Read Local First

You eat local. You shop local. Do you read local?

When I’m not reading from the list, I usually come across books by accident – browsing the library or used book store, or a random recommendation – but I love it when a theme emerges. The idea of “reading local” has come up a few times lately:

  • Might need to plan a trip out East after reading this…

    I won a copy of  From Away by Edmonton author Michelle Ferguson from local book blog Eat Books. From Away is about an outsider in a small Nova Scotia community. I have family on Cape Breton Island, and have heard the expression “from away” used to describe not only visitors, but anyone not born on the island, even those who have lived there for twenty plus years.

  • A random person tweeted me with a recommendation for Americas by Edmonton author Jason Lee Norman. Americas is a collection of 22 short stories, one for each of the countries in the Americas. This is another case of a local author writing about “away.” I’m looking forward to this one, as short stories sound like the perfect antidote to months of dense Russian drama.
  • Another way to read local is to connect with local readers. Fellow book lover Andy Grabia (@agrabia) is organizing a book swap on June 26th where each person must bring a book they loved as a child, a book they loved as a teenager, and a book they loved as an adult. Henry and I will be there, for the first hour or so anyway. Bedtime must be observed. Check it out, sign up and maybe I’ll see you there.

And with that, my summer reading is set. From Away, Americas, and whatever I pick up at the book swap will keep me reading local for the next few months. I’m interested to see how the themes of being “local” versus “from away” play out in these books.

Do you read local? Does a book’s setting or author’s origin influence your reading choices? 

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14 comments

  1. Brie @ Eat Books

    I’ve always been a full supporter of Canadian authors (it helps that my mom was a book publicist throughout my teen years!). I don’t strictly read Canadian authors, but I try and make a conscious effort to. As for local, since starting my blog, I’ve been discovering more local authors and I like to support them if I can! This post makes a good point – I like to shop local, and yes, I think it’s important to support local artists (but I still have to be interested in the reading content).

    The book swap sounds so awesome! I just need to check if I’m working or not. What a fantastic idea.

  2. Angry vegan

    Never really thought about reading local even thigh I try to read canadian authors once in a while…

    I wanna go to that book swap! Have no childhood books though…

    • lauratfrey

      You should come! I don’t need you to babysit, I decided to bring Henry 🙂 You can always go to Wee Book and find a book you liked in childhood. Or I can lend you Flowers in the Attic or something lol

  3. Crissy

    Hi Laura,

    Here’s another way to read local: not sure if you know about the 49th Shelf, but it’s a website devoted to Canadian books and every week the site features a new selection of Canadian titles on the homepage. You can also discover titles on 49th Shelf’s Read Local map: http://49thshelf.com/map

    All the best,
    Crissy

  4. Kristilyn (@ReadingInWinter)

    This is great! I haven’t read any local books, but I have read some Canadian literature. As of late, I’ve wanted to read MORE Canadian literature, but other books need to be read first. There is some amazing talent in this beautiful country!

    As for the city, I think I only have one book by a local author and there are certain things talked about during our brief meeting that have made me NOT want to read the book I bought (signed and paid for — can’t return it). Would love to read more by local, Edmonton authors, though! Any suggestions?

    • lauratfrey

      Hmm I’m curious about which author you talked to! I’d also like too read Lynn Coady’s The Antagonist. She is from Edmonton and her book was shortlisted for the Giller Prize last year.

      • Michelle

        Laura – great post! I’m a bit behind these days! Would love to hear your thoughts on From Away! … and I’m also curious about the above comment by ReadingInWinter.

        As for local Edmonton writers I highly recommend Good To A Fault by Marina Endicott. Great book!

        My latest read was Still Alice – heartbreaking book but impossible to put down.

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  6. lauratfrey

    Hi Michelle, nice to see you here! I haven’t read From Away yet. I lent it to my mom, since she is from the Maritimes and I thought she’s like to read it. She is taking her time. I might just get it back from her, as I would like to follow up with a review!

    Thanks for the recommendations!

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