Trillium Book Award Author Readings June 16

The WAR Series: Writers As Readers, with Christopher Greig

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Christopher Greig

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

Today we find out about the reading habits of Christopher Greig, a professor at the University of Windsor. As we head into the season of wood-chopping, fishing and car-washing, Christopher's book Canadian Men and Masculinities: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (CSPI), co-edited with Wayne J. Martino, will serve to prove that the activities and attitudes of Canadian men are far more complex than the beer commercials would have us believe. He delves into issues such as fatherhood in the 21st century, black athleticism and indigenous masculinities.

Christopher is a life-long reader with a broad range of interests that have included the work of Dr. Seuss, Lynn Coady and a sneakily procured copy of Roger Caron’s prison memoir Go Boy! Memoirs of a Life Behind Bars.


The WAR Series: Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
If memory serves correctly, the first book I remember reading by myself was a Dr. Seuss book. Which one of Seuss’s books, however, remains an open question.

A book that made me cry:
Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One.

The first adult book I read:
The first adult book I read was Roger Caron’s 1978 prison memoir Go Boy! Memoirs of a Life Behind Bars. I remember reading it when it first came out in the late 1970s, but I do not recall how I secured a copy of it. I am sure the book was not in our school library, and I am also sure my parents did not supply me with a copy. So how I eventually acquired a copy is still a mystery to me.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
I love the work of novelist Lynn Coady. I have always found aspects of her way of writing really funny, in particular her 2002 book, Saints of Big Harbour.

The book I have re-read many times:
Michel de Montaigne’s 16th century Essays; I have reread portions of his autobiographical Essays at some point every year for the past 15 or 20 years. His sense of generosity, compassion, forgiveness, and humanity that so profoundly shape his thoughts, make his work compelling. And now that I think of it, Montaigne’s work could also be located within the prison memoir genre, connecting this beautiful work with my early reading experiences.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Any work by John Paul Sartre.

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:
I would tell my 17-year-old self to read Emile Zola’s L’Assommoir and Honoré Balzac’s Cousin Pons. I eventually did read these two books, but not until I was 25 or 26 years old. As a 17-year-old, these two books would have been useful as they provided some insight into human nature, relations between and among people and some understanding of social class and class relations

The best book I read in the past six months:
The best book I have read in the past six months has to be Dorothy Allison’s Trash. This collection of moving short stories works to powerfully capture the challenges and hardships that some people face in life. But most of all, I loved the book because it felt like a deeply honest account of individual lives.

The book I plan on reading next:
At the moment I have a number of books sitting on my desk at home, waiting to be read (sigh!). However, the first book I will eventually pick up will likely be The Nature of Hate. Written by two American scholars, the book explores various theories of hate, a topic that interests me at both the professional and personal level.

A possible title for my autobiography:
Reading, Running, and Reflection: A Life Lived by the Three Rs.

Christopher Greig is an Associate Professor at the University of Windsor. A historian of gender, his program of research is primarily focused on historical perspectives on Canadian men, boys and masculinities. Feminist analyses of social, political and economic periods and contexts inform Greig’s research interests. His work has looked at the production of the "idea of boyhood" in postwar Ontario, 1945-1960, and has also considered topics such as the call for more male teachers, the establishment of single sex-settings for males and gender-based pedagogy. He has shown how these forms of gender-based reforms often emerge over time during moments of "gender trouble." The problem, he argues, is that gender based reforms such as these have historically worked against the best interests of girls and boys as they function to shore up patriarchal understandings of gender that flatten and narrow the lives of all children. His research has been published in international refereed journals such as Educational Review; Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education; Alberta Journal of Educational Research; and the Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations. His recent co-edited book, Canadian Men and Masculinities: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives was published by Canadian Scholars’ Press in 2012. He also serves as a co-editor of the Journal of Teaching and Learning.

For more information about Canadian Men and Masculinities: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives please visit the Canadian Scholars' Press website.

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

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