Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Out Loud: National Year of Reading write up

If I'm a little hoarse it's because I've just come back from a 2 hour long reading of Black Cow, Sleep Before Evening, and Repulsion Thrust (plus a few childrens' books) at the Newcastle Region Library. This was done as part of a week long series of authors (and others) reading out loud at public libraries around the country to celebrate the National Year of Reading, a nation-wide campaign to promote the benefits of reading.

At first I was reading to no one - projecting my voice into the corridors and towards casual visitors returning and taking out books, some stopping to stare at this crazy chick with the chutzpah to so blatantly break the library silence (kept expecting someone to 'shhh' me). Soon the sofas that surrounded my reading throne attracted listeners, some of whom sat with me for over an hour, asking questions when I paused to take a sip of water, or chatting with me during the transitions from one book to another. 

A couple of times during the session, young people came up to the throne and looked at me longingly, as if they either wanted to take my place among the brightly coloured pillows, or were hoping that I'd actually read something that was of interest to them. So I took a break from adult books, came down off my haughty throne, and read a couple of children's books. I'd be lying if I said that wasn't my favourite part of the day - reminding me of how much children love being read to, and how fun it is to read a children's book with feeling, getting them to join in the process.  People came and went, listening for a while as they took a break from their chores or the daily grind of their work, savoring a few moments of relaxation with a cup of tea and a bit of story. One fellow came in from the museum, and when I paused for breath, let slip that he was there to take out some astronomy books in preparation for the upcoming Transit of Venus, so I read him a few of the more astronomical poems from Repulsion Thrust. Even those who didn't have time to sit, listened while they stood at the queue to return books, nodding their heads and smiling at me (one gasping at the end of a poem - hopefully with pleasure rather than the opposite!) in the shared pleasure of a words spoken out loud.  Now, more than ever, in our increasingly self-inflicted PC based isolation, the library is a key community hub of a shared love of books, words, and even, at times when permission is granted, reading out loud.

1 comment: