Although it isn’t how one is intended to read it, I have found Mike Barnes’ Be With: Letters to a Caregiver (2018) to be good company when travelling on public transit in the city’s core.
When the distance between stops is shorter and the conditions occasionally crowded; it is a compact volume which nestles into one’s hand and the narrative is structured so that caregivers can read in short bursts.
Barnes is an experienced writer and he strikes the perfect tone here: intimate and universal, fundamental and profound.
It reads the way that I imagine another person’s religious text might satisfy them, so that one can read a few lines or pages and contemplate or, simply, breathe.
The book landed on my stack thanks to its recent nomination for the Toronto Book Award and the blurb from Margaret Atwood on the cover – “Timely, lyrical, tough, accurate” – intrigued me further.