Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Raincoast Books introduces literary podcast series

Raincoast Books – best known as the Canadian publishers of the Harry Potter series – have taken a page from electronic media to promote their literary offerings.

The less exciting finding is that they have a blog ... sort of. It looks like a blog. It acts like a blog. But it definitely does not quack like a blog. In tone and content, it's a mechanism to distribute press releases and other announcements. You can make comments, but why would you after these dry posts that do little to encourage interactivity? Still, their latest blog post introduces another development that they do get right.

Planned as the first in their literary podcast series, Raincoast is promoting The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch in the inaugural release. The professionally produced 13-minute podcast maintains a casual, friendly tone with a brief introduction by a narrator, followed by short readings by the author which are interspersed with his comments on the concept, themes, and process of writing.

Recorded on Granville Island while he was in town as part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival, Lynch comes across as conversational and articulate, and the reading is enhanced with maritime sound effects to complement the maritime theme of the book.

From the publisher is this description of The Highest Tide:
Thirteen-year-old Miles O’Malley lives on Puget Sound and knows everything there is to know about the sea and its creatures. When he becomes the first person to sight a live giant squid he is hailed as some sort of prophet. The media descend and everyone wants to hear what Miles has to say. But Miles is just a self-described “increasingly horny, speed-reading thirteen-year-old insomniac” who’s in love with the girl next door and obsessed with the writings of Rachel Carson.

While the sea continues to offer up surprises from its mysterious depths, Miles navigates the equally mysterious world of adults. Strange events continue over the summer, culminating in the highest tide in 100 years.
The podcast, available through iTunes or by following the links on the Raincoast blog, is a great way to taste the novel to see whether you want to swallow it whole. But what they really get right is in packaging it as self-contained entertainment, too, for those who want a bit of insight into a writer's mind and an enjoyable, bite-sized tale from the novel.

(Cross posted to Blogcritics)