Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is Stephen Harper Reading Now?

There's just been an election called here in Canada. We have just over a month until election day, none of this US style, year long drawn out campaigning! There are many people in the arts community who will be happy about a chance to boot out the arts phobic slash-happy Harper conservatives, but I'd imagine none so happy as Yann Martel. And perhaps me.

I've been following along with the recommended books Martel been sending to our PM, since April 2007. He has stated:

For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written.

Martel must be fervently praying, for many reasons, that Harper will be booted. I know I am, and just one of those reasons is that I may finally get a chance to catch up with this *&#%@! never-ending book list! I've fallen far, far behind; my last book read was #20, Northrop Frye's The Educated Imagination, and we are now at #37, Swift's A Modest Proposal. Counting the ones I've already read from his latest suggestions that still leaves me about 15 books behind, sigh.

These are the books from #20 to #37 which I've read in the past, with my comments on them:

To the Lighthouse / Virginia Woolf
A gorgeous read, even if not one of my favourite Woolf books. The story of the Ramsays and their summer retreat in the Hebrides is a book which slows you down, makes you see things differently. It's a good entrée into Woolf's work.

Persepolis / Marjane Satrapi
A graphic novel which I read when it first came out, it's a fascinating look at life for a young woman growing up in Iran. Now I really must see the acclaimed film.

A Modest Proposal / Jonathan Swift
A tiny piece I read back in university, this satirical suggestion for the relief of poverty in Ireland is still a shockingly funny and dark read.

That leaves me with 15 books. Whew.


  1. He walked by my table while I was eating lunch today. Didn't look like he was reading anything at the time. :)

  2. I love following the list. Martel is a genius in my mind.

  3. Cat - why am I not surprised.... ;)

    Andi - I think that Martel is clever and stubborn, imagine continuing on with this project despite our PM's studied disdain of any of the arts.


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