10 for the Top 10: Ken Dryden

The panelists are in the process of deciding which book they want to bring into the ring for the February debates. We'll reveal who they are — and the titles they choose — on November 23 on CBC Radio's Q and right here on CBC Books.

In the meantime, we want to introduce you to the 10 authors you voted onto the Canada Reads: True Stories Top 10 list.

Today, meet Ken Dryden, author of The Game.

The Game

Ken Dryden served as a Liberal MP from 2004 to 2011, and was the minister of Social Development in Paul Martin's government from 2004 to 2006. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, he starred as a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens from 1971 to 1979, during which time the team won the Stanley Cup six times. His other books include Home Game, In School and his most recent title, Becoming Canada.

Q: In three lines or less, describe your book to Canada.

KD: The Game is the story of a game, a country, a team, and people who dream, succeed, fail, hope and love in big visible ways, just like everyone else. It's a book for insiders to know more than they ever thought they'd know, and for outsiders who thought they knew nothing to realize they know more than they thought they knew.

Q: What inspired your book?

KD: I had read many sports books in my life many of which I enjoyed, but none of which said quite what I had seen and felt and believed. I wanted to write the story I lived in my own words.

Q: What do you most enjoy about writing non-fiction?

KD: What I most enjoy about writing is discovering all those things I didn't know I knew.

Q: What are the biggest challenges?

KD: To me, the biggest challenge is to "get it right," when the page throws back at you everything that's even a little bit wrong.

Q: What makes you fall in love with a non-fiction book?

KD: I love a book that makes me see things differently. That makes me reshuffle my own understandings and makes me think of things far beyond what the author has written.

Q: Describe where you write.

KD: I used to write in my office in our house. Now, I write anywhere I am.

Q: Where are your favourite places to read?

KD: I love to read on our side porch early on a summer morning.

Q: Is there a non-fiction book that had a great influence on your writing?

KD: The book that most influenced me in writing The Game was Dispatches by Michael Herr. Herr wrote about war as it was lived by those who fought it, as they fought it. I wanted my reader to feel "the game" — on the ice and off — in the same real, visceral way.

Q: What did you want to be growing up? Why?

KD: I wanted to be a lawyer because many people I'd read about on the front pages, who seemed to be doing such interesting things, were lawyers. Later I realized the interesting things they were doing had nothing to do with being lawyers.

Q: What's your guilty pleasure when you take a break from writing?

KD: I love movies, cheeseburgers, and dark chocolate gelato.

Q: If you could pick any Canadian personality to defend your book, who would it be and why?

KD: Frank Gehry, because he's interesting.

Do you agree with Ken that architect Frank Gehry should defend his book? Enter our "perfect pairings" contest for a chance to win a complete set of the Canada Reads: True Stories Top 10!

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