Meet The Author: Iain Reid

Iain Reid is the author of One Bird's Choice, the tale of a late-twenty-something who moves back home to live with his parents on their farm, while he works a low paying, part-time job and tries to sort himself out. It struck us as a great read, because we've also felt the pains of being over-educated, under-employed, and having to consider moving home to make ends meet. Maybe if our parents lived on a farm, or were as highly entertaining as Reid's parents, it would have made for an easier decision. Reid's story is charming and hilarious, and an excellent look at the interactions between parents and their grown children. Get to know Iain Reid a little bit below, and make sure to visit him at his reading on Saturday November 26th at the Holy Oak Book Club.

How would you describe One Bird’s Choice to someone who hasn’t read it yet?
Should I be embarrassed that the first (and seemingly easiest) question is slipping me up? It’s a true story about a year I moved back to live at my parent’s farm as a blundering adult.

Tell us a bit about what you’re reading right now.
I’m reading Sylvia Beach’s memoir. Wow, she knew lots of cool people. I’m also thoroughly enjoying Dani Couture’s novel, Algoma.

What was the first book you ever bought? Have you re-read it lately?
The Fab Five by Mitch Albom and yes.

Is there a book that you’ve read that you would really like to go back in time and un-read? If so, why?
No. Probably 18-25% of the time I have negative feelings about the books I choose to read. I don’t know, maybe that’s a little high. Regardless, sometimes I find what I consider to be a bad book entertaining and worthwhile. Sometimes I dislike a book from the start and just stop reading. Other times I’ll return to it later and really like it the second time around. Just depends. But I never want to unread anything. Not yet anyway.

Did you have a favourite book or story to have read to you as a child? What made it so special?
I loved all of Dahl’s books, especially the BFG. We lived near Oxford briefly when I was a child, so a lot of the books were English. There was one, I can’t remember the name, but it was about a random boy who met a dragon. They fought each other, went flying, and then spun straw into gold on a yellow moon. It was great.

What makes or breaks a live reading for you?
Pace. Length. And an appropriate, coolish, climate-controlled temperature.

If we had to drop everything and immerse ourselves in a book right now, what should it be?
Brideshead Revisited...or maybe Simon Rich’s Free-Range Chickens.

You can choose one author to go out drinking with. Who do you pick, and where do you take them?
Salinger. Obviously he’s welcome here but I’m assuming he’d rather have some beers and just hang around his place.

What’s your favourite opening to a book?
I really like E.B. White’s introduction to (his wife) Katharine White’s book about gardening.

If you could re-write the ending to any famous novel, which would it be? And what might you change it to?
I’ve never had the urge to re-write the ending of a book. That’s a tricky one for me. I’m allowed one pass, right?

Is there one big, famous book that you feel like you really should have read already, but still haven’t?
No, there are no books I feel I should’ve already read or that I feel guilty about not reading. That seems silly. But loads of books I still want to read.

What word do you love the most?

What word do you absolutely despise?


IAIN REID has written about music, books, sports, and culture. His writing has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online in publications such as the Globe and Mail, National Post, Reader's Digest, and Atlantica Magazine. His work has also appeared on CBC Radio and NPR. His first book, One Bird's Choice, was awarded the CBC Bookie Award for Nonfiction. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.

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