I recently launched Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs in my hometown of Saskatoon. And the event took place at my favourite independent bookstore, McNally Robinson.

Approximately 30 people showed up. The Q&A was full and frank. I signed a bunch of books! Thanks to McGill-Queen’s University Press and McNally Robinson.

Some excerpts from the launch:

“I’m delighted to share a few thoughts with you tonight. At McNally Robinson of all places! You wouldn’t believe how much coffee and cake I’ve consumed at this place over the years! I’ve given lectures and papers in many places – in Paris and London and Shanghai – but being here is tremendously rewarding for me. McNally’s is where I developed a love for literature and history and politics. So it’s delightful to be here.”

Along with my sister, Jenn

“NOW, it takes a village to write a book. It takes a supportive and sometimes forgiving wife. It takes an encouraging wider family. A good bunch of teachers and colleagues. I had a stellar research assistant who will doing great things in no time.”

Conversation following the talk was surprisingly good.

It was pretty cool to have my book up on the shelves at a place I’ve visited many, many, many times over the years.

“…a big big part of finishing a book is to have a grasp of what others have written. Of that foundation. LET ME TELL YOU THEN ABOUT 3 BOOKS THAT SHAPED MINE. AND THEN I’LL GIVE YOU SOME FINAL THOUGHTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.”

And in two different places, no less.

One recommendation: “The first section of this book focussed on end-of-life therapies. Since the 1980s, ‘considerable advances have been made’ in the knowledge of the management of symptoms in terminal illnesses – improvements that warrant widespread incorporation into the clinical practice of both generalists and specialists. The information about ‘comfort care’ in treating various symptoms and dealing with pain in terminal patients is of the utmost importance. As part of this, we ought to think more about pain – that is, tackling the root causes of pain – instead of simply focusing on painkillers and addiction to these drugs. This might be problematic amid an opioid crisis, but recalibrating public and private discussions would be worthwhile.”


“In the short term, I invite you to try out the cake here at McNally’s and in the longer-term, I hope you find some sun and sand this summer. Long or short, I hope that this talk has, if nothing else, suggested that you think about the way you think about drugs.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: