Friday, November 18, 2011

Kindles and Hugo Cabret

Here I am again!

Many thanks to my colleagues for their contributions. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they write in the future.

Okay, here’s thing number 1: No post next week. Hey, it’s Thanksgiving -- a lot of people prefer to spend the holiday with friends and family and stuffing ourselves until we burst, and I’m no exception!

Thing number 2: We just got this thing.

Yes, it’s a brand-new Kindle (ad-supported, so ignore the goofy turkey). And it’s a harbinger of some changes students, faculty, and staff will see in our e-book offerings by the time Spring 2012 rolls around. We’re using it to test some new features offered by long-time vendors, as well as some things from a new vendor. We also are keeping an eye on the road ahead; often, when people run into technical difficulties on Library-related issues, we’re the ones they come to first for tech support.

Although there are plenty of times when we end up referring the person with the problem to Gallaudet Technology Services, we like to be as knowledgeable as possible about the services we offer in order to save time for the people we serve. That means having the same type of equipment our users have, so we can learn how the process works for them and figure out quick ways to solve common problems.

Anyway, we’ve been talking about e-books for months, if not years, and with good reason; we’re seeing a significant shift towards e-books and are working to find ways to continue increasing the level of service we’ve offered the Gallaudet community for a lot longer than most people reading this have been alive.

Change is good, folks! Especially this kind of change. It’s so thin and light. If I weren’t already in love with my own Kindle (work-related things are not allowed to live on it), I’d seriously consider getting one for myself. Depending, of course, on how the Kindle Fire works out. But that’s another post!

Thing number 3: A book review hasn’t been seen on this blog in many a moon. Neither has a vlog, for which I apologize.

But never fear! December will see a couple of vlogs go up (depending on how busy the last weeks of classes are and how quickly my vacation looms). In the meantime, I thought I’d do a quick review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

You may have heard of its author, Brian Selznick, recently. His newest book, Wonderstruck, was released recently and it features a deaf character or two (I’m mostly focused on the librarian character). Evidently, he included Carol Padden and Tom Humphries -- two prominent Deaf scholars -- in the writing process so that he could get the picture right. It’ll certainly end up in our collection!

Anyway, Hugo Cabret is a kid’s book, which I readily admit. Some of the best books in the world were written for kids. Think about that before you cock an eyebrow in my general direction.

It’s about a young boy who lives in the attic of a train station in Paris. He winds all the clocks so they keep accurate time (kind of important in a train station). Ordinarily, they don’t hire little kids to do this job, but his parents are dead and his uncle, who actually holds the job, went missing months before.

This young boy has a secret. It’s a little machine that he’s been fixing steadily for a long time, since his father died, replacing broken parts with pieces of toys that he steals from a toy store in the train station. The story starts when he gets caught, and takes you through a genuine mystery that kept me puzzled until … well.

The thing about this book is that it’s a little unconventional; it’s like a graphic novel and a regular kid’s book mashed together. You have a few pages of text, then page after page of the story told visually. It’s very arresting and keeps the story moving along incredibly well. The book itself looks huge when you first check it out -- I was expecting another Harry Potter -- but you quickly realize that it’s only that way because there’s so much illustration.

It all works together so well I can still remember very strongly specific images from the story along with the narrative details. The drawings themselves are wonderful, very moody and permeated with a strong sense of time and place.

I hate to be so vague. Suffice it to say that the toy shop owner has a very unusual secret himself, and when he catches the boy in the act of stealing the toy, it sets off a series of very surprising events that reveals a connection between both characters and culminates in an honestly pretty lovely ending.

I recommend it because it works on so many levels, is very, very well-done, and, above all, is a quick read. A movie version is coming out next week, actually, and I look forward to seeing what they did with it!


  1. how much will it be to download it on your kindle?

  2. We don't have anything right now that can be downloaded onto a Kindle, unfortunately. We're hoping it'll be soon!

  3. where do i download the invention of hugo cabret for my kindle


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