Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Books: Obama Writes, But Harper Doesn't, and Yann Martel Hands Off the Book Club for a Few Months

Yann Martel is still waiting for Stephen Harper to get involved in the little "book club" that Martel began nearly three years ago--you'll remember that he's been sending a short book every two weeks to the PM since he noticed that Harper appeared to lack "stillness" in his life.

But at least one North American head of government thinks that Martel is great: Barack Obama sent a little hand written note a couple of weeks ago, thanking Martel for writing The Life of Pi which the American President and his daughter had enjoyed reading. What a class act! As Martel notes, Obama isn't going to get any political mileage out the gesture, but it means the world to a writer.

Martel himself is taking four months off from the book club, as it turns out. He's going to be travelling to promote his new novel shortly so he's asking some writer- friends to help out. Stephen Galloway kicked it off by sending King Leary by Paul Quarrington, while Charles Foran has just sent Ray Smith's Century.

I can understand Martel wanting to step back from the project that has taken on a life of its own, and I have great respect for Galloway, Foran, Quarrington and Smith. But I do hope there will be some women included in the pinch hitters.

Now back to work on my own manuscript.

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