The CBC Canada Reads 2017 Finalists in Accessible Formats

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The highly-anticipated CBC Canada Reads 2017 shortlist is being released today by host Ali Hassan and guests on CBC's q on radio and internet across the country. This year's guests will debate the question, "What is the one book Canadians need now?" The debates will take place from March 27 to 30, 2017 - tune in and follow the conversations!

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, defended by Humble the Poet

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.

Company Town by Madeline Ashby, defended by Tamara Taylor

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 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. 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.

Nostalgia by M. G. Vassanji, defended by Jody Mitic

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.

The Break by Katherena Vermette, defended by Candy Palmater

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.

The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, defended by Chantal Kreviazuk

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.


What a great, great set of books. Which one do we most need right now?

In case you missed the long list of nominees, you can find many of them in accessible formats here. Stay tuned to our Twitter feed for announcements of more titles as we publish them.

Big, special thanks to CBC Canada Reads for helping us get these books ready for you! Thanks, also, to the following publishers who shared files with us so we could produce accessible formats: Coach House Books (Fifteen Dogs), House of Anansi (The Break), and Tor Books (Company Town).

Happy reading!