Thursday, January 06, 2011

Fug the READ poster - 2011 edition

Hello, library lovers!

Your Neighborhood Librarian is *just about* off to sunny San Diego, California to attend the American Library Association's Midwinter conference. I have an exhibits pass, a rental car, the names of several restaurants of good repute... and my kids!

Yeah! Bob's going to meet us out there, so it's just me flying coast to coast with two boys under the age of ten, both of whom are so excited about LEGOLand that they are practically hallucinating. I spent all of yesterday doing laundry, packing, downloading books onto the eReader and the iPod (note to MD Digital eLibrary Consortium Fuckwittery: YOU DON'T WORK), and hollering down the stairs, "WHAT are you arguing about NOW?"

I had to invent dozens of tasks to keep them apart. "Get all the nickels out of the change bowl and put them in this jar." "Sort through the short markers and find one of each color that works." Can a seven-year-old unload the dishwasher? He can if your kitchen has a Cramer Kik-Step. At one point I asked Facebook if it was ok to give children Xanax.

(Facebook said yes. (Love ya, Ginny Schmidt!))

So it wasn't yesterday, but it was a different day, that I picked up my copy of American Libraries, the monthly print appendage of the American Library Association, to see if there was a conference map (there wasn't), and saw a full-page ad for the latest and greatest ALA READ posters. You know, those posters that show a famous person posing stiffly with a book. You see them adorning the walls of school libraries, children's sections, and, in rare cases, librarian workrooms (Hello, Orlando Bloom!).

I have in the past been... critical... of these posters. I think they're poorly styled, badly posed, and the celebs are sometimes weirdly chosen. In my first ever critique of these posters, I said, "the ALA has the uncanny ability to honor any good-looking celebrity willing to take time out of his or her busy schedule (making out with other celebrities, shopping, learning to swing from vines) in order to promote literacy - by making that person look like a grimly hung-over version of Mickey Rourke."

Fortunately, it seems that the ALA has stepped up their game. The posters featuring the Harry Potter principals are particularly good, especially as it seems a little challenging for anyone to get a nice picture out of Rupert Grint. (Those Phelps twins, though, that play Fred and George? Hoo wee. I'd read Thomas Kinkade novels if those boys told me to.)

Anyway, the Harry Potter READ posters. What's good about them? First of all, these kids are famous for movies that are adaptations of successful books, so they're appropriate models. The actors are lit right, shot straightforwardly, framed by competent graphics, wearing their own clothes, and holding books of their own choosing (Oh I know you want to know - Weasley has a copy of A Clockwork Orange with a cool vintage cover; Radcliffe is holding The Master and Margarita - I am pretty sure that boy is a little pretentious; and Emma picked Romeo and Juliet. Well, two out of three).

There are also some good group shots. The Jonas Brothers look blue-jeany and arena-rocky. The Glee cast - well truthfully you'd have to work pretty hard to make that group look bad. They even come with their own graphics. And I adore that Amber Riley is carrying a copy of Sorta Like a Rock Star.

Seth Meyers looks good and apparently remembers enough of his college lit classes to choose Catch-22. They let Hugh Laurie look studly - rugged and tan - for once in his dear British life. Nathan Fillion looks like a boob, reading the last of the Softwire series (YA SF FTW!) but I suspect that's Nathan Fillion being Nathan Filliony and is not the fault of the ALA photographer. I note with appreciation that he's still sporting his Captain Hammer shoulders.

But then there's this:

OH MY GOD ALA there's NO way you could have made him look smarter? At all? I caught a look at this thing, this dumb-looking beefy stud with the atavistic brow ridge peering bemusedly into a book like a dog peers into a grocery bag, and instantly I heard Ian Holm intoning, "Ra-zor... Mir-ror!" in my head. If you don't know what I'm talking about, i.e. you are either not as old as I am or you are not as tolerant of screamingly bad movies that are really just thin excuses for putting long-haired men into loincloths, I offer you this: