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Meet Flannery, Canada Reads 2010's resident blogger

Hello, fellow readers and lovers of literary debate.

My name is Flannery and I will be your guide to all the action at Canada Reads this year. My book-themed thoughts, posts, over-shares, bits of publishing news and gossip are all going to be lead-up to the main event, which will air in March.  I'm here to whip you into a Canada Reads-inspired frenzy! I will employ as many exclamation points as necessary to make that happen in the coming months.

During my stint, I'm going to talk about books, authors, the world of publishing and many of reading's secret pleasures. No, I'm not talking fonts and paper stock -- though that's definitely part of it -- I'm talking about the secret rituals and habits of every avid reader. Secret number one: "Going to read my book" is a polite euphemism for "Going to taking a nap.") For every 20 minutes of reading we readers get in, I calculate a good 15 minutes of REM sleep. Well-rested and well-read -- a human being can't ask for much more.  

First I'd like to extend a wholehearted thank-you to the lovely and talented Lee, last year's resident blogger. Rest assured, I don't have her gagged and bound in my basement. No, Lee is safe and well and happily at work at CBC.ca/arts, where they keep her pretty busy. Thank you, Lee. I wouldn't be here without your kind introduction to the Canada Reads team or your gracious recommendation that I take up residence here. I owe you. (Psst: the Starbucks card is in the mail.)

Like Lee, and many of you, I am a voracious reader -- a lover of books great and trashy (these are the only two genres I recognize when perusing bookshelves). It's a love affair with language that's been going on since I was a little girl. Archie comic books, Nancy Drew mysteries, Sweet Valley High, the works of Stephen King, Emily Brontë and Charles Dickens, all of these and more were beloved childhood companions. I can still remember reading Stephen King's The Stand in a day as a pre-teen. I continue to read Wuthering Heights with affectionate awe -- I really could devote an entire lifetime to the study of that great novel. I have to admit that even to this day the Archie Comic Double Digest still beckons when I'm standing in line at the grocery store.

I don't know what it is about the act of reading that I love most. I know I've always liked the solitariness of it, the opportunity to step out of my real life and tune in to an alternate universe infinitely brighter and bolder. In my literary travels I've met lifelong friends: Dorothea Brooke, Sydney Carton, Heathcliff, Sue Bridehead, Tess Durbeyfield, Charlie Marlow. Inherent laziness is definitely a factor in my continued affection, I'm sure. I like the fact that you can read while lying down! I also like how a great book puts my overactive imagination to work. Even a so-so book keeps my head out of trouble. Frankly, it keeps me from writing letters that begin "Dear Matthew Fox..."

For me, time spent with a book is a whole experience, a good habit that somehow feels like an indulgence. A Saturday afternoon spent under the covers -- freshly laundered sheets! -- in the company of a great book is my idea of decadence. Throw in an Americano and a pain au chocolat -- bow-chicka-wow-wow.

I feel like I've spent a lifetime preparing for this gig and I hope that you feel the same way too about your role here. Canada Reads isn't simply a competition for the book of the year -- it's the occasion for a conversation about why we love to read in the first place.  Your opinions are not just welcome; they're necessary to keeping the debate lively.

So please, get comfortable. And don't be shy. Over the next few months, our collective training -- all that time reading on buses, beaches, sofas, and beds -- will prove essential. In fact, all of those solitary hours passed in silent communion with great books are going to benefit the nation. Please share your thoughts, feelings, ideas and secret reading rituals with me at canadareads@cbc.ca. This is the gathering place for Canadian readers, writers and the word-obsessed. We're going to have a blast together.


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