25th Trillium Award

The War Series: Writers As Readers, with Scott Fotheringham

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Scott Fotheringham

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) is our newest interview series at Open Book, and it gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Scott Fotheringham is currently a nominee for The Amazon.ca First Novel Award with his impressive debut novel The Rest is Silence (Goose Lane Editions). Today, he answers Open Book?s WAR Series questions, telling us about some of the first books he read as a child, the novel that made him both laugh and cry, and the best book he has read in the last six months. Remembering familiar books that he plans on re-reading with his daughter, the sports books from his early adult-level reading and the book that was handed to him when he was 17, Scott reveals his extremely diverse reading interests.

The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
I read Rascal, by Sterling North, on the carpet of our living room, probably when I was nine or ten. I continued to enjoy having my father read to me, but I remember the feeling of independence to be able to read on my own. I hadn?t thought about that book until you asked me this question and now I?m excited to read it again, this time with my daughter.

A book that made me cry:
Amphibian, by Carla Gunn. Phin breaks my heart with his earnest desire to save the animals. When his mother finally stops trying to make him happy and just ?gets? him, it is moving and beautiful. Tears flowed.

The first adult book I read:
It could have been any number of sports books, some of which might have been marketed to younger readers. I would read The Complete Encyclopedia of Ice Hockey (Zander Hollander and Hal Bock) late into the night with a flashlight, as well as Bobby Orr and The Big Bad Bruins (Stan Fischler). My brother and I read Farewell to Football (Jerry Kramer) and John even penned his own book, which he called Farewell to Hockey (shorter, but riveting). I was quite interested in fitness books when I started to read and was inspired by Aerobics (Kenneth Cooper).

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Amphibian, by Carla Gunn. Potent mix, if you ask me, to have a book that can make me laugh and cry. Nice work Carla! Also, That?s Me In The Middle, by Donald Jack and Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis.

The book I have re-read many times:
Do Jillian Jiggs and everything by Richard Scarry count? I?m re-reading books to my daughter now dozens of times and it?s an interesting experience, helping me understand what makes a good story.

I don?t think I?ve read any novel more than twice, but I have read Middlemarch two times and will read it again. Also, The World According to Garp, The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth, The Gospels and Franny and Zooey.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Anything by Dickens.

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:
The one someone did when I was 17, Fifth Business, all over again.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Hands down, without a doubt, Lynn Coady?s The Antagonist. Funny, touching and complete. It helped that her protagonist was a hockey player and that he was so much more than that — sensitive, introspective, honest. It?s thrilling to see a woman write from a man?s perspective so knowingly, so accurately and with such compassion.

The book I plan on reading next:
Pasha Malla?s People Park.

A possible title for my autobiography:
The Dilettante?s Dilemma.

Scott Fotheringham holds a PhD in molecular biology and genetics from Cornell University. He has co-authored numerous scientific articles on molecular genetics, and closely studied the mechanisms of recombination using genetically engineered fungi, bacteria and fruit flies. Raised in Thornhill, Ontario, Scott lived for a time in a cabin he built himself in the Nova Scotia forests. He now lives and writes in Ontario. The Rest is Silence is his first novel.

For more information about The Rest is Silence please visit the Goose Lane Editions website.

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

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