I just finished listening to Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs in my car, and I am now a true believer in audiobooks. (The book is great, by the way, and Wonderland figures prominently in it, as a kind of thematic tilt-a-whirl). When you listen to a good book on the road, suddenly: Traffic? No problem. Long red light that you sit through for two rounds? Who cares? Long stretch of highway? Great! It’s fascinating to me that audiobooks are making a comeback, perhaps in part because actors, as the New York Times article points out, take reading seriously, seeing it as a craft requiring special skills. I love Jeremy Irons reading Lolita, but I had given up on audiobooks after a couple of dull readers made me regret paying for what was at that time cds. Now I’ve just ordered a couple of Neil Gaiman books (he makes his own recordings), and I’m also going to try Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings.
Here’s an excerpt from Leslie Kaufman’s article in the NYT
Mr. Davis cautions that narration is not for everyone. “You need endurance, patience, and you need to do a lot of research,” he said. “I am in the booth from 9 to 4 and the average book could be three days to seven days.”
The upside, for him, has been a connection with authors like Bret Easton Ellis and Oliver Sacks and also a tremendous amount of freedom to define the project artistically. “I feel like they have a great respect for what I do,” he said of Audible, his most regular client.
His style is more restrained than Ms. Kellgren’s. “You paint the whole picture but you are very controlled,” he said.
“A fan once said to me that my narration was like ‘a modern version of sitting around a campfire listening to tribal elders,’ ” he added. “That is what makes me feel I am on the right track.”
Well, not quite around the fireside, but a good audiobook makes you feel as if the reader is right there with you.
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