Monday, March 16, 2009

Yann Martel Sends Stephen Harper a Book Every Two Weeks

I think (mostly) everyone has read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi by now. I read it several years ago, in my first class of university. I was enchanted by Martel’s fable of an Indian boy’s journey across the ocean in a lifeboat with a tiger.

Because I closely associate the book with my first magical year in university (when everyone was fresh and all the doors had something behind them!), my eyes brighten whenever I hear mention of Mr. Martel.

Last week I was delighted to find a new project Mr. Martel is working on called What is Stephen Harper Reading?

For non-Canadians, Stephen Harper is our prime minister. Our commander-in-charge, if you will, although he looks more like a sleepy accountant than the head of our state. No matter, though.

Mr. Martel vows “to send [Mr. Harper] every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness.” The author reasons that, while the PM is no doubt insanely busy (if he wasn’t, I think we would seriously question his ability AS a leader), he must have moments of stillness. Mr. Martel hopes that these books will be the very things to fill the stillness with. He is committed to showing Mr. Harper that the arts are worth taking time for.

His dedication is amazing. He has already sent 50 books and they aren’t limited to just Canada either—Ernest Hemingway, Michael Ignatieff, Paul McCartney, Jorges Luis Borges…these are just a few of the authors Mr. Martel has mailed to Mr. Harper.

I wonder if it’s worth it. The author boasts exactly one response from Mr. Harper’s office, sent after the first book (by Leo Tolstoy) was received. I really want to believe Mr. Harper does “expand his stillness” with these wonderful presents from Mr. Martel, but a part of me is unconvinced. After all, I hear the PM’s a busy guy.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

1 comment:

Beth F said...

This was new to me. I'll have to pay attention to the books sent to your PM.