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
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 --
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the gathering
place for Canadian readers, writers and the word-obsessed. We're going
to have a blast together.