Mark Leslie Lefebvre on Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
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Books discussed in this episode:
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
(side note: Mark recommends this one on audio)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
The Stand by Stephen King
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
AMC’s The Walking Dead (TV show)
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
City of the Dead by Brian Keene
Dead Sea by Brian Keene
The Body by Stephen King
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
Pilgrim: A Novel by Timothy Findley
Fire by George R. Stewart
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
Active Reader: And Other Cautionary Tales from the Book World by Mark Leslie
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Poison: Stories by Amy Teegan
No Day Like Today by Amy Teegan
Every House is Haunted by Ian Rogers
Awakened: The Ascension Myth Book 1 by Ell Leigh Clarke and Michael Anderle
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
EPISODE 009 TRANSCRIPT
Mark Levebvre on “Earth Abides” by George R. Stewart
Hi, Bookworms, welcome to the Best Book Ever, the podcast where we talk about your favorite books. I’m your host, Julie Strauss. And my guest today is Mark Leslie Lefebvre. Mark is a writer, an editor, a trusted book industry expert, a dad joke ninja, a professional speaker, and an all-around book nerd. When he is not haunting bookstores or libraries, you might find him haunting, local craft breweries. Get it? Cause he writes horror. Anyway, I’m super excited that Mark is here with me today to tell me why “Earth Abides” is the Best Book Ever.
For more information on how to support this podcast, check out my Patreon. For about the cost of a latte you can have access to exclusive interview clips that are only available to my patrons, advanced access to the books we discuss and more. Go to patreon.com/bestbookever to learn more about how you can help me keep the candles burning over here in my reading cave. Now, back to the show.
Julie Strauss: Hi, Mark. How are you today?
Mark Lefebvre: Oh, I’m doing great, Julie. Thanks for having me here.
JS: Thank you so much for joining me. It is always a joy to talk to you about books and everything, but books, mostly.
ML: Books, especially
JS: Exactly. Mark, tell me a little bit about your reading life. What role does reading play in your life?
ML: Reading is my life. Reading is central to everything that I’ve always done and everything I aspire to do. Books are so much. Books contain universes within them. And I have long been, from the time that my mom, when I was a child, my mom worked at the corner store in our small town and, and every Tuesday she would bring home comic books for me to read. I devoured them. I remember going to the library when I was a child and just being so excited that you could take these books home and then you can go back the next week and get more. Books always played that role in my life. So it’s not surprising that I wanted to be a writer and a bookseller. It feels like, as a bookseller, though I’ve worked really, really hard, I’ve never worked a single day in my life because I’ve gotten to interact and like, like what you’re doing with this podcast, I get to talk to people about books all the time. And, every once in a while, I have work to do.
JS: Do you read a lot of different genres in your recreational reading time? Not for work, but when you’re on your own, do you read wide?
ML: Yeah, I try really, really hard to read widely. I try to go back and read the classics that I should have read when I was supposed to be studying them in school or that we never studied. We’d never studied “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And I think I only read it about 15 years ago, so I always try to go back and read some classic just because there’s so many great things. The reason that they are classics is because people keep talking about them. You know, “Howard’s End,” for example, a really good friend of mine handed me a copy of that. And I still haven’t read it, but it’s one of those things I’m looking forward to reading. I usually always have a classic in mind that I want to read next. I always have at least three or four books on the go at any given time. Cause I kind of, not only do I genre hop but I also jump from book to book to book. I’m constantly reading different nonfiction and fiction. It doesn’t matter. I look at the nonfiction, not just for professional development as a writer, but just for personal development as well, and things that I can learn and experience through, you know, biographies and, and, and all kinds of other great nonfiction titles.
JS: What did you think of “To Kill a Mockingbird” when you finally read it?
ML: Oh, my God. I mean, I’m glad I waited until I was an adult. Because Atticus Finch was a major character, a father figure and a hero to me when I was reading it. And just the way that she looks at her father. Now my son is reading it for school and I’m having so much fun talking with him about it. Especially because having read “Go Set a Watchman,” which I’m sure you’ve read as well, you learn that it wasn’t necessarily the way she saw her father, that things weren’t the same way. And that, in my mind, is the perfect example of the editor she worked with. When Harper Lee sent in the original manuscript, which is “Go Set a Watchman,” the editor said, no. I want to see, she talks so much about her childhood, and how much she adored her father. I want to see that story. In my mind, thank goodness. It’s almost like the new Star Wars films. You can almost just forget that the later book that came up 35 years later. You can forget it exists and you can just go back to the classic and just enjoy that for the pure, uh, goodness that it is. It’s also a sign, I think. I mean, books speak to so much of life. And the experiences. There is no going home. There is no returning to that innocence of childhood, and that’s really what those two books together tell us. So I can still appreciate them, even though I still want Atticus to be a hero.
JS: Yeah, me too. “Go Set a Watchman” – I took it really hard when I read it because I did grow up with “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It was kind of devastating to read “Go Set a Watchman” because I have this idealized version of Atticus Finch and that’s the one I’m sticking with.
ML: Yeah. We’re allowed to do that. Right? Because you’ve got to remember that he still inspired his daughter to become the woman that she grew up to be. And he still had that positive influence and he still did good. He still helped. I’m always looking for the positives.
JS: How did you come across this book that we’re talking about today? “Earth Abides.”
ML: Yeah, it was in high school. I enjoyed science fiction. I enjoyed fantasy and I enjoyed scary stories and true stories of like Sasquatch and Bigfoot and, and the Loch Ness monster and UFO is and all that weird stuff. “Earth Abides,” this original cover that I’m looking at, was this picture of this bleak, post-apocalyptic world. And I was very interested in post-apocalyptic fiction because to me it was never about the end, but it was about new beginnings. I remember first reading it when I was in junior high school. And I think it was at a used bookstore years later that I found it. I went, Oh my God, that’s the book. Cause I recognized the cover and this, this is the copy that I’ve had with me ever since. I’ve bought multiple copies of it and given it away. I later learned that Stephen King based “The Stand,” one of his magnum opus novels, was inspired by this novel. I mean, this was originally published, what, in 1952? Is that when it was the original text came out? 1949 was when this was originally released and just having re-read it this year, 2020, I am amazed. Now there are some issues with, with some of the language and some of the terms that he uses, like he uses the term Negros and stuff like that, but I mean, it was 1949, so I’m going to forgive him. He’s not a man of 2020. He was a man of 1949. There are some elements in that, a little bit of sexism as well, uh, that he engages in, but I’ll forgive him for that because there areso many universal truths in this novel. So many wonderful things. Liz and I were reading it together and, and we had a pause because we were reading it aloud to one another and we had to pause and reflect. Holy crap! He’s talking about today. I mean, I never realized just how much this would come back to haunt me in so many ways.
JS: Do you guys read out loud to each other a lot?
ML: Only shorter pieces, like articles that we really want the other person to see or hear. Sometimes we’ll, we’ll just read it to the other person, like while we’re in bed and she’s reading on her computer or a book that I’m reading. We’ve never done a full-length book like that before. She’s a fast reader and I’m a slow reader. So doing it that way allowed us to actually keep pace with one another. Which was cool, because we each have a copy of the book, a different version, so there are different pages. So we have to stop at chapter ends and stuff like that. And we would just alternate chapters. Um, but my eyes would be scanning the text as she’s reading it. And that was a really, really fascinating way to read. Cause it reminded me of the way that, you know, the teacher used to do the reading assignments and every student would take turns, reading a paragraph, and then you would go and you would be following along. I haven’t done that since I was in school. That was kind of a neat way to experience reading. I hated it back then, but I love it now.
JS: I imagine it’s a really different experience hearing it read out loud.
ML: Yeah. So it’s funny, now I have my voice and Liz’s voice, but I’ve also listened to it on Audible. I was really impressed with that narrator. I was really impressed with his voice and it’s amazing that, having read the book a couple of times previously over, over multiple decades, there were moments like the one that I had read that came back to me so easily, there were other ones that I completely forgotten. And there’s these amazing passages in the book that are kind of like, well, Ish, at the beginning, was a student studying ecology. And it’s almost like it was his essay that made its way into the book, talking about the population spurts and growth. I’m not sure if you’ve ever read “The World Without Us,” which is a nonfiction book about what would happen when humans go away – kind of like the animals are coming out and they’re walking the streets and stuff like that. It’s amazing. I was working at McMaster University Bookstore when that book came out and the author was there on campus. So I went to see him speak. And so then of course I had to go read the book and “The World Without Us” was a fascinating look at what would happen. Well, “Earth Abides.” That’s what would happen. It wouldn’t take long for the weeds and the grass and all those things to destroy all of this crap that we’ve dumped onto the earth. The one thing I think about “Earth Abides,” I think that the they’re eating food 20 years later from cans. I believe botulism might’ve happened. But I recognized that he had to go 20 years in the future. Cause he had to have a whole generation of people who had no idea what civilization was like that they were, you know, there was the old people, the old times, the gods from the days of yore and all of these tales of moving pictures and stuff. So I think he wanted to explore that. And so he took some, maybe some creative liberties. So I’ll forgive him for that.
JS: Why don’t you give a brief rundown of the plot of this book for our listeners who have maybe not read it?
ML:The main character is his name is Isherwood Williams. We call him Ish cause it’s way easier. Kind of like never pronouncing my last name. Ish is in a remote cabin and he is bitten by a snake just around the time that these people show up who are really, really sick. And he’s sort of heard some news on the radio that there’s this weird virus going around killing everyone. He gets really, really ill. And he’s not sure if it’s from the snake bite or the virus. And, and he almost dies and he wakes up, he picks up a hammer, which is critical. The hammer is a critical symbol throughout and it’s very blatant symbolism, right from the beginning, that he always remembers to pick up the hammer. Then he ends up stumbling back in down from the mountain into civilization and realizes that the majority of the population has died from this massive virus. Back in 1949, there was air travel. And there were ways for people to commune this disease. Not quite as efficiently as we can today, but, um, very few people were resistant. And so he struggles in the rubble of society to make his way around, navigate some of the other survivors and then eventually, connect with the right people and slowly begin to rebuild a new. And that’s what I love about post-apocalyptic fiction is maybe there’s a way we can right the wrongs of the past. Maybe there’s a way we can pause and refresh and know that the way we did things isn’t necessarily the way we should continue to do things. Classic post-apocalyptic, classic end of the world.
JS: That’s interesting. I didn’t know that’s what’s considered classic post-apocalyptic because I, um, was expecting, I guess, “The Walking Dead.”
ML: There are no zombies in this book.
JS: I know very little about post-apocalyptic fiction. And I guess the reason is because I tend to avoid it because I’m scared of, you know, zombies eating brains. I just don’t read that kind of stuff. And that’s not at all with this was. So I was really surprised at how literary it was.
ML: Well, did you ever read “The Chrysalids” from John Wyndham? Did you ever have to read that in school? That’s basically 30 years after nuclear war and some of the children have mutated, but they also have special powers and mutants and people with special have the ability to read each other’s minds and speak to one another without speaking. It’s, I mean, “The Hunger Games,” right? That’s kind of post-apocalyptic when you think of it, but it’s way future post-apocalyptic. So, uh, sorry. I got excited. I just, I loved reading when I was in high school. I love that genre or that subgenre. I was constantly looking for that, that fix of just after society crumbles.
JS: The only other one I could think of that I have read that this reminded me of, well, this obviously influenced is, “Station 11.” Did you ever read that one by Emily St. John Mandel? I am I getting that right?
ML: Yeah. Emily’s a Canadian author and that is on my TBR list. I’ve read some of her other work, but I haven’t read that.
JS: I liked that one too, because it was also very literary and it wasn’t people killing each other. It was the same central theme: How does civilization go on? How does art go on? How does culture go on? Who’s in charge of culture? And I kept thinking in this book, it was all about what who’s in charge of civilization.
ML: Right. It’s funny. You talk about wanting to avoid zombies – I was at a horror writers conference. The Horror Writers of America had their conference in Toronto. Brian Keene was a horror writer who had written a novel. Um, I can’t remember not, not “City of the Dead” because that was a sequel, but he had won the Bram Stoker award for a novel, which was a zombie novel. Just like I avoided Stephen King because he was too popular. I had discovered “The Body” based on “Stand By Me” and I went, Oh, this guy can write. So Brian Keene, this is not a novel about zombies and is the novel about a man who loves his son so much? He will do anything to cross the US, to save his boy. And I went, That’s a novel I can read. I can’t read a zombie novel, but I can read it a novel about a man loving his boy. “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy ia s very literary, but post-apocalyptic fiction. So it’s funny. I’m compelled to read a story because of the humanity in the characters and even the love for a son. Right. It’s an emotional thing for me. And so that will allow me to try something that I think I might not like, because it’s like, okay, The zombies, whatever. I just want to find out if he saves his son. Right? That’s the, that’s the thing that compels me.
JS: And I like your assessment at the beginning of this conversation that it’s not a book about the end. It’s a book about the beginning.
ML: Yeah. We had grade 13 or senior high school, which was the fifth year of high school way back when, and I had done my essay, the big cumulative essay for English class, on post-apocalyptic fiction. And I read “Earth Abides” and a whole bunch of of other books. And I only found one book in that genre where the world actually ends, where it just ends and everything’s over. And that was a “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clark. And, and it was kind of shocking because in every other book, my thesis was that the books about the end of the world are not about the end of the world. They’re about new beginnings, and here’s the exception that proves the rule. This “Childhood’s End” is about the end of earth, which was kind of terrifying. I got to the end there and I was so upset because I invested all this time and I care about these people. How could you do this?
JS: Have you ever reread that book?
ML: No, I, haven’t. I don’t want to. It pissed me off, man.
JS: I kept thinking, as I was reading this – it was such an interesting experience, obviously, to read this book for the first time in the year of our Lord 2020.
ML: Yes. I’m surprised you made it all the way through. I was thinking, Oh, what did I put Julie in to?
JS: I will say when you, when you suggested it, I thought, Oh hell no. Once I started it, I was very happy to be reading it. But I have to imagine that it must have been really different experience for you who has read it at different phases in your life. Certainly, the first time you read it, must’ve been a time where you could not have fathomed this could happen. And now you’re reading it at a time when a pandemic is happening. And not only that, but you are a father and this is so much about parenthood and what the kids are going to do next with what we have left. And so I’m just curious what it was like to be the age that you are and the father that you are in the world that we’re in to read it again.
ML: It was – it was almost prophetic. Uh, when I think about why was it, is this such an important novel to me my entire life? Why was this always among the three favorite novels I’ve ever read, always talked about? And I think it was fascinating to be rereading it well, to be discussing it with you, knowing that you were reading it at the same time, but also would be to be rediscovering the book through Liz’s eyes. Cause she had never read it before. That was fascinating. And also the discussions we had. I also, I know this is sort of a weird thing: I reflected back to my early writings and poetry I had written when I was a teenager, as well as short stories. So much of it was inspired by moments in this novel. There’s a scene where Ish is driving is in San Francisco and he realizes he’s driving on the right hand side of the road. He doesn’t have to, there’s no other cars. He’s turning on light switches out of habit. And I remember doing that as a child when the power went out, you leave the room or you enter a room and you turn on the light switch. And so I was finding today doing things out of habit. Even though they’re not necessarily safe, you know. Liz and I jokewhen we’re leaving the house now, you know, don’t lick anybody. Like, because, because of COVID-19 and stuff like that as, as a joke. But as you know, I’m a very touchy, huggy, feely kind of guy. That’s that, that’s a disturbing thing to imagine this world where my natural instinct is to reach out and hold people, and to touch them. In a very consensual, non-disgusting way. I’m a huggy kind of person. Shaking hands and all of that. And I haven’t even had the opportunity to experience what that’s going to be like. We are most likely now going to be wearing masks, are now going to be doing whatever. So I think reading the book now makes me think we haven’t even scratched the surface of how the world has changed. We haven’t even gotten to the beginning of it. Except for the six trips I haven’t gone on since this pandemic has gone down, most of my life hasn’t changed. I’m just working from home, doing my digital thing, having virtual meetings with people and trying to get some writing done. So not much has changed. I think we’re still only in the short term when I look at historic pandemics. Yeah, we got a couple of years to go before we get through this, this isn’t going to be over anytime soon. So, we have to think about long term strategies and that reminds me of Ish. Ish is the only one who sees beyond. Liz, for example, used to have a magnificent garden on property that she had owned when her girls were young. She’s now rediscovered the joy of gardening, and she’s got all these herbs and plants and stuff and, and redoing the entire backyard so we can grow our own food. You can kind of see some of that coming from reading “Earth Abides” and some of it coming from, huh? We’re really way too dependent on other things. How are we going to change? So, I wonder how, you know, if I’m around in another 20 years, I wonder how I’m going to appreciate them in all of a different manner then. When Alexander’s telling his kids about this time where Hey, and we did in the whole school year was canceled. Really? That would be awesome.
JS: Or maybe school as it exists now won’t even exist then. And he’ll say we used to do this crazy thing where 30 kids sat in a classroom together and his kids will say, that’s bizarre.
ML: Well, it’s funny. I know, I know people really awesome people who have done homeschooling and I learned about how well they can actually teach kids all of that stuff without wasting six and a half hours out of their day. They can actually, if they do it properly. Now everyone’s learning that that’s possible.
JS: That same thing struck me as I was reading too. How funny it was – not funny, but how interesting it was that what you’re seeing on social media right now is people kind of going back to the old ways. All of a sudden everybody’s gardening, everybody’s making sourdough bread, all of a sudden they can’t go to their fancy gyms anymore. Everyone just works out in their garage. We’re sort of resorting to the old ways in a lot of ways. And then reading this book, there was a moment where he’s trying to describe to one of his kids, how to get somewhere, to get a car part he needed. Ish realized that the way he talks about direction to his kids, they don’t understand it. He says turn left on Elm Street. And the kids say,. Elm Street doesn’t mean anything. They run through the field and pass the Creek.
ML: Exactly. And they can’t read most of them.
JS: Ish comes to understand that his way of interacting with the world doesn’t make any sense anymore. It was so interesting to read right now and think what is going to change. What’s our new way of understanding things going to be? I don’t know. We’re too early to know.
ML: It’s funny. You even talked about States. Ish was trying to describe, that’s in this other stateThey wouldn’t understand what a state is. They know what a city is, cause they live in one, but they don’t know what a state is. They don’t know what a state line, because I think some of the people are like, what is there? And it was kind of funny. Was there a big wall between them? You look at a map and there’s a line there. Is that a wall? No, it’s just an artificial construct based on some sort of leadership that doesn’t exist anymore. Yeah. So it is funny. Something like that makes you wonder how can we hit the refresh button and figure out if there’s a better way to do it rather than the way we’ve always done it before,
JS: What do you think you’ll leave behind? When we come out of this, what do you think, of your old life, you’ll leave behind? When we’re post pandemic and we’re all vaccinated and we can jump back in the pool again.
ML: Oh. Things that I used to do that I don’t think I’ll do anymore. I think that’s a tough one for me because I’m a serial procrastinator. But I think I will do my best to not put off those things that were important to me. Because you put them off and you may never get the opportunity. I mean, I’ve had amazing moments in my life where, you know, the last time I saw my dad, I kissed him and told him I loved him. And Holy shit. So thankful for the chance that I did that. So if I have the opportunity to express to someone how important they were or how important they are to take that. That’s something that I’ve rediscovered multiple times in my life, but it’s something that is hitting home even more. I know we are going to get through this. Um, and everyone’s going to know somebody who died from this. I’m actually at risk. I have high blood pressure. I’ve had pneumonia multiple times. So I’m in that category. I think pausing to appreciate the people in things that you have is something I really hope I, I stop taking for granted going forward. How about you?
JS: Oh, gosh, I am going to stop doing busy things that don’t bring me happiness. I’m too old for it. It has paused my work life and made me reassess what I want to be doing. And I’m just not going to waste my time with anything I don’t want to do anymore.
ML: Yeah. Yeah. I like that. Yeah. I like that. Well, it’s almost like, to bring that back to books, I was a judge for a contest, a science fiction contest here in Canada. And I was shipped, you know, 120 books. And I had to read them because I was one of the five judges and I was going, Oh my God, I’m such a slow reader. And I, I talked to, the one organizer. I said, dude, I don’t think I’m going to get through it. He goes, you’re not reading them all. Are you? I went well, I’m trying to. He goes, no, no, pick it up. Start reading. If you get to a point where it ain’t holding you, drop it, move on to the next one. And that it almost, and that gave me permission in my personal life. Because I always felt like there’s this confirmation bias. Well, I bought it and I’m not an idiot, so therefore it’s gotta be worth it. Or other people have read it therefore, well, maybe it’s not for me. So if I’m not into a book. I will put it down sometimes I’ll pick it back up again. I did that with a Timothy Findley novel once, and I picked that up again 10 years later and I loved it, but I didn’t like it the first time. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it, but I’ve given myself permission. If I’m not enjoying it, it’s okay to just move on to the next thing. It’s like toxic people in your life, right? If you’re finding, like you said, you’re not getting anything out of the task, why are you doing it? Why are you investing all this energy in it? If it’s just causing grief and anger and anxiety, there’s so many other great people, there’s so many other things you can do that give you joy and give others joy. Yeah. So, yeah. Great. I love that advice. Thank you.
JS: Glad I could counsel you there.
ML: Thank you. Thank you.
JS: Have you read other books by this same author?
ML: No, you know what, I haven’t. I was looking him up because there was supposed to be a movie made of it, and I’d love to see what they did, but I don’t think it ever got made. I think it was planned and it was like a fake trailer and stuff. But I did learn that he had written a couple other novels and I think I would like to check them out. Um, I think “Fire” was one of his other novels, I think that was the name of it. I am curious to see. But then again, I also think I’m good. I might just want to reread this book again because I enjoyed it.
JS: The book I was talking about earlier “Station Eleven,” she just released a new book and I’m scared to read it because I love “Station Eleven” so much. And I kind of just want to leave that experience perfect in my memory.
ML: It’s a Harper Lee moment for you, potentially.
JS: Exactly. And it’s dumb because I’ve read a lot of reviews and supposedly the next book’s really good. There’s no reason I can’t keep liking it, but it’s neat when you have a book that’s so special that it always just sort of holds that place in your heart.
ML: I mean, and I was really fortunate. That scene that I read to you, I actually used a line of that in one of my favorite short stories about a man, a book nerd who gets trapped by a bookstore. That’s like a Venus fly trap for book nerds. And I use that line that the simulation of scenes, so many books, so suddenly it was almost too much for the frail little boy. That line specifically just had such an impact on me because that’s the way I look at libraries and bookstores. I’m overwhelmed with how I’ll never get to read them all. John Irvin does this to me too. There are certain lines of his books that just roll off the tongue, like, you know, lyrics, if a familiar top 40 song. They’re just there at the ready for you to grab, and ready for you to share it. Just, just the right moment with just the right book nerd.
JS: I’m going to have to have you on again because when I first invited you, I thought for sure you were going to pick “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” We have talked about that book many times and I thought, this one’s easy because I know Mark’s favorite book and I’m excited to read it. I was excited to read it again.
ML: I struggled, though, to pick one. You saw me struggle. I changed my mind five times.
JS: I know! I bought all of them as you changed your mind.
ML: It’s like it was a ploy for me to help you support the book in history.
JS: I’m going to have you on again and we’ll for sure talk about one of your other favorites, because talking to you about books is my favorite thing ever. What are you reading right now?
ML: I’m reading a collection of short stories by, Amy Teagan.
JS: Oh, I love Amy Teagan’s books!
ML: Yes. Even though it’s a lot darker than the novel of hers that I loved about the wedding day. I am also reading “Every House is Haunted.” Ian Rogers is a Canadian author. I am in the middle of Michael Anderle and Ell Leigh Clarke – the very first book in that series. I’m reading a couple nonfiction titles. I’m reading four different nonfiction titles right now. And I just bought it three other audio books that I have, because I just finished “Earth Abides” and I’m caught up on my podcast listening. So many things to read. Where do I stop?
JS: Yeah, that’s the challenge. I’m going to tell you a secret, the Amy Teagan book that you’re reading is “Poison”?
ML: “Poison.” That’s the collection. Yeah.
JS: I’ll tell you a secret. There is one story in there that’s based on me.
ML: Oh, I’ve only got about an hour left in it. I’m about three quarters of the way through. So have I read it? I have to go back. I picked up something else that I guessed what she was writing about. And she said, no, I’ll say nothing. I was like, I know why you say nothing, which I’m sure you know what that was about too.
JS: Maybe that was the one about me.
ML: I don’t know. Now I have to go back and think.
JS: Hmm. Yeah. Oh, I liked the intrigue that’s involved. I like that. From now on, you’re going to wonder, and I’m just going to say, yeah, maybe, I don’t know. There are some pretty devious characters in there and I need to get some street cred.
ML: Okay. Cause you’re too nice and people trust you enough. Yeah, that’s right.
JS: That’s what it is.
ML: What are you reading right now?
JS: I am reading the next book in the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. Another Canadian author who I adore. You know how much I love her. And I am, I believe it is – I think it’s book seven or eight. I love her books so much.
ML: Yeah. Amazing, amazing writer. Yeah,
JS: Incredible. I really just want to move to this little town near Montreal and live there and hopefully not get murdered. Cause everybody in that town eventually gets murdered. But other than that, it seems very idyllic.
ML: And it’s not far from Justin Trudeau or he was born and raised.
JS: I’m not going to say that didn’t cross my mind.
ML: Hands off him. He’s my girlfriend’s boyfriend.
JS: Okay. Fair point. Well, Mark, this has been a delight. Will you tell our listeners where they can find you online and watch all of your wonderful, Pandemic videos>
ML: You can find me at markleslie.ca and that links to all my social media stuff. Check out the YouTube videos. If you want to laugh about the pandemic.
JS: They are very fun. And this has been great. I want to thank you for introducing me to this wonderful book that surprised me so much, and I loved so much more than I expected. And thank you for always talking books with me.
ML: I am so glad to hear how much you appreciated the book, Julie, and it is always an honor to get to talk books with you.
Thanks for listening Bookworms. For more information on this episode and links to all the books we discussed, please go to our website, Bestbookeverpodcast.com. Or follow the podcast on Instagram @BestBookEverPodcast. I’m your host, Julie Strauss, and you can find me everywhere @JulieWroteABook. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it on social media and leave a review on whatever podcatcher you use. Reviews really help our visibility to new listeners, and we are grateful for everyone. Thanks for joining me today, and I will see you at the library.