Harper Collins Canada March Madness 2013

It’s that time of year again, bookworms! Harper Collins Canada just launched HCC March Madness 2013! The concept is fairly simple: 64 books are in the tournament; readers can go to hccmarchmadness.ca and vote for their favourite in each pairing, and at the end of several weeks, one book will be named champion. Not just that, but every day you cast a vote, you can enter a draw to win all 64 books in the tournament.

I’ve been a fan of this project since its first year, but I must admit, this year’s list of contenders seems especially strong. Perhaps it’s because for the first time, Harper Collins has decided to let children’s books into the tournament!

Children’s Books

How can anyone resist Goodnight Moon or Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are? Or Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree (which makes me tear up, every single time)?

Personally, though, my heart goes to Amelia Bedelia, the hilariously literal-minded maid whose adventures kept me company many recess periods in the school library.


I grew up with Amelia Bedelia books. When I worked as a bookseller, I once put an Amelia Bedelia book on display as my staff pick. I later found out that a co-worker was accused of naming it my staff pick as a prank — I guess it was a far cry from the mysteries and thrillers I usually have as my staff picks…

Amelia is up against some tough competition — Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, which I personally really didn’t enjoy and couldn’t finish, but which I also know has formed quite a passionate fan following. Still, how can you not fall for a maid who is requested to pitch a tent, and who then obediently sends the tent hurtling through the air?


Harper Collins Canada has outdone itself this year with their line up of mysteries and thrillers!


First up, S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep. Imagine waking up each morning and having no idea who you are and what your life is like. Then imagine piecing it all together only to go back to bed knowing you’ll have forgotten everything again by the next morning. Currently being developed into a movie starring Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong and Colin Firth, this incredible thriller literally kept me from going to sleep myself. I loved it so much I wrote about it for Harper Collins Canada’s Savvy Reader blog. Read my review, and the record of my live tweeting of the book, here.



Also in the tournament is Elizabeth Haynes’ debut novel Into the Darkest CornerQuite possibly one of the most emotional reading experiences I’ve ever had — my copy is filled with Post-Its and marginal scribbles, mostly impassioned comments about the ex-boyfriend who has made the heroine’s life such a living hell. Haynes has crafted a terrifying, emotional, claustrophobic story of abuse. It’s not an easy read, but oh wow, is it ever worth it! Read my full review here.



Finally, we have classic Agatha Christie, 4:50 from Paddingtonone of my favourite Christies, and one of my top two Marple books. Just like my other favourite Marple, Sleeping Murder4:50 from Paddington is not so much a whodunnit as a did it even happen? An elderly woman witnesses a murder when her train passes by another train, but when the police search the area, there’s no body to be found. “I’m too old for any more adventures,” Miss Marple muses, just as she realizes how the murderer could have gotten rid of the body. Clearly, Marple is still at the top of her game, and 4:50 from Paddington is an absolute treat to read, and to re-read.




Lord of the Rings. Yeah.

[Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet, you should. My go-to set of books whenever I want to absolutely lose myself in a story.]



Scout. Jem. Boo Radley. Atticus Finch. All iconic characters, and for such a good reason. Amazing book.

General Fiction



Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is my book soulmate. Seriously. It just combined practically all the elements guaranteed to make me love a book: an indie bookshop, mysterious customers who pick up forbidden tomes, dorky characters, and best of all, the integration of digital innovation into a celebration of the printed word. Read my review here.


Incredible list of books this year, Harper Collins Canada. Well done!

Vote for your favourites here, and don’t forget — every day that you vote, you can enter for a chance to win all 64 books in the tournament!

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