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The weekly contest goes Canadian

Last week we asked you to name your dream book and panelist combo and we got some great responses! Don Cherry, Stephen Harper and Sarah MacLachlan all made appearances on the list as panelists and the book picks ranged from No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod to Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer.

The winner (chosen from a random draw of all the entries) is Aaron Brown. His winning selection was:

No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod defended by writer Alexander MacLeod

No Great Mischief was one of the most moving Canadian books of the last 20 years and I am surprised it hasn't been championed yet on Canada Reads. I would love to see his son champion this book. I think he was the most articulate speaker of the Giller nominees this year and I really believe he would be a great debater on a show like this. The personal insight he would have into this book would be interesting.


Congratulations, Aaron! He took home a Canada Reads prize pack! (You'll have a chance to win one too. Details at the end of the post.)

Canada Reads gift pack

We loved your responses so much we're sharing some highlights with you.

Nisha Coleman suggests: When I was Young and in my Prime by Alayna Munce defended by musician Hawksley Workman

They are both sensitive creatures, grew up in the same small town, moved to the Big Smoke and write the most compelling, passionate prose and verses.


Beth Carswell suggests: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry defended by poet Lorna Crozier

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry would be my book of choice (this is hypothetical fantasy, so I can pretend it hasn't already been defended, right?) and I would love to have Lorna Crozier go to bat for it. She's feisty, and funny, and she reads and speaks beautifully — perhaps from years of crafting poetry. I like her perspective on things.


Heather Sinclair suggests: Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer defended by author Sheilla Jones

It would be interesting to hear Sheilla Jones's thoughts on Robert J. Sawyer's work, considering her physics background and her recent novel, The Quantum Ten.


Cynthia Andrew suggests: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels defended by Stephen Lewis

The book is about a dark subject, but is written in beautiful prose. Lewis has experience in finding hope in dark situations (as per his work with AIDS in Africa and other jobs), but he is a most gifted orator as well, and has a demonstrable gift of using language well. Also, he would appreciate the immigrant Toronto experience outlined in Fugitive Pieces.


Irena Kohn suggests: The Tree of Life: A Novel About Life in the Lodz Ghetto by Chava Rosenfarb defended by Eleanor Wachtel

Rosenfarb's novel (originally written in her native tongue, Yiddish) is one of the most powerful novels to be written on Jewish life under Nazi occupation, and I believe that Wachtel would do an excellent job of speaking to both the literary merits of the novel AND to the historical context of the events it describes and their significance for contemporary Canadian readers.


Leanne Schmidt suggests: The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies defended by Stuart McLean

I would love to see Stuart McLean as a panelist. He's witty, bright and his voice is such a pleasure to listen to. Like bacon for the ears. The book I would love to see in Canada Reads is The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies. I have always hoped that one of his books would be on the list. I have been following Canada Reads for years and do my best to get through as many of the books as I can before you air the discussions.


Natasha Master suggests: No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod defended by Gordon Pinsent

I think Newfoundlander fiction occupies a unique place in Canadian literature, with very specific themes, archetypes, & imagery. Pinsent is the ideal champion for this book both due to his own background, and because some of his films have dealt with the same themes and issues.


Tara Wagg suggests: Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler defended by Ben Mulroney

Aside from both Richler and Mulroney being from Montreal this would be a good pairing. Since this is going to be a movie, I thought that Ben's pop culture draw and interest would be bring new readers and a new take on the book.


Maggie McCaw suggests: Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson defended by Joni Mitchell

Who better to champion a novel in verse than one of Canada's most celebrated poets — Ms. Joni Mitchell. Both women are brilliant writers, fascinating storytellers, and artists who have broken the mould. Because of its unique form, Carson's novel can be a hard sell, but if the great Joni Mitchell championed it, I'm sure the masses would listen. I'm certain the nation would fall in love with the book because of its style rather than in spite of it. And our love of Ms. Mitchell, of course, could never falter.


Ed Turpin suggests: Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell defended by Don Cherry

The contrast between Grapes's belligerent and bombastic delivery would contrast so much with Mitchell's lyrical mellowness and beauty would be an incredible ode to Canadiana! And funny.


Jenifer Waito suggests: Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright defended by Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley is young, extremely talented and very well spoken, and I believe she would do a great book like Clara Callan the justice it deserves. Polley has not been afraid to deal with tough but meaningful issues in her film making career and Clara Callan deals with family separation, rape and gender discrimination — all tough but meaningful issues.


Mark Rhyno suggests: Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King defended by Greg Rhyno of The Parkas

Greg, the drummer and principal lyricist of former Can-rock outfit The Parkas, penned — in my humble/extremely biased opinion, as his brother and his bassist — a near-perfect pop ode to King's novel called The Heart Is Only a Muscle. I would love to hear Greg, who now works as a high school English teacher in Guelph, publicly defend his fellow Royal City writer's most poignant and devastating novel.


Patricia Lesku suggests: The Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley defended by Alex Trebek

Well, I suppose Michael Cera defending Scott would make better sense, but I imagine Alex reads well-written, well-drawn graphic novels in his spare time, no?


Julia Horel-O'Brien suggests: Baltimore's Mansion by Wayne Johnston defended by Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea

One of Newfoundland's best-loved figures, who is an expert in Newfoundland folklore, recommending a story of a Newfoundland father and son, what could be better?


As for this week's contest, we were inspired by the Canada Reads team's defences of their beloved books yesterday. This week's question is:

Which Canada Reads 2011 book is the most "Canadian" to you? Why?

Submit your answer using the form here! Don't forget to have fun and join in on the conversation in our discussion forum. We'd love to hear your thoughts about all the books!

The best responses will be shared on the site next week. The contest closes on Friday, December 24, at midnight ET. The complete contest rules and regulations are here.

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