As longtime library users are aware, one of the most exciting features of our Talking Book and Braille Library is the in-house recording studio that is used to professionally record local interest titles. These include books by Oregon authors, local histories, and stories set in the Pacific Northwest. This August marks the completion of one such title – rough house
by Tina Ontiveros, a 2022 finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
Production of rough house
started back in February of this year with volunteer narrator Jennifer M. Imai, who has logged over 50 hours recording the book. Jennifer is a longtime volunteer with the State Library, having recorded hundreds of hours of books for us outside of her other work with Audible and Learning Ally. During the pandemic, when production in our own studio came to a halt, Jennifer graciously offered her professional skills to record and edit titles for our library in her in-home studio, which she continues to do to this date.
The final run time for rough house
is approximately 7 hours and 28 minutes, which comes out to just over 10% of the actual work time Jennifer spent on recording, editing, and mixing. “I really enjoyed narrating rough house – not because it was a happy story; it was actually quite sad at times,” says Jennifer. “Ontiveros structured it so well that I was glad I read it. She had a very clear throughline that conveyed so well her father's love for her and hers for him, even though he was a difficult man to love. I recommend it, especially to folks who grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the 70s & 80s.”
The work itself has a special place in the hearts of many State Library staff. Last summer, rough house
was selected as one of the first titles for our internal equity, diversity, and inclusion book club. Selected for its portrayal of poverty in logging communities around the Pacific Northwest, the memoir deepened our understanding of the history of rural Oregon life. Ontiveros attended the discussion of the book and shared about her life since the end of the memoir. She is currently a professor of writing and literature at Columbia Gorge Community College and has written for other publications.
Finishing rough house
for our Talking Book users is an exciting chapter in the recording studio’s story. Max H. Robinson, the founder of the book club mentioned above, recently took over as the Recording Studio manager and is working to expand the studio’s overall operations. With a background in radio and audio production, Max is using that experience to recruit and train new recording studio volunteers. As new books are recorded and added to the catalog, we will be sharing more book announcements in a series we are calling, “New to the Catalog.” In the meantime, here is an excerpt from rough house (DBC08804 coming to the catalog soon!):
“Layers of fallen pine needles made the path soft under my feet and the sun passing through the canopy created a green glow that colored my brother’s face beautiful. We climbed gently through old-growth western red cedar and Doug fir. Dogwood, salmonberry, and Oregon grape grew close to the path. The air was rich in animal chatter and the sweet smell of warm cedar. The whole forest sang and twinkled.” (Ontiveros, 2022, p. 100)
Readers should be advised: Content includes explicit language, graphic depictions of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and animal cruelty.