Why George Canyon chose From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle for Canada Reads 2020
The Métis-Cree writer's first book describes how he transformed his life — from being homeless and struggling with addiction to winning top awards in academia. Thistle is now a professor at York University and a national bestselling author.
Why Canada Reads?
"Books take you somewhere nothing else can. You get to see a movie in your head that nobody gets to experience. When I was read my very first book — Mrs. Nichols read Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf in Grade 4 and there's a lot of adult content in that book so a lot went over our heads — what I got to see when I heard those words was beyond anything I had ever experienced, including music. I was elated to be asked to be part of this."
Never has a book had this effect on me. Ever.- George Canyon
"I do a lot of reading. Never has a book had this effect on me. Ever. At some points I was laughing. At some points I was ugly crying — and trust me I'm frickin' ugly when I cry. Then at other points I was yelling at the book. I've yelled at the TV, but I've never yelled at a book. It isn't words on a page. It's an experience. Reading this book was an experience.
"It was like sitting down with your buddy and having a coffee and he's telling you the story of his life. There were points where I put the book down and felt guilty because I was interrupting him telling me this story."
George Canyon's comments were taken from a live Canada Reads event with all the panellists and authors, hosted by Here & Now's Gill Deacon.
- Alayna Fender defending Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
- Akil Augustine defending Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
- Amanda Brugel defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
- Kaniehtiio Horn defending Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
- George Canyon defending From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle