I’ve been pondering the idea of community lately. It’s nearly impossible for anyone not to be part of at least one community of humans. Most would also agree that pets are family and an integral part of one’s closest community (those who don’t agree hopefully don’t have pets). But it didn’t occur to me until recently that the local wildlife was my community too.
I live in Toronto: Canada’s first bee city, home of Canada’s first National Urban Park, host to an impressive tree canopy (with plans to expand it even more), and habitat of hundreds of species of wildlife.
Although I’ve yet to see many of the animals who share this city with me, including owls, deer, or the river otter my partner once saw slinking down our street, looking somewhat confused, I have had many memorable encounters with our wildlife. I’ve…
Sometimes a book’s charms are more subtle than what you find on the cover or between the pages. If you’re not familiar with fore-edge painting, prepare to be delighted. Fore-edge paintings are hidden scenes or designs on the edges of books; you can see them only if you fan out the pages.
Fore-edge paintings date back to the 1600s but now there’s only one commercial painter left (Martin Frost). I hope someone else takes up this profession because it would be a shame if this art form is lost.
I have a theory that people who don’t read aren’t happy people. Or at least, they’re not as happy as they could be. It’s a highly unscientific theory, and maybe a little unfair, but think of some famous readers you know, then think of someone who famously doesn’t read, and decide for yourself whether I might have a point.
Actually, it turns out that I’m not entirely wrong. Science is discovering that to be a happier, healthier, and overall better person you do need to read…fiction.
Apparently (and unsurprisingly) reading fiction teaches empathy, provides a sense of belonging, and relieves stress. It helps with cognitive and social skills–it might even help you live longer. And it offers a healthy escape from a not-so-healthy reality.
Anyone who reads both non-fiction and fiction will recognize the difference in the two experiences. Much as I enjoy non-fiction, it’s rare to get lost in facts. Non-fiction is interesting, it can make you excited about learning–but it doesn’t capture you. Fiction makes you part of the story, it lets you live another life. A good work of fiction will lead you to happily blow off everything else you had planned for the day, just so you can keep reading. For me, fiction shows the possibilities of what could and can and does exist. Fiction is proof of the power of imagination. And it’s good for you too.
This weekend is the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival! Brad Middleton, author of Un-Dead TV will be joining me there on Sunday the 9th to sign copies of our books (if you haven’t picked up Love Lies Bleeding yet, this is the perfect time). The Festival (located just outside of Guelph, ON) is a great place to meet authors and find your new favourite read–hope to see you there…