Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Stan Rogal

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Stan Rogal

Leaping Lion Books is the official publishing house of York University and is run by the Book Publishing Practicum Course, a class reserved for 4th year students registered in the Book Stream of the Professional Writing program. The aspiring publishers work on books by veteran and emerging authors, giving them real-world publishing experience before they've even graduated.

One of their highlighted 2014 titles is Stan Rogal's short story collection Obsessions . Stan has published poetry collections, three previous story collections and four novels, so the Leaping Lion staff will have certainly learned a lot from him. We're pleased to welcome him to the site today as part of our The WAR Series: Writers As Readers, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Read on to hear from Stan about laughing with Kafka, reading by osmosis and a pleasant surprise from a friend's bookshelf.
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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
I was pretty much into action comic books as a kid but I’ll go with Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles which I thought was awesome.

A book that made me cry:
It was a story called "The Bath" from a book titled, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. I still cry when I read it.

The first adult book I read:
I think I always read adult books once I started reading, though if you mean ‘adult rated’ I’d say Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis was pretty funny along with Richard Brautigan’s The Abortion. Ken Sparling’s Book contains a different type of humour altogether but ultimately side splitting.

The book I have re-read many times:
There are a few, the first being Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch followed by Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea and Anais Nin’s Spy In The House of Love, all very funny books.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
I have to go with the obvious and say James Joyce’s Ulysses though I somehow think I have read it in an osmosis type of way.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
Maybe Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels climbing down from the Buddha mountain into the jazzed city, though Don DeLillo’s Running Dog is pretty cool and George Bataille’s The Story of the Eye could keep a seventeen year old occupied for hours.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
Back to Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch because it combined the earthy with the intellectual; the pornographic with the erotic; the serious with the humorous.

The best book I read in the past six months:
I pulled Jerzy Kosinki’s The Devil Tree from a friend’s bookshelf and it was startling in its freshness and stylistic brevity.

The book I plan on reading next:
I’m at a stage in life where I don’t plan on anything, instead, I await the moment that something reaches out and says: “Pick me!”

A possible title for my autobiography:
Memoirs of a Redneck Intellectual — thank you Judith Fitzgerald.


Born in Vancouver, Stan Rogal has been writing since 1992, when he published his book of poetry, Sweet Betsy from Pike with Wolsak and Wynn. Since then, he has been writing prolifically and has been translated internationally. Rogal is the author of numerous poetry collections, four novels and three short story collections. Obsessions is his first foray into short stories in over a decade. Rogal now resides in Toronto, where he is actively involved with the city’s literary and theatre communities.

For more information about Obsessions please visit the Leaping Lion Books website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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