Friday, 25 November 2011

Follow Friday, Nov. 25, 2011

It's another edition of Follow Friday, as hosted by and This week their featured blogs are Books and Beyond and The Book Addict. Be sure to hop over to these fine blogs and take a look.

Today's question is Thanksgiving themed: what are you thankful for (blog related)? Who helped you along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

There are many people in my life I've been very glad to have known, and grateful for their help, including my parents, my wife and my son. In terms of writing, though, to remain within the scope of the question, I'd say I'd have to reach way back to high school to begin with. English teachers Bill Tapp and Smokin' Joe Carey were a perfect good cop-bad cop combination who not only insisted that I must write well but that I could. As an undergrad at Trent University I was fortunate to study under New Zealander Geoffrey Eathorne, who introduced me through his Comp Lit course to The Viper's Knot (Francois Mauriac), The Counterfeiters (Andre Gide) and other remarkable stories (in translation) I might otherwise have overlooked. As a grad student at Queen's University I was very thankful for the kindness of John Stedmond who, although an 18th century specialist, stuck with me manfully as I ploughed through my thesis on Sherwood Anderson, and to second reader Kerry McSweeney, who wrote stuff like "fatuous" in the margins and was, of course, correct. Another excellent good cop-bad cop combo.

There are so many books I'm glad I've read that it's hard to focus on just a few. Perhaps one of the most special for me was Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury, which I read as an impressionable teenager and still think about quite often. Just the names Cooger and Dark still give me chills. This novel taught me that the darkness can still produce enlightenment.


  1. I haven't read that Ray Bradbury, but Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books that sticks with me. I think of it every time I hear people talk about censoring books or banning books from the school libraries or public libraries. I will have to add that one to my list.

    I love the picture on the cover of your book--it is very gripping...draws a person in.


  2. Hopping by to say have a great weekend!

    New Follower :)

    If you have a moment, please come and vote on your favorite YA Novel's Character:

  3. Hi! Thanks for the follow, I followed back:)
    I'm really enjoying reading what everyone is thankful for.
    Happy Hopping!

  4. It's amazing what a good English teacher will do! What awesome encouragement for both you and you're teacher! This has been a really neat Follow Friday. It is a unique experience to see how people have been shaped in their life and the blogging community.

    Here's mine:

    New follower ^_~

    sinn @ sinnful books

  5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is the book I most remember hating from high school. Oddly enough, I've read it as an adult and now it is one of my favorites. Something must have stuck with me from high school to remember exactly how much I loathed the book.

    Your newest follower!

    Have a great weekend.

    My Follow Friday


  6. Shanan, thanks so much for the follow, and thanks for noticing the book cover. The photo was shot in Toronto.

    Lu, thank you very much for coming by. I followed back times two: I used the link to find your YA blog and then hopped over to your archaeology blog and followed it as well! Man, I always say that if I ever get a second life to live, I'll become an archaeologist. What a fascinating endeavour! Looking forward to following your posts.

    Hi Rebecca, glad you could follow back. Bending the Spine looks like a great blog!

    Sinn, thanks for following; followed back. You're right, this has been a great feature for Follow Friday. (Say that ten times fast!)

    Kristin, welcome as my newest follower! I followed back. Interesting that the books we're forced to read in school sometimes stick in our craw for a long time; for me it was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. If you can fit Something Wicked into your TBR pile I think you'll find it's a remarkably gentle, haunting and touching story. The themes of Fahrenheit 451 are very powerful, but Something Wicked will linger with you long afterwards.....

  7. Hi Cassy, thanks for following; followed you back!

  8. I think everyone has at least one book from their teenage years that has inspired them, new follower, here's mine

  9. Sarah, thank you very much for the follow; following back. Hope you had a great Friday!

  10. Thank you for stopping by my blog yesterday. I love meeting new bloggers/authors. I also enjoy when they have books that are outside of my normal genre on their blogs. I love to discover new reads.
    I MUST read one of YOUR books. When you are touring the states & are being interviewed on "Good Morning America" I can truthfully say I knew you when..
    Thank you again for the new follow. Have a wonderful weekend Michael..

  11. Hi there, Fran, I'm glad you could drop in to take a look at The Overnight Bestseller. Hopefully you'll have a chance to read Blood Passage some time, although it's not in your chosen genre. I'd love to hear what you think about it. Book me for that tour!!!


  12. I like how you started your post by giving thanks for the people in your life who mean the most to you.

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm now a follower of yours.