Books with sound?

September 29, 2011

One of the latest innovations in e publishing is books with sound effects.

Hmmm… I may be wrong, but I have to say, I am not convinced. Why would you want your eBook to play music throughout, like the incidental music in films.

Surely, you just need to buy an audio book and have it read to you with the incidental music there, rather than alongside your actual text? I often listen to random music when I read, but it is usually something I block out when I get engrossed (usually only noticing the sound when the playlist ends and some random mp3 comes on).

So, I remain unconvinced by the innovation of reading with its own pre-defined soundtrack, as do others. But let’s see what the eBook buying public think.

One Day

September 27, 2011

Might be a little bit behind the curve on this one, but have recently read One Day by David Nicholls.

I am going to try and discuss it’s genius briefly and without giving vital plot away…

Somewhere deep in the book, right after the most important plot development, there is a Thomas Hardy quote from Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

I read Tess at school, it was an A Level text, so once upon a time I knew it pretty much inside out. And there was this one bit which I often thought about and which apart from all the brilliance of Tess, stands alone as a piece of something we should all consider when thinking about our place in the cosmos (and the theme of fate in that book runs on and on). I have reflected on it many times – more so than the rest of Tess put together.

As soon as I read the Hardy quote I realised what the book was about and what a great idea for a book  it is (Nicholls confirms this in the brief acknowledgements at the end). One of the reviewers (behind a Murdoch paywall, so no link) referred to the genius of the premise and how obvious it was and why hadn’t someone thought of this before. And there is the stroke of genius in spotting something so simple and brilliant from the words of Hardy.

If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do so. I plan to venture to see the film asap. I also might seek out the other book by Nicholls I have heard of, I believe it is called Starter for Ten (about University Challenge) which has also been made into a film.

When I was younger, so much younger than today, some time in the mid 1980s, I saw an item on kids tv – I think it was john craven’s newsround – marking the 20th anniversary of the beatles releasing sgt peppers lonely hearts club band. I remember thinking two things, one; 20 years was a really, really long time ago and two; why would someone chose that for an item on kids TV news? I think it was the first time I ever questioned the news agenda of a media outlet, the beatles broke up before I was born and when John was shot I hadn’t even started school. My parents talked about the Beatles (my mum having been in the crowd screaming at Heathrow) but, I didn’t matter to me.

I remember this incident clearly and it was brought back to me when I saw the coverage about the 20th anniversary of Nevermind by Nirvana being released. I can actually remember where I was the first time I heard the album. (For the record, in the business studies room at school, we were doing the Young Enterprise Scheme and my suggestion for our company name, which had been selected, was Nirvana and it seemed appropriate we listen to the band who had been unheard of the first week of September when we chose the name and were now being talked about everywhere.)

And Nevermind really did change everything about music. I will rant about Nirvana another time, but while I care immensely about it (and it reminds me the 20th anniversary of Kurt dying is not that far away – and I remember where I was when I heard about that and who told me ) I know people who are 18 who really don’t get it. And I am sure kids TV age children would find it even less relevant (I have no idea if it was covered by Newsround – does Newsround even exist anymore?)

Me hearties, today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Which, aside from reminding us it’s fun to talk like a (Disney make over version of a) pirate, also tells us a bit of history about the web and how the www is changing how our society functions.

These guys in Oregon (i believe)  invented a mock holiday in the mid 90s and it is now a world-wide phenomenon cos they whacked it up on a website and it went viral.

Can you imagine how long it would have taken to spread the word before the web?

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