"I gently lay my mind on the text as if the text is a Ouija board and let it move me around. And my eye circles the page precisely the way your eye circles the landscape when you are anxiously looking for someone in a crowd: You scan for red hair, for a hat, for someone towering above the others, whatever it is. I pick up adverbs out of the corner of my eye. "How wonderful to see you, Jeff" may be the opening of a chunk of dialogue that ends with "... she muttered hostilely." You look for that like a helicopter rescue team looking for a dehydrated Cub Scout in the mountains."
There are numerous ways that bands reach out to potential and current fans, and you can add a few more to the list with Noisetrade, Stageit and Concert Window. Noisetrade allows artists and bands to give away music, like a few tracks and covers from Dr. Dog and Saint Rich, to the whole First Album Live from They Might Be Giants, and now e/audio books, too, in trade for an email address and zip code. If you prefer live music, Stageit and Concert Window allow fans to watch unrecorded, streaming shows from bands anywhere in the world, for whatever price fans see fit. [more inside]
The library platform OverDrive has announced that it will discontinue the sale of audiobooks in the WMA format, and transition solely to DRM-free MP3 files. Many local libaries use OverDrive to offer ebooks and audiobooks for download to their patrons. [Disclosure: my local library does, and I hate it.] Currently, some audiobooks are offered as DRM-enabled WMA files; the are not playable on iOS devices, so this will open up a lot of the collection to a wider user community.
Librivox, the grand repository for free recordings of public domain literature, hosts quite a few fine readers. I'm partial to the Dickens interpretations of Czechchris and Mil Nicholson, and I've warmed to Chiquito Crasto's judicious renditions of classic ghost stories. But for my money, the best reader on Librivox is Elizabeth Klett, a trained actor and English professor whose many recordings unite range and insight. [more inside]
18 Books Ernest Hemingway Wished He Could Read Again for the First Time. "I would rather read again for the first time Anna Karenina, Far Away and Long Ago, Buddenbrooks, Wuthering Heights, Madame Bovary, War and Peace, A Sportsman's Sketches, The Brothers Karamazov, Hail and Farewell, Huckleberry Finn, Winesburg, Ohio, La Reine Margot, La Maison Tellier, Le Rouge et le Noire, La Chartreuse de Parme, Dubliners, Yeat's Autobiographies and a few others than have an assured income of a million dollars a year."
Moby-Dick Big Read: 135 chapters over 135 days, as read by David Cameron, John Waters, Stephen Fry, David Attenborough, Simon Callow and many others. Today the first of sailing a bit around the world.
"What I realize when I’m doing an audiobook is that I actually have a much closer relationship to the text than I do when I’m reading."
Neil Gaiman’s audiobook record label: [Salon.com] The best-selling author talks about introducing his new, hand-picked lineup [Audible.com] of favorite books to American ears. Neil Gaiman Presents is part of a larger enterprise by Audible.com, called ACX (for Audiobook Creation Exchange). It aims to bring new titles to the public by hosting a service through which authors (and other rights holders) can connect with professional narrators.
Hear the Bible come alive in Dramatic Audio Theater! Jim Caviezel as Jesus (again). Lou Diamond Phillips as Mark. Malcolm McDowell as Solomon. Luke Perry as Judas. Max von Sydow as Noah. (warning: auto-playing video) The Word of Promise Audio Bible features over 1000 voice actors, a 150-piece orchestra, an iPhone app, 98 hours of recorded audio, and more. Meet the cast. Hear samples.
Self Made Scholar hosts a comprehensive collection of links to online classes in over 80 subjects. They also link to collections of free books and audiobooks.
British actor Jim Dale is greeted as a "star" by children and adults when he appears in public and at readings. He has narrated the U.S. audiobooks for the "Harry Potter" series. For the series he worked six-and-a-half-hour days, recording about 18 to 20 pages. Over eight years he has crafted over 200 distinctive voices for the books' characters. He takes into account the aging of the main characters, who started out as 10 and 11 in “Sorcerer’s Stone” and are now 17 and 18 in “Deathly Hallows.” Like the books, the tapes and CDs have been a publishing phenomenon selling more than 5.7 million copies. For his work on the “Harry Potter” series, Mr. Dale has won a Grammy Award, a record 9 Audie Awards (the Oscars for audiobooks) and holds the record for creating the most voices in an audiobook in the Guinness Book of World Records. Audio clips and video interview.
Speaking of free audio books, Project Gutenberg is currently working on releasing about 500 free, public domain audio books in mp3 format. Among the titles included are Melville's Typee, A Midsummer Night's Dream,A Modest Proposal, Huck Finn, and many, many more. I have some Great Expectations for this one...
I was looking through my old posts, and found a mention of mp3lit.com from several months back (yeah, yeah, I know, I'm going to the well for new material...). It's still just spoken word mp3s for download, but the quantity and quality seems to have gone up considerably. There's a great fiction piece by Parker Posey (mmmm...Parrrkerrr Pooooseeeey), one of my favorite musicians Nick Cave talking about religion, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo doing some self-help stuff, Bill Bradley talking about affirmative action, and hey look! Douglas Coupland is doing a live event next Friday!
Wow, a killer new site: mp3lit.com. Listen to books in mp3 format. Wouldn't it be great if this was Shoutcasted and a global wireless broadband network was in place so you could hear it in your car or walking around? Another cool thing would be if they hooked up with The Gutenburg Project and had audio versions of all those free texts.