The above image (used with permission) is pretty optimistic. Does anyone read all five books before voting? Don’t people just vote for the author they know, or the book that looks to be up their alley?
I love the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award in spite of my belief that it’s basically a popularity contest. Some great books have won (The Shore Girl by Fran Kimmel in particular).
I wrote about the Edmonton-heavy shortlist for Vue Weekly. For that article, I had to keep things pretty neutral. Here are my real opinions, for those who care. Voting is open till 11:59pm on Wednesday August 31.
The 2016 Shortlist
The Battle of Alberta by Mark Spector (haven’t read): I have a complicated relationship with hockey. Actually, it’s not complicated anymore: I don’t watch it. My Canucks fandom was fractured during the Bertuzzi incident, and cracked irreparably after the Vancouver riot (the 2011 one.) I still read a little sports writing. I’ll read a Wayne Gretz rant on OilersNation any day. But a whole book on the Oilers/Flames rivalry? Not for me. Perhaps for you?
Road Trip Rwanda by Will Ferguson (haven’t read): Ferguson was so delightful at the authors panel earlier this month. He’s a natural storyteller. I liked his Giller Prize winning novel 419. His humour books look a little cheesy, in a dad-joke way, and I’m a little dubious about the whole “white guy goes to Africa and has feelings about it” thing… so I’m torn. He also doesn’t “need” this award (see: Giller Prize) so yeah.
Rumi and the Red Handbag by Shawna Lemay (read): I intended to review this book, but it didn’t work for me, and I wasn’t sure why. Months later, I’m pretty sure it was bad timing. I’d read a string of books with a particular theme, which is too spoilery to mention, but when it was revealed in Rumi, I was just like, again with this? Which isn’t a fault of the book at all. I’m reading Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys and seeing shades of it in Rumi. That’s a very good thing.
A Wake for the Dreamland by Laurel Deedrick-Mayne (haven’t read): I’m wary of self-published books (said the blogger who’s been self-publishing reviews for five years.) I’ve heard good things, though, and I love an epistolary novel (and the chance to let people know that I know what epistolary means!) On the fence.
Have you guessed who I’m voting for? Go vote yourself till Wednesday midnight.