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Monday, April 19, 2010

67 Books Recap

I want to start off by saying that Brian Feldman did an amazing job organizing 67 Books, from getting permission to use the Orlando Public Library's roof, to lining up sponsors to support the workers, volunteers, and readers. (You also should check out Thomas Thorspecken's post on 67 Books)

For those who missed my previous post, 67 Books was a project designed to bring awareness to National Library Week, and for 67 hours (the number of hours the library is open during the week) 67 readers read from 67 books (not all at once). I wish I could have been there all week, but I did manage to see quite a few readers live and several more online. I was also lucky enough to get to be one of the readers.

I asked you to choose which which book I should read from the roof of the library, and ended up with a tie between Madeline L'engle's A Ring of Endless Light and C.S. Lewis' Perelandra (I've blogged about this book before here). Since Amanda C. read Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, I decided to read Perelandra.

Reading out loud is an unique experience in and of itself. If you haven't ever done so, I'd encourage you to try it. But reading out loud to an audience- that's a whole different story.

I read chapters 6-7 of Perelandra in my 1 hour time slot. Chapter 7 is where the main character, Ransom, encounters, in a sense, the Devil, in the form of a man named Weston. They engage in a philosophical dialouge, and it was that dialogue I wanted to read, both because I thought it was worth sharing and, to be honest, because I thought it would make for a dramatic reading.

But what I wasn't counting on was the impact reading it aloud would have on me. When I read, I tend to comprehend chunks of texts at a time. But reading out loud forced me to read each and every word, and as I read them, I found myself caught up in them like never before. I had always disagreed with Weston's arguments in chapter 7, but for the first time I found myself truly frightened by them.

I was actually startled to realize that I was standing on the roof of the library shouting "I am the Universe. I, Weston, am your God and your Devil". I wanted to stop reading and call out to the people walking by to stop and wait, because there was more they should hear, though I didn't.

It was an amazing experience, and while it may have been intended to impact the audience members, it truly impacted me. Maybe I'll make it point to slow down read out loud from time to time.


1 comment:

Amy said...

I like this post a lot. Gives you a better sense of the power that oral storytelling has. It's little wonder, then, that people passed stories on by word of mouth for so long before writing them down, eh?