Among my favourite places to read is the library in our home in Victoria, B.C. I love that it’s stuffed with books, and the smell of paper. It’s also the coolest room in the house, with all the cozy things you associate with reading. I have mounted poems by Michael Ondaatje and Gwendolyn MacEwen on opposite walls. I go in with a cup of tea, put some music on a junky old stereo we have and get lost in a book.
These days, with a new baby and all the publicity, I’m getting through about two pages a day.
I’m reading Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff. I was attracted by the image of Cleopatra on the cover. She’s one of the most intriguing figures of history. I previously read Schiff’s Vera, a biography of Vladimir Nabokov’s wife. I generally enjoy literary biography, and this was a way of looking at a writer from a different angle.
I’m also rereading 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, which I read two years ago. It exploded my concept of the novel. I’ve bought every edition I could find: hardcover, soft cover, British edition, advance copies. It’s an astonishing work.
Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues was short-listed for The Governor-General’s Fiction Award, adding to previous distinctions for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Man Booker Prize.