What could possibly be wrong with Canada Reads?
Reads aims to kill two birds – it wants to promote Canadian writing and perpetuate the consensual hallucination that we have media stars at the same time. Let’s celebrate Canadian cultural heroes by inventing some!
The celebrity panellists are already making appearances on CBC Radio announcing why they are supporting the books they have been assigned. Each one makes a point about why the book is important – because it “teaches us” something about difference or healing. Each book is chosen because of its lesson.
The national broadcaster’s ubiquitous hype about books we “should” read perpetuates ideas that most non-readers already have about literature – that literature is essentially a sermon, a sermon on suffering and loss delivered through the narrative of a good person coming to terms with the past. As a writer, I find this to be bad advertising. This why people don’t read.