Alan Doyle slideshow Live



The book that taught him how to spin a great yarn
"All of Wayne Johnston's books are just superb storytelling. I started way back with his first book, The Story of Bobby O’Malley. Wayne and I are from the exact same part of the world—we grew up five kilometres from each other. And when I read this book, I remember going 'Wow, that's from here. That's not about Toronto. That's a book about being exactly where I'm from.' And I just thought that that was cool."
by CBC Books
The book that's had the biggest impact on his music

"In The Game,
Dryden really talks about how, if you're successful again and again, you just assume you will be successful again and again. That's one of the greatest pitfalls for successful sports teams, and it's definitely one of the biggest pitfalls for performers, because you tend to fall into a trap where, five minutes before you go on stage, if you're not careful, you can catch yourself saying 'Guys, it'll be good. Don't worry, it will be good. Tonight's show will be good, because we were good last night, and we're usually good.' And it ain't true. You have to make it good. This lesson has changed the last decade of my performing life." 
 
by CBC Books
The book he's currently reading

"I'm not really sure how rock and roll it is for a guy with long hair in a party band to be reading The Power of Habit, but it’s really helping me solve the puzzle of why we do stuff regularly and without thinking.
 Especially if I'm doing a record, I find that I don't really want to read fiction because it requires some of my imagination and creativity to imagine what's going on, and I need all that creative energy to do my own stuff. So I want to read something that's practical as opposed to imaginative." 


 
by CBC Books
The book with the best sleight of hand

"Life of Pi blew me away with how it could hold your attention to this sheer fantasy for so long.
And it's only in the last pages that you really learn what you've been reading that whole time. It's an amazing lesson in the suspension of disbelief. I was just, 'Oh, ok, he's in a boat with a tiger, off we go. And there's blue fish flying through the air, sure.' You just believe it! What an incredible thing." 
 
by CBC Books
The toughest read he ever struggled through

"When I was in university taking religious studies, I had to read Foucault's Pendulum.
Geez, man. I could barely tell you seven words of it now, I found it so long and so boring. Listen to me dumping on Umberto Eco! 'Now that I have one book out...' or as I like to joke all the time, 'When you've written a book, as I have...' [Laughs] And then I read The Name of the Rose, and I thought that was fantastic. So you have to give second chances in this life."
 
by CBC Books
The best music memoir he’s ever read

"I've read a ton of music memoirs.
And the best one is The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. You have got to read this book. Neil Strauss divided the history of the band into sections based on different times in the band's life, and then interviewed the guys in the band and some other key people involved in each of those times. And all the contradictions come through so compellingly. There’s usually a pat ending for a rock biography: 'Well, they fought and they were goofballs, but in the end they all had each other's backs, and they succeeded because of their great love for the stage.' And in this book, you learn that none of that is true. There's never been a group of people who have succeeded more in spite of themselves. They hate each other's guts so much that they don't even go and visit each other in the hospital! They were absolute dicks to each other all the time, and yet they still pulled it off." 
 
by CBC Books
The closest he's ever come to literary Zen
"Michael Crummey's novel Sweetland is just a few feet from where I'm sitting. I'm really looking forward to reading it; it's the book I'm jonesing for the most. But I've loved Michael Crummey's poetry since before he even started writing novels, especially his book Hard Light. It's wicked. That book is the closest time I've ever come to Zen—you know, in the bathtub with the half glass of wine, that time?" 

 
 favourite book of all time
by CBC Books
His favourite book of all time

"I would have been in my early twenties when I first read A Prayer for Owen Meany. What an unbelievable accomplishment this book is. I love books about someone who's coming of age. I just ate up this story of a kid who's got all kinds of physical challenges who makes a go of it, who makes a huge and lasting footprint on the world—even though he's probably got a really small foot. [Laughs] I just thought of that as I was saying it, too!" 

 
by CBC Books
 
 

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