Audiobooks make literary summer resolutions effortless and enjoyable. Salon magazine highlights the benefits of listening to all those books you skipped back in school in an article titled “War and Peace Made Easy: Finally Get Around to Reading That Classic Novel This Summer by Listening to it Instead” by Laura Miller – a great overview for audiobook fans & newbies alike. But holy cow – wonder if that whole “Is listening cheating?” debate is dead? Just read the comments at the end of the Salon article posting! I added my two-cent’s worth by recommending an article by Booklist’s Readers’ Advisory expert Joyce Saricks. In the June Audiobook Showcase issue, Joyce championed the spoken word in her At Leisure column “Rediscovering the Classics—through Audiobooks.” The power of audiobooks to turn the complex sentence structure and vocabulary of the past into vivid storytelling through the performance of a skilled narrator opens up the world of great literature. Just recently, I listened to Listening Library’s The Call of the Wild, narrated by Jeff Daniels – a classic that I had never read. With loving care, from the haunting intro sound track to the cover art by Caldecott Medal winner Jerry Pinkney, this production transported me to the Alaskan gold rush – and turned a century-old title into an immediately engaging adventure. If you’d like to add some great classics to your summer listening list, check out the fantastic FREE downloads offered today through September on the SYNC website http://www.audiobooksync.com/. Anyone may download these MP3 format audiobooks (compatible with ALL digital players), plus schools & libraries have a host of promotional resources available on the site. And there’s not just classics – each week pairs a great title from the past with a current teen favorite with a similar theme. For example, this week’s free downloads are The Angel Experiment by James Patterson paired with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (read by Booklist’s Voice of Choice Simon Vance). So load up that MP3 player – it’s summertime, and the listenin’ is easy – and FREE!