Love, love, love this concept. Brian Cheng, author of the soon-to-be-released Southern Cross the Dog (Amistad: HarperCollins, May 2013) has recently started a clever video series on Tumblr called 90OutLoud (or see the vids via his 90Outloud channel on YouTube).
The idea is simple: Where those who believe in books convince the rest of us in 90 seconds or less by reading a select passage out loud. Says Cheng on the why of his new idea: “Because books are awesome! They are a confetti burst of sounds, and images, and ideas. A long gorgeous chain of words, dancing the tongue from roof to teeth to lips. Because books, in some way or another, have added to my life and have added to the lives of those I’ve cared about. Because I still believe that the book is the basic neuron of civilization, carrying impulses— our fears and hopes, the worst and best of ourselves— from the streets up into the seats of power, and out again; it tells us who we are and what we want to be and remains our best astrolabe for an unknown future.”
So, ready to get started? Here are submission instructions:
- You have 90 seconds to read out a passage from a favorite novel, memoir, travelogue, short story, poem, whatever (published and not your own, please).
- It can be contemporary, historical, speculative, fiction, non-fiction, English, not English.
- After you’ve recorded your video, upload it to YouTube then submit it.
- Cite your source and if you can, place a link in your description to where folks can buy the book.
Okay, so while you can’t read your own work (let’s play by the rules) you CAN read anything else, so suggest you pair up with other authors and exchange readings – They can videotape you right from their mobile device and you’ll all be contributing to Cheng’s great idea (and creating more readers) in no time!
Simple, creative, nerdy with an edge. What’s not to love? There are only about eight videos up there so far but have a feeling this is going to get real popular real fast among readers and writers, so jump in while the water’s warm and there’s still room in the pool!
Below is Bill himself, hiding his face and reading from Ragtime. Give it a try… all you’ve got to lose is 90 seconds…