14 December 2005

Goodbye, audible.com

I'm not sure what to make of audible.com's new "Don't Read" ad campaign.

No, I kinda *do* know what I think of it. I guess I'm just afraid of sounding like I have no sense of humor whatsoever.

So, what do I think?


In my experience -- as a librarian, a voracious reader, and a fan of audio books -- people who listen to audio books are people who love books. Sometimes we want audio to avoid accidents that could be caused by reading while driving, sometimes we realize that we simply cannot knit and read at the same time, sometimes we just love to hear the author (or reader) speaking the story to us. I came to Frank McCourt through hearing him read portions of Angela's Ashes on "A Prairie Home Companion". I read the book and loved it, but I wanted the audio, too. Now, whenever I read him, I can hear his gorgeous voice reading along with me and it definitely enhances the experience for me.

Also, no matter how hard I tried, I could NOT read Moby Dick (and I did try, Readers). However, during a solo drive to Massachusetts (to see literary Concord, natch), I listened to an unabridged reading of the book and *loved* it. When I got home, I decided to try, once more, to read the book.

No go. I couldn't do it. This tale, which read aloud captivated me was tortuous on the page.

So, yes. I love audio books. And when I listen to a book, I consider that I have "read" it. I have found that many audio book admirers are book people, people who also read.

So why would audible.com crap on us this way?

I *get* that it's a spoof. I get that it is meant to be a parody of the ALA READ posters. I understand that the questions on the FAQ are meant to be tongue-in-cheek. For example, the first question reads: "Should I burn my books? No. A stack of burning books pollutes the air, and worse - it kinda thumbs its nose at the First Amendment. So Don't burn books. Without them, libraries would be just big empty rooms."

Actually, No. We wouldn't. There would still be computers, copiers, programs, storytimes, crafts, microfilm, newspapers, tutoring help, literacy programs, and more.

I just don't find it very funny.

It seems like poor marketing strategy on their part, too. I am so glad I did not purchased the gift subscription to audible.com I had been planning. And although I had planned to renew my own subscription in the new year, that's done, too.

I know my measly few consumer dollars won't matter much to their company, but forget it. I work hard for my money. I don't need to give it to people who advocate an anti-reading stance to the world...

12 December 2005

We shall all be poorer...

Just after midnight, convicted murderer, gangster, and children's book author, Stanley Tookie Williams, will be executed by the state of California.

There is no question in my mind that the crimes he committed were heinous. There is also no question in my mind that his work in turning children away from the gang life he once embraced makes him more valuable alive than dead. I don't think he should neccessarily walk free, but if he lives, he can continue his pwerful message of being able to transcend our wrongdoings to become useful members of society. When he is murdered, I think it may send a message that there is little point to trying to change, since it may not do any good anyway.

I don't even know if I am making sense. I am pretty opposed to the death penalty in general. In this case, though, seeing how powerfully his books have affected children I have worked with, children on the brink of making bad decisions who reconsidered after hearing Tookie's story, this seems like a horrible, preventable loss.

The words of John Donne seem appropriate to me now:

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

08 December 2005


You can hear Nikki Giovanni talk about her beautiful new picture book, Rosa, on the NPR site.

06 December 2005

Well, at least we're moving up...

Chicago has ranked number 46 in a list of the most literate cities in America.

Last year, we were number 58, so at least there's some improvement.

Still, I would have thought that, with all our commitment to public libraries, and the wonderful literary programs the libraries provide (including author visits), we'd be higher on the list.


The entire study is available for your perusal here.

02 December 2005

"Snow, snow, I want to play in the snow...!"

Make a snowflake to share with the world!

Thanks to Amy for the link.

Early Christmas gift for poetry lovers

Wow! Check out the rockin' cool Poetry Archive!

Honestly, it gave me shivers to hear Langston Hughes reading his poem, "I, Too." What a great gift that we can hear this amazing man read one of his (in my mind, anyway) greatest poems.

(Maybe too many "greats" in that sentence, but every one is true!)

"It was the shower hose that clinched it"

"A passage describing a male character's genitalia as 'leaping around like a shower dropped in an empty bath' helped British food critic Giles Coren win the 13th annual Bad Sex in Fiction award Thursday for his debut novel, Winkler.

Read the rest of the article.

You can read excerpts of the work of the candidates for this award here. Looks like he (cough, cough) beat out some pretty (ahem) stiff competition.

(And, yes, shame on me.)