As she turns 50, Candy Palmater rethinks her reading list

The comedian worries about how she'll finish reading her vast collection of books and what she'll be focusing on in the years to come.
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To say that Candy Palmater is a book lover is a big understatement. The comedian keeps a vast collection of books and, as she turns 50, she's starting to worry she won't have time to read them all.

Palmater talks to The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers about how she'll prioritize what to read over the coming decades.

The dilemma

"My mother lived to be 90 and my father lived to 86. My dad was illiterate and my mom was a reader. So if I've got 30 years left, it changes my whole TBR [to be read] list. Am I going to read everything new that comes out? I don't know if I have the time. Am I going to reread Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier? For years, I read it every year. Am I going to get into these big series? People keep telling me I need to read Harry Potter. I let my Game of Thrones collection go... I don't think I have the time in my life to read Game of Thrones."

Reading the world

"I was 25 before I read my first Indigenous book. I keep thinking about the fact that for the first 25 years of my life, I only read white writers. So now you have to be a really good white writer for me to make room. I'm trying to read not just my own people, not just Indigenous people, but I'm trying to read from different parts of the world. That means books that I would usually jump at go further down the list.

"But I love reading books that are just for pleasure. So I still have to make the time for that. The Louise Penny series, for example, which I came to too late. A listener when I had my radio show said to me on the phone 'Have you read Louise Penny?' And I said no. His response was, 'What's wrong with you? So I got into it and I loved them.'"

Human goals

"I have this life theory where there's a human being I have in my mind that I'm trying to become. I pictured her from the time I was young and my parents were very big on telling me, 'Do whatever you want for a living. We don't care. The kind of human being you're going to be is what we care about.' They always told me that every decision I make has to bring me closer to that human being. I never let that get too deep into my reading world. Now I am letting it get into my reading world. Is this going to add to who I want to be? Is this going to bring something to me that's positive? If not, it's got to go."

Candy Palmater's comments have been edited for length and clarity.