Thursday, October 28, 2010
Drive-by Saviours is Essential Read
And we the people will decide which books make the top 10 list. You only get one vote.
If you want to vote Drive-by Saviours, just go to Canada Reads and click the circle next to Drive-by Saviours by Chris Benjamin, scroll down and click the vote button. You have until Nov 7 - but really why wait until Nov 7 what you could do right now?
Btw, here is the Top 40 list, and there are some damn fine books there. What say you, dear reader? What books should have made the list but didn't. Any on the list that you don't think are so hot?
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall
Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
Conceit by Mary Novik
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Drive-by Saviours by Chris Benjamin
Elle by Douglas Glover
Essex County by Jeff Lemire
Far to Go by Alison Pick
February by Lisa Moore
Galore by Michael Crummey
Heave by Christy Ann Conlin
Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey
Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
Moody Food by Ray Robertson
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
Room by Emma Donoghue
Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop
Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
The Birth House by Ami McKay
The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Fallen by Stephen Finucan
The Girls Who Saw Everything by Sean Dixon
The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe
The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
Twenty-Six by Leo McKay Jr.
Unless by Carol Shields
Monday, October 18, 2010
Apparently I'm Big in Germany
We crawled another hour-and-a-half to our turnoff, then bolted through downtown as the rain hammered everything. We drove by the Canadian Pacific sign and scanned the streetscape with stretched eyes until Jeff pulled the truck into the drop off. We fist bumped; I grabbed my bags and ran, glancing at the gates I passed until I found Campbellton and flashed my ticket. "Moncton?"
"Yep. Hurry down and just say 'Moncton' at the foot of the stairs."
From my seat I texted Jeff. "Made it."
Seventeen hours later, the red-headed Hertz guy picked me up at the train station and drove me 20 minutes to the airport for paperwork. He's a Moncton lifer, spent time in the states but after 9/11 things got too weird there and he came to the small town he knows and loves.
We were all set to go until I gave them my wife's credit card - no can do. And mine was in Halifax. No cash deposit. I was stuck at Moncton airport, two hours until my reading in Fredericton. The Hertz guy (another one) asked the Budget girl if they cioiuld rent me a car on cash deposit. Nope, but Delta could, back downtown.
Tristan needed to get some fresh air anyway, he said. He's a Nova Scotia boy, north shore, stuck in Moncton too long. "I hate it," he said. "It's a giant industrial park that people happen to live in. It's ugly and there's nothing to do." I found the outskirts pretty anyway, with the fall colours, but he hopes to move to Halifax as soon as he can.
Delta was empty. I knocked on the glass and a guy came out with a broom and dustpan. "You the one who called?"
It was an all paper, no computer business, with a mandatory vehicle walk-around, and several spots to initial on the long form. He put my cash deposit in an envelope, sealed and signed it, had me check to make sure the tank was full, pointed me to the highway and I was gone, red-lined to Fredericton, only 10 minutes late for the reading.
It was a small group but I sold a few books and met a women who'd already red Drive-by Saviours and is recommending it to her book club. And I met Corey Redekop, author of Shelf Monkey - soon to be on Canada Reads top 40 must-read list. We bantered on canlit and the mneed for authors to embrace our inner pimps - be self promoters that is.
I nabbed a few hours sleep at an old friend's place, a suburban household of 11 - her stepdaughter, several international billets, a visiting German family of five, and me. "I'll take the ISBN and get it back in Germany," the mister told me. "They'll order in anything for me!" And that's how the book tour pays off, I think, the face-to-face that gets your book in a German store before it's even translated.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Doing the Bookstore Hustle
But there he was in the Lula Lounge, in full colour, three dimensions, in the flesh, across the table from me with his book, The Fire in Bradford, in hand. "I'll show you mine if you you show me yours," he grinned.
Another Story Bookshop on hand selling Drive-by Saviours I didn't have any swap copies. The swap had been my suggestion, but with all the insanity of travel, visiting family and friends, organizing book launches and an Eastern Canadian book tour, I'd forgotten. I promised to send Ivan a copy in the mail and he gave me his book, shook my hand and heartily congratulated me. And he was gone, making way for the next in line.
It was one of a series of surreal encounters I've had lately with old friends. The support has been overwhelming - people I haven't seen in years, people I've only met online, have come out to my two book launches in Halifax and Toronto to celebrate my accomplishment.
And now, writing from a friend's home in East Toronto, planning to head up to Kent Bookstore in Lindsay Ontario in a few hours for another reading and more old friends (and to meet a boisterous one-year-old), I'm feeling a deep easy happiness in that willingness to celebrate what others among us do.
At the same time, I ache for my wife and son, who flew back to Halifax yesterday morning at about crack o'clock, and I long for my own bed where I could properly nurse this worsening cold. Suddenly I'm a lone drifter again, something I missed and didn't expect to experience again so soon. Last time I was a young man, full of abstractions and equipped with an eager pen and ink-hungry notebooks. It all seems a little more businesslike this time - I'm a drifter with a mission, a product to move. I feel like a huckster with a money-bulge in my pocket.
That's not a complaint. I'm loving meeting people, sharing my art with them, and experiencing their kind and enthusiastic responses - their questions, comments and cash. Living the dream for me has moved beyond sloganism and into reality.