Book Drum

The BookDepository

Book Drum is a great new website designed to bring books to life with the addition of images, historical information, videos and music.

They are initially trying to enhance 500 classic books and I decided to profile my all-time favourite: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry 

I loved researching and explaining all the historical detail and enjoyed the challenge of trying to find appropriate maps, pictures and video clips. I wish that these details had been available when I read the book for the first time as the knowledge has given me a far greater appreciation of the book.

My A Fine Balance profile has been launched on the book drum site today, so please take a look!

Do you think you’d look at a Book Drum profile as you read a book?

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  1. This is a really brilliant idea, and I find I do this all the time when it comes to a book that I really enjoy, even one that just gives me a bump to jump onto my Mac and start researching away. I’ve come across some fantastic items that really enhance my overall reading experience, so this is such a nifty idea!

    And, not to mention, your Book Drum profile was wonderful — the images, maps, street pics, were just fab, and really helped round it out even more so! Looking forward to picking up the book!

    1. Jackie says:

      Natalie, I’m always googling away during my reading (well if the book is any good anyway!) so it would be really helpful if the research had been done for me like this.

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope that you enjoy A Fine Balance as much as I did.

  2. Molly says:

    I was not at all familiar with this site – but I think it is fabulous! I especially plan to utilize the site when I teach To Kill a Mockingbird later this year.

    1. Jackie says:

      Molly, I hadn’t thought that it would be a good resource for teachers, but I’m pleased that I introduced it to you. I hope that the children find it useful :-)

  3. mee says:

    Wow your A Fine Balance profile is amazing! I’ve been eyeing Book Drum for a while and it’s definitely a resourceful website. They asked me when they opened up if I wanted to participate. I wanted to but really didn’t get the time to. It seems a whole lot of work to build a whole profile. Anyway, I loved A Fine Balance to pieces, so I’m going to read your book drum profile thoroughly. Thanks for that!

    1. Jackie says:

      mee, Thank you for the kind words. I’m really pleased that you love A Fine Balance and I hope you enjoy looking at all the things I found in the book.

  4. Tony says:

    Oh. My. God.

    Did you do all that? You obviously have a lot more time on your hands than I do :)

    Much as I hate the idea of e-readers, this is the type of thing which will one day help them become more popular. Once this kind of functionality is linked in to Kindles etc. and the reader can click on a word and instantly get photos and background info., then the printed book will be in a lot more trouble than it is now.

    Of course, that may turn out to be so distracting that you never actually finish the book ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Tony, I agree. This sort of thing is going to push people into wanting the e-version of a book along with the print copy. I think it is a shame that publishers haven’t embraced this type of information yet. Maps, pictures and definitions would be a fantastic addition to all ebooks and I imagine that in 10 years time this sort of thing will be the norm.

      1. Justine says:

        May I come in on this discussion? I don’t have an e-reader (although I’m not averse to the idea – I can imagine myself getting one in the near future) but I would find extra material popping up while I’m reading a book very distracting and annoying… If you could turn it off until you’ve finished the book then great, but as I’ve said in my comment below, I like to try and come to a book as fresh as possible, I don’t like to feel that others’ experiences of the book is getting in the way of my thoughts. Does that make sense? While I like the idea of additional material, it would have to be like a DVD extra – able to be turned on and off as you please.

        1. Jackie says:

          Justine, I’d find it annoying if the extra information popped up, but I would like it if you could click on the information if you’d like to know about it. Sometimes it is as simple as needing to know the definition, but I often find I like to know more about the history of a certain section in the book while reading.

          The thoughts and experiences of other readers does need saving for a DVD extra like feature at the back of the book though!

  5. Jenners says:

    What a super cool idea!! Whenever I read classics, I always feel like I need a little context or information and this site sounds like it might help! Thanks.

  6. Jenners says:

    Oh … and your profile is fantastic!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, Thanks :-) I hope it improves your enjoyment of the classics.

  7. Michelle says:

    This sounds like such a helpful site. Yes, I will check it out.

  8. JoV says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! Thank you for introducing Book drum to me. A fine balance is surely a book I wanted to read, and I’m ecstatic you are reading Naguib Mahfouz!! I’d like to read some of his work, but my library don’t necessary stock them (and some other arabic literature).. I just remembered that you said you sell books online, how can I get to your storefront? Do let me know.

    Thanks again for book drum.

    1. Jackie says:

      JoV, I sell books on Amazon. You can see all the books I stock here:

      I’m afraid I don’t have that many books and I tend to focus on the rarer OUP books, so you probably wont find what you’re looking for :-)

      I am enjoying Naguib Mahfouz, but it is slow going. It will probably take me another few weeks to finish it, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end.

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy A Fine Balance – I hope my Book Drum profile makes it slightly easier to understand the context of the story – enjoy :-)

      1. JoV says:

        Wow your selection of UOP books are like books from a different planet, I might be interested in Penguin guide to Plain English.

        Today I contemplated buying the Everyman’s classic Cairo Trilogy for £5.71 + postage. I’m against keeping too many books, as space is a luxury for me. After reading your comments, I decided to reserved the first 2 from the library and buy the 3rd one because the library don’t stock it. Funny right? ;)

        If you finished Mahfouz you can go over to (Arabic Summer Reading Challenge) and post your review, you then enter for a book prize draw.

        If I ever get around reading A Fine Balance, I’ll surely come back here for a walk through history memory lane of the book. Promise! :)

        1. Jackie says:

          JoV, :-) I did warn you about my book stock!

          £5.71 is a good price for the Cairo trilogy. I’m tempted. I’ll have to see how many copies my library has.

          Thanks for the link to the Arabic Reading Challenge – I’ll have to take a look :-)

  9. Iris says:

    I didn’t know about this site, but it looks interesting. And your profile and information on A Fine Balance looks really good!

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks Iris. I hope you enjoy browsing book drum.

  10. Verity says:

    I hadn’t come across this site at all – what fun! I wish I had enough free time to do projects like this.

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, One of the benefits of being stuck at home – sometimes I wish I didn’t have the time to do things like this :-)

  11. LizF says:

    I hadn’t heard of the site but it does look a very interesting and useful idea – so long as all the entries are done as well as yours !
    I haven’t read A Fine Balance yet, although I do have a copy of it (much faster at buying books than reading them I’m afraid) and seeing your profile on it has made me want to go home, take it off the shelf and start reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      LizF, I’m pleased that I’ve reminded you about A Fine Balance. I hope that you decide to read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

  12. Justine says:

    Whoa – that’s incredible, Jackie. What an incredible amount of work you put into it. Especially for such a large and complex book. I’m very, very impressed.

    This isn’t a criticism – it’s more of an observation on how I roll – but I prefer to read a book unmediated by others’ experiences, so I avoid reading reviews, blog posts (I may skip down to the star rating though!), or introductions, anything like that really, until after my first read. I do often go back to a book though, so a resource like this would be great once I’ve closed the book on the final page. So useful to have information like this all in one place, and a great starting point, I would imagine, if anyone would like to research the book further.

    1. Jackie says:

      Justine, Thank you for the kind words.

      I avoid reading book reviews/anything about the book once I’ve decided to read it. Sometimes I even find the blurb on the back cover gives too much away for me. There is a difference between thoughts and opinions and extra factual material though. I would find book drum very useful when reading a complex book as I often find my history isn’t as good as it should be :-)

  13. Helen says:

    Your profile looks wonderful, Jackie – I’m sure I’ll find it very helpful when I get round to reading A Fine Balance. I’ve also had a profile published on Book Drum, so I know how much time and effort you’ve put into this! I profiled one of my favourite historical fiction books, The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye, which is also set in India.

    1. Jackie says:

      Helen, I have a copy of The Far Pavilions, but haven’t read it yet. I hope to get to it before the end of the year and will ensure I seek out your book drum profile when I get round to it. Congratulations on completing a book drum profile :-)

  14. JoAnn says:

    Jackie, the profile is wonderful!! I love stuff like this and have bookmarked the website. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thank you! I hope that you find the site useful in the future.

  15. Andi says:

    This is a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing the site.

    1. Jackie says:

      Andi, I’m really pleased to see that you enjoyed the site so much that you decided to create your own profile! I look forward to reading it :-)

  16. Coincidentally, I just finished posting on a book that really struck me with its history and depth, thus causing me to research even more so on the topic. I did link your blog to my post to reference your post on Book Drum. Very enlightening, and I’m glad I read this post the other day!

    1. Jackie says:

      Natalie, Thanks for the link :-)

  17. Robert Burns says:

    What an awesome site. This is such an original idea and I have no doubt that it is going to be a very valuable resource. One of my favorite things about reading is drifting off to Google or Wikipedia in the middle of some sentence to go and research some tid-bit or check on the historical accuracy of something. Having all this info in one spot for all of our favorite books and having it researched by fellow book bloggers is going to be perfect. Thanks for the hard work you have put into this Jackie!!! I get such a kick out of reading your blog!!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Robert, Thanks for the kind words. I’m really pleased that I introduced you to this site. I hope that you continue to enjoy your book googling :-)

  18. Wow, what a great idea. Not sure if I would use these while reading, as I might start to feel bogged down. But I think it’d come in handy with those books that you love so much, you don’t want them to be over!

    1. Jackie says:

      Lija, I guess it depends on the type of book you are reading. I wouldn’t want it for simple fiction (until I’d finished the book) but if I was reading something complex then I think it would be useful to have these sort of features pop up to explain it all.

  19. Mome Rath says:

    I love your review and bookmarks for A Fine Balance on Book Drum. Thanks for linking to this site — I hadn’t heard of it before. The maps and photos and music that contributors add are great resources for the books. Now I only need time to read all of the reviews! I’m doing a quick read of The African Queen right now, and wishing I had bookmarks along the way.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mome Rath, Sorry that no one has done African Queen for you yet – there are some books that really benefit from this kind of thing. Enjoy browsing book drum :-)

  20. That’s amazing what you did! And timely, too, as I had just finished reading it and so benefited from what you contributed. Thanks so much! *pat* *pat*

    I would definitely visit Book Drum, although I’d do it AFTER I’ve read the whole book. Like Justine above, I like to go into a book blind, not knowing about plots, etc. I like to just go where the author leads me, exactly, without any distractions from other sources.

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, Thanks for the kind words – I’m pleased that it was useful for you.

      I also like knowing as little as possible about a book when reading it, but some classics are very hard to follow and so in these cases I think book drum could help me to finish and get more from a book I’m struggling with.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Really cool site. I would definitely reference this site before reading a book. I found the pictures to be quite helpful and while I should research locations, etc before I read a book, I don’t. This would allow me as a lazy reader to have some really great background information before reading a book.

  22. Wendy says:

    This is WAY cool, Jackie! Thanks for sharing :)

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