About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Anthony Bidulka and Hesitation Over the Cover Photo

To: Anthony Bidulka

Who likes having their picture taken? Not I. Not most people I know. There are not many narcissists with regard to photos of yourself. I consider Donald Trump an exception. Cats seem to do the best as they are totally indifferent to the camera.

I appreciate professional photographers who can make their subjects look good in photos.

Canadian photographer, Yousef Karsh, was one of the best portrait photographers of all time with his black and white photos of celebrities and politicians. His photo of Winston Churchill with a wisp of cigar smoke in the air is one of the best known images of Churchill.

Yet even the most confident of personalities quail at the thought of going in front of the lens.

You are one of the most photogenic people I know. The photo McNally Robinson booksellers in Saskatoon chose for the portrait gallery in the Prairie Ink Restaurant is above. You spoke of liking it but not your mother-in-law. You never indicated what your mother or Herb thought of the photo. If you are willing to share the reasons for the opinions of your mother-in-law and your mother and your husband I would add them to this post. I like the photo.

In your most recent post on your website blog, a link is below,  you revealed the book jacket description and cover photo for your new book, Going to Beautiful, which will be published next spring.

In the post you express your own hesitations on photos of yourself.

I expect you are not alone among authors. 

Of all the authors I read frequently I think Louise Penny has some of the best cover photos. 

I appreciate the pressure of the cover photo as I read an online post saying some readers judge the author and the book based on the author photo. I have some difficulty believing readers could be so shallow but I expect there must be some minuscule minority.

Of the photos in your post other than the new cover photo you spoke of some being favourites and cringing a bit over others.

I cringe over none but have mixed emotions about the photo in the canola field. I love the concept of a photo in an iconic Saskatchewan setting but would not have chosen it to represent you.

I would be happy if I looked as good as you in any of the photos. I do like the photo chosen for the new book cover. It reminds me of the wry, always witty, guy I have come to know.

I am looking forward to the book. I did not read the book cover description as I prefer to read the book before looking at notes and blurbs.

All the best.





  1. I really enjoyed this post, Bill. I'm one of those people who hates photos of myself, and I share that feeling of disliking the whole process. I agree 100% about Anthony Bidulka's being photogenic. I've never seen a photo of him that wasn't excellent. I understand exactly how he feels; I feel the same way about 'photos of myself. But the camera does love him. Oh, and I agree about Karsh. He's done some fantastic photographs - just an excellent, highly skilled photographer who brings out the best in his subjects.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I remember you not being fond of the author photo process. I am sure it is challenge to pick a photo. I would probably prefer someone else pick a photo for me.

  2. Hello Bill! Hello Margot!

    An author photo (and photos in general)is an interesting topic and can lead you down many paths. Cats probably have it right: picture, no picture, who cares, I'm perfect, doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

    Personally, I like seeing author photos on book jackets. But, like it or not, they live with us for as long as the book is on shelves, which hopefully is forever. So the question is, what do you want a photo to say about you?

    When I ask myself that question, I am a bit torn. There is a lot to consider. I want to be me. I want to appear friendly and approachable, but also a serious writer. I want to reflect the book's content (often murderous). I don't want to take myself too seriously. And of course I want to look as good as my genes (and high-tech filters! - har har) will allow. That's a tall order. So I usually just end up standing there thinking good, happy thoughts.

    Bill, your description of the new photo is almost word-for-word Herb's opinion, and why he likes it too. How did you do that? :)
    As for the McNally photo, I believe my mother-in-law didn't care for it because (a) she was not a fan of the scruff look, and (b) she preferred me in full-on smile pictures.

    My mother on the other hand loves every picture of me because that's what moms do.

  3. Anthony: Thanks for your sparkling comment.

    I also like author photos on covers. I far prefer them to a collection of blurbs.

    I appreciated your thoughts on how you want to appear in photos.

    As for my description I have had a number of clients say "how did you do that?" You gain some insights into people through 45 years of being a litigator. Having the same opinion as Herb puts me in good company.

    I wondered if your mother-in-law was a non-scruff person.

    Your comment on your mother is perfect.