Bethany Hindmarsh’s residence room has a lot of books. Shelves on shelves. Over 450. She gave us a tour of her collection, and we asked her a few questions about her most memorable reads.
Longest Owned: “George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I was given it when I was 12 or 13 and it’s hardly left my bedside since then.”
Oldest: “Probably a 1910 Complete Works of Shakespeare.”
Newest: “Daryl Whetter’s Keeping Things Whole, Heather Jessup’s The Lightning Field. They both taught in Dal’s creative writing
program, and I’ve been meaning to read their recent novels for a while now.”
For High School: “My favourite book in high school was Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, but I’d be inclined to suggest something less morbid now. A good translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses is like a gymnasium for the imagination.”
For First Year: “Poetry is valuable always, but especially for FYP, when ‘reading for pleasure’ starts to sound like a cruel joke. For those times, Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus have been ideal company.”
For Winter: Dostoyevsky’s White Nights.
For Fall: Joyce’s Dubliners or Nabokov’s Speak, Memory.
For Spring: Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
For Summer: “I spent a lot of this summer reading Orhan Pamuk. His Museum of Innocence radiates a kind of August heat.”
Hated to read but glad I did: “David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and Pale King are gruelling at points, but in a necessary way. Those books rearranged my insides in a way they couldn’t have done if they hadn’t been difficult.”
Most Challenging: Hegel’s Science of Logic.
Longest: “My Concise Encyclopedia Britannica or one of my art encyclopedias. I prefer a real encyclopedia to Wikipedia whenever I have the option; it doesn’t disperse my attention as much.”
Shortest: Lydia Davis’s Flash Fiction.
For a Rainy Day: “Borge’s Ficciones is something labyrinthine to get lost in.”
Most delicious: “All the Moosewood cookbooks.”
For travelling: “I went to Turkey and the only book I brought was Czeslaw Milosz’s Selected and Last Poems. I got to know some of those poems so intimately, reading them over and over again in transit; they were ideal travelling companions.”
Saddest: Austerlitz by Sebald.
Funniest: “Thanks to several long conversations with Anna Dubinski, I’ve come to think Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is the funniest thing ever written.”
Most margin notes: The Basic Works of Aristotle.
Fastest Read: “I inhaled Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her in what felt like a single breath on the don retreat this year.”
Changed my worldview: Jan Zwicky’s Wisdom & Metaphor.