Friday, April 6, 2007

Celebrity authors

At my library, we buy everything. Or so it seems (we do have a wonderfully flush collection budget there is no doubt about it). But the title I'm listening to now -- The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless by Ahmet Zappa -- is one that we don't own. According to Amazon's page, there are some book design features that will remain a complete mystery to me. It's the story of a brother and sister who discover their widower (natch!) father is the last in a long line of McFearless monster hunters, and who must head off on a quest to rescue him when he is kidnapped by a particularly fearsome one. They take with them the definite reference work on monsters -- the Monstranomicon -- who prefers to be addressed as Ms. and is, in fact, a monster herself.

Listening Library has spared no expense on this one. An indeterminable sound effect (groaning and crashing?) brackets the entries from the Monstranomicon. The various monsters are electronically enhanced when speaking. There is music between chapters. The narrator is top notch (Katherine Kellgren). And author Ahmet Zappa (does anyone need me to tell them who his father is?) composed a song just for the audiobook: As long as you're McFearless. I haven't heard it yet -- I presume it comes at the end of the book -- but you can listen to it here: http://www.randomhouse.com/audio/news/audio_news/monstrous_memoirs.html. So did they do all this because he's a Zappa?

[Years ago, in my first career -- editorial assistant at McGraw-Hill Book Company -- one of the editors on our staff was Frank's brother, Bob. He looked a lot like Frank!]

Except for the Ahmet Zappa angle, this is way too young for our audience. Minerva and her brother Max are ten and nine years old. I'm listening (as assigned) so no one else on our committee has to. I'll stick it out to the end -- fortunately, it's not too long -- but it's not winning me over even for the younger set.

If our Acquisitions Librarian wasn't so harried this time of the year (end of fiscal year spending frenzy ... hey, I overspent my audiobook budget -- pretty exciting!), I'd ask her why we don't have this.

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