Book Club Check In: Reading Yet?

What's clicking on the Bryant Park Project blog, including a call to get cracking on Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys for the BPP Book Club.

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(Soundbite of music)

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

So, you know, we used to call this segment On the Blog when we didn't have a totally rockin' website.

MIKE PESCA, host:

Or a good understanding of idioms.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Yesterday, we changed the name to On the Site, because, you know, we got one now, and it's really great. You should go check it out. BPP editor Laura Conway is here to tell us how things are going in that world. Hi!, Laura.

LAURA CONWAY: Hey, how are you?

MARTIN: What's been the response?

CONWAY: Well, you know, I've launched a few redesigns, and I've got to say, I never really had a response like I had to this one, which is that people actually liked it.

MARTIN: Great.

CONWAY: Usually, when you launch a new website, you launch it and then you duck, because people want to know moved their cheese, and you know, all the other things. And we launched this one, and it was nearly universal that people liked it. People started joining our Twitter stream, which is featured prominently. We picked up 23 new people in our Facebook group, which is also featured on there. If you want to check that out its npr.org/bppfacebook. You can actually see that...

PESCA: Are we over a 1,000 yet?

CONWAY: No, but if we keep going at that pace, we'll be over a 1,000 next year, I would say.

PESCA: We have over a 1,000 Twitterers, right?

CONWAY: Yeah, we're over a 1,000 Twitterers, and we are climbing toward 2,000.

PESCA: Come on, Facebook people. Catch up to the Twitterers.

MARTIN: Step up!

CONWAY: Apparently, the only thing we're not better at, you guys, is fried chicken.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONWAY: Dan Pashman posted this question, what do you like better, our side or fried chicken? And pretty much everyone said fried chicken including some - @popeyeschicken, who twitters, apparently.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Well, you know, that's tough. That's a tough comparative.

PESCA: Our site with biscuits, our site with gravy.

CONWAY: That's what we're talking about. Hey, look, we are now going to talk about homework for a second. Bryant Park Project Book Club, Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys," that's what we are reading right now.

MARTIN: It's sitting right on my bed stand. Every night I look at it. Hello, "Anansi Boys."

CONWAY: You mean you look at the outside of it?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: The outside.

CONWAY: Have you guys started it?

MARTIN: Tonight's the night. It's my pled for the weekend.

PESCA: Unlike Patricia's books on tape, that thing ain't going to read itself.

CONWAY: I have Patricia McKinney right here, our editor. She'd like to have a word with you about this book.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Yes, I am actually reading the book. I know Mike doesn't think it counts. I'm listening to the audio book, and it's really good. He's an amazing narrator. I think his name is Lenny Henry. And Laura, it's my chance to ask you, I think I might blog about him today, because he is just a really good narrator.

CONWAY: I wish you would.

MCKINNEY: So anyway, this - just to remind people of the story. It's about a character named Fat Charlie Nancy, and what happens at the beginning of the book is you get to know him a little bit. You find out he's terribly, terribly, terribly embarrassed by his father, and so I picked a little clip from the audio book to illustrate that.

(Soundbite of audio book "Anansi Boys")

Mr. LENNY HENRY (Narrator): Reading) And at the head of the pack, in a smart, checked suite, wearing a fedora hat, and lemon-yellow gloves, came Fat Charlie's father. He played no instrument, but was doing a soft-shoe shuffle along the polished linoleum of the hospital floor, lifting his hat to each of the medical staff in turn, shaking hands with anyone who got close enough to talk or to attempt to complain. Fat Charlie bit his lip, and prayed to anyone who might be listening that the Earth would open and swallow him up, or failing that, that he might suffer a brief, merciful and entirely fatal heart attack. No such luck. He remained among the living. The brass band kept coming. His father kept dancing, and shaking hands and smiling.

CONWAY: So, you don't have to read that part.

MARTIN: That's a universal feeling, though, that feeling of utter humiliation when a parent does something...

MCKINNEY: The thing is his father sounds really awesome and charming. So, I have a feeling it's going to be one of those books where you take this kind of sad-sack narrator, and great things end of happening to him, I hope.

MARTIN: I have a total crush on that narrator, by the way.

MCKINNEY: I know, he's great.

PESCA: Well, now I'm going to have to read the book with that guy's voice in my head.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: I think that's OK.

MARTIN: It's a good thing.

PESCA: I usually do it with Charles Durning's voice in my head. That has worked for me in the past.

MCKINNEY: The whole book has this kind of Caribbean flavor to it, and this guy, I didn't have time to pick a really amazing clip where he does all the voices, but he does all these accents. He's really good.

CONWAY: The book club is going to meet Wednesday, June 4th, so we've got to, you know, get cracking. We cannot let Tricia beat us to the end.

MARTIN: We need that (unintelligible). We need that. At least we've got one, OK.

CONAWAY: June 4th. This is your Memorial Day weekend pleasure homework.

MARTIN: Pleasure homework.

CONWAY: Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys," Bryant Park Project Book Club.

MARTIN: Cool. Thanks, Laura.

CONAWAY: Thank you.

MARTIN: Go to our new website, npr.org/bryantpark. And you know what? That does it for this hour of the Bryant Park Project, which is directed by Jacob Ganz, edited by the woman to my left, Tricia McKinney, technical director Manoli Weatherell.

PESCA: The staff includes Dan Pashman, Ian Chillag, Win Rosenfeld, Angela Ellis, Caitlin Kenney, Nathan Deuel, Zena Barakat and Jeanne Baron.

MARTIN: Laura Conway edits the blog. Our newscaster is Mark Garrison.

PESCA: Our senior producer is Matt Martinez. Sharon Hoffman is our executive producer. I am Mike Pesca.

MARTIN: You are, indeed.

PESCA: Thank you. Two-source confirmation.

MARTIN: I am Rachel Martin.

PESCA: You are.

MARTIN: And we are online all the time at NPR.org/bryantpark. New website, check it out. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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