Not Oprah’s Book Club: Mother, Stranger

Cover of Mother, Stranger by Cris Beam

I’ve written about Cris Beam’s books before. Her last book, I Am J, was a young adult novel featuring a young Puerto-Rican trans character.

Cris’s new book is actually a release from a new publishing company that is putting its eggs all into the digital basket. The Atavist, has created a new publishing platform specifically for ipad and iphone that allows for many types of multimedia content to be offered alongside the text. The pieces are in between a full-length book and a long article, around 8,000 words.

Mother, Stranger is about Cris’s relationship with her mother, who she was estranged from at age 14. It focuses on her mother’s mental illness.

The interactive elements include photos from Cris’s childhood, an audio version of her reading the book, a timeline of the events Cris addresses in the book, and even an interactive feature where you can flip through the pages of one of Cris’s early diaries.

The tool shows great potential for really capitalizing on the possibilities of digital publishing, and that for me, someone who hasn’t really enjoyed reading e-books, provides an extra incentive to read something longer form on a digital platform.

I’d been looking forward to trying out the Atavist platform, so I was excited when Cris’s book gave me the incentive to do so. Her writing tackles thought-provoking and often under-addressed themes, and this selection is no different.

The other great thing about the Atavist offerings is that they are reasonably priced, between $1.99 and $2.99. Check out a video about the tool after the jump.

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