Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vanessa Farquharson

Vanessa Farquharson is a journalist at the National Post, based in Toronto, and the author of Sleeping Naked is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days.

She runs the Green as a Thistle blog.

Late last month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Being an arts journalist, an English Lit major, and the author of a book about the environment means that I always have multiple books on the go and they tend to be either a new bestseller, an old classic, or a green-themed book.

Right now, I don't have any contemporary stuff in my hands, but I very recently finished a book called The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson -- it came out last year and there was a lot of hype surrounding it because the author is this Canadian, a first-time novelist, who spent almost 10 years writing the manuscript before securing a hefty $1.25-million advance. The diction can be a bit over the top at times, and there was something about the main female character that drove me nuts, but it raises interesting questions about pain, atonement and the creative process.

In terms of green books, I'm currently on Page 73 of Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller by Jeff Rubin, which was given to me by a friend. Rubin was the chief economist at CIBC for almost 20 years and is an expert on peak oil; this book is meant to offer readers an easy-to-digest explanation of the current global oil supply and the challenges we're going to face in the near future as it dwindles. It's a bit dry, and there are still some macro-economics terms I'm not perfectly clear on, but he's just getting into the Alberta Tar Sands issue now and it's holding my attention much better than he was while droning on about the politics of OPEC.

And when it comes to the classics — I just finished John Wyndham's The Chrysalids, which was actually published in 1955, so I guess it doesn't really qualify as "classic", but it was pretty seminal at the time. My boyfriend was shocked that I hadn't read it before, so I sped through it during a week's worth of commuting to work and back. It had a definite Brave New World quality to it and was well-written, but I felt like I'd already been inundated with these eugenics issues back in high school.

Finally, for a real classic, I'm reading the Torah. This is more of a long-term project because there is no way the mammoth, hardcover version I have underneath my bedside table is squeezing into my purse every day. Either way, my goal is to eventually read the Torah, the Bible and the Quran (along with some academic interpretations along the way) because I was raised in an incredibly secular family and am pretty ignorant when it comes to the plots of these major religious texts.
Read more about Sleeping Naked is Green at the publisher's website.

View the sexy Portuguese cover of Sleeping Naked is Green.

Learn more about Vanessa Farquharson at the Green as a Thistle blog.

--Marshal Zeringue