Monday, February 16, 2009

Reading in a Chorus

I've long been fond of the fact that I'm part of a chorus of readers, both on-line and in the actual world. The deceptively unsolitary nature of reading endlessly delights me, though I've never really been driven have us all start singing the same song. I am difficult that way. So my Canada Reads challenge is just as much an experiment, but already I'm finding positive outcomes.

On Friday night we attended the Canada Reads event at the Toronto Metro Reference Library, hosted by Matt Galloway, and featuring Gil Adamson (author of The Outlander), Patricia Hamilton (I KNOW!) speaking for The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant, Brian Francis (author of Fruit), Donna Bailey-Nurse championing The Book of Negroes, and Sarah Slean speaking for Mercy Among the Children, along with its author David Adams Richards. We received the familiar joys of listening to authors read from their work, learning about their books' origins, but also the rarer joy (in public forums, at least) of readers championing beloved books. I do believe there is nothing else like it, the infection of avid readership. I came away from the event with new perspectives on the books I've already read, and I am bursting to read the final two.

At home, Canada Reads has become a family affair, and I'm enjoying that experience too. Underlining the fact that my opinions are so not subjective-- my husband has adored The Book of Negroes, for instance, and we've had so many spirited discussions about our different interpretations of the book. Our differing opinions informing each other, though never managing to change our minds, oh no. But still, that there are no wrong answers here, no clear winners or losers. Each of the books has its own reasons for emerging victorious, and those lucky among us will get a sense of every one.

(Above, Matt Galloway with the fabulous Brian Francis.)