The Next Chapter

Candy Palmater on the freedom that comes with letting go of books

The comedian speaks with Shelagh Rogers about her love of collecting books — and how she cut her collection in half.
Candy Palmater is a former lawyer, writer, comedian, actor and broadcaster and was a Canada Reads panellist in 2017. (CBC)

Candy Palmater is a former lawyer, writer, comedian, actor and broadcaster. The former Canada Reads panellist is also an avid reader with a huge book collection — which she recently had to cut in half when she moved to Toronto.

Culling books

"I had over 12,000 pounds of stuff and 8,000 pounds of it was books. When I got here, I realized how small living space is in Toronto. Then I came to terms with the fact that I'm going to stay in Toronto for some time and I'm not going to be able to buy a $5 million condo that I can fit all my books in. I came to the realization that they were getting damaged in storage and I should let them go free into the world. I cut my collection, I would say, by about 50 per cent — I culled about 400 books. I have about 500 left, but the decision making process was very, very difficult. In a lot of ways, it was painful going in, but I do feel somewhat free."   

Don't always finish what you start

"I have a hard time not finishing a book that I've started and not reading a book that I've bought. At 48, I'm realizing time is not infinite. I need to have time to read all the books I want to read. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I didn't realize how horrible that book was going to be because it was everywhere. I bought all three, and of course I got maybe 50 pages into the first one and I was having a migraine thinking, 'I cannot believe I have to finish this book.' I finished the first one and I didn't want to let go of the other ones, but in the purge I said, 'I didn't read them, but those are going.'"

Candy Palmater's comments have been edited and condensed.