Linden MacIntyre recommends


Every year, CBC Calgary teams up with Calgary Reads, a local literary advocacy group, to organize a giant used book sale. The proceeds from the sale will benefit Calgary Reads and their various programming initiatives. The 2012 sale will take place May 11-13 in Calgary. For more information on when to shop or how to get involved, head to the Calgary Reads website.

This sale got us thinking: have you ever found a book in an unexpected place that ended up having a profound effect on you? That's the question we posed to Linden MacIntyre


Linden MacIntyre is an award-winning journalist and author. Originally from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, MacIntyre has worked for the CBC since 1976 and currently co-hosts The Fifth Estate. In 1999, he gave writing fiction a try and in 2009, his second novel, The Bishop's Man, won the nation's most prestigious fiction prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His follow-up novel, Why Men Lie was recently published by Random House Canada.

When we asked Linden about a surprising read, here's what he had to say, via email:

" It was 1962 and I was beginning either a brief summer stint as a hard-rock miner or a new career working underground -- depending on the outcome of finals at the recent end of my second year in university. I'd just moved into my room in a bunkhouse in a remote coastal community in the northeast of Newfoundland. There was no road access, no television, only occasional newspapers brought in by mail boat. Even radio reception was hit and miss. It was going to be a long summer.

The room was sparsely furnished, a narrow bed, a small dresser and, nailed to the wall above the bed -- a sturdy wooden box, originally used for dynamite. It was a kind of catchall for personal effects including basic toiletries. But never, I was warned, leave shaving lotion in the open.


I hadn't brought much to read but a previous occupant of the room had abandoned two books there in the dynamite box -- Klondike by Pierre Berton and Martin Eden by Jack London. I read them both that summer, impressed by one, that a journalist and broadcast interviewer could write a fact-based book that read like fiction. I was equally inspired but daunted by the other, a novel that described the trials and tragedies that dog the process of creative writing. Combined, they nurtured a desire to publish. But Jack London's book stood for many years as a stark warning: creativity in the absence of stability, economic and emotional, can be fraught with hardship and, ultimately, peril.

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