Authors Pico Iyer and Starshine Roshell read from their books during the second day of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic’s 15th annual Record-a-Thon in Santa Barbara.

RFB&D’s recording studio was flooded Tuesday with volunteer readers. Seven recording booths were filled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with community members coming in to read and record books for students who struggle with reading.

Roshell, also a columnist, brought 10 of her friends to read her book Keep Your Skirt On, a collection of her columns.

“I’m just so bowled-over honored to be invited to do this and to have my girlfriends take time out of their day to come help me bring the columns to life,” Roshell said. “I noticed while reading them aloud that they sound very different than they look on paper, and for me it brought a whole new dimension to the text. One of my favorite things about being a columnist is connecting with other moms, and it feels amazing to know that by working with RFB&D, I can connect — and laugh — with a whole new set of mothers.

Iyer was in town visiting family and came in to read his book The Open Road: The Global Journey of the 14th Dalai Lama.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” he said. “This is such a worthy cause, and two years ago I was all set to do this and somehow it never happened, so I’m very excited I could be here at the right time. One of the people who has taught me the most in life is now losing his sight. It really brought home to me the value of bringing books to people who can’t physically read them. I’m so touched to see all these people donating their time and energy to helping others. I think that’s so nice about Santa Barbara.”

D.J. Palladino, a freelance journalist and writer, and programmer for the Magic Lantern Film Series at UCSB, read from Iyer’s book Abandon.

“It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it was a lot more rewarding, too,” Palladino said. “It was the idea of reading this book that I really love, and you’re used to hearing it in your mind, and when you’re reading it aloud there’s all this kind of music that you hear, especially when the writer is as good as Pico Iyer. The idea that it will help someone along the line is just icing on the cake.”

Screenwriter Glenn Leopold said, ”I thought it was fantastic. I was so happy to be locked in that claustrophobic booth. I love books, I have loved books since I was a kid, I loved reading Pico’s book, The Sun After Dark. What was challenging was that I hadn’t read this book. It’s like skateboarding down a hill and not knowing where the bumps are. It’s like a headlong ski run down a glorious tapestry of language. I think it’s great that people can access these books by listening to them, and improve their grades and their lives can be wonderful. I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Twenty employees of Raytheon came during lunch time to help record several books and to present a check for $1,500 for new equipment to help RFB&D reach more students.

Raytheon has provided readers for several years, and this is the company’s first time sponsoring the Record-a-Thon. Other groups that came in Tuesday included the Junior League, students from the UCSB Math Department, math readers from SB Family School and employees of Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.

The Record-a-Thon will continue from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. To volunteer to read or to hear a presentation about how recorded textbooks help students learn through listening, call 805.681.0531 or e-mail

— Kathy Wertheim is interim director of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.