I thought Kristen would be the perfect interview, but she claims she only reads one book a year. I don’t want to accuse her of lying, but would like to point out that she’s currently pursuing her second university degree, and graduated her first with highest honours. She’s very smart and literate! Kristen delivers babies for a living.
Photos by Renee Dufour.
What kind of a reader are you?
Not a good one. I can go almost a year without reading a book. It’s not until people start talking about so and so book and so and so author, that I feel shamed into reading one. When I do, and find a good one, I usually overindulge and end up reading all of the books from that one author. Then I take another year hiatus until the next time it happens.
I also like readings books that I was supposed to read in high school, but never did. This stems from the slight guilt I feel about being able to graduate without ever reading a single book assigned in English class.
What book have you reread more than any other?
Oh jeez. I’m a bit embarrassed about this one – I would say it’s a tie between Maniac McGee and The Giver. Both are about Grade 5 level books. Maybe that’s why I like them so much. Seriously though – they deal with some pretty deep issues. The Giver is like a 1984 for kids, and Maniac Mcgee teaches you to be a better person.
Have you come across any good books about midwifery as you’ve been learning to become one?
The Red Tent is one of my favourite books. I bawled on the bus from Montreal to Ottawa when finishing that book. I think it’s the first time in my life that I wished that the bus ride would take longer so that I didn’t have to rush through the end of the last chapter. The book isn’t about midwives per se, but the main character is one, and really shapes who she becomes and adds so much beauty to the book. Midwives is another pretty good one – it’s like the murder mystery of the bunch. Another one is the Book of Negroes. This one makes me ashamed that the 12-year-old girl in the book knew how to delivery babies better than I do at 26.
I remember you once made your boyfriend Curtis read a book, what was it?
Two of my biggest pet peeves are:
1) People who debate about feminist issues, but when you ask them for a definition of feminism, they can’t give you one.
2) When people think feminism is strange or somehow wrong, but after talking to them, you realize they are ones and don’t even know it.
Because of those reasons, and because I could never date a man who wasn’t a feminist (whether he recognized it or not), I asked Curtis to read bell hooks’ Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. I wanted him to understand why feminism is so important to me, and that’s is not at all about women versus men. bell hooks is one of the few feminist authors whose writing is completely accessible and allows people to relate feminism to their everyday life.
What book do you pretend to have read, but never actually have?
In Grade 3 my class would go to the library each week to talk to the librarian, Mr. Wilkinson, about books and reading. This girl named Gwen would take out novels, while the rest of us took out silly 30 pagers. I wanted to seem smart too so I started taking out one book from the Little House On The Prairie series each week. I never read a single page of any of the books, but each week when I returned the book, Mr. Wilkinson would ask me how I liked it, and I would always respond, “oh, I liked it a lot.” He must have known my game, but never called me on it. Maybe if he did, I would be a better reader today. Thanks for nothing Mr. Wilkinson.
What character from a book would you like to call your friend in real life?
I would want William Lee from Naked Lunch to be my friend in real life – but just for the day. It would give him enough time to explain to me what the f that book was about. Otherwise, any of the girls from Foxfire, because they were all pretty kick ass.
Kristen’s Must Reads
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Because it’s so just so beautifully sad.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. It’s actually laugh out loud funny.
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. Strongly recommended for those you need a little help mastering their Scottish accents.