Register Sunday | June 16 | 2019

Comments Invited: Best Canadian Essays 2010

best essays

The following is not an essay on Best Canadian Essays 2010, but a series of imagined online comments that follow an imaginary essay on the book, posted to an imaginary website.

WillandFred Laurier says:
I don't see why we need a second Best Canadian Essays, it's only of interest to academics and people who like to read interesting things.  So what if essay is from the French, meaning to try.  Yoda said there is no try, only do.

Canuck Chuck says:
Will and Fred Laurier, go out and get yourself educated, Jedi masters don't give a damn about Canada.

Pajama String says:
The nerve of people assuming they know "best," that these are the best essays when surely there are so many others, who are they to say this is all there is?  I assume by "best," you mean what a couple of guys in a Starbucks in Toronto think.  This is another tedious project from know-it-all literary types.

Wishing Well says:
Pajama String, have you read the book?

Alex Boyd says:
Hi Pajama String - yes, "best" is clearly something of a marketing gimmick, and there are undoubtedly good pieces of writing not included for a variety of reasons (someday we should sit down to discuss what a challenge a book like this presents) but surely we can be forgiven for not having the space to include everyone, and for needing a marketing angle in this day and age, in the tough business of book publishing.  The book simply selects sixteen remarkable essays from Canadian magazines on a range of topics.  It includes Vancouver Magazine, Alberta Views, Up Here and others, not just Toronto magazines.  

WillandFred Laurier says:
Canuck Chuck, when I want your opinion I'll give it to you.

Biting Rabbit says:
Who does Boyd think he knows?

Biting Rabbit says:
Sorry, I meant who does he think Boyd is?

Tick Tuck says:
I did some digging (by which I mean I did a quick Google search, ha) and Quill & Quire reviewed the first Best Canadian Essays, saying these essays "transcend simple reportage and reach the level of art."

Tolkein Gesture says:
So one of these editors is a published poet and blogs every time he sneezes and the other is a Ryerson journalism professor so that means the book is half good and I'm not gonna tell you witch half so get down off your horse.

Pear Pirate says:
I have it on good authority that some of the writers selected for the book are just starting out, and are quite thrilled, while others are seasoned writers, so that's just one more way the book enjoys some diversity.

Orwell Bedpan says:
Did you have a favourite essay?  What didn't get included?

Alex Boyd says:
Hey, Orwell - some stuff was well written but didn't feel critical or important enough and some stuff seemed an important topic but not terrifically well written.  It's a balancing act because you want to provide examples of compelling writing even as you want important topics for such a critical time in history.  It's all great stuff, but let's see, there's Ira Basen on citizen journalism, Chris Turner on a remarkable band, Katharine Sandiford on the biggest dog-sled race of the year, Will Braun on people customizing Christ for their own needs.  It's also a mix of some of Canada's most-read magazines and some more obscure ones people might like to know about, or even become a subscriber.   Actually, it would mean a lot to Canadian magazines to have more subscribers, particularly now that the federal government isn't supporting the smaller ones.  The Will Braun essay is from Geez, which has thoughtful Christians looking at their religion.  Neat stuff, but how many people even know about it?

Tolkein Gesture says:
Mr. Boyd if you were baked in a pan you'd be lame cake.

Spock Hair says:
The intro suggests magazines are like the conscience of the country.  There's enough depth in the articles to really get at something.  Not that other media can't.  But sometimes writers are up against deadlines. Looking forward to the book.

Best Canadian Essays 2010 was edited by Alex Boyd and Kamal Al-Solaylee. 

 

Related on maisonneuve.org:

—Citizen Uprising
—In Defense of Blogging
—Revivifying CanLit Criticism

SubscribeFollow Maisy on TwitterLike Maisy on Facebook