ABE the Advent Book Elf: An interview with Open Book Toronto (via @seancranbury)

Last December our friends at Open Book Toronto interviewed Julie, ABE and myself about the Advent Book Blog. It was a fun interview and it gave us a chance to explain ourselves and our project but ABE’s part of the Q&A is the most memorable. I’ve posted it below.

For the full interview check out Open Book Toronto.

I’m looking forward to unleashing more of ABE’s crazy story later this year!


And now, over to you, Abe. Tell us about the Advent Book Blog.


The Advent Book Blog is a place where passionate people come together to talk about their favorite books. It’s a place that’s dedicated to building a community, and it acts as a kind of introduction to people and books that one might not otherwise know about.

It’s about making connections and opening up conversation.


What’s it like to work for Sean and Julie? Tell us about a day in the life of a Book Elf.


It’s fine, I guess. For an Elf this is a pretty sweet gig. I mean, I could be fire dancing for caribou snacks on Baffin Island like my friend Charles or flying around the moon for the amusement of the children of the King of Sweden like my cousin Donna, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Advent Book Lodge is a pretty sweet pad, too. I usually work at my long oak work bench hammering and sculpting the stuff that people send in while Sean threatens to feed the cats to the pack of sled dogs that huddle outside in the biting arctic wind. The cats are always complaining about something. Julie’s usually out sipping cocktails at some palatial residence talking to fabulously wealthy writers or she’s working on her vampire book. As an elf, all that undead stuff kinda freaks me out.

Most of my day is spent working on getting the Advent Book posts just right. Also collecting firewood and working on the augmented cappuccino machine that’s been redesigned to make steamed rum and eggnog lattes.

Oh yeah, and making sure that there’s enough spiced rum to go around.


Abe, what brought you back to Canada to work in books? Is there something about Canadian publishing and culture that you particularly love?


The police brought me back. In one of those paddy wagons after an unfortunate altercation with a Red Wings fan in downtown Detroit. I had no idea that the woman in question was that man’s mother. Didn’t really seem like an important detail at the time.

Anyway, the thing about Canadian publishing and Canadians in general is that they produce a huge variety of really great things. They possess this limitless imagination and generally have pretty good taste. And they’re funny.

Look at the Canadian book titles that have been recommended on the blog. Look at the cover design for that Mitochondria book for crying out loud! Where else are you going to see that kind of playful audacity? Well, maybe the Swedes would do something similar or the Japanese.

But I guess the true magic thing about Canadians and their publishing industry is that they seem completely oblivious to how amazing they are.


Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a Book Elf, I’d be…


…inventing Cheese Fonts for the Helvetica Cheese Company in Tucson, Arizona.

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

1 Comment

  • Reply November 8, 2010


    Amusing take on the Red Wings and the paddy wagon. It made me laugh. Thanks.

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