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The Canada Reads literary places contest

Last week, the Canada Reads debaters revealed their favourite characters from this year's novels. This inspired us to turn the tables and ask you: who is your favourite fictional character? Everyone from venomous villains to handsome heroes got a vote or two! Thanks for your varied and inspiring submissions — our "to read" pile here at the Canada Reads office is getting higher by the day!

This week's winner is Joanne Robinson. Joanne's favourite character is Nancy Drew, for reasons any young girl can relate to!

As a young girl reading these books, I admired how confident and independent she was, and she had her own convertible!

Joanne picked up a Canada Reads prize pack. (You could win one too. Details at the end of the post.)

Canada Reads gift pack

We can't post all of the great entries you sent in, but here's a sampling:

Eden Embeau chose Xavier Bird from Three Day Road:

Xavier is my favourite character because he keeps his head on his shoulders throughout the novel. He is consistently aware of his values and what does and does not constitute as appropriate behaviour to him even in a time of war with constant bloodshed. Xavier keeps his family's traditions alive by not conforming to eurocentric practices and ideas of death, however he is able to successfuly take rank as a sniper and gain respect from his white Canadian counterparts. Xavier knows who he is and is comfortable living in his own skin.

Sharon Palermo chose Baby from Lullabies for Little Criminals:

12-year-old Baby hops from cheap apartment to cheap apartment with her 26-year-old heroin addict dad, yet the two of them adore each other and treat each other well. Life has never been good for Baby but it deteriorates further until she's picked up by a pimp and becomes a child prostitute.  Through it all, Baby maintains her quirky outlook on life, her fresh open-heartedness and her ability to love.  She's smart and resourceful, she speaks with a bright, honest voice, and despite her burgeoning wisdom, she remains a child with a child's openness and insight.

Denise Desnomie chose Hagar Shipley from The Stone Angel:

Through her difficult life, filled with cold people, she, near the end of her life, finally finds her self-worth.  "Hard to imagine a world and I not in it. Will everything stop when I do? Stupid old baggage, who do you think you are? Hagar. There's no one else like me in this world." I first read this book in Grade 11. My teacher let me read it as an alternate to what the class was reading. I did not fit in with others in school. She was brilliant to suggest I read that novel. I liked it and because Miss Dyck had me read it I was able to pass Grade 11. I wouldn't have otherwise, I'm sure.

Michael Montague chose Robinson Crusoe from Robinson Crusoe:

I can relate directly to the richness of the character and his life-and-death decisions. Daniel Defoe's book was first published in 1719 and the character of Robinson Crusoe is still pertinent today.

Ayusa Tani chose Emma Woodhouse from Emma:

For all her shortcomings, misunderstandings and troubles, she still has a warm heart and is able to redeem herself through honesty and truth. A more real character that one can still relate to.

Kim Plumley chose Alice MacLeod from Alice, I Think

The Alice books by Susan Juby really hit home for me. I grew up in Northern B.C., like Alice. I did not fit in, like Alice. I thought my parents were nuts, like Alice. Alice is on the search for herself and sees people and things in an awkward, searching teenager way. I think she was me.

The books are honest, engaging and oh, so funny.

Susan Juby is an author who also reaches into other areas of writing and she knows how to connect with the reader.

Nazanin Ghanavizi chose Norah Winters from Unless:

Because she is so confident in what she believes regardless of her family background that she left the comfort of her parents' house for the corner of a street in Toronto to help the homeless. It sounds to me like a decisive teenager who thinks critically even if she looks wrong to everyone else in her community.

Patricia Byrne chose Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice:

I fell head over heels with him as a teenager in 1950 (yes you can do the math I don't mind)and despite searching for a replacement over these many years no one has come anywhere near the mark either in the realms of fiction or nonfiction.

Mysterious, handsome — of course — and at the same time of a strong moral fibre that leads him to perform anonymous works of charity and kindness. Also he was obviously seeking his soulmate in a woman just like me.  It didn't hurt that he was also stupendously rich.

Karin Cuconato chose Ayla from the Clan of the Cave Bear series:

An extremely strong character who had to survive catastrophe and losing her entire culture to be rescued and have to learn a totally different existence than the one she was born to. Against all odds she must adapt and develop her skills just to live day to day in a time where nothing was certain.

Leigh Gagnier chose Thebes Troutman from The Flying Troutmans:

This was a hard one. Usually my favourite character is the one I'm reading at the time. But I gave it a think and a character I met last spring came to mind. The Flying Troutmans. This road trip story was at once funny and heart-wrenching. Thebes really embodies this dichotomy for me. At once she is so hilariously witty, sharp, and creative. At the same time, you know she is a little girl desperately missing and worried for her Mom. She made me sad. And I loved her. Thebes also reminded me of my niece, blue hair and all.

Scott LaBelle chose Frankenstein's Monster from Frankenstein:

I first read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein when I was in Grade 10 (give or take). I was surprised to see that the story was nothing like the Hollywood versions that I had seen. The Monster was not an inarticulate criminal that just wanted to destroy everything in his path.  He was an intelligent being that realized that he was alone in the world and the only thing he wanted was companionship. When this companionship was refused by everyone he met, he took matters into his own hands and refused to accept defeat. The fact that I felt pity and compassion for a character that did such malicious things (such as murder) is a testament to Mary Shelley's gift as an author. She brought out a human side to a creature that caused terror.  He seemed more human than his creator, Victor Frankenstein. For this reason, Frankenstein's Monster is my favourite fictional character.

Salma Raheem chose Jo March from Little Women:

I like the character because she's strong, yet vulnerable. Things didn't always go her way and she grouched a little but still continued on with her life. She knew herself enough to know that it wasn't a love match between her and her best friend Laurie. She wasn't perfect. She was NORMAL. Her strength of character resulted in others being able to count on her support. She was a truly good and decent person, without being a sap. Showed her strength, without being pushy. I'm wary of characters with exaggerated qualities. They just frustrate me and I usually end up hating them, either because they're unbelievable or they're just despicable. It's much more difficult to portray a normal, human, well balanced character that is interesting. I think Louisa May Alcott did that with Jo.

This week's question is: What is your favourite bookish place in Canada?

Submit your answer using the form here! Don't forget to join 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, January 21, at midnight ET. The winner will be drawn randomly from all the entries.

The complete contest rules and regulations are here.

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