And about that charity…

Middlings Bundle ad 2016

One of the really, really cool things about ebook bundles is that they let you support a charity.

The following is a guest post by my friend Melissa, about her adventures volunteering for the charity supported by The Middlings Bundle: Washington Talking Book and Braille Library.

Let me tell you a little about the Talking Book programs. It’s one of those “all nice stuff” charities, run by the National Library Service, and its premise is that everyone should be able to read.

I’ve volunteered for Talking Books for coming on 20 years, in two states, and it’s always just delightful … staffed by pleasant and interesting people, providing a service that spreads pleasure. It’s available to anyone who has difficulties reading, whether because they’re blind or have physical difficulties reading print. It’s one of the few volunteer opportunities that has very little downside: it’s fun to do, in a comfortable environment, and doesn’t eat up most (or any!) of my beloved weekends. And I know it’s making people happy all across the country!

My volunteerism takes two forms, narration and review. I’ve always enjoyed reading outloud to my friends and family, so the opportunity to narrate entire books makes me eager to head out to the Talking Books recording studio. I’ve narrated all manner of books. I’ve read history, engineering, romance, poetry, mysteries, magazines, a variety of young adult novels, and even the Washington Driver’s Manual (think about that one for a moment!). I’ve reviewed an equal range of topics. One of the best things about narrating for Talking Books is that you get to experience so many subjects that you might not encounter otherwise … review in particular is like a tasting bonanza. I’ve learned learned that I enjoy whole genres I’d never have looked into.

Narration is essentially what it sounds like. You read a book out load, aiming to sound interested and fully engaged while pronouncing the sentences clearly. It took me a little while to become good at it. Part of the process is to make a note of the inevitable errors, and go back and edit them out of the audio file. That’s also fun, whether it sounds fun or not. (It was NOT fun back when we recorded directly to tape, but in the shiny new digital age, it’s easy to fix.)

Review is similarly self-explanatory. After the narrator records a book, someone follows and listens to the recording while following along in the book, noting any errors … and those get sent back to the narrator to fix! It’s a great opportunity for people who enjoy books but don’t feel comfortable with the sound of their own voices.

All in all, it’s just a wonderful thing, no matter what side of the microphone you’re on!

The Middlings Bundle will only be available for about seven hours at this point. Then this wonderful deal will go away. If you want great stories, the ability to support some marvelous authors, as well as to give to a fabulous charity, go and pick yourself up a copy of The Middlings Bundle soon! Before it all goes away…

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