Celebrating National Audio Book Month

Barbara Vey -- June 1st, 2010


Because Joysann is an audio book aficionado, I bow to her expertise in celebrating National Audio Book Month.

An Audie Award is prized by Spoken Word artists

My passion is fiction on audio. I had started my library job back in the early ‘90s, and that’s when I learned about them. At that time the big thing for visually-impaired outreach patrons was the state-supplied Talking Book Program, which required a special machine. This was/is a truly essential service, and I‘m not knocking it, but I listened to one of those, and it was awful. Very literally someone simply read (read well, of course, but disinterestedly) into a microphone and recorded whatever, from books to newspapers and magazines, and just droned on and on. But a new medium was becoming more easily available then, and that was books recorded to cassette tapes that could be played on ordinary players in cars or at home. One time I heard one patron explaining to another that these were for “blind people, and should only be checked out for them”. Oh, was she wrong. These were for the pleasure of everyone!

Mind you, audio books had been around for a long while already, but I had just discovered them. I remember first falling in love with audio books when I was gardening in my yard, weeding not being a favorite thing, with a Walkman plugged to my ear, and Stephen King and Blair Brown reading Rose Madder to me. I was enthralled. I don’t know what the heck I did to my yard – it so didn’t matter. From there I went through every Stephen King book I could lay my hands on, whether I’d read it before or not, whether read by him or not. And, in between, I started on everything else. Stephen King reads his stuff very, very well, by the way.

Now, nearly twenty years later, I’ve become totally addicted, and I can’t live happily without an audio book close to hand. And that’s not a bad thing.

I have my particular readers/narrators whom I adore, and often simply having their names on a book cover will make me decide to “read” (listen to) something. George Guidall, Dick Hill, Davina Porter, Simon Prebble, Scott Brick, Kate Reading, Phil Gigante, and so many others, are names that can catch a listener’s eye (ear?). There are many talents one knows from stage and screen, like Derek Jacobi and James Marsters who also record books.

Barbara Rosenblat

My very favorite is marvelous Barbara Rosenblat. When she reads, every character becomes as large and as vivid as if on a movie screen, visually complete in the mind’s eye, with no relevance to sex, age, race, nationality, or locale; all the characters are simply real. Jim Dale, of course, brought audio books to a whole new level with Harry Potter, and daily there are more productions vying for that magical performance.

At first, long ago, I couldn’t have told you who a narrator was, barely able to put title to author consistently, but that’s no longer true. One of the first names I committed to memory came with the reading of The Green Mile when narrator Frank Muller took my breath away. He read many of Stephen King’s books, as well as other fascinating fiction and non-fiction, and the world lost a special talent to a motorcycle accident. Another tragic loss to accident was of Kate Fleming/Anna Fields, who will always be, to me, the voice of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, though she read many wonderful books by other talented authors. It’s bittersweet to play an audio book and hear them again, knowing they’re gone forever.

Stephen King is not the only author to read his own books. Many non-fiction authors do, and more and more frequently fiction authors. Garrison Keillor, of course, and Tom Bodett are fabulous by their very nature, being radio performers. The late Roger Zelazney did one of the most memorable readings I’ve ever heard with A Night in the Lonesome October. Neil Gaiman reads several of his stories, and I’m presently listening to the mystery The Inheritance read (quite well) by author Simon Tolkien, and I’m looking forward to hearing how Barry Eisler does with his new release, Inside Out, later this month.

There’s another thing, though; that other side. An audio book narrator can make or break a story for me, and I’ve had to learn not to dismiss either the reader or the author out hand. If a voice is annoying, or the narrator’s performances are not top rate, a book can be ruined. Conversely, a performer has to have something to work with. I’ve had to learn to find the book in print to see if it’s the story that reads poorly to me, or find another audio book read by that narrator to see if the performer is consistently annoying, whereupon, of course, I will avoid him/her, either one.

Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, Harper Audio, MacMillan Audio, Penguin Audio, and on, and more names I don‘t know or am not recalling, publishing houses are producing audio books, often now released at the same time as the print, and bringing the magic of books even to those who can’t find the time to read. And, of course, audio books are now available in a variety of ways: cds, mp-3, downloads, self-contained pocket-sized gizmos, and who all knows what else.

My husband thinks my headset is permanently attached.

I’m no expert… this is only my opinion and experience. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the audio book world, but if I’ve enticed even one of Barbara’s readers to give an audio book a try, I’ve celebrated National Audio Book Month properly.

Bottom Line: I still have to figure out how to listen on the motorcycle without losing a single word to the wind.

132 thoughts on “Celebrating National Audio Book Month


    I like this web site very much so much wonderful information. “The more opinions you have, the less you see.” by Wim Wenders.

  2. mehr

    Heya i’m for the initial time here. I found this board and I to discover It truly beneficial & it helped me out a lot. I hope to provide something back and aid other people such as you helped me.

  3. Bramy garażowe

    Can I simply say what a comfort to discover a person that really knows what they’re discussing on the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you definitely have the gift.

  4. Chris Bouyea

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get four emails with the identical comment. Is there any manner you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  5. Dudley Oechsle

    After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any means you can take away me from that service? Thanks!

  6. Kirstie

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  7. Hannah

    Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is simply nice and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  8. watch rolex replica

    When even the experts are fooled by the looks and characteristic of swiss Rolex Online, do not even think for a twinkling that you will be able to do so. You should not take any risks while purchasing swiss Rolex Online unless you are dead sure that you know about them. The best selection would be to bargain for these swiss Rolex online through some trustworthy online shop. If required you can ask any of your friends or not absolute who are also wearing these watches. But are you sure that you will be able to know again them, rather their watches? As everyone knows, these swiss Rolex online are very tough to make out from the absolute and it might well be that your dear companion is wearing the absolute one.

  9. Keine Angst mehr vor Spinnen

    I am not going to say what everyone else has already mentioned, but I do wish to remark on your knowledge of the topic. Youre really well-informed. I cant believe how a lot of this I simply wasnt aware of. Thank you for bringing extra information to this topic for me. Im truly grateful and really impressed.

  10. belleville 390 boots top pick

    This can be a capital in that complete-length quest effectively-suited content material materials, I’ll ponder to exculpate. The ammo is so significantly organized that readers swear by amusing me jargon impress for germane seconds. alimony genuine addition.

  11. Audrey

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it wise. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a terrific site.

  12. dog food reviews

    Thanks for the writeup. I undoubtedly agree with what that you are saying. I have been speaking about this topic a good deal lately with my father so hopefully it will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

  13. investing

    Should tow line this caravan along with van trailer dwelling your entire household quick get uncovered towards the points together with reversing create tight placement. awnings

  14. Scott Bullo

    I really wanted to write down a quick word to thank you for these magnificent concepts you are placing on this website. My prolonged internet look up has now been paid with good quality concept to share with my great friends. I ‘d tell you that many of us site visitors actually are really fortunate to dwell in a decent site with many marvellous individuals with useful techniques. I feel extremely grateful to have seen the site and look forward to some more entertaining minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once again for all the details. Readmore: Không gian nội thất cùng vs màu xanh mòng két

  15. cash register

    I located your weblog web internet site on google and check some of your early posts. Continue to sustain up the superb operate. I just further up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Looking for forward to studying extra from you in a even though!…

  16. best astragalus

    Hello – very great web site you have put up. I had a blast studying this posting. I did wish to publish a remark to tell you that the format of this website online may be very aesthetically pleasing. I was a internet site designer, now I am a easy employee for a software development company. I’ve always enjoyed taking part in with computing machines and am attempting to be taught web site constructing in my spare time (which there is never enough of lol).

  17. check it out

    I do not even know the way I ended up here, but I thought
    this publish was great. I do not understand who you might
    be however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger in case you are not
    already. Cheers!

    My website check it out

  18. 2009 guardian

    Most advantageous men toasts need to enliven even though giving pay tribute to together with your pleased couple. 1st time speakers although in entrance of extreme throngs should always acknowledge the precise crucial law involved with presentation, which is your certain person. very best man’s speech

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>