BOOK TALK WITH GSPL: GLENN THIBEAULT
Last year Glenn Thibeault made a New Year’s Resolution that focused around books. His resolution was to read at least one book per month all year. While he may not have found the time get to a book every month this past year, his reasons for creating this goal for himself have to do with the large impact books have had on his life. Glenn Thibeault is currently the MPP for the Sudbury area. While he still enjoys the feeling of a good old fashioned in his hands, he has also started using the public library’s digital services like Hoopla and Overdrive to take advantage of the accessibility of digital books available at the click of a button. Whether they come in the form of bound paper or a digital screen, the following is a conversation about five books have had an impact on Glenn in a big way.
Have you always been a reader?
I read a lot growing up. I remember visiting the school library in grade school and getting to pick books of our own – I always loved the ‘choose your own adventure books’. You could read the same book again and again and choose a different ending each time. These days I tend to choose non-fiction books. In the pile of books to read at home I currently have a Winston Churchill autobiography and The Armageddon Factor by Marci McDonald. The thing that is so great about books is that they open your mind to new things and can help you connect the dots with how things work and how to make a difference in the world. Books give you the opportunity to pause and think. Then, if you want to lose yourself awhile, you could find a good fiction.
What is one book you have read that really changed your thinking?
I have read all of Douglas Coupland’s books but Life After God is the one that made the most impact. When people first see this book they may see it as more of a religious book but really what it talks about it is how my generation is the first one to grow up without religion. My interpretation of it is that there is now a few generations of people looking for something to fill the void that we have since we no longer come together every Sunday, we don’t have that faith that holds us together. We are always looking to buy the next item or save up for the next trip; we do not realize we are looking to fill that void. We need something . . . like a faith, a spirituality. This books talks about how you need something of the spiritual nature to make it through. It can’t be found in the next iPad, or another piece of technology. I first read this book when it came out in 1997 and have recommended it for people to read as I feel it is an important one for my generation. It’s something to help us consider how to come together as a community.
Is there a series of books that you have connected with?
I have read the whole series of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien three times. The first time I was young, the second time I was in high school, and the third time was just before the movies came out. The last time I wanted to familiarize myself with the books again before watching the movies but it’s a funny story about why I read the books the first time around. When I was in school I wanted to get ahead of the game and read a book before we had to do it for class. So I read Tolkien but in the end it was Lord of the Flies by William Golding which we had to read. While I never did get ahead in class, what I got out of these books was a lifelong love of the series. It is the story of the journey, and understanding the importance of what the characters were giving up to take the journey, that is important. It teaches that the easy path is not always the best path and sometimes you have to give up some things to accomplish bigger and better things. The characters in this fantasy made this story great; and it was a commitment to read the entire series that made an impact.
Is there a political book that has affected your work life?
I read the political book, The Unfinished Revolution by Philip Gould, a few years ago. Gould has since passed away but he was a political director for the labour party in the United Kingdom that took them from opposition party to government. Being involved in politics for the past ten years myself, this was an interesting perspective to go from being opposition to then being in government. This book provides a good perspective; it provided a lot of self-reflection for me. The book talks about R&D not as research and development but “rip off and duplicate”. The idea is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time; you can learn from other people’s mistakes. Talking and understanding how policy decisions are made is important. It is a very political book, but it is interesting to learn about party policy – the part that is “under the hood” in politics.
Is there another book that has influenced how you look at the world?
I read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell in the last five years. It was very exciting to discover it as it was a book that allows you to see past certain things and see the ‘tipping point’ that changes everything. You get to see how these huge trends and game changers happen. Things like the hush puppy movement – how it starts off with four people liking something to becoming something that changes the world. You learn how certain trends take off, and it also helps explain certain people. You learn who are the ‘connectors’ or the ‘salesmen’ in your own circles. Who is out connecting and who is selling you to others? You start to identity these people in your own circles; you see who fits these molds. It also helps you understand how you take little things and turn them into something big. It’s a fun read, a good read.
Is there a children’s book that is important to you?
My parents were older when they had kids and they both read to me quite a bit. My sister would read to me as well. We had this one book Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and they would all take turns to read it to me. Each of them would read it in their own way and that was one thing that made it so great. It was always so much fun. When I went to college for development services, I had to pick a book to read to a class of children who had special needs. I brought this book and it was a huge hit. Then, later in life as my own daughters were born, I read it to them too. I still have the original copy of the book I had when I was young. I’ve always read to my kids and now they are big readers too. Reading is such an important thing. For me, this particular book is a generational thing and it is one I won’t forget.
January 22, 2018
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December 21, 2017