Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

The Proust Questionnaire, with Brooke Ford

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Brooke Ford lives in Toronto, Ontario, and is currently a Ph.D. student at Ryerson University. She has been published in Canada, including in Open Book: Toronto and The Globe and Mail. She is part of the editorial team at Broken Pencil magazine. The Summer Idyll, published with Neon Books, is her first novel.

The Summer Idyll launches Thursday, December 9 at Toronto's The Cameron House. Special guests are Kay Pettigrew and People You Know. Festivities begin at 8 p.m.

In her answers to the Proust Questionnaire, Brooke tells us her greatest accomplishment, her favourite virtue, her idea of misery and more.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.


What is your dream of happiness?
More time to be with people and work, always more work

What is your idea of misery?
Shopping for a winter coat. I just did this and it was terrible.

Where would you like to live?
Places that are like Fall all the time.

What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Humour, skepticism, brains and tight, tight pants.

What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Humour, skepticism, brains and tight, tight, pants.

What is your chief characteristic?
When I run really fast, my hair looks so good.

What is your principal fault?
If I tell you, you?ll probably just use it to your advantage. Instead, I?ll use it to mine.

What is your greatest extravagance?
I buy a lot of underwear. But also jeans. And magazines.

What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
That?s harsh. I suppose it would be other peoples? intolerances.

What do you value most about your friends?
Their patience and ability to see the bright side. And I have some of the funniest people for friends.

What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Inability to listen and a bad work ethic.

What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
I could always have a longer attention span. Or a longer wing span.

What is your favourite virtue?
Romance. Can that be a virtue?

What is your favourite occupation?

What would you like to be?
Josh from The West Wing.

What is your favourite colour?
Grey, navy and red.

What is your favourite bird?
Great Blue Heron. Have you seen those things?!

What historical figure do you admire the most?

Who are your favourite prose authors?
Joan Didion, Bret Easton Ellis, Salinger, Cordelia Strube, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, Miriam Toews, Franzen. Wow, the list could just go on.

Who are your favourite poets?
I don?t understand the question. Okay wait. Percy Shelley.

Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
The crapshoot characters.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Edward Scissorhands and Clint Eastwood.

Who is your favourite painter?
Klee (my kindergarten art teacher).

Who is your favourite musician?
The Boss. Bruce Springsteen. Come on.

What is your favourite food?
Fridge sandwich. Whatever is in the fridge, make it into a sandwich. Who wouldn?t want to come over to my house for lunch?

What is your favourite drink?
Gin. In the winter and the summer. You can always tell when someone?s been drinking gin.

What is it you most dislike?
Rushing on the subway platform. Don?t do it, it freaks everyone out.

What natural talent would you most like to possess?
What do you call what Sarah Palin has?

How do you want to die?
In the arms of a zookeeper.

What is your current state of mind?
It?s 5:45am in December.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
That my sixteen-year-old self made it out alive.

What is your motto?


For more details about The Summer Idyll please visit her at her blog.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check back for more Proust Questionnaires with Canada's literati in this latest series of interviews on Open Book.

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