For those of us who are intrigued (or horrified) by the advent of the electronic book, The “Vook” is yet another plan to change the face of the book world. A Vook can:
intersperse videos throughout electronic text that can be read — and viewed — online or on an iPhone or IPod Touch
Publishers Simon & Schuster seem very keen on the idea, and one of their recently produced Vooks is a fitness and diet title, where you can click on the video to see examples of the exercises. Not to be outdone, fiction writers are also getting in on the idea, with short segments of a novel devoted to a video that elaborates on a part of the plot.
It’s this aspect of the Vook idea that leaves me feeling a bit uncomfortable. When I read, I like to imagine the scene or the character. Each reader probably dreams up a different idea of the setting and what the characters look like. With the introduction of the Vook, this pleasure would be taken away. There is also talk of adding music and perfumes! The ideas are endless.
If you want to learn more about this new gadget then have a read of this article in the New York Times. It’s all very interesting and it will be fun to see what ideas they come up with next.
The blurb on the front cover calls this a “joy to read”. Let’s get things straight – a joy it is not!
Without a word of introduction or warning Benson and Stangroom launch into a detailed catalogue of murders, rapes, torture and brutality against women; all carried out with the blessing and sometimes instigation of religious leaders. Honour killings, teenage rape victims stoned for adultery, children sent back into a burning building at gunpoint for dishonouring dress codes.
These are the extreme examples, but the authors critically examine and argue that religion is used as a tool in the oppression of women worldwide. Benson’s and Strangroom’s arguments are clear, rational, logical, and convincing. Benson (editor of the delightfully provocative website Butterflies and Wheels) and Strangroom are philosophers, used to complex debate, yet their books are easy for the lay person to understand. This is a must read book for feminists (and non feminists) everywhere but not an easy one. Readers who would like an easier introduction to Benson’s and Strangroom’s work might like to try Why Truth Matters (one of my favourite books) a more light hearted piece, but still an intelligent, philosophical and political discussion of rational thought in the modern world. But for the more courageous amongst you, give this latest work a try, but be aware it probably is a case where you will read it and weep!
A NZ Book Month Q & A:
Whose autobiography would you like to ghost write? Willie Apiata. Or Sharon O’Neill.
Hero of NZ Books? Graham ‘Bookman’ Beattie. Beattie’s Book Blog is essential reading for the NZ book lover.
What NZ Book are you reading? Séraphine Pick by Felicity Milburn et al. Beautifully spooky art and thoughtful intelligent writing is a killer combination.
My great NZ novel … would include locales of Gore, Reefton, and Papatoetoe, subjects of country music, the 1980s, and a character called Mhichael Lhaws.
What does New Zealand Book Month mean to you?? tell all!