Book recommendations, now on YouTube
Getting book industry people to start talking is pretty easy - just ask them to give you a recommendation. That's the thinking that's gone into the Keepin' It Real Book Club's ongoing promotion of Keep Toronto Reading - a month of blog posts featuring videos of literary industry insiders highlighting the books they've recently enjoyed.
The format is simple: 30 days, 30 recommendations. It's a take on the spirit behind Keep Toronto Reading, a festival that's meant to give the city ideas for new books to pick up (from the Toronto Public Library, of course). The end of April means the end of the fifth annual Keep Toronto Reading festival and, each year, the events gain more steam from both institutions and grass-roots supporters.
The Toronto Public Library is bolstered by Toronto's official institutions and media sources like CBC, Toronto Star and some website called blogTO but, most importantly, concurrent events like the Keepin' It Real Book Club promotion demonstrate the kind of widespread, viral backing that the festival needs to stay relevant.
In this sense, the blog is carrying out its goals admirably. From the University of Michigan's Julie Judkins throwing support to Lorrie Moore's Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? to LitDistCo's Julia Horel-O-Brien big-upping Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel, Persepolis, there are recommendations throughout the month that should suit any reader's taste. 2010's Keep Toronto Reading is certainly worth the attention as well. This year's events have included readings from Canadian and international literary heavyweights like (the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner) Linden MacIntyre, Michael Crummey and Ian McEwan.
Keepin' It Real Book Club is doing a good job of spreading the word and embracing the intent behind Keep Toronto Reading. Let's hope that the same level of originality and innovation is also on display when the festival makes its return next spring.
Writing by Reid McCarter.
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