Bookmas! with Chadwick Ginther

Book­mas: bib­lio­philes real­ly should get this day off from work.

Today’s not-so-secret Book­San­ta: Chad­wick Ginther!

Orig­i­nal­ly from Mor­den, Man­i­to­ba, Chad­wick Ginther was fas­ci­nat­ed by Norse mythol­o­gy at an ear­ly age. Today, he spins sagas of his own set in Canada’s west­ern wilder­ness where sure­ly mon­sters must exist. His first nov­el, Thun­der Road was nom­i­nat­ed for a Prix Auro­ra Award and won the Mary Scor­er Book Award for Best Book by a Man­i­to­ba Pub­lish­er. Its sequel, Tomb­stone Blues, won the Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fic­tion He lives in Win­nipeg.

What 2014-pub­lished fic­tion would you rec­om­mend?

Anni­hi­la­tion by Jeff Van­der­meer, a won­der­ful, and weird open­ing to a bril­liant tril­o­gy. Def­i­nite­ly one of my books of the year.

What 2014-pub­lished non-fic­tion would you rec­om­mend?

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Oth­er Lessons from the Cre­ma­to­ry by Caitlin Doughty.

What book that you’ve read in 2014 (not nec­es­sar­i­ly a 2014 book) would you rec­om­mend?

A Night in the Lone­some Octo­ber by Roger Zelazny. Zelazny is one of my favourite authors going back to high school, and this title was recent­ly re-issued (along with the orig­i­nal Gahan Wil­son illus­tra­tions inside!). There’s no wrong way to read it, but since the chap­ters each cov­er one day in the month of Octo­ber, I def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend read­ing it a chap­ter a day. This is a book to savour.

What ongo­ing series of books would you rec­om­mend?

Saga by Bri­an K. Vaugh­an and Fiona Sta­ples. One of my favourite comics.

What author would you rec­om­mend?

Neil Gaiman. Whether he’s writ­ing comics, children’s pic­ture books, or nov­els, Neil has nev­er dis­ap­point­ed me.

What’s the one book you’ve read in your life­time that you think every­one should read?

D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths. I read and reread it so many times as a boy that my local librar­i­an gen­tly sug­gest­ed that maybe anoth­er lit­tle boy would like to learn about mythol­o­gy. This book was the gate­way to the sto­ries that made me a writer, and still holds up at any age.

Let’s go spe­cif­ic: what one book would you rec­om­mend for:

  • The sci­ence-fic­tion fan: Nick DiChario’s A Small and Remark­able Life, one of the best sto­ries of first con­tact I’ve ever read.
  • The hor­ror fan: Helen Marshall’s Gifts for the One Who Comes After, one of horror’s bright­est (or should that be dark­est?) ris­ing stars.
  • The fan­ta­sy fan: Roger Zelazny’s Chron­i­cles of Amber. When I’m forced to list my favourite book, this is the one I name. A bit of a cheat because there are ten books in the series, but there’s a com­pendi­um edi­tion called The Great Book of Amber so it total­ly counts…
  • The strict real­ism fan: I don’t have much for the strict real­ism fan. Between comics and spec­u­la­tive fic­tion, I much pre­fer to dwell firm­ly in the fan­tas­tic, but I’d sug­gest Matt Kaplan’s The Sci­ence of Mon­sters. Maybe then we’d have some­thing to talk about.
  • The thriller/mystery fan: An Ordi­nary Decent Crim­i­nal by Michael Van Rooy, shows the dirty side of Win­nipeg (is there any oth­er?) and is an amaz­ing debut from an author who passed away too soon.
  • The non-fic­tion fan: Song of the Vikings by Nan­cy Marie Brown, an inter­est­ing biog­ra­phy of Snor­ri Sturlu­son and how his life and writ­ing shaped the Norse myths.
  • The Can­Lit fan: Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road. I’d be sur­prised if there’s a Cana­di­an who hasn’t read it at this point, but def­i­nite­ly an amaz­ing book.
  • The mythol­o­gy fan: For the mythol­o­gy fan, I’d rec­om­mend East of the Sun and West of the Moon, with illus­tra­tions by Kay Nielsen. A beau­ti­ful book of old tales from the north.

If, god for­bid, peo­ple couldn’t find any of your books, who else would you sug­gest they seek out for a sim­i­lar lit­er­ary fix?

Shoot­ing for the moon, (and I’m cer­tain to suf­fer in the com­par­i­son) I’d say Neil Gaiman’s Amer­i­can Gods. We both share a love of Norse mythol­o­gy, and had a lot of fun drop­ping the unruly Aesir into our own stomp­ing grounds.

What would you rec­om­mend for the hol­i­days in a non-lit­er­ary con­text?

As some­one who is a bit of a Grinch (too many years of Christ­mas retail) I would rec­om­mend a three fin­ger glass of bour­bon and lis­ten­ing to Willie Nelson’s Red Head­ed Stranger.