I don’t think my grandfather knew he was creating an addict when he plunked a copy of Anne of Green Gables into my seven-year-old hands, but by the time I’d sounded my way through the pages, one word at a time, I was hooked on literature. And now, like any good addict, I have stashes on the go hidden all over my house.
Currently in the bathroom, nestled beside the spare roll, sits a half-read copy of The Best of Canadian Poetry 2015; and tucked in between the bubble bath and Epson salts by my soaker tub is A Journey Through Labrador by Bernie Howgate that I purchased when he was going door to door selling them (now there is an interesting man!) On the kitchen table beside the pepper grinder is Keith O’Brien’s non-fiction Fly Girls (my step-daughter is a pilot so I wanted to read this), and by my bedside lamp, keeping me up late these nights, lies Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six along with the short story collection Zolitude by Paige Cooper.
I initially picked up Daisy Jones & The Six because I was intrigued by its form. It’s written as a series of fictional interviews, stripped down to mostly dialogue and offering multiples points of view. It won’t last more than another night or two as it’s one of those books you can’t help but gulp straight down. As for Cooper, I absolutely adore her style and find the stories in Zolitude to be among the most exhausting, yet rewarding, pieces of short fiction I have ever encountered. Like the darkest of chocolate truffles, I find them too rich to stomach more than one piece at a time, so I slowly savour one at the end of every novel.
If I’d been asked what I was reading earlier this year, it would have been Dania Tomlinson’s Our Animal Hearts, Ondaatje’s Warlight, Alix Hawley’s My Name is a Knife, or Shelley Wood’s debut, The Quintland Sisters, which I had the privilege of work-shopping in a small writers group we both belonged to for many years.
Ever since reading Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro back in first year university, I’ve been obsessed with Canadian literature. I hope one day my debut novel will appear on someone else’s reading list.
Photo courtesy of Glenna Anne Turnbull.