A good caper and a day at the races

Toronto actor Nicholas Campbell’s fave reads


Published:

Nicholas Campbell as the Professor in the Toronto production of ‘Jerusalem’

What  book is currently on your nightstand?
The Racing Maxims and Methods of Pittsburg Phil. I used to have the original from 1908. It’s a horse racing handicapper. Now Amazon has a version of it. I lost my original copy, and they’re worth about $50,000 now. 

What’s the last great book you read?
I reread the Englishman’s Boy recently, and that’s a great one. He [Guy Vanderhaeghe] just has such a delightful way of retelling the historical and describing what Canada looked like at the turn of the century.

Do you read book reviews or get recommendations from friends?
I used to read reviews, but reviewers like everything in the New York Times, so I don’t go by that anymore. Usually, I just go by whatever other people tell me. 

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from a book recently?
That, when betting, two-year-olds [horses] are the most consistent and the ones you should be betting on. I’m always surprised to hear that. 

What current writer inspires you?
I’d have to say I’m inspired by Ruth Marshall. She wrote this new book called Walk It Off, just came out. It’s very interesting about a woman’s fight with cancer. It’s very good, and it’s got a lot of wit to it. I hope she does another one. 

What kinds of books do you find most enjoyable?
I like investigation and mostly of the British variety. I constantly read Ann Cleeves. She writes murder mysteries, and there is that great series on TV called Vera

Did you read a lot as a child?
As a child, I started reading quite early. In Montreal west, there was a terrific library, and they had a lot of biographies. So I read nothing but biographies until I was 25 or 26. Still, when I go into a bookstore, I start with biographies. 

Name three writers you would like to have a drink with at the pub?
Harold Pinter, love him; John Osbourne; and Mr. [Sam] Shepard who just died. He’s a real favourite of mine too. 

Who do you want to write your life story?
Ann Cleeves. I just hope I’m not murdered.

Nicholas Campbell appears in the Canadian premiere of Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem, onstage Feb. 13 at Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre.

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Ron Johnson is the editor of Post City Magazines. Follow him on Twitter @TheRonJohnson.

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