From Twilight to Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Uploaded to Flickr by lu lu

Uploaded to Flickr by lu lu

Like the Harry Potter stories there have been added bonuses to the publication of the Twilight Series by Stehenie Meyer. It has captured the imagination of younger (and older) readers and there have been spin offs, some expected and some unexpected. One of the unexpected bonus is that the classic, Wuthering Heights,  has become popular in France.

The Guardian reports that French teenagers are discovering Wuthering Heightsafter picking up on Bella’s references to Emily Bronte’s classic in Eclipse.

The article,  “Twilight’s teen vampires boost French sales of Wuthering Heights“, is interesting to read and documents how some of the French bookstores are helping the link along.

“Sales went up 50% last year and since the start of 2009 they have continued to rise,” said a spokeswoman for the book’s French publisher Le Livre de Poche. She added that French bookshops have been selling Wuthering Heights alongside Meyer’s Eclipse, which has helped to drive sales.

And in another section of the article

Not all readers were impressed by Brontë’s masterpiece, however. One Amazon.fr reviewer said she decided to buy the book because of Meyer’s references, but found it was “very heavy to read and digest”, and that it was “written in the language of my great grandmother”. She continued: “The more the pages go on, the less you feel that the story is advancing,” deigning nonetheless to give it three stars.

I like the fact that young people are reading, and commenting about, a classic novel. It is fine if they don’t like it and can articulate why. I have listened to some great and lively discussions about what is a “good” book. One class of year 7 students. in particular, I wish I had recorded. 

I often use ties between novels on similar themes, to television programs, films, on-line games, in fact anything to create a link to the student’s interests/world – To involve our students’ imaginations in their reading matter at our school. Long live these unexpected coincidences.

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READ poster tool

Thanks to the Shifted Librarian blog, I found out that the ALA has created a very simple little on-line tool that could be easily used in libraries. It creates a free mini poster, in a matter of seconds, which promotes reading. The user can upload any photograph they like into the space provided. I could see students, as well as staff, creating a miniposter of a book cover they like, for the library to display in a “Student recommends ….” style. There are only four styles of the READ poster but could still be fun and it is quick. The poster above are a pile of the “banned” books we have on display, Catcher on the Rye, Harry Potter, Nineteen eighty-four, etc. I can see a promotion of all types of materials also being done soon. I wander what other ways people will be able to think of using this tool?

There is also a Flickr group pool where people have shared the posters they have created.

Value adding by publishers

The publishers are catching onto the whole idea of using the newer technologies to advertise and develop an interest in their publications and authors. The reason behind this may be commercial but it has a lot of great spin offs for those of us who are working in schools, trying to promote reading and increase literacy.

In the past two posts I have touched on the book trailers but there are also a growing number of podcasts available for use by us.

Penguin Publishers have been putting up podcasts for a while now. Penguin USA has a page for current podcasts and developed quite a large archive of podcasts that are available to us.

Simon and Schuster, with their “SimonSays podcasts” has a site that offers, weekly, interviews with many different authors and includes excerpts read from their audiobooks.They also have a large archive of podcasts.

The UK publisher Faber and Faber has a new podcast page on its website. This is is worth keeping an eye on on. On these initial podcasts the interviews include Peter Carey, discussing Australia and counterculture in “His Illegal self”, and Junot Diaz talks about his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and discusses ideas of race and identity and mythology. The whole Faber website is easy to navigate, and has a simple, uncluttered feel. There is also a great number of past Faber book designs on this Flickr photostream page.

And speaking of covers, Black Dog Books make many of their covers, author images and chapter extracts available for BDB downloads that helps us advertise the books and create better promotional material for our literature collection.

This is only a small collection but a good place to start.

Celebrating Book Week

Our  Book Week Poster

Our Book Week Poster

This is a poster created by one of our talented library staff members. The library staff have come up with a number of activities for Book Week using some of the Web2.0 tools that we learnt about whilst completing the SLAV program from term 2.

We thought we would run some competitions that first involved us creating some items using Wordle and a Mosaic tool (one of a Flickr tools set) as well as activities that will have students creating their own podcasts and Glogs to promote books. Theses and other activities will run for the week or over one lunchtime, depending which activity it is. We are looking forward to it being a busy but fun week, hopefully with lots of student activity. Continue reading

Promoting reading to teens

I really like this promotion video that I came across in a library blog set up for teenagers about a summer reading program. I don’t know how many signed up for the “Metamorphosis Summer Reading Club for teens ages 13 and up” but it was certainly catchy. TeenPoints.org is also a great site for advertising books/reading and other library “stuff” to teenagers.