The CBC’s Canada Reads, a nationwide book club program in which 5 books compete (each championed by a Canadian celebrity) to be named the #1 book of the year, has officially announced the final 5. Jeff Lemire’s phenomenal Essex County has made the cut, becoming not simply the first Top Shelf book, but the first graphic novel ever, to be in Canada Reads! This year, the Canada Reads program bears the theme “the essential Canadian novels of the past decade,” so the honor is even more prestigious.
The celebrity champion of Essex County has also officially been announced: indie rocker Sara Quin, one-half of the award-winning band Tegan and Sara ! Along with Sara’s spirited defense of the book in the Canada Reads broadcasts, we can expect plenty of attention on author Jeff Lemire, ranging from this Q&A to a variety of podcasts, interviews, and more!
The selection of Essex County for this program is a huge honor for Jeff Lemire, Top Shelf Productions, and the comics industry at large. It poses an opportunity for an entire country to discover the power of Jeff’s work, and to debate its values against four other excellent books. Our deepest congratulations to Jeff and the other finalists!
Canada Reads encourages everyone to spend this winter reading all 5 books, with various programming allowing readers to get to know the finalists better, all building up to the official competition in February 2011. Happy reading, and may the best book win!