February 15, 2012

Staying Sane & Reading Aloud

Last weekend, I took a rather impromptu trip to LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything Symposium) and attended Mary Robinette Kowal's class on how to give a book reading. It's not the same as hearing the explanations, but Mary's amazing and has posted a treasure trove of information on the subject (the first one's here).

One of the things that fascinated me was placement -- talking towards the front of your mouth, in the middle, or towards the back.  Once upon a time, I took a singing class, and we talked about this, too.  Forward makes your pitch brighter, backwards makes it darker.  While reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for the thousandth time, I practiced placement, reading one page forward, another in the back, and playing with my voice.

Suddenly, a book I can read with my eyes shut became fresh.  I'm a person who likes to learn.  I'm basically home with the little ones, and I struggle to come up with creative ways to fill my brain all day while still being highly engaged with them.  Usually this takes the shape of cooking (I swear toddlers are designed to shake vinaigrettes).

But now I have another tool. I'm not aiming to be a professional book reader, but I already spend a lot of time everyday reading out loud.  Now I have some resources to proactively improve.  I'm accomplishing and learning something when I read, in addition to teaching and spending time with my kids.  This is the best kind of multi-tasking.  My day is a little happier and a little saner -- and so is theirs.


  1. I'm excited to read more about this. Cool!

  2. Mary Robinette Kowal is fantastic--her readings of her works are almost the only ones worth attending. Most writers whose readings I've attended have damn near put me right to sleep, even when I love their work. Not her, though. She really livens it up, not just with her puppet show, but by pointing out anachronisms in her own work and explaining why she kept them and things like that.