Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let Books Transform You

Prompted by the charismatic Jen Knoch of the Keeping It Real Book Club, I recently recorded a video in support of the Toronto Public Library's Keep Toronto Reading Festival (which runs April 1 to 30, 2011).

Jen and I met at the CBC studios in Toronto a few months ago when we were both guests on CBC's Fresh Air and were talking about our love for Canada Reads. Her passion for reading is contagious, we had a great time in the studio with Fresh Air host Mary Ito, and I had a really fun time recording this video.

This year's theme for Keep Toronto Reading is:  Let Books Transform You.

For that reason, I chose Robert J. Sawyer's novel Rollback.

This is, in my mind, the perfect science fiction novel for people who have never read science fiction or claim that they wouldn't like sci-fi. Rollback is a novel that helps people transform their idea of what science fiction is and can be. I have been able to put Rollback into the hands of people who say they hate science fiction or have never been able to read it and have them return to me raving about the novel and to ask for more sci-fi title suggestions, as well as interested in seeing what else Sawyer has written.

Simply, if you enjoyed Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife (and you'll notice I don't risk mangling the author's name in my video), you'll likely fall for the beautiful love story unvealed in Sawyer's novel as a couple that has been together for 60 years facing an incredibly powerful and sudden change in their relationship when one of them undergoes an experimental "rollback" procedure that restores their physiological body to the equivalent of the age of 20.

In any case, I'm always happy to share great books and hope that adding my two cents to the wonderful Keep Toronto Reading festival inspires folks not just in Toronto, but everywhere, to keep reading.


Snow Phoenix said...

Hello, Mark - I came across your Blog here and am very impressed with it. I'm new to the world of blogging, although my Facebook Notes are now full to overflowing - lol!

Anyways, I noticed that you do publishing, and was wondering if it's only self-publication or whether you publish other people's work. Yes, I know, if I read through your entire blog that might be answered - sorry about that...

Hope this blizzardy spring day finds you well!!

Mark Leslie said...

Hi, Snow Phoenix. Thanks for your comment.

As an editor of anthologies I have published other writer's short fiction both through "traditional" publishers as well as using DIY options.

If you're looking for self-publishing options without leaving Hamilton, you might want to check out using a local service like Titles on Demand ( at McMaster University's bookstore.

A lot of local authors are using this service to produce their own books (We originally used it to product CAMPUS CHILLS, an anthology of stories set on campuses across Canada)

If you're looking for a traditional publisher for your writing, you're similarly going to have to do a lot of reading and research to determine where to send your material.

Best of luck to you.