Karen's Korner

See Kemba Read!

Monday, 18 April 2011 23:02 Karen Hunter

Kemba Walker announced last week that he read his first book ever. The outrage comes because The NCAA championship guard is a senior in college, set to graduate from UConn next month. The question is how can a person go through college (or high school, for that matter), without ever reading a book?

I'd like to say I'm shocked. But I'm not. And I would like to take this space to lament the failures of our education system in the United States, which is No. 19 among industrialized nations. I could talk about the dumbing down of our curriculum, the lowering of standards, and how we allow student-athletes to be anything but students.

But I prefer to use this space in a more positive manner and celebrate the reading of a book. Walker read William C. Rhoden's .

If Walker was going to read any book, this was a great place to start. He has announced his eligibility for this year's NBA draft. I'm pleased that he has read a book that might prevent him from becoming a statistic. More than 60 percent of NBA players and 

I believe a huge reason for that stat is ignorance. Perhaps more of them should pick up a book.

At least now, there's hope for Walker.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 13:56

Are Libraries Right To Boycott?

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 15:35 Karen Hunter
When college students Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker came up with the brilliant idea of sharing music and creating a space for anyone to download other people’s music online, no one knew then that it would completely change/destroy the music industry.

What Fanning and Parker did, probably inadvertently, was to place the power of music into the hands of the people.

On the heels of that, You Tube emerged and anyone with a camcorder could produce a music video. Acts like Soulja Boy and Justin Bieber were discovered online and emerged with record deals and million-plus selling records.

Now the book industry in the midst of a similar revolution. And one of the recent backlashes to this digital push has come from the public libraries. They fear that they will be rendered obsolete. Currently, libraries have a sweet deal (as they should) with publishers whereby they get books at a steal and make them available to the public for free forever.

This week, the libraries called for a boycott against one publisher—Harper Collins—because it has limited the number of times a library can “lend” out one of its titles.

From a business standpoint, Harper Collins is being very fair in limiting the number of times its ebooks can be lent out, which is 26 times before the file is no longer available. All the libraries must do is stay on top of the leases, post on its site the limits, and pay up when the number has been reached. Boycotting is not the answer, especially when other major publishers aren’t even making their titles available to the libraries at all digitally.

Why bite the one hand that’s feeding you?

If libraries want to make a stand and difference, I get that. But they’re picking their fight with the wrong person. Harper Collins is merely addressing their very real problems and still attempting to service the needs of the libraries.

Publishers are in dire straits. Book retailers are shutting its doors and the world of publishing as we know it is in a state of flux with many book producers of having no clue how to handle this new digital world.

At least Harper Collins is offering a solution. The thing to do is not boycott but figure it out for the sake of the readers they supposedly serve. On the flip side, I realize they’re scared. With many states (and the nation) facing deficits, libraries are always prime candidates for cuts. They simply don’t have the money to pay for these books.

But a boycott? That doesn't seem like a proper response. It's time for libraries (and everyone) to sober up or go the way of the record industry. They should accept Harper Collins's deal, encourage the other publishers to join in and be a part of the revolution or else they may go the way of the music industry and become a casualty.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:41

Author Doesn't Lack A Conscience

Wednesday, 09 February 2011 13:36 Karen Hunter

When I first started reading last year on a plane ride to Augusta, Ga., my stomach turned. I wasn't just sickened by the story itself of a poor, black woman whose cells revolutionized medicine and made it possible to cure diseases and study the effects of those cells even on other planets. The cells of Henrietta Lacks are in every medical facility in the world because her cells don't die. They regenerate and it's a medical marvel, one that she would never live to see nor benefit from as she left behind a family in poverty.

That was the second revelation that sickened me. Her cells go for hundreds and thousands of dollars per vial. Multiple millions have and are being made off of Henrietta Lacks and I couldn't help thinking as I read the book that yet another person, the author, would be profiting from her story.

But kudos must go to Rebecca Skloot for not only bringing the story of Henrietta Lacks to life, but also having the social conscience to create a foundation to benefit her descendants. The Henrietta Lacks Foundation was established first to provide monies for education, but Skloot realized that Lacks's family was in dire need of everything from medical and dental care to actual funds to live.

While Lacks died at the age of 31, poor and black, hopefully her story will ensure a successful future for her children, her children's children and beyond.

Oprah Winfrey is producing a film for HBO about her life.

(Read more about it here)




Can Technology Change the Bible?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 23:15 Karen Hunter

Can Technology Change the Bible?

A version of the Bible is set to be released this year that will allow readers to include images, video, art and allow people to comment on passages and scriptures and share their thoughts with others. It's a new technology that is promising to make books a more social experience.

On the surface, it seems like a good idea, a sort of facebook for books. As it relates to the Bible, I guess they want to bring the Word to life, literally.

But should we be "tampering" with the Good Book like this? Will it make the experience better? Will it help build a better understanding and relationship or is it yet another distraction.

The Bible is not supposed to be messed with and part of the power is the process of discovery. Helping us along with technology kind of undermines that journey.

What would Jesus do?


Karen's Korner

Tuesday, 18 January 2011 16:14 Karen Hunter

One Space, Please!


Reading so many manuscripts, I often see this thing that while I have never been formerly told was an error, just knew that it was. I was asked by several authors if it's okay to put to spaces after a period before starting a new sentence and I always tell them not to do it and I always fix it when I see it. I didn't know why, other than it just didn't look right.

While it's not one of my biggest petpeeves, it does cost me some time and money (when I have to hire someone else to fix it).

Here's one writer who hates "two-spacers," as he calls them. He not only angrily talks about his displeasure with the offense, he also gives references for why it's a no-no.

Check it out.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 16:22
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