Canada Reads 2023 Longlist The Final Part!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… It’s time for Canada Reads!

The longlist for Canada Reads 2023 came out and I had to share my thoughts on all 15 books, and maybe even predict which books might make the shortlist.

Because there are 15 books, I’ll be posting about three of the books at a time, otherwise, this will go on forever! I was surprised at the variety of books on the list this year, it’s an improvement from the past few years, but I’m still not seeing as many small/independent publishers on this list.

So let’s look at the next four books on the longlist…

Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah

A vivid love letter to the 1980s and one woman’s struggle to overcome the challenges of immigration.

It’s 1986, and Muna Heddad is in a bind. She and her son have moved to Montreal, leaving behind a civil war filled with bad memories in Lebanon. She had plans to find work as a French teacher, but no one in Quebec trusts her to teach the language. She needs to start making money, and fast. The only work Muna can find is at a weight-loss center as a hotline operator.

All day, she takes calls from people responding to ads seen in magazines or on TV. On the phone, she’s Mona, and she’s quite good at listening. These strangers all have so much to say once someone shows interest in their lives–marriages gone bad, parents dying, isolation, personal inadequacies. Even as her daily life in Canada is filled with invisible barriers at every turn, at the office Muna is privy to her clients’ deepest secrets.

Another Giller Longlist book! I do love seeing books from other lists make it on Canada Reads. Bonus points because this book is from a smaller press! I’ll; be getting this one from my library – it’s not something that I normally read. I can see this one potentially making it to the shortlist. It fits the prompt of perspective, the struggles of immigrants, and daily life living in Canada.

We Spread by Iain Reid

Penny, an artist, has lived in the same apartment for decades, surrounded by the artifacts and keepsakes of her long life. She is resigned to the mundane rituals of old age, until things start to slip. Before her longtime partner passed away years earlier, provisions were made, unbeknownst to her, for a room in a unique long-term care residence, where Penny finds herself after one too many “incidents.”

Initially, surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, looking out at the beautiful woods that surround the house, all is well. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny—with a growing sense of unrest and distrust—starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and on her place in the world. Is she succumbing to the subtly destructive effects of aging, or is she an unknowing participant in something more unsettling?

Look, a book by Simon and Schuster! This sounds like a very interesting read, I am also a sucker for psychological thrillers. I think this book fits well into the shifting perspective, so a possible book to make it on the shortlist. I’ll be getting this one from the library, while it sounds like a book I would enjoy, I’m not sure how much I will actually want it on my shelf.

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.

The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.

AN INDIE PRESS! ECW Press has some fantastic books, they’ve had books previously on Canada Reads as well. I love how there are more Indigenous authors on this list this year, keep them coming!

This book sounds very interesting, and I’m all about dystopian novels. I’m hoping this one makes it to the shortlist, I think a lot of good conversations could be had regarding this novel. I will be picking this up from my bookstore.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

One snowy night, a famous Hollywood actor dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theatre troupe known as the Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend and a young actress with the Travelling Symphony caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame and the beauty of the world as we know it.

Station Eleven was on the longlist back in 2016, but will it be on the shortlist this year? Maybe the second time on here is the charm? It worked for Scarbrough who made it on this list previously and then was shortlisted last year (it didn’t win, but was a close one!)

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a few years now – so thank you Canada Reads for making me read it this year! I think this book will evoke some great conversations, and I’m going to enjoy reading it. I’m glad to see other genres making their way onto this list.

What are your predictions for Canada Reads? Which books will be shortlisted, and who will win?

I’ll be going on my Instagram stories during the debates and providing my thoughts. I’m so excited to see who will be championing the shortlist books! I’ll also have my full reviews of the books uploaded here at some point. I’m going to try and read these 15 books before the debates start at the end of March.

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