Monday, April 17, 2006

Playaway, $40 for 12 Hours

"Beyond the Book" is the title of a panel I'm proposing for next year's Associated Writing Programs conference in Atlanta. I had thought of of audio CDs, chapbooks, broadsheets, vidlit, blogs-- but not this. Imagine a stack of, say, seven credit cards. Not a big package; easy to palm. The fat end is the width of your thumbnail, the thin end half that. It weighs almost nothing. Behold Simon and Schuster's self-playing audio book: a wee machine with batteries already installed, with ear buds, a lanyard for wearing it round your neck, and one -- and forever only one -- recording: in this case, 12 hours of Khaled Hosseini reading his novel, The Kite Runner. I found it at Washington DC's Dulles airport, right by the cash register, ka-ching. Read all about it at