Sunday, July 09, 2006

Reader's Diary #122- John Stevens (editor): Best Canadian Short Stories (FINISHED)


Stevens opens the book with a passage from Margaret Atwood's "A Travel Piece" and closes the book with the entire story. In my (not-so-humble) opinion it's not the strongest story in the collection, but it's still not a bad choice. The snippet he chooses to open the book is about a travel writer who feels that people now go on vacation to feel safe, to relax from the stress and turbulence at home. She feels that this wasn't always the case, it used to be that people went on vacation for adventure and danger. It raises an interesting few questions to keep in mind as one reads through the rest of the book: Could the same be said about readers? Do they read books for excitement? Or for relaxation? And does it have to be one or the other? And how about writers? Are they writing an "all-inclusive" sort of book? Or a "go hiking and find your own unique hideaway" sort of book? I'm sure the answer to these questions is different for everyone, so I'll throw them out there and hope for some responses. For myself, I think I read for relaxation primarily. To me adventure books brings to mind sci-fi, westerns and John Grisham books and I don't often go that route. That said, just like I wouldn't be content to lie on a beach ALL day, I do want some hint of a plot. There is an escapism in my reading choices. I know because I'd be less inclined to read about a teacher protagonist than say a DJ at a rave club. When I vacationed in Hawaii I remember lying in the sun and reading Claire Mowat's Outport People about Newfoundlanders. It was one of the few times I didn't want an escape- I was in Hawaii for frig sakes, who needed Newfoundland?

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