Listener questions, a discussion about diversity in publishing, and new books from TaraShea Nesbit and George Saunders.
Accents, and audio quality
We have two questions from listeners this week:
Crystal wants a recommendation for an audiobook version of Macbeth with a narrator who has a Scottish accent. Can any of you help here? I listened to a BBC Audiobooks version a million years ago, but I can’t seem to find the exact record. We’d love to know if you have a favorite audio version of Macbeth. Please leave it in the comments so that others can see your recommendations. (Receiving this by email? To leave comments on this episode, head over to this episode’s show notes at the blog, and click the “comment” link at the top or bottom of the post.)
Terri in Quincy, MA commented that the applause from our live Booktopia author talks is too loud. Honestly, we try to modulate the volume differences, but our equipment at those events is less than professional and it’s very difficult. Still, we’ll work on it for next time, and try a few things to see if we can even out the volume.
Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.
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Whitewashing literature (10:45)
There’s been quite a bit of controversy about BookCon this week, especially since two weeks ago we talked up BookCon and encouraged you to go. The recent controversy came in two parts: first, the fact that one of the first announced Young Adult panels consisted solely of white men. Then, as the rest of the schedule was released, it became obvious that every author but one was Caucasian, and the one that wasn’t Caucasian was a cat. This resulted in a lot of concern and discussion about diversity in the publishing industry.
A recent article in Entertainment Weekly, “Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White,” addresses the topic in terms of the diversity in children’s book publishing.
We bring this up because we think it’s important to discuss, even though we don’t have any answers, and we know that it’s not always easy to program a diverse event. However, in the case of BookCon, which is aiming to be a leading industry event, has major publisher support, and is located in New York City, there should be no excuses. Let’s hope the conversation about diversity continues, inside the industry and among readers. As for us, the books we talk about and the events we program, we’ll try to do better, too.
Two books we can’t wait for you to read (22:12)
Oh, how I love The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit! It’s written in a very interesting manner — the voice is first person plural (“We…”). The story of the women who were displaced to a top secret location in the desert while their husbands worked on the Manhattan Project is intriguing, and Nesbit’s style makes evident that each woman had her own story while sharing the universal experience that all of these women lived.
Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness, by George Saunders, is based on a graduation speech that Saunders gave. It’s a short, inspiring book, slightly expanded from the speech, that Michael knows that he will regularly re-read. While it’s ostensibly aimed at an audience of new graduates, it’s really a book that everyone should read.