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Flannery wonders how things will play out on Canada Reads next week

Hello, readers.

The ticking of the clock is deafening. After months of speculation, we're now entering the final, most important leg of our literary journey. Soon questions will morph into certainties. Will the much-beloved Fall On Your Knees take the day? Or will the lesser-known and more recent work Good to A Fault be the victor? Will the cultural impact of Douglas Coupland's Generation X carry it to the top of the podium? Or will the appeal of Nikolski's unique approach to storytelling win out? Perhaps The Jade Peony will capture the panelists' hearts?

It's only a matter of hours before Canada Reads 2010 kicks into high gear and the debates finally begin. It all starts on Monday at 11:30 a.m. ET on CBC Radio One. The shows air twice daily on CBC Radio and you can also catch them on Sirius Satellite Radio 137 and bold TV a couple of times a day. Or you can listen or watch right here on this site.

SPOILER ALERT: If you want to experience the debates via radio or TV first, remember that we'll have the shows up on our site at noon ET each day.

By Friday, we'll all know which book is the winner.

Perdita Felicien, Dr. Samantha Nutt, Roland Pemberton, Simi Sara and Michel Vézina are armed and ready to take their books into literary battle. I wouldn't want to face any one of them at this point. And let's not forget our intrepid host. I'm sure Jian is prepared to ask the tough questions of each panelist, too. If he can outlast a tantrum by Billy Bob Thornton, you know he can handle just about anything.

Our work is done. We've read the books, compared notes, shared feelings, thoughts and impressions of each one of the novels — and now we get to sit back and listen to this year's story play out. It's a pretty plum position. I'll take a warm seat in the control room — that's where I'll be perched next week — over the hot seat in the studio any day.

I've truly enjoyed my time here so far, indulging my love of reading and writing. It's been a great challenge. The best part: I've learned a lot from our books and their authors. It's knowledge I'll take with me, and unlike Post-It notes, printer paper or paper clips, you can't get fired for taking what you've learned from work.

I'm really curious to learn more about the intrinsic powers of reading and writing as filtered through the perspective of our panelists. I can talk all day about the ideal of goodness in Good to A Fault as I see it, but what does it mean to Simi Sara? Why does Dr. Samantha Nutt feel so passionately about the inherent value of Wayson Choy's The Jade Peony? What is it about Generation X that speaks so powerfully to Roland Pemberton? Why did Fall On Your Knees turn Perdita Felicien's head? And what is it about Nikolski that made Michel Vézinadecide to become its standard bearer?

Ultimately, that's why we're here — to glean new insights into this year's novels — and it's a compelling draw. Canada Reads represents an opportunity to intimately experience five great books, but it also provides a unique way to get to know five equally impressive people.

I'll be providing colour commentary after each broadcast, so please come back here to share your thoughts on how the debates are playing out. You can also join in the online live chats at 3 p.m. ET daily to debrief the shows. CBC Book Club host Hannah Sung will lead that discussion, and Jian Ghomeshi will be her guest on Monday. I'll be popping in all week.

Until Monday,

Flannery

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