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Members of the Canada Reads team go to bat for their fave contender

Here at the Canada Reads office, we get into the competitive aspect of the debates. Really get into it. Bets are made, hands are shaken, trash talk ensues — nothing is off limits when bragging rights are on the line. Since we talk about these books off-line so much, we thought it would make sense to bring our discussion to the online world. Every Saturday, our Canada Reads team will offer up thoughts on the books of their choice, trying their best to convince readers everywhere that their pick deserves to wear the Canada Reads crown.

Let's meet the team, shall we?

David Carroll defends: The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis

David Carroll The Best Laid PlansI'm David, a senior producer at CBC. And I've got plans for this weekend. Big plans. I'm going to retire to my chambers to read The Best Laid Plans

Surely you've heard of this political satire by Terry Fallis? One of the Canada Reads finalists...

I've got a good feeling about it. Ali Velshi (CNN anchor, and the book's chief lobbyist) assures me it'll be first past the post. "It's wickedly funny," he told me. Best of all, he promised me it's a "very fast" read.

He better be right. My attention span is shorter than a Kim Campbell government. If this novel doesn't whip me senseless within the first 20 pages, I'll be sure to file a non-confidence motion.

Chapter one, sentence one:

"After an impressive hang time, I plummeted back to the sidewalk, my fall broken by a fresh, putrid pile of excrement the size of a small ottoman."

Not a bad start! I'll keep you updated.

Discuss The Best Laid Plans here>>

Kimberly Walsh defends: The Birth House by Ami McKay

Kimberly Walsh The Birth HouseAs a person who reads, writes, and practically breathes books, I've learned over the years that book recommendations are a tricky business. I've been on the sending and receiving end of a few doozies. The Birth House by Ami McKay is one of those gems that, to this day, I hold up as a shining example of a great novel. All thanks to the words of my friend @fireflygirl who simply said, "You have to read this." Although I'm glad there's a book on the final five list that represents the East Coast, this isn't just a regional book. It's a book that looks at tradition in the face of change. And I'm here to defend its worth.

Discuss The Birth House here >>

Barb Carey defends: The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

Barb Carey The Bone CageHi, I'm Barb, an associate producer at Canada Reads, and I'm really pumped — because I believe that The Bone Cage can own the Canada Reads podium!

I've been passionate about sports ever since I was a kid — as a participant and a spectator — and I've loved books and writing too. It's made me a bit of an oddity in both worlds. In some ways, I'm very much a "jock," but many of the friends I play sports with aren't much into reading (unless it's the sports pages). And most of my bookish friends respect my appetite for exercise but can't quite relate when I get totally obsessed with, say, watching World Cup soccer matches for hours on end. Physical culture and the arts are two pastimes that have mostly remained separate spheres for me.

That's why The Bone Cage resonates so strongly. It's a vivid, compelling look at two elite athletes training for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. And with former NHL tough guy Georges Laraque backing it in the debates, I figure we have a winning team. Game on!

Discuss The Bone Cage here >>

Andrea Chiu defends: Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Andrea Chiu Essex CountyHello internet! I'm Andrea, an interactive producer at CBC Radio, and I'm excited to be the online defender of Essex County by Jeff Lemire. When I heard there would be a graphic novel on Canada Reads this year, I was immediately excited. Not only have I wanted to read Essex County, but I think this will be a great opportunity for graphic novels to gain some respect. I realize that it will be an uphill battle since some people (ahem, Georges Laraque) have already turned up their nose and dismissed Essex County as "just a cartoon." But anyone who has read Art Spiegelman's Maus or Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis knows that graphic novels are more than cartoons. Graphic novels can be just as moving and credible as traditional novels. Essex County may not have the historical weight of Maus or Persepolis, but flip through its pages and you'll see that it tells the story of Canada in a beautiful way.

Discuss Essex County here >>

Hannah Classen defends: Unless by Carol Shields

Hannah Classen UnlessHi. My name is Hannah Classen. I'm the web producer for CBC Books, and I'm really excited to be defending Carol Shields' Unless on the Canada Reads site.

It's been a long time since I've read a book like Unless — a book that quietly captivates you and then moves inside your life to stay. Shields's prose is effortless in probing the depths of human emotion with tenderness and wit. I find myself consciously trying to slow down and enjoy every word because I know it will be over all too soon.

This is a story about a life and the richness and breadth of experiences that make that life up. But ultimately, it's a story about a mother and a daughter, and as a daughter who is very close to her mother, it speaks to me in a really special way. It makes me want to call home more often.

Unless is breathtaking. If ever there was a book that Canada needed to read, this is it.

Discuss Unless here >>

Which book are you championing?

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