9 X 6 inches, 16 pages
Illustrated by Thoreau MacDonald
Then & Now: Readerity
On the Celebration of Reading First Books ... & Writing About Them
Written by the publisher of Penumbra Press, John Flood, this chapbook was commissioned to serve as Volume One in a new series celebrating the love of books. Launched as part of Reading Town in May, 2019, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the chapbook coincides with Penumbra's 40th anniversary. As Dan and Marlene MacDonald (proprietors of Bookmark in Charlottetown and Halifax) say, the initiative grew out of the National Reading Campaign "to celebrate the joys of books and reading.... John coins a new word here, readerity, not yet in any dictionary, but which we really like; hence the beginning of Bookmark Readerity Series: Readers & Writers on Reading."
SEVERAL YEARS AGO during doctoral studies at University of Toronto, my Children's Literature Professor, Johan Aitken, challenged her students to write about the first influential book we recall having read as children. The challenge was to explore our memories of that book and that experience, to write about it as if we were back in that childhood moment, and then to seek out the actual book, re-read it and compare this new reading experience with what our memory had given us. Having taught literature already for nearly two decades at that point, I found myself going back in time not just to the actual first book that I recall having read but going back through time to understand how my appreciation for reading books, learning about the writing of them, and teaching them had evolved.
Dan MacDonald is the proprietor of the Bookmark shops in Charlottetown and Halifax.