Hello everyone! My name is Rachel and I’m delighted to announce that I am Book*hug’s newest intern.
When I set out to find my place in publishing, I was hoping to begin my adventure at an independent press. Known for taking chances on books and authors that the “Big Five” publishing houses do not, indies are key in driving the Canadian conversation forward, promoting new voices, and making great art. Book*hug is no exception and its curated lists of poetry, fiction, and essais speak for themselves.
My background includes many things books. I’ve spent time studying literature, working at a bookstore, writing criticism, and volunteering with literary journals. And, of course, reading.
I read lots of contemporary fiction and non-fiction, and the occasional classic too. Throughout August, I made my way through Anna Karenina, though mid-month I took a brief break from the torrid love affair to read Amy Fung’s excellent collection of essays, Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being, published by Book*hug in 2019.
Tolstoy was psychological and dramatic. I agree with the reviewer who once called Anna Karenina “a holy mess of a book”. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the late-summer sun and flipping through an eight-hundred-page opus on love and free will among the nineteenth-century Russian aristocracy. Fung, on the other hand, was lucid and alive. To read her book is to be shaken into the heart of the present moment. Through a series of witty essays, personal but wide in scope, Fung is a witness to colonialism and a critic of Canada’s national mythologies. She reminds us that a politics of recognition and truth-telling will be necessary if we hope to break ongoing patterns of colonial violence. Needless to say, these two vastly different texts, both touching on the weight of social structures, gave me a lot to think about and made for a month of great reading.
Books are magic! (They are also ideal companions during a pandemic.) Over the coming months, I hope to meet Book*hug’s radical optimism with my own. I am very much looking forward to connecting with everyone in the community. Here’s to a fantastic fall season!