50 readers take turns reading 'Mink River' to create audio version in time for kickoff of Lake Oswego Reads
By BARB RANDALL
Each year, the Lake Oswego Reads selection committee spends months reading books, searching for just that special manuscript that will grip the community and spin off a myriad of activities and events in the popular citywide reading program. The committee has a number of criteria that must be satisfied for a book to be considered.
One of the criteria is that the book must be available in a variety of formats: It must be available in paperback, in large print, as an e-book and as an audiobook.
This year's selection, 'Mink River,' by Lake Oswego author Brian Doyle, wasn't available as an audiobook.
'That was really disappointing,' said Cyndiee Glazer, coordinator of the Lake Oswego Reads program. 'We had a difficult time selecting the book.'
Library director Bill Baars wasn't willing to move onto another selection. 'We will never find a local author who writes this well again,' he said. He approached Doyle, who was willing to record the book himself. Baars himself has broadcast experience and was also willing to take on the project.
Doyle's friends and family wanted to help record the book. Baars sent out an invitation to the mayor, city council and city staffers to participate, and Glazer sent an email to the selection committee. In short order, 50 readers were eager to record 'Mink River' to create the program's first ever homemade, hometown audiobook.
'People asked 'How do you know people won't stutter?'' Glazer said. 'I figured if they volunteered to read they must think they would do a good job. And they have. It's been a nice mix of high schoolers, city staff, citizens, teachers … It's been fun for me. The book has come alive in a whole new way. And it gives me an appreciation of what voice actors have to do.'
'Mink River' is a story about the small Oregon coast town of Neawanaka and its people. It teems with bits of Irish language and descriptions of Irish ancestry. Probably the most Irish trait of the novel is Doyle's approach to language and his storytelling style.
'(Mink River') is a book about community, and this community is making it possible as an audio book,' said Glazer. 'I think people will enjoy hearing who's next on the recording. There will be a list of the pages and reader with the audio book.'
Several of Doyle's friends requested to read specific sections that they particularly enjoyed in the book.
With 50 readers participating, Glazer anticipates the audiobook copies will be in high demand. Reference librarian Carissa Barrett is editing the recordings; she expects the audio version to have a playtime of 15 hours and use about five or six disks to record. Editing should be completed early in January,
Lake Oswego Reads will kick off on Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the library. A limited number of free copies of 'Mink River' will be given away while guests enjoy food and beverages and music. Kathryn Claire will entertain with songs played on the Irish fiddle.
This is the sixth year of the program, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Lake Oswego Library, West Coast Bank, Lake Oswego Rotary Club, Lake Oswego Women's Club and the Lake Oswego Review.
For a complete list of events, visit www.ci.oswego.or.us/library.