I’ve always been a voracious reader. When I was in elementary school, I even convinced my neighbourhood librarians to let me take out more books in a single visit than was allowed (though the librarians now deny there was ever a limit, I am sticking with my childhood memories).
Fortunately, even though being mayor of Calgary is an amazing and all-consuming job, I’ve still found some time to read great books. While council agendas, correspondence from citizens and even social media take priority, I always have a book handy either on my desk or in my iPad in case I have a free moment.
I’ve just been reading The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Canadian author Steven Galloway. It’s part of the Calgary Public Library One Book, One Calgary project, which encourages all Calgarians to read and discuss the same piece of literature.
But the Calgary Public Library played a cruel trick on me. I was on the waiting list for the e-book of Calgary-raised Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues, and a few days after she won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, I made it to the top of the list. Only problem is, it is budget time (the busiest time of year for me), and you can’t renew an e-book, so I am desperately trying (and failing) to finish it before it’s due back.
As for where I read, I take whatever time I can get, so my best reading spot is in the Grant MacEwan Library, across the hall from my office. It’s a meeting room named for one of Calgary’s most-beloved mayors and a prolific writer. The only problem is that people know when I’m in there and tend to interrupt. I’ve got to get a new lock for that door.
Naheed Nenshi is the mayor of Calgary.