Last week at the Scotiabank Giller Prize reception and ceremony I was in the presence of many of the movers and shakers within the Canadian literary scene; almost too many wonderful authors to name, but also a healthy number of media personalities and those who help bring that culture to the masses.
So it was with great pleasure that I got to meet Michael Enright in person for the first time. Michael is the host of CBC Radio One's Sunday Edition, a show that Francine and I hate to miss.
The Gillers were packed with a ton of people, many friends and colleages I knew were there but didn't get a chance to see or speak with, and many others I later found out were there but that I didn't see.
I didn't bump into Michael until I was on my way out. But I couldn't resist a chance to stop and chat with him for a few minutes, let him know how much my wife and I enjoyed his radio program (yes, gushing fan), but more importantly, ask him how he was able to read so many books. Michael was one of the 3 jury members for the Scotiabank Gillers, and as such, had to read 98 books. I'm one of the jurors for the 2011 Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic and will have to read a good many more books than I can normally consume in a year, so needed some advice.
Michael told me that his secret was the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). He said when he needed to try to read undisturbed, he would take some books with him and get on the subway and just ride it around (with a full loop averaging about 48 minutes or so) -- occasionally he would have to wear noise-cancelling headphones, but for the most part, on the subway your cell phone is rendered signal-less and you can travel, amongst many others, in your own enclosed world and get a whack of reading done.
I should know, since I did get a lot of reading done in the 7 years I commuted between Hamilton and Toronto on the GO Train (although there's no cell-phone cancelling happening there)
In any case, it was great to meet Michael, to let him know in person how much Francine and I enjoyed his work, and, of course, to find out this great strategy directly from him. As our chat wrapped up my "fanboy" ways took over and I asked if it would be okay if I snapped a quick pic of the two of us. And that's this week's HNT picture.