"Endurance" Wins Rossland Reads 2014
It’s been decided. The book all Rosslanders should read this year is Endurance by Alfred Lansing.
“Endurance is the book for Rossland because Rosslanders do amazing things and carry on doing these things even when they seem impossible” said defender of the book, Mark Jeffrey, during the last round of debates. Riding the Bus with My Sister, on the other hand, “shows a lack of aspiration” he said, citing an example of a bus driver who wanted to be a pilot but got caught up in the daily grind.
Liz Anderson, defender of Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon, the only other book remaining after the first two rounds of debates, countered with the idea that Rossland is full of people who’ve decided that there are more important things to life than achieving the next great thing. The message of her book is to “find happiness in day to day living and not always be striving for something bigger.” And like the drivers Rachel Simon meets riding the bus, Rossland has a wide variety of people from different walks of life. “People you can learn from,” said Anderson.
Kate Harrison-Whiteside, whose book Out of Africa got voted off in round one, agrees. “Endurance is a bit myopic. It will only appeal to a small subset of Rosslanders”. To her, Riding the Bus with My Sister is more universal, especially in light of the current free bus debate. “In Rossland, buses have gone from being a non-issue to a hot topic. The free bus has caused a cultural shift by getting people together who may not otherwise get to know each other.”
Early in the debate, Aerin Guy, whose book The Alchemist got voted off in round two, also took aim at Alfred Lansing’s account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to cross the Antarctic. “Endurance is the kind of book you expect to see on the book shelf of someone from Rossland. But if you dig deeper you find that not everyone in Rossland is a super hero. Many have families and can relate to the message in Riding the Bus with My Sister about the importance of relationships.” Guy could even image Rachel Simon’s memoir ending with “and then I moved to Rossland”.
But in the end, after a split decision on the panel (with Guy throwing her support behind Endurance because it fits better with the travel theme and she’s a stickler for rules), the audience chose Endurance as the winning title.
With this year’s book decided, Bev Rintoul, director of the Rossland Library, put out a call for future panelists and invited Jennifer Ellis to return to the helm next year. Hopefully she will not be recruited to fill the tragically vacant seat of moderator for Canada Reads instead (then again, hopefully she will – we need more Rosslanders on CBC!)
Thanks to the Rossland Public Library, Rossland Art Gallery, Rossland Beer Company, Mountain Nugget Chocolate, Rossland Mountain Roasting, our intrepid moderator, feisty debaters and enthusiastic audience for giving their time and energy to the important subject of books. See you all next year!