Let's talk about reading.
Books, authors, writing, libraries… They're all great fun to read about on your own, even better when shared, they way foodies promote favorite recipes and gamers rate and rank their games.
Readers are no different.
Emerging from a book that totally absorbs you is akin to traveling to a beloved foreign country. It takes a minute or two to adjust when you re-enter your life. Maybe you pause a moment or more in reflection. Then you grab the first person you encounter by the lapels, if he or she wears them, and say, "You have to go here!"
Last weekend, in search of new destinations, I went to the Newburyport Literary Festival. This was maybe the fourth or fifth year I've gone. Great fun, always.
Take Bill Lee, for example. Equal parts fun and obnoxiousness, that man will say anything. He was featured in a session about the Red Sox that was held in a local church. He barely arrived in time. As he strode down the aisle to join his fellow panelists and moderator, who was the pastor of the church, he bellowed, "I was in another church the other day. They had a glass of beer and peanuts in the pulpit. Now, that's my kind of church!"
Anyway, the session I want to tell you about was on online media. Three panelists presided: an author, a podcaster and a blogger. Maybe I'll share more about the others later, but what you must check out if you haven't already, is the podcast. Ann Kingman leads Books On the Nightstand every week with her co-host, Michael Kindness (isn't that a great name?).
I've been listening to these podcasts at work, and they're great, although jotting titles and authors they describe does interrupt work, just a bit. Both hosts work for Random House but the podcast is a personal project of theirs, not sponsored by their employer.
Michael and Ann both talk easily about their books or the topic of the day. Their book descriptions are so compelling that I had to check the library holdings online to see if any were available that very day.
Sure enough, one was. I'm already halfway through The Deep Zone, by James Tabor. Thumbnail description: a microbiologist and team go deep caving in Mexico to find an organism that could possibly stop a national epidemic attacking the US military. Lots at stake, which is the only way you'd find me sloshing through a pool of bat guano, but then that's me. The closest I've ever been to deep caving is the Howe Caverns in New York and that's only because they provide an elevator. So far, so good.
Another measure of the quality of their recommendations is that four of their recent selections were among the twenty titles in the Local Bestsellers list of hardcover fiction and nonfiction compiled by the Globe last Sunday. And I've only listened to about five podcasts. This could become a problem.
Don't wait, check out that podcast. Consider your lapels seized.