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Podcast - 2 Dec 2010

News

Random House is teaming up with AudioGo for a new audiobook list - http://www.thebookseller.com/news/136361-page.html
Harper Collins will be closing it's e-book and e-audio stores - http://audiobooker.booklistonline.com/2010/11/22/a-cautionary-tale/

We've Been Reading

Andrew has been reading the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Matt has been reading Forced Out by Glen Frey

Open Book Audio is having a holiday sale.  You can take 25% off your total order at the Open Book Audio story by using the code HOLIDAYPODCAST at checkout.

Don't forget to send us suggestions for the Open Book Audio book club for 2011!

Blog Entry - 6 Aug 2009
Old Favorites Made New
Audiobook Club Selection for -: Old Favorites Made New

You know that old, worn out copy of the book you just love sitting on the shelf? The one that, every single time you see it, it beckons to you to enter it’s world and live with it’s characters again–even though you already know what happens to them? I’m sure most of us who love literature have more than just one book that falls into that category. I can say that it certainly is that way for me.

For example, a book that makes my personal top ten (and hovers at or near the #1 spot) is My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. The novel is a masterwork of inner turmoil and the conflict between satisfying long-held cultural beliefs and maintaining an integrity to the feelings of an individual. As an artist who is often caught in this turmoil, the book spoke to me. It still does to this day. That’s why every time I walk by the book shelf in my house, it’s worn and tattered pages fervently call out to me.

That said, I wondered if there was yet another way I could experience the book. Immediately, I was drawn to the idea that an audiobook recording of my favorite tome would be the ideal way to re-experience the novel. Sadly, none exists. There has been no movie and the only other representation of it is a regional play staged earlier this year in Philadelphia. For me it is a tragic thing that the book does not exist in more forms–specifically audiobook–because each audiobook I listen to truly deepens my appreciation of the book and, if it’s an excellent recording, gives me even more to chew on and contemplate. And I love those moments where I can sit and quietly ponder a superbly written passage of prose and delve deep for it’s meaning.

Take for instance, To Kill a Mockingbird. Again, one of my favorites, but this time the audiobook for it is available and is read by none other than Sissy Spacek. While not an obvious choice for the novel, Spacek reads beautifully and invests each character with such emotion, feeling and depth that I was reminded again why I loved these characters so much. But, more than that, the audiobook gave me new things to consider about familiar passages. Spaceck’s own interpretation gave me new things to ponder, new ideas to consider and caused me to pause for a few moments just to reflect on not only what was said–but how it was said. And, as mentioned before, you know how much I love to pause and ponder.

For me, that’s the power of an audiobook. Beyond the ease and technical coolness of audiobooks, I find that I spend more time mulling over the power of an author’s prose when it’s read to me by a world-class actor. For a book that I’ve never read before, listening to the audiobook can be a fantastic introduction to the author’s world and their characters. And, since the author is so often involved in every aspect of the book, it’s almost as if with the audiobook, I’m getting more of the author’s vision and I’m ensured that what I’m hearing is exactly how the author wants it to be heard. And that is most satisfying.

I like to think of it this way. Whenever I see a great movie adaptation of a great novel, or series of novels (like, oh, I don’t know, Lord of the Rings) I’m often struck by how much I enjoy each telling of the story in their own separate way. For me, LOTR the book was a monumental moment in my life. In many ways, it defined my tastes, likes and disslikes from the moment I set it down. When the movie came out, I was initially shocked by the changes (who wouldn’t be?) but then I found myself settling in for what was a great telling of the story. Each of the films, for me, were a wonderful way to experience the story in a different way from my own little world. The same thing applies to audiobooks. While they’re not like reading a book, it’s such a wonderful way to get into the story (or re-read the story) that I enjoy the medium on it’s own–and I don’t judge it by whether or not it fits my certain interpretation. Rather, I (say it with me) pause and ponder.

So, to you I say, go and pick up your favorite book in audiobook format. And, if you’re an author wondering whether or not recording an audiobook makes sense, just consider how many more people would interact with your story if they could experience it in a number of different ways. After all, everyone likes a good story–but it’s how you tell them the story that can sometimes make all the difference.

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