ATG Quirkies: The First Audio Books?

Another fascinating post from the Mental Floss website!  This one highlights the important cultural role played by the Lectores Who Read to Cuba’s Cigar Rollers starting in the late 19th century. These were men (and later, women) who volunteered “to stand up and place themselves in the middle of a factory floor—where they could be easily heard by all—and read for a half-hour per shift before another worker would take their place.” Amazingly, their fellow employees would donate part of their salary to make up for the lost wages of those who took time off to read aloud.  

Eventually, the volunteers turned in to full time professionals who still remain “a fixture of many Cuban cigar factories, where industrial evolution hasn’t yet seen the total obsolescence of hand-rolled craftsmanship.”

(Thanks, as always, to John Riley of Gabriel Books for providing ATG Quirkies!)

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