Two confessions. Nick Pashley, the author of the new book Cheers!: A History of Beer in Canada is an old friend and former colleague from my bookselling days. He essentially was my mentor in the book business and I know I wouldn't be doing what I am today if he hadn't shown me (mostly by example) how crazy, unpredictable, yet ultimately fun and rewarding bookselling is as a profession. Booksellers don't get paid much. You need a lot of laughs - which Nick provided pretty much on a daily basis, back when we both worked at the University of Toronto Bookstore. Many of the Deweys who also sell to bookstores had the pleasure of working with him. When he has a book launch, the entire Toronto book industry comes out.
So yes, I'm shamelessly plugging his new book. But my second confession is that I rarely drink. Maybe the odd glass of wine now and then. Or a gin and tonic on a summer's day. The only time I ever drink beer is on Pashley's annual pub crawl and then it's strictly half-pints spaced out between four hour stretches. He once gave me a dirty look for ordering a cappacino (well, it was an Italian bar!) And yet I read every word of his first book, Notes on a Beermat and I'll buy this new one and read it too. Because the guy is just so darned funny! And let's face it - Canadian history could use a few laughs. So his books are definitely not just for beer drinkers - anyone who likes to read Bill Bryson, Bill Richardson, or Stuart McLean, likes pub trivia or just quirky non-fiction - give this book a quaff.
And you can check out an interview with Nick in the Globe and Mail here.
So congrats on the new book Nick - I know deep down, it's just a shameless tactic to get people to buy you a drink. And yes, the next one's on me.