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The disappearing Canadian bestseller

It’s ostensibly a review of Francis Wheen’s Idiot Proof: Deluded Celebrities, Irrational Power Brokers, Media Morons And The Erosion Of Common Sense (Public Affairs/HarperCollins), but Noah Richler’s latest Toronto Star column is typically far-ranging. He laments the lack of arts funding as a serious topic during the federal election campaign; recalls his own participation in a BookExpo Canada panel on the subject (“I argued — hardly, I thought, brazenly — that as much as the Canada Council’s system of grants is a good thing (and by and large it is), that it might well be more prudent for the industry to proceed without relying on them”); argues that Canadians are becoming increasingly savvy politically; and wonders why so few homegrown fiction titles have turned up on our bestseller lists lately.

The answer to that last question, Richler suggests, just might be increased maturity on the part of book buyers. “The curiosity of this year’s bestseller lists may, in fact, be just the proof of a self-deprecating — rational, enlightened — worldview compelling Canadians, in these uncertain times, to put aside national chauvinism in the face of more pressing international issues. And they are doing so in a manner that hardly contravenes their faith in or love of country.”

Related links:
Noah Richler’s column on Idiot Proof