One Bird’s Choice ~ Iain Reid

From the jacket description:

Meet Iain Reid: an overeducated, underemployed twenty-something, living in the big city in a bug-filled basement apartment and struggling to make ends meet. When Iain lands a job at a radio station near his childhood home, he decides to take it. But the work is only part time, so he is forced to move back in with his lovable but eccentric parents on their hobby farm. What starts out as a temporary arrangement turns into a year-long extended stay, in which Iain finds himself fighting with the farm fowl, taking fashion advice from the elderly, fattening up on a gluttonous fare of home-cooked food, and ultimately easing (perhaps a little too comfortably) into the semiretired lifestyle.

A hilarious and heartwarming comic memoir about food, family, and finally growing up, One Bird’s Choice marks the arrival of a funny, original, and fresh new voice.

The subtitle, for this work of non-fiction is: A Year in the Life of an Overeducated, Underemployed Twenty-Something Who Moves Back Home. From this, I think, people are going to jump one of two ways in assessing a book by its cover. People might think “Oh great! Another indulged kid, under thirty, likely with an arts degree can’t get it together in the real world so runs home to mommy and daddy!” Some of this is true. He does have an arts degree (Queen’s University) and he is indulged, by his parents. If indulged means a good relationship, love and support of the moral variety. But he kind of does have it together. It might not be in a more traditional manner, but his mom and dad were happy to share the family home with their grown son, and Reid was working part-time for the CBC, in Ottawa, during his reprieve, so who are we to judge, really? Besides, a terrific book emerged from his time living back with his parents. The second path for those who judge a book by its cover could think. “Ha! This Reid is a funny guy!”, and he is. He can be self-deprecating, at times, and he has a great gift of observation. The humour is most evident during the scenes featuring his parents. Their conversations are lively and their eccentricities are endearing. That much page space is given to food and the animals on the family’s hobby farm makes this book even more irresistible. While reading this memoir, I kept thinking: a) I want to have lunch with the Reids and become friends with them; and b) I should talk the husband into moving to a hobby farm (which actually wouldn’t be that hard to do).

I hope you will read this book. For me, it was un-put-down-able.

Gretchen Rubin & Conor Grennan

While many people are marking today, “Blue Monday” (the most depressing day of the year) by staying hidden under their covers; wallowing in chocolate or drowning their sorrows at a local pub, I was busy having the best morning of the year! Okay, granted it is only the 17th day of 2011, but still…today was awesome!

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to the offices of HarperCollins Canada for a breakfast meet and greet with authors Gretchen Rubin and Conor Grennan. Rubin has become known, over the past year, as the woman behind The Happiness Project. This project clicked with thousands and thousands of people and, upon turning her experience into a book of the same title, has vaulted Rubin into the bestselling author stratosphere. Conor Grennan volunteered his time at the Little Princes Children’s Home, located in Godawari, Nepal, back in 2004. He has become forever changed and connected to the place as a result of his experiences. His first book, Little Princes, examines the issue of child-trafficking in Nepal, while detailing Grennan’s work at helping reunite these children (who, unknown to their parents, were not taken to safety – away from the war zone – but abandoned in the “chaos of Kathmandu”) with their families. His book debuts later this month.

Both authors were extremely gracious with their time and there was the opportunity for one-on-one conversation with each of them. I found Rubin to be very engaging and open to interacting with her readers – she was keen to take Twitter usernames from each of us and told us she loves following people on Twitter. Rubin will be appearing at Indigo, Bay & Bloor location, tonight at 7pm. Grennan, in Toronto to speak at The Rotman School is a really interesting guy. He is funny and insightful and was very interested in what each person he chatted with had to say. That both authors are intelligent, open people made this morning’s event really special.

Many thanks to Shannon Parsons, Cory Beatty and Charidy Johnston, of HarperCollins Canada for a terrific time!