In this paper, I examine the responses of readers to Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road in light of its appearance on Canada Reads, particularly in relation to the CBC’s paratextual framing of the novel and the way it was discussed by the panellists in the 2006 iteration of the programme. I explore the clash of reading practices that emerge, and suggest that although there is no easy separation to be made between groups of readers, there is value in exploring how, and why, different interpretive modes emerge, particularly in a context where narratives of national history and identity are at stake. Finally, I seek to locate Canada Reads in the wider cultural field by contextualizing it in relation to other debates about literary value, such as Frankfurt School objections to mass culture and Virginia Woolf’s aversion to the middlebrow.
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