mardi 24 mai 2011


Just discovered on a workshop on giving booktalks!

What it is: Booktalking is structured enthusiasm for a book. It briefly tells your audience just enough about the plot and characters to hook them but not enough to spoil the ending! Think of it as a mini-mystery with a cliffhanger ending.

What it isn't: It's not a review or critique, nor is it a memorized excerpt from the book.

* Formal (written and memorized) - usually part of a program
* Impromptu/Off-the-cuff (largely ad-lib)
* Shelftalks (very brief - a single sentence or two - introductions to titles; often
given in the stacks)
* Read-alikes (if you liked Harry Potter...)

Length: The shorter the better - 60 to 90 seconds is about right.

Reading about booktalks reminded me that I haven't read a really good book -- one of those books that just draws you in and won't let go -- in a while. I practically had to force myself to finish my last book (Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride), even if I could appreciate good storytelling. I didn't find myself getting enthusiastic about it. Despite great character development, I didn't really identify with any of the four women in the book. And reading about how vicious women can be was depressing.

I actually have three books on the go right now. One of them (The Imperfectionists) I don't think I'll finish. It's a NYT bestseller, and for whatever reason I'm almost always disappointed by bestsellers. Just not worth finishing, I don't think.

The other one is Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, that I picked up while sorting through a box of books I brought home from my parents' place. I guess I kind of like having an English book and a French book on the go at the same time.

As you may have guessed, the third book I'm reading right now is in French: it's the second part of the fourth book in the Earth's Children series. While I WAS very enthusiastic about these books when I started, my enthusiasm waned during the first part of the fourth book. Luckily someone told me that it got better; I was worried that the author had lost steam by the end of the series and all the rest would be like that one! (Pages and pages of describing the two main characters walking through field after endless field...)

Now, if I had to give a booktalk about the Earth's Children series, it would go something like this:

The series takes place in prehistoric times, and more specifically during the period where Neanderthals supposedly co-existed with Cro-Magnon people. The books tell the story of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon who was raised by Neanderthals. Ayla is fascinating: she is strong-willed, intelligent and clever, and you can't help but admire her!

If you like well-researched historical fiction and learning about Prehistory, you'll surely love Earth's Children.

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