So about a week ago when I couldn’t sleep I was trolling the internet and found this site called LibriVox. It’s a site where people volunteer to read whole books or chapters from public domain titles which then free to download. This hit me at the right time because the summer is when I traditionally start to think about picking up some classics to read. I’d say that was all about conditioning – you know, assigned summer reading for the next school year – except that back in the dinosaur days when I went to school there was no such thing as assigned summer reading.
I happen to think that’s a good thing. I dare you to ask me how I feel about homework. (One hint: What is the antonym for ‘useful’?)
Anyway, I got all excited looking over the list because I was thinking here’s another great idea for teen guys. You’ve got some classics you want to get out of the way, and you can do it while getting to and from a summer job, or while you’re in the workshop tinkering with a vibrobot or whatever. And there’s even the opportunity to participate in the project. I’m thinking, dang, if I had portable audio when I was a teen maybe I’d have “read” a lot more classics because sometimes those books are easier to hear than to read, especially since I was more a kinesthetic learner and could have been doing things at the same time.
So I blogged it at Guys Lit Wire.
I’m not going to make any excuses, except that at the time I was writing to post about LibriVox it was late and I was tired and I half wondered if I’d done a crappy job of it. No, I finally decided, and hit ‘publish’.
Yeah, well, getting clever with the title I sort of forgot one of my own rules: never use a title that can be used against you by critics. By saying Classics. Audio. Free. I felt like I was playing up an old advertisers trick of creating interest and then hitting with the most powerful word in the world of selling. Then yesterday I checked the site to see how it looked and saw there was a comment. And this guy responded with
How about “Gripping. Audio. Free.” Instead of “the classics,” how about some contemporary books produced with great zest?
You know, I kinda take offense at the idea classics are somehow less gripping. There’s this notion out there that classics are always boring, or of no interest to teen boys, and that’s just not any more true than saying all boys like sports. While we’re at it why don’t we just give in and say “boys don’t read, so why bother trying to ferret out what they like?”
That’s when I realized that I didn’t really “sell” the post the way I should have. I did do a crappy job because I left wiggle room for that traditional bias against classics.
I’m not against the new, far from it. And I’m grateful for Mr. Cottonwood‘s pointer to newer works on audio for teens. But I learned not to take my blogging so casually in the future. I’m not doing any justice to the blog or the issue by letting my personal exuberance get in the way of clear writing.