Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Quick Reads, Stephen Harper and Literacy

Time to catch up on what Stephen Harper is reading—or what Yann Martel has been sending him to read. The two most recent books are Maus by Art Spiegelman (sent on Sept. 17 from Oswiecim. which Martel notes, “is better known by the name the Germans gave it: Auschwitz,”) and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (sent yesterday.) So far Martel’s campaign to provide the Canadian Prime Minister with good bedtime reading has received no response other than a simple acknowledgement of the first book, Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Illych.

Harper is not a stupid man. To give credit where credit is due requires recognizing that some of his strategic moves over the last couple of years have been brilliant, even if totally wrong-headed. But what a contrast between him and Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister! Two years ago Blair launched Quick Reads, a campaign to promote a series of short, but compelling books to encourage reading among the general adult public. Ten new books have just been announced for 2008, and will be formally launched March 6. But they’re available already—along with eight from 2007 and eight from 2006—in big box retailers and books stores all over the British Isles.

Slightly more than a year ago, Harper’s government cut $17.7 million from literacy programs in Canada. It will be interesting to see how programs to encourage literacy and reading fare later this month when we have a new speech from the throne.

And I'd still like to know what Stephen Harper is reading.


Martin Langeland said...

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Slightly more than a year ago, Harper’s government cut $17.7 million from literacy programs in Canada.

Maus, that superb, soul shattering, graphic novel was wasted on these cretins -- no matter how cunning.
By the bye I also love Smollett and Trolope.
Though ours is far worse. *sigh*

Martin Langeland said...

At least Harper is safely presumed to read.
The US Government of the day has no need to read. They are content to have it lined.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Indeed, what is happening in the US is depressing. As I always say, it maybe an accident that we came to Canada, but it's not that we stayed.