building, this Books@Torontoist editor spoke briefly to panelist Simi Sara and nominated author Marina Endicott. Sara, a Vancouver-based broadcaster, is defending Endicott’s book, Good to a Fault, on this year’s panel. They’re up against some tough competition, including other celebrity panelists defending Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony, Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall on Your Knees and Nicolas Dirkland’s Nikolski. The debates will air from March 8 to 12, 2010, on CBC Radio One, at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m, with the winner being announced on Friday, March 12, 2010.
Torontoist: Why did you select Good to a Fault for this year’s Canada Reads?
Sara Simi: I tried to look at making my selection strategically. I wanted something that was recent, I want more current books on the panel. To me, Canada Reads is about reading and about introducing new writers to Canadians. I really focused on the question “What book should Canada read?” I think out of all the recent books out there right now, Marina’s book is the best answer to that question. I think times have changed for a lot of people in the past couple years. They’re asking themselves questions like “Why do I do what I do?” and “What does my life mean?” This book struck me as being very relevant to my life and had me wondering if we do try to be good to a fault.
Marina Endicott: The audience for Canada Reads is everybody in the country. It has a devoted following. Even if you’re not an avid follower, the CBC has such a board reach, you can’t avoid Canada Reads. It’s wonderful to think of all those people possibly reading mine, but reading all these books! I’m so glad they thought it up!
Torontoist: Simi, When did you first read Good to a Fault?
SS: I work my way down the Giller short list every year. This book was on the short list last year. I started reading it and I couldn’t put it down. I read it in a day. It was so moving, it made me cry. How can I not pick a book that is not only completely unputdownable, but also moved me to tears?
TO: Marina, when did you find out your book was selected as a Canada Reads nomination?
ME: I first found out a couple of weeks ago. They let my publisher know so they could print more copies. It’s was a huge surprise and it’s something you never expect as an author. It’s a dream come true to think that someone believes in my book so much they will defend it in front of the entire country!
TO: What is your strategy going into the Canada Reads debates?
ME: I don’t have one! The brilliant thing about Canada Reads is that the authors do very little. The books stand on their own merit, absolutely. Beyond this, whatever happens is just how the game works out. It’s so exciting to see what will crop up in the discussions.
SS: Marina is putting the pressure on! First of all, just go read it. A lot of people haven’t read it yet and actually reading it will make all the difference. It’s far more contemporary and relevant to our lives today than any other books on the list. They’re all great but if we’re looking for a book that says something about us today, this is the book to do it.
TO: Marina, If you were a panelist, what book would you have nominated?
ME: Oh my gosh. What a difficult thing to do. It would have been so difficult to pick only one of the several, several books that are buzzing through my mind right now. I don’t know how a panelist goes about selecting one book. I guess it’s all about gut and what the panelist responds to when they are reading. I’m glad my work is over! I wrote the book! That’s enough!