25th Trillium Award

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Aaron Tucker

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Aaron Tucker

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

In today's WAR interview, Aaron Tucker tells us about where his childhood allowance went every week, how John Grisham made him cry and when he reads Heart of Darkness. Aaron's latest chapbook, punchlines, was just published with above/ground press.

The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
It was mostly like an issue of Amazing Spiderman (issues 191 or 192). My allowance for the early part of my growing up was getting to pick one comic from Ebenezer?s every week or two. The other likely answer is one of the old hardcover Hardy Boys books. The House on the Cliff!

A book that made me cry:
I sat on my back porch when I was 15 or 16 and welled up at the end of John Grisham?s The Chamber. I remember thinking even then ?What a strange moment?.

The first adult book I read:
I devoured the Fear Street books and probably graduated a bit too early to Christopher Pike: the first book with ?adult?-ish material I read was his The Last Vampire. The first book I read with adult language and a small font was probably Jurassic Park. I thought I was going to be a paleontologist. Or immortal.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Oh happy Rabo! Vonnegut?s Blue Beard. I still giggle at good chunks of it, particularly the stunning reveal at the end. Ondaatje?s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid has some deeply funny parts too.

The book I have re-read many times:
I try to read Heart of Darkness once a year. Usually at Christmas. The horror!

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
The shelf is full of them: I?ll settle on Dostoevsky?s Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov. The shame!

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:
Either Walter Isaacson?s Einstein: His Life and Universe or Andrew Hodges? Alan Turing: The Enigma. There was a time after being a paleontologist and/or a vampire passed me by that I thought I might grow up to be a mathematician. It took me one semester to switch to English. But I still enjoy the bonkers-level of imagination both men required to conceive of their science.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Enrique Vila-Matas? Never Any End to Paris and Bartleby & Co. Bartleby & Co. came to me via recommendation and I couldn?t get enough. They are both so playful and funny and strange.

The book I plan on reading next:
I?ve been sitting on H.D.?s Selected Poems for too long but my eyes are also hungry for Lisa Robertson?s R?s Boat. Poetry please. Never enough poetry.

A possible title for my autobiography:
He Thought He Would Grow Up to Be Any Number of Things

Aaron Tucker?s poetic works and reviews have been published across Canada. His chapbook apartments (above/ground press) was shortlisted for the 2010 bpNichol Chapbook award. His current project, tentatively titled punchlines, is moving ever slowly forward with a new chapbook from above/ground released this May. In addition, he is a professor in the English department at Ryerson University where he is currently teaching essay writing and digital literacy to first year students. He is working on learning chess in between watching his beloved Raptors lose games. You can find more of his work at aarontucker.ca.

For more information about punchlines and to purchase your copy, please visit the above/ground press website.

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