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2017 Canada Reads

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Five Canadians - an actor, a musician, a comedian, a performer and a veteran - will battle it out to become the next Canada Reads champion beginning March 27, 2017.Over four days, the five defenders will bring their diverse perspectives to answer the question: What is the one book Canadians need now?

The Canada Reads debates, which take place from March 27 to 30, 2017, will be hosted by Ali Hassan from CBC's Laugh Out Loud.

Watt-Cloutier, Sheila.
The right to be cold

The former head of the international Inuit Circumpolar Council and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, author and activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier chronicles the impact climate change has had on northern communities and makes the case that this environmental crisis is indeed a human rights issue. Weaving together environmental, cultural and economic issues, Watt-Cloutier makes a passionate and personal plea for change. Defended by Chantal Kreviazuk

Alexis, André
Fifteen dogs

When Hermes and Apollo make a bet about human happiness, they grant 15 dogs staying at a veterinary clinic the power of human consciousness. The dogs instantly become divided between those who prefer their old dog ways and those who want to take advantage of their newfound increased intelligence. What unfolds is a powerful story about what it means to have consciousness, and the good and the bad that comes with it. Defended by Humble the Poet.

Ashby, Madeline.
Company town

New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.

Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig - making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defence and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be - but now, the danger is personal.

A brilliant, twisted mystery, as one woman must evaluate saving the people of a town that can't be saved, or saving herself. (From Tor Books)

Defended by Tamara Taylor

Vermette, Katherena
The break

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break - a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house - she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected with the victim tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Métis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg's North End is exposed. (From House of Anansi)

Defended by Candy Palmater

Vassanji, M. G.
Nostalgia

In the indeterminate future in an unnamed western city, physical impediments to immortality have been overcome. With the threat of the brain's storage capacity being overwhelmed, people want to move forward into the future free from interfering memories. Thus, all traces of a person's past are erased. On occasion, though, cracks emerge.

Dr. Frank Sina specializes in sealing these memory leaks. He is satisfied in his own fiction. But one day, Presley Smith arrives in Frank's office, tortured by persistent thoughts. As he tries to save Presley, Frank finds clues that suggest Presley's past may be located in nuclear-ravaged Maskinia. His suspicions are only intensified when the Department of Internal Security takes an interest in Presley. As Frank tries to save Presley, cracks emerge in his own fiction, and the thoughts that sneak through suggest a connection with Presley. (From Doubleday Canada)

Defended by Jody Mitic