WordFest presents Richard Ford

Festival week for WordFest 2012 may still be two weeks away, but things get started tonight, in a way, as Richard Ford presents his latest novel, Canada, at the John Dutton Theatre.

When the authors for WordFest 2012 were revealed back in August, Richard Ford was one that caught my attention.  Not only is he a highly regarded writer, who previously won the Pulitzer Prize (for Independence Day in 1996), but he’s also an author I’ve previously read.  A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of reading The Sportswriter, Ford’s first book in his ‘Bascombe trilogy,’ of which his prize-winning novel was the second entry.

Tonight, Ford will be reading from and discussing his new book, Canada, which by all accounts is supposed to be fantastic.  This is a book I regret not having already read.  Everybody I know who has read it raves about it, and I am unable to find even one negative review of it on-line.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the time to read it; there are just too many books out there!  I have been able to put back a few WordFest books already however, most recently Cures for Hunger by Deni Bechard, and should have time for a few more before October 9th arrives.

Naturally it’s always more interesting to hear from an author when you’ve read the book they’re presenting.  You’re familiar with the characters, the plot and the themes, and are obviously a little more prepared to ask a few questions.  But I find it almost as equally rewarding to have read any book by that author, not necessarily their featured work, as will be the case for me tonight.

When I’ve read somebody’s writing, especially 300+ pages of their writing, I feel as if a bond is formed between me and the writer.  They’re telling me their story and giving me a little insight into their personality and a tour of their thoughts.  In my mind, I feel as if maybe I know that person up at the dais a little better than everybody else in the room, because I have been given that backstage pass.

It’s a comforting feeling and one that can only be formed between author and reader.  Unlike watching a movie in a theatre with dozens of strangers, reading a book is such an intimate and personal experience.   When you spend so many hours alone with an author’s thoughts, as well as your own, naturally there’s going to be a little bit of a relationship, as the book turns into almost collaboration between author and reader.  The author creates the world and the characters, while the reader creates the visual images.

It’s what makes attending a book reading so interesting.  With the lights turned down low, you are allowed to be alone with the author standing on stage, quietly reading, while you absorb everything they have to say.  I look forward to having this experience so many times in the next few weeks, and starting tonight with Richard Ford.

What: WordFest presents Richard Ford
Where: John Dutton Theatre, Calgary Public Library
When: September 24, 2012, 7:00PM
How: Tickets $15

– Bryan



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