For the first time, this year’s Canada Reads theme is non-fiction.

This year’s contenders range from an astonishing story of survival, tour memoirs from a Canadian rocker, a behind-the-scenes look at what it is to be a hockey player in the NHL, a woman’s story of revolution and activism, and a deadly encounter between men and a vicious tiger.

The Canada Reads 2012 five finalists are:

Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre
Defended by: Shad

On a Cold Road by Dave Bidini
Defended by: Stacey McKenzie

Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat
Defended by: Arlene Dickinson

The Tiger by John Vaillant
Defended by: Anne-France Goldwater

The Game by Ken Dryden
Defended by: Alan Thicke

Canada Reads is CBC Radio One’s annual battle of the books, in which each Canadian title is represented – and “defended” – by a Canadian personality. The five books are discussed, examined and weighed against each other. Over the course of four days, the finalists are debated and voted out one by one, until a winner is declared.

This year’s debates will take place from February 6th to 9th in front of a live audience.

CBC’s full story on the books and panelists here.

Have your own predictions for this year’s winner? Tell us what you think!