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I NEED BOOKS TO TAKE ME ON A DIRECT ROUTE TO SOMEWHERE NEW AND UNEXPLORED

Our Type Reader for January is Jim Creeggan


JIM ANSWERS THE TYPE QUESTIONNAIRE

Jim Creeggan is one of Type's oldest and most loyal customers. He is probably best known for being the bassist in Canadian treasure The Barenaked Ladies, but around here, Jim is known for his great taste in books, warm smile and for buying the entire Reading Fairy series. 

We gave Jim the Type Reader questionnaire, and learned a little bit about his taste for adventure, the poetic, and his favourites to share with his kids:

What is the first book you remember loving?

Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje really opened my eyes.  His descriptions of music as colour gave me a whole new way of perceiving sound and emotion.  I read it while I was touring in the southern states.  The book led me to a deeper, visceral sense of New Orleans, the weight of the humidity, the weight of poverty and despair, and the music that transcends it.

What is your favourite virtue in a book?

I’m a very slow reader, so I end up weighing heavily on every word.  I think that’s why Ondaatje clicks with me.  His poetic style can evoke so much feeling in very few lines.  I need books to take me on a direct route to somewhere new and unexplored.  Lately I have been enjoying books on cosmology.  When a great science writer like Simon Singh (The Big Bang) can boil down a complex idea into bite sized pieces, the whole story of the universe starts to unfold before my eyes.  Awesome!

What do you appreciate most in a book character?

I appreciate when I can step into the shoes of a character.  When Katniss Everdeen volunteered tribute for her sister Primrose, I was ready to volunteer tribute too!

What character (real or fictional) do you dislike the most?

One without any contradictions or faults...in their mind anyway.

If you were to write a non-fiction book about anything, what would it be about?

Yehudi Menuhin wrote a book called Life Class that shared all the knowledge that he gathered in life.  It was everything from the subtleties of the bow arm to the granola he eats for a healthy snack.  I think I’d share things like my favourite stretch or rhythm games I play with my breath while jogging.

Your favourite prose authors?

Lawrence Hill (The Book Of Negroes brought to life a part of Canadian and world history that I only guessed at before), Kurt Vonnegut (I feel it’s time to revisit his books), John Irving (I still ask myself “What would Owen Meany do in this situation?”)

Your favourite poets?

Leonard Cohen-Book of Longing , Gord Downey-Coke Machine Glow, Michael Ondaatje-The Collected Works of Billy The Kid, I’m currently investigating John Ashbery due to (TYPE’S own) Kyle’s recommendation!

Your favourite book illustrators?

Jeff Lemire (His compassionate work on Secret Path is marking the experience of Residential Schools for everyone to see), Oliver Jeffers (I own all his books-soulful, fun), Hayao Miyazaki (Stunning Landscapes), Kazu Kibuishi (greater gravity than Star Wars), Jeff Smith (Oh the Bones!)

Do you read on public transportation?

I love to read on train rides.  I just a had a good read on the tracks between Montreal and Toronto.  However most of my reading is on the tour bus, curled up in my bunk…hmmm…as long as nobody cranked the god damned air conditioning!

What qualities do you want in a book you read while traveling?

I really enjoyed Allen Doyle’s book “Where I Belong”.  It completely took me to the docks of Petty Harbour where he grew up.  It was a treat to read while touring across Canada.  It kept me wondering about what stories are behind every street hockey net on the side of the road or a kid walking to band practice with a guitar case.  Those stories that can be so easily overlooked but are the most powerful. 

What book have you never read but have always meant to? Do you think you will ever read it?

Lewis Mumford’s My Works and Days
He’s a person who seemed to live a full life, through his art or through his social philosophies.  My wife’s father, who I never had the pleasure of meeting, was a scholar on Mumford.  Occasionally his ideas trickle down to me and they resonate with my soul like a low D string.  And Yes I Will!

What book do you pretend to have read, but in fact have not?

I read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, but it’s possible that I didn’t really read it…

If you could force a single celebrity to read a specific book in its entirety, who would you chose, and what book would you make them read?

Oh yeah, It’s so much fun to force celebrities to read stuff, so satisfying.  I would force the bass player from Barenaked Ladies to really read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance for once and for all!  Sheesh!

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I’m reading Allen Doyle’s second book “A Newfoundlander in Canada”.  I had the pleasure of touring Allen in past couple of years, and believe me, the stories just keep comin’, and I can’t get enough.  He’s easily one of the best story tellers around.  

Also, my son and I are taking a deep dive into cosmology.  We’re reading and listening to Stephen Hawking’s “Universe In a Nutshell”.   It is transforming everything but it’s about everything that’s always been there!

photograph of Jim Creeggan by Jessica Baldanza