The other night I was speaking with someone who had just attended a book/reading conference in Canada. I asked if they were still getting charged more for books up there, which seems unfair, as the Loonie (their dollar) is still very nearly even with our suffering dollar. The answer to that was yes. And then I heard this very interesting tidbit:
Evidently, per capita, there is an enormous amount of fantastic literature, fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, etc., coming from Canadian authors these days. I can't say I'm surprised, but then, I love Canada with my whole heart and soul. So we chatted a bit about why that might be, and my friend said that people at the panel thought at least one reason was Canada's socialized health care, meaning that their starving artists can, you know, be starving artists for a little while, while still having the option of, you know, basic medical care. As opposed to (in my friend's words) "having to go get some stupid full-time draining job just to have access to health insurance and doctors when you need them."
That is just SO SAD. It's not enough that all our manufacturing, tech, and call center jobs are elsewhere, now we're outsourcing our writing as well? This country has some explaining to do.
So. If you're looking for Canadian book news, might I humbly suggest Book Ninja? Since all the great lit is coming from our gentle giant neighbor to the north, let's be informed about it, at least. I may read a Carol Shields novel of some type this weekend in Canadian solidarity.
And, for no reason at all except I find the whole story kind of funny (I can't help it), here's a link to some info from Levi Johnston's (Bristol Palin's baby daddy) MySpace page:
Have a good weekend, all!