Ex libris

I love books. I love reading them, I love writing them, I love what books do inside my head. The trouble is I’ve ended up with more than 1,000 volumes and that’s after donating about 300 (half a dozen at a time) to the used book store at the Toronto Research Library over the last few years.

I’ve got some of the first books I ever read such as The Adventures of Danny Meadowmouse by Thorton W. Burgess and Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne. I’ve got the first book I ever bought, How The Great Religions Began by Joseph Gaer and, no, I can’t explain that purchase. I guess I was just curious. I’ve got novels from high school such as Where The High Winds Blow by David Harry Walker. And university texts, notably, The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

My books also serve as research. My current project is a history of CIBC from 1973-1999. I went through my shelves and found a dozen books that are relevant. It’s like living in the stacks at the Robarts Library but with more space than one of their carrels.

You also get to the point in life where great pleasure comes from rereading your favourites and deepening your understanding of them each time through. Here are my top 10 favourite books: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Goodbye, Darkness by William Manchester; any volume by Robert Caro on LBJ; The Scotch by John Kenneth Galbraith; A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving; Fifth Business by Robertson Davies; Lament for a Nation by George Grant; H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald; Gentlemen, Players & Politicians by Dalton Camp; and The Life of the Skies by Jonathan Rosen.


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