Tuesday, December 11, 2001

'Tis the season for reading. In the "Leisure and Arts" section of the WSJ today is an article about Michael Silverblatt (paid subscription required) who hosts a local NPR program called Bookworm. An excerpt:
Mr. Silverblatt, 49, the monotone but strangely hypnotic host of the nationally syndicated radio program "Bookworm," is an unassuming man of sound judgment and taste who's baffled and quietly thrilled by his unexpected success on the airwaves. Now in his 13th year of producing the show at KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., Mr. Silverblatt has become the go-to guy for brainy authors and poets, among them A.S. Byatt, Art Spiegelman, Grace Paley, Joan Didion, Edmund White and Carlos Fuentes, who are eager to talk a language other than sound bite and gladdened by the opportunity to converse deeply with someone who has read not just their current book, but all their books....The result is something out of the ordinary on radio -- soulful, meditative and, depending on your point of view, poetic or pretentious. "I want listeners to hear what writers talk about when they meet someone who knows all their work and loves it, and when they're willing to drop their guard to talk writer talk," he says. "It's almost like the fun of hearing, oh, athletes in the locker room or astronauts when they come off the ship. 'Bookworm' wants to give you the feeling of eavesdropping on a conversation between intimates."
Because the program airs at 2:30 Thursday afternoons here, I usually can't listen to it. However, I just checked the little radio I have at work, and I can pick up the station, so maybe I'll try next Thursday.

How about reading aloud this holiday season? Here is a free column from the WSJ's "OpinionJournal" on the joys and memories of reading out loud. I remember as a child my parents rushing to finish reading Around the World in Eighty Days before putting us on the plane to fly to boarding school. I also remember having The Hobbit read to us in Grade Five Literature class. We were allowed to do our handwork while listening, and I still remember working on a cross-stitch project for my mother while Bilbo and co. were being chased through the mountain tunnel. (Details are a bit vague, but I'm looking forward to having them refreshed soon!)

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