End-of-2010 Reading

You don’t get a lot of time for leisure reading in journalism school. In part because what you may have considered leisure reading (the news) before is now homework, but also because you have course work and research to do. In these couple of weeks off, I’ve tried to read a few books for fun. Some have been (kind of) for work, but I had been looking forward to reading that for some time.


Kenk: A Graphic Portrait

After skirting reading it for a year – and even checking out the creative team’s awesome talk at the Ottawa International Animation Festival – I finally read all of Kenk courtesy my girlfriend. The book is a wonderful experiment in visual texture and a portrait of a really fascinating character (that would be Igor Kenk, the Western hemisphere’s most prolific bike thief). As someone who made pages upon pages of comics growing up, Kenk has given me all kinds of dangerous ideas about comic book journalism.



Local Motion

Local Motion: The Art of Civic Engagement in Toronto

I’ve been writing about municipal politics for the majority of my (brief, so far) career as a print journalist. It’s great to see this book, written by veteran journalists, activists and people who blur that line. Yes, my (occasional) boss at Eye Weekly, Edward Keenan, wrote a chapter – so if that is a conflict of interest as far as you’re concerned, don’t read his chapter (your loss). Featuring contributions Denise Balkissoon, Jonathan Goldsbie, Kelly Grant, John Lorinc, Hannah Sung, and more. Edited by Dave Meslin, Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox.



Future BabbleFuture Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – and Why We Believe Them Anyway

After a semester learning the journalistic temperament, it was fun to read something that so earnestly reflects that of the historian. Gardner’s book has some great stories in it and a rallying cry to end forcing the human behaviour into models (economics, political science). After all, people are messy, self-contradictory and wonderful. To get your fix throughout the year, I recommend checking out Dan Gardner’s Twitter/Ottawa Citizen columns. I also had the chance to interview about predictions for 2011…more on that in upcoming weeks.


Cigar Box BanjoCigar Box Banjo

Touching, sincere, very different from the rest of my reading list. It’s also the least orange (I trend of 2010 jacket design, maybe?). The book is the late Paul Quarrington’s music memoir and his reflections on fighting  stage 4 lung cancer. Music and mortality, two things I probably will never really understand. Quarrington also opens a window on 1960s Don Mills, a setting we don’t read enough about. I wish I had read more of his work before he passed away in January 2010. I’ve got a Whale Music DVD on order from Amazon.


One thought on “End-of-2010 Reading

  1. Hi Matthew, thanks for posting your note about Cigar Box Banjo – happily Paul has a whole body of work – non-fiction and fiction, all with his own wonderful black and insightful and comic view of the world – try ’em all! More info at his website (above).

    Best regards,

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