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August 2011

Young Voices Conference 2011

August 16, 2011 | Pat | Comments (0)

Are you an unrecognised artist poet or writer between the ages of 12 and 19?
The North York Central Library is hosting an annual youth event that focuses on the artistic and creative talents of Toronto's youth. The Young Voices Conference is organized by the Toronto Public Library with a focus on creating space for youth to develop their creative skills and interests in a setting outside of the classroom.

This year the theme of the Young Voices Conference is that of "Genre Blending" and the keynote speaker will be Toronto's own Andrew Pyper. Andrew is the author of such critically acclaimed novels as "Lost Girls", "The Killing Circle" and his most recent novel "The Guardians". Andrew will be kicking off the conference with an address and will also be giving two seminars on creative writing with a focus on the theme of genre blending.

Other workshops include: graphic novels, script writing, visual arts, journalism, non-fiction, and spoken word with an open mic session. Also all involved participants will be leaving that day with an instant anthology of all the work that was created during the conference.

This is a COMPLETELY FREE all day event and space is limited so make sure that you pre-register by following this link:  www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/yvconference 

 The conference details are:

Saturday, October 15, 2011
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
North York Central Library
5120 Yonge Street
(North York Centre subway station)

Categories: Author Participation , Off the Web , Program Stuff | Permalink

(With thanks to Jr Mint)

E-merging Ways 2 Read

August 13, 2011 | Pat | Comments (1)

Stephen Abram has a poll on his library blog which asks a simple question

Poll: What do/should we call people who read the e-versions of books or other media?.

 
  Despite most of the comments questioning the need for such a word (this I confess was also my initial reaction), It turns out on reflection to be a pretty good question.  There are more ways of reading than there used to be.  One of the more contentious types of reading (though not particularly new) is via audiobooks, which many would justifiably say is not reading at all.  Suppose I listen to an unabridged version of The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler.  If I meet another hard boiled mystery buff who asks me if I've read it, should I say yes? 

    It's not like I'm claiming to have read the book based on having watched a movie adaptation.  I really did go through the book word for word and know the precise course of the written narrative, and the author's individual linguistic style just as well as if I had read a print version or an e-book.   Most of us in this situation would interpret the question of "have you read the book" loosely to mean are you familiar with the story as opposed to the movie?  And most of us would answer yes without the slightest pang of conscience.  A few might say "well actually I listened to the audiobook", but as long as it was the unabridged version, both parties would likely agree that they have a more or less shared experience.

  But there are of course important differences between the two experiences as well and maybe a new word isn't such a bad idea.  My friend may have read the book in the half light of a dingy bar with a gimlet in front of him for optimal verisimilitude; whereas I listened to it driving up highway 400 on a long weekend drinking Tim Horton's coffee.

  And there are further variations on this possibility.  I have on several occasions borrowed both an unabridged audiobook as well as the print version, or more recently, an e-book.  I will listen to the book when driving, washing dishes, sorting laundry or anything else that requires my hands but not my imagination. Later, when I am sitting on a train or bus, or at a table I will switch to print or e-book find my place and keep going.  Moving between print/e-books and audiobooks is a little tricky, because a bookmark (whether electronic or physical ) is practically useless for this type of reading, but you can still keep track of chapter headings. In fact with many e-audiobooks it's easier than with those on CDs because the audiobooks sometimes allow you to locate a chapter.  This situation will improve as someone is no doubt even now working on ironing out this minor problem.

  With the increasing availability and appeal of e-books and e-audiobooks, we will likely begin to notice differences in how we read.  That 800 page tome looks a lot less intimidating now that it fits nicely onto a tablet.  Many readers may download a story without even taking note of the length  I always lamented the fact that I knew I was drawing near the end of the book I was enjoying by the thinning number of pages to the right.  You just knew there weren't going to be any new plot twists, romantic interests, or alternate and better solutions to the mystery.  I often thought that if I ever wrote a book, it would be fun to include an extra 50 pages of something completely different after the end so that the reader wouldn't see it coming.  Then while thinking they were still a good ways off the ending would sneak up on them: SURPRISE!  I'm not sure how many publishers would have gone for this idea, or if it was ever tried but the point is now moot.  The desired effect of this crude innovation has been superseded by the 2 dimensionally thin format of electronic books.  You never need to know when you're on the last CD or page until you're there.  If anything, the availability of e-books and e-audiobooks make it more possible than ever to get lost in a story.

    So while you're pondering the question of what to call readers of e-books, you might also reflect on some words for emerging reading practices?  Is there already a word to encomapass the varied ways we can engage with a "book" in varied formats? How about Readia?  What would you call someone who switches between formats?  Textually Liberated? 

It just hit me! I've got an answer for Stephen's question. Nookworm! Maybe not sufficiently brand-neutral but it's the best I can do.

Suggested reading

The Late American Novel : Writers on the Future of Books

 

Apathy for the devil: a seventies memoir

August 5, 2011 | Sarah | Comments (0)

If you read and enjoyed Keith Richards' Life, you might also want to check out Nick Kent's Apathy for the devil.     Apathy-for-the-devil2
Kent has been described as the British Lester Bangs, and this memoir covers his days working as a music journalist at New Musical Express in the 1970s.  NME is now published online, but back then it was a weekly print magazine devoted to popular music, which, in 1970s London, meant that its writers covered the transition from rock to glam to punk.

    Kent is a bit of a know-it-all, but what music critic isn't?  He certainly was around to witness many seminal moments in pop music history (in fact, he claims that he and Malcolm McLaren were responsible for coining the term "punk rock").  His acquaintances read like a who's who of the musical era: Keith Richards, David Bowie, Jimmy Page, Iggy Pop, Chrissie Hynde, Marc Bolan, Bryan Ferry . . . he was even a member of the Sex Pistols for two whole days!

    I liked learning about some of the lesser-known bands of the time (Hawkwind, Can), as well as the stories behind tours, albums, and how bands formed and broke up.  This memoir is a follow-up to Kent's earlier book, The Dark Stuff, which included many of his feature-length interviews with the likes of Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson.  The Independent rated it one of their top-ten rock biographies of all time.   Apathy probably isn't quite as good: lots of drug-induced lows, plenty of name-dropping, and hints of the quality writing Kent was capable of 40 years ago.

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