‘When I get homesick I read these novels’
The April Reader of the Month is Rod Redden, a Canadian currently living and working in Japan. Rod recently completed a master’s degree. One of his assignments was on a specific linguistic situation. He chose the prevalence of army and naval terms in the Atlantic region of Canada – and one of the works he found particularly useful was Stockwin’s Maritime Miscellany! A keen military re-enactor, Rod sailed in HMS Rose at both the Burning of Fairfield Connecticut in 1989 and the 250th anniversary of the 1745 siege of Louisbourg, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the summer of 1995.
Over to Rod:
My mum found a copy of TENACIOUS at a Chapters bookstore. She noted that the novel began in Halifax, during the 18th century and thought I might find it interesting. Over time, and with the help of internet shopping, I’ve been able to buy the whole series.
I ended up in Japan in 1999 after teaching in South Korea. I had studied East Asian and South East Asian history and wanted the chance to live and work in one of these regions. I had planned on joining my local reserve army regiment, to follow what my father did, but I failed the medical. I found out that you could teach English overseas if you had a bachelor’s degree. I first went to Iwate prefecture, the area which was hit by the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami. I then moved down to Narita, in Chiba prefecture, then over to Funabashi, all close to Tokyo. I met my wife and we married in Nova Scotia but came back to Japan for work, where we lived in Toyama prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.
My favorite title is QUARTERDECK, as most of the novel takes place in the Maritime provinces of Canada, which is where I’m from. As a student, I used to go to York Redoubt and Point Pleasant Park. I’d also walk amongst the ruins of the artillery batteries in the park to find a quiet place to study.
One of the characters I like in the Kydd series is Stirk, due to his trade on the ship as one of the master gunners. As a university student, I worked at the Halifax Citadel National Historic site as a member of the Royal Artillery. When Stirk is getting on his gunnery skills, I understand it well, as this is something I did every summer – loading muzzle-loading smoothbore guns, laying, firing and maintaining them is what we were required to do. Stirk also is a down to earth fellow, like many of the people back in my home region of the Musquodoboit valley.
The Kydd series has everything going for it. Great characters, a wonderful plot, excellent background. When I get homesick, I read these novels to take me back to the places I have been, or would like to go to.
Would you like to be a candidate for Reader of the Month? Just get in touch with a few sentences about your background and why you enjoy the Kydd series. Each published Reader of the Month will receive a little maritime memento
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