Ever wonder where authors read when they’re not writing? We asked Toronto-based authors Daniel Perry, Kim Moritsugu, Diane Flacks and Dominique Bernier-Cormier about their favourite reading habits and more.
Favourite places to open a book
“Apart from my home, my favourite place to read is the Leaside branch of the Toronto Public Library. It’s a peaceful, spacious place to spend some time when my house is noisy, and it’s where I pick up the library books that I’ve put on hold.”
“The Artful Dodger, a classic pub around the corner from where I work, though it’s the kind of place where you’re just as likely to put down what you’re reading and talk books with a friendly stranger for a while. It’s also got a fireplace for the winter, a patio for the summer, and my buddy Mark tending the bar.”
“I love reading outside in my backyard with CBC in the background and the kids still asleep before school. But outside my abode, in Toronto, my favourite is reading on the TTC [Toronto Transit Commission] – somehow everything is more acute when someone beside you is asleep, a baby is babbling, and someone else may be about to have a psychotic episode. It makes literature delicious. The experience of being private in public is also a testament to the power of reading.”
“I moved to Toronto in November, so my reading has mostly been done indoors, in my apartment and West End cafes like Run & Gun, Black Cat, The Common, [and] Propeller. I’m just now discovering outdoors Toronto! I love reading on my balcony or in Dovercourt Park (I was recently gifted a hammock, which should be useful if I can figure out how to hang it). I used to love reading on transit, but now I get motion-sick. I’ll still power through the nausea if the book is good enough, though!”
Reading quirks & must-haves to enjoy the experience
“Quiet, nature and coffee! Lots of coffee.”
“Coffee or beer, and a couple of options. I love packing 4 or 5 good poetry books, finding a sunny terrace (Burdock and Wise Bar are my new favourites) and figuring out what reading mood I’m in. And I definitely need ambient noise and activity. I’ll often pause to people-watch and give the poems time to sink in. If I don’t have distractions, I’ll rush through and not remember anything.”
“I like a quiet environment best, though I will read virtually anywhere – on the subway, in doctors’ waiting rooms, in lineups, while brushing my teeth [for] 30h in my bathroom, while topping and tailing green beans in my kitchen.”
“A book. Ha.”
“Siege 13 by Tamas Dobozy”
“Our Little Secret by Judy Steed since the project I’m working on is about guilt, this book, about child sexual abuse, as horrible as it is to read about, offers insight into the lack of remorse felt by abusers. We live in a time where powerful people still believe they can abuse their power and they have surreal justifications for their behaviour. The world is saying no, but there are many that just don’t accept blame.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – I’ve read it twice and still love it. Her prose is that hypnotic mix of lyrical, hilarious and brutal.
Walk it Off by Ruth Marshall. Ruth is my oldest friend and when her picture perfect life was upended by a terrifying diagnosis she managed to write her way through much of it. Fascinating and triumphant and dark and funny.
I’m also going to re-read some Margaret Atwood. She’s so prescient, it’s stunning. I’m interested in writing something about female prophetesses, and she’s a sardonic and brilliant one.”
“I’m currently reading The Banker’s Wife, by Cristina Alger. It’s part of a study of popular thrillers that I’ve been casually conducting, to see how different authors approach the craft of writing suspense fiction.”
“I’m currently reading Stiff by Mary Roach (a hilarious, beautiful book about the science of human cadavers), My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (finally!), and Barbie Chang by Victoria Chang. I highly recommend all of them.”
Want to hear from more Toronto-based authors? Meet them live at book launches across the city, all year long. Dominique Bernier-Cormier launches his latest novel, The Correspondent, on September 26, 2018. These free events are made possible by Toronto Lit Up. For event details, click here.