12-Week National Bestseller: The Idea of Canada

Portrait of HEGG David Johnston

Seventh Avenue is proud to represent Canada’s Governor General, The Right Honourable David Johnston. His first book, The Idea of Canada, is published by McClelland & Stewart.

Letters to a Nation, by David JohnstonFrom our present Governor General, a series of 50 (of several thousand) carefully chosen letters he has written to people he has admired and befriended over his seventy-plus years, that sets out Mr. Johnston’s frank, informed, and novel thoughts about Canada.

Touching on a wide range of topics ranging from learning, the law, kindness and courage, to the monarchy, Aboriginal education, justice, bilingualism, mental health and hockey, David Johnston has always used the letter writing form to tackle the passions, challenges, and goals of his incredibly accomplished and varied life. From his earliest years at Harvard, he has written several letters each day, starting with those to his large family, and broadening out to an ever-widening circle of friends that includes ministers and monarchs, educators and entrepreneurs, and many extraordinary Canadians who have deepened his perspective and touched his heart. The letters included in this beautiful volume are all about Canada — a project to help him understand and share his views on this great country, past, present and future.

Presented in three parts — What Shapes Me, What Consumes Me, and What Comforts Me — His Excellency reaches out to everyone from his grandchildren, Kevin Vickers, Clara Hughes, Chris Hadfield, the Aga Khan, Tina Fontaine, Mike Lazaridis, the teachers of our country, a grade five class in Winnipeg, an unknown Inuit boy he met at Rideau Hall, and many others. The perfect gift for graduates, this unique and lovely book should find its home in every Canadian’s library.

About the Author

Sworn in on October 1, 2010, His Excellency the Right Honourable DAVID JOHNSTON is the 28th governor general since Confederation. He holds an LL.B. from Queen’s University (1966); an LL.B. from the University of Cambridge (1965); and an AB from Harvard University (1963). While at Harvard, he was twice selected for the All-American hockey team and was named to Harvard’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the first non-American to chair Harvard’s Board of Overseers. He became dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario in 1974. In 1979, he was named principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University, and in July 1994, he returned to teaching as a full-time professor in the McGill Faculty of Law. In June 1999, he became the fifth president of the University of Waterloo. David Johnston is the author or co-author of 24 books including new editions, holds honorary doctorates from over 20 universities and is a Companion of the Order of Canada. He is married to Sharon Johnston, and they have five daughters and 12 grandchildren. The author lives in Rideau Hall, Ottawa.


Interview with Reva Seth

Mom Shift by Reva SethReva Seth is a lawyer, journalist, and author. Her latest book, The Mom Shift: Women Share Their Stories of Career Success After Having Children is published in 2014 by Random House Canada.

Her message? Having children can actually boost your career.

The following excerpt from a National Post interview asks what career-minded women today are doing to balance motherhood and job.

The full text of the interview is available here.

Q: Motherhood is often pegged as a career’s dead end. But you argue it can actually boost a woman’s career. How?

A: Some women found it made them take the leap to make them do the thing they wanted to do. When one woman in my book, lawyer Catherine McKenna, left her job [to start a family] everyone said ‘You’ve lost your ambition because of motherhood.’ She said ‘I actually became more ambitious because I wanted to do something impactful.’ She subsequently started Canadian Lawyers Abroad and she’s actually running in Ottawa-Centre for the Liberals. For some women it was financial. A lot of women felt they worked better, that they were more efficient and just more focused.

Q: That stark messaging — that kids are career killers — is it powerful enough to turn ambitious women off of motherhood?

A: When people tell you children will end your career and you’re pretty excited about your career, I wouldn’t want to have a child. I didn’t want to have children because that’s the messaging I grew up with. Why would you, if you invest so much time and education wanting to do something? And then you think ‘But it’s so untrue! Tons of women have great careers and children.’

Q: Here in Canada we have solid parental leave and public healthcare. What did you hear from Canadian moms in particular about the anxieties they have or their concerns about the system?

A: Childcare and flexibility. We’re too focused on maternity leave right now. There’s so much advice and counseling on how to do a good maternity leave, how to come back, what happens after. But once you’re a parent, those issues don’t go away once you return to work. What I heard a lot was we need flexibility, because the challenges for a lot of parents was the rigidness of the schedule. That was a real anxiety point for a lot of women, who said ‘I hadn’t anticipated I would keep needing so much.’


Seth’s first book, First Comes Marriage: Modern Relationship Advice From the Wisdom of Arranged Marriages (Simon & Schuster 2008) examined what the centuries-old tradition of arranged marriages could teach modern women about dating, love and relationship happiness. The book was based on over 300 interviews with women in arranged marriages across the US, Canada and Europe.

Reva has written for, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, The Toronto Star, The Huffington Post and The Mark, among others, and she regularly speaks on The Mom Shift: Women Share Their Stories of Career Success After Having Children.

Additional details at: www.themomshift.com