How Ali Hassan is getting ready to host Canada Reads 2018
The host of CBC's Laugh Out Loud and last year's Canada Reads debates is back! Ali Hassan was excited to be part of the recent 2018 Canada Reads longlist announcement and is gearing up for a shortlist announcement on Jan. 30, 2018 — when this year's panellists will also be unveiled.
Ali recently spoke to CBC Radio West's Sarah Penton about how he's preparing for this year's battle of the books.
1. He's getting into the theme
"When I first heard the theme — 'One Book to Open Your Eyes' — it didn't mean much. As I sat with it, I thought it was so timely. In this day and age, we meet more and more people who are resistant to accepting other people's views or to being challenged in any way. The theme could mean opening your eyes to the experiences of characters or other people's lives that are different from yours. It may also mean opening your own eyes to certain assumptions you may have had. In the end, it's about literature that challenges us."
2. He's doing his homework
"Jan. 30 is the date when the five panellists will be announced. They'll each have picked a book from the longlist that resonates most with them and with the theme. In the meantime, there's lots to pick out, read and enjoy from the longlist! There are poignant and potentially terrifying books, dystopian books, intimate memoirs and portraits of family histories — it's a nice variety and I think many Canadians will relate to these books."
3. He's ready to read outside his comfort zone
"I see the value of seeing yourself in a book. But when I do comedy, the people who come to the show who have not have had my experience, but are open to learning about it — those are the best audience members. I think it's the same with a book. You just go in with an open mind ready to learn and be entertained. Opening your eyes serves you well as a reader."
Ali Hassan's comments have been edited and condensed.