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Get a taste of the Canada Reads contenders

Not quite sure which of the final five to pick up first? We have a treat for you! We have excerpts from all five titles, so whether you want to hitch a ride on Dave Bidini's tour bus, lace up your skates with Ken Dryden, become a member of a Chilean resistance movement with Carmen Aguirre, hunt a man-eating tiger with John Vaillant or get to know the challenging realities of Marina Nemat's life in Iran, we have it all.

Get a taste of each of this year's books below:


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The Game by Ken Dryden

"I hear something and stir, then squint open my eyes. The room is filled with the morning sun. Sarah, aged four, appears and quickly disappears, shuffling noisily from room to room in her snowsuit, looking for something, apparently with no success. Downstairs, in a whispered shout, my wife Lynda tells her to hurry up. I look at the clock in the alcove beside me. It is 8:51. I start to get up, then I hear Sarah going down the stairs. I yell goodbye to her, and she yells a reply. I lie back, close my eyes, but I don't sleep."

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On a Cold Road by Dave Bidini

"I was nothing but a pimply little question mark on the day my sister and I first walked into Ken Jones Music in Etobicoke. Sunlight streamed through the windows, dappling the guitars that hung behind the counter and bathing the small music shop at the back of the Westway Plaza in warm light. The store was cluttered with drums stacked on top of each other, keyboards leaning three deep against the walls, dusty racks of unread sheet music, long outdated band want-ads taped to the cash register, and ashtrays scattered across old chairs and window ledges. At the back of the store, young boys sat in tiny rooms plucking guitars through amplifiers that buzzed like heat bugs, the sound of their hammer-ons and finger-rolls and string-benders snaking out to where I stood, sucking it all in like sugar through a Pixie-Stik."

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Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat

"There is an ancient Persian proverb that says, 'The sky is the same colour wherever you go.' But the Canadian sky was different from the one I remembered from Iran; it was a deeper shade of blue and seemed endless, as if challenging the horizon.

We arrived at Pearson Airport in Toronto on August 28, 1991, a beautiful, sunny day. My brother was waiting for us. My husband, our two-and-a-half-year-old son, and I were to stay at his house until we could find an apartment. Although I had not seen my brother in twelve years--I was fourteen when he left for Canada--I immediately spotted him. His hair had greyed and thinned a little, but he was six foot seven and his head bobbed over the enthusiastic chaos of the waiting crowd."

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Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre

"As my mother bit into her Big Mac, her glasses caught the reflection of a purple neon light somewhere behind me. Barry White's 'Love's Theme,' my favourite song, blasted from the loudspeaker. Mami looked hilarious in her new aqua eye-shadow. Her plucked eyebrows gave her a surprised expression. Then there was her frosted pink lipstick, which was smeared across her chin now, and the unfamiliar scent of Charlie. I'd helped her choose that perfume. The picture on the box showed one of Charlie's Angels doing the splits in mid-air, wearing a white pantsuit and platform shoes. In dressing for our trip that morning, my mother had followed her lead, though not the splits part, because she was four foot ten and round. Now here we were in a food court at Los Angeles International Airport, which my mother referred to as 'l-a-x.' She and I and my sister, Ale, had walked for ages through the terminal, looking for our gate, and the whole time she'd rubbed the palms of her hands into the small of her back, muttering, 'Firing squad to the woman hater who invented heels.'"

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The Tiger by John Vaillant

"Shortly after dark on the afternoon of December 5, 1997, an urgent message was relayed to a man named Yuri Trush at his home in Luchegorsk, a mid-sized mining town in Primorye Territory in Russia's Far East, not far from the Chinese border. Primorye (Pri-mor-ya) is, among other things, the last stronghold of the Siberian tiger, and the official on the line had some disturbing news: a man had been attacked near Sobolonye, a small logging community located in the deep forest, sixty miles northeast of Luchegorsk. Yuri Trush was the squad leader of an Inspection Tiger unit, one of six in the territory whose purpose was to investigate forest crimes, specifically those involving tigers. Because poachers were often involved, these included tiger attacks. As a result, this situation--whatever it might entail--was now Trush's problem and, right away, he began preparing for the trip to Sobolonye."

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Which book will you be reading first? Why? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below!

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