Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book Brahmin

So, one of the many publishing-related web resources I subscribe to is a daily mailer called Shelf Awareness. It comes in two flavours: for professionals and for readers. (Apparently they are mutually exclusive categories.) One of the regular features on Shelf Awareness is a set of interviews with up-and-coming authors called Book Brahmin. Since sometime in 2015 (I hope) I will have published my first real book, I decided to do a Book Brahmin with myself, using the Shelf Awareness formula. Here it is!

On your nightstand now: Several books in various states of completion: Sara Paretsky, ed., A Woman's View; Joel Coharroe, ed., Six American Poets; Geoff Pevere and Greig Dymond, Mondo Canuck; Jame Clavell, Shogun; Jessica Kluthe, Rosina, the Midwife.

Favourite book when you were a child: It's really difficult to narrow my favourite book down to just one: I re-read my favourite books with alarming frequency when I was young, and there were many of them. As a compromise, I think I'll submit Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series as my childhood favourite. (Never cared for the television series, though.)

Your top five authors: Margaret Atwood. John Irving. Tom Robbins. Virginia Woolf. Timothy Findley. Honourary mentions to Charlotte Brontë, Judy Blume, and Robert Kroetsch. And ...

Book you've faked reading: I was an honours English major; I've faked reading many books! Moby-Dick is likely the most notable one.

Book you're an evangelist for: I do not feel I'm an evangelist for any book; if anything, I'm an evangelist for books and reading generally.

Book you've bought for the cover: Wide Open by Nicola Barker. Still haven't read it.

Book that changed your life: While I have enumerated a few dozen books that have changed my life in some way or another, one that I have recently come to recognize as life-changing is Wuthering Heights. I was fourteen and in grade nine when I read it for the first time, inspired by the song by Kate Bush. I can draw a line from this book to important school-assigned texts such as East of Eden and to self-directed texts such as Jane Eyre. And of course I've seen the film, watched various TV adaptations, and read various spinoffs and books inspired by Emily's original.

Favourite line from a book: As I've noted before: "All of us are better when we're loved" written by Alistair Macleod in his grand novel No Great Mischief. But a close runner-up would be Dumbledore's "few words" to address the great hall in the first Harry Potter book: "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" Then he sits down.

Which character you most relate to: Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. She wants so very much to be a good person, but she has so much anger!

Book you most want to read again for the first time: Probably 1984 by George Orwell. But that's a long story.

Book you think everyone should read: The Diviners by Margaret Laurence. Or maybe Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. No, The Cider House Rules by John Irving. Or maybe The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin...

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