On television, on books

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a guest on Book’Em TV, a Canadian TV show about books and reading, and the episode where I feature was shot on Monday. It was a lot easier than I expected, but I suspect I giggled feebly on camera while drool slopped down my chin. Ah, well. The show, which debuts this September, features a host, a panel of three readers, and a different guest in each episode. In essence, the three panelists, who each picked a favorite book, had to entice viewers to vote for their novel as the show’s read of choice. Their chosen titles were The Alchemist, The Beach, and Northanger Abbey, and it was great fun watching the three fight it out. The show host, Dr. Mary Ashun, really held it all together with her enthusiasm and down-to-earth approach–she made it seem as though a bunch of nice, book-obsessed folks got together to talk about their favorite thing. But, like, on TV. This is all way more difficult to achieve than it sounds.

The guest for the first episode was Terry Fallis, whose debut novel The Best Laid Plans won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor and also won Canada Reads 2011, which is a big big deal, sort of an Oprah Book Club but with a sedate, publicly funded Canadian flavor. His episode was shot the same day, so I squeezed hands with him and then procured his signature on my copy of TBLP.  I’ll do a full-length review of the book soon, but a quick heads-up if you haven’t read it yet–it’s a funny, mordant, but surprisingly tender story about an academic-turned-politician. Sometimes CanLit can seem deadly dull, all earnest angst and winter depression, but this novel makes its points through humor and satire, and it’s ultimately a shout-out to idealism. Huzzah! An intelligent feel-good novel! When was the last time…? I want to mention here that TBLP was repeatedly rejected by publishers, and that Fallis went the self-publishing route. Now he has a nice deal with McClelland, so a slush-pile rejectionista somewhere has probably changed jobs, and is now Rob Ford’s advisor. Fallis was really funny and smart, so I hope you catch him on the show. Meanwhile, stalk him on the internets here.

It was then my turn, and I talked about reviewing and blogging and proclaimed on television that I don’t own an e-reader because I like to smell books. And then it was over, and we all (minus Fallis) went out for pizza. And here is a picture; the long hair in the pink coral shirt on the extreme right is moi.

And a shout-out to all the lovely people on the show and behind the scenes, who were stratospherically NICE and very smart; someone set them to work on the debt ceiling already. And not to belabor the very obvious diversity thing, but holy crap, we participants came from four continents. Lots of different people all talking happily about books, followed by pizza. Do you have a better vision for Utopia?

10 thoughts on “On television, on books

  1. I’m so glad to hear that it went well! I’m really hoping I can catch the show when it airs… somehow… 🙂 And I’m sure you did fantastically! Who doesn’t love the smell of books??

    ALSO – OK OK OK I’ll read Fallis already, you make it sound like a really great book!

  2. Holy crap yeah on the diversity of the team…so real! Terry was amazing and I toyed with the idea of making my pic with him my facebook profile pic and then thought…naa…save it! His book was good though – blows the mind how it could be rejected so many times. Hahaha on the joke with the slushpile rejectionista (gotta submit that word to Webster – clever, clever!). Well done on your turn…you did amazingly and it was good to have lunch too. Best wishes!

  3. @Amy: I’m going to quiz you on the book when we meet next 😉
    @ Mary: thanks! and do let me know once the dates are confirmed.
    @nan: Yep, goooood vibrations…
    @sudeep: Indeed-y.
    @ Batty: Or maybe it’s a good excuse to make Canada part of your travels?
    Haven’t read that one yet; look forward to your review.

  4. The dates for airing are confirmed – Rogers TV and in Mississauga, its Cable 10:
    Week of 5th Sept: Episode 1

    Wednesday 7th Sept 5:30pm

    Thursday 8th Sept 12:00 am and 6:30 am

    Week of the 12th: Episode 2

    Sunday 12th 5:30 am

    Monday 13th 12:30 pm

    Tuesday 14th 11:00pm

    Wednesday 15th 2:30 am and 5:30 pm

    Thursday 16th 12:00 am and 6:30 am

    Friday 17th 5:30 pm

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