News You Can Use: Audiobook Media Round-up

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Ten top stories on all things audio, beginning with three features from the May 18 New York Times Sunday Book Review:

Acting the Part by John Schwartz features celebrity memoirs by Rob Lowe’s Love Life (Simon and Schuster), Rosie Perez’s Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling (With Great Hair) (Random House), Diane Keaton’s Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty (Random House), and Judy Greer’s I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star (Random House).

The Long, Long Road Ahead by Adam Hochschild focuses on eight audiobooks about World War I: Catastrophe 1914 (Blackstone Audio), The Guns of August (Blackstone Audio), The War that Ended Peace (Random House Audio), The Pity of War (Audible), July 1914 (Audible), The First World War (Random  House Audio), The Face of Battle (Blackstone Audio), World War One (Audible).

Talk of the Town by Charles McGrath reviews two new audiobooks about 20th Century New York City: John O’Hara’s New York Stories (Penguin Audio) and Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Brilliance Audio).

The NYT also put a spotlight on audio May 1st in  Diane Keaton: By the Book, where Keaton gives a shout-out to her love of audiobooks that begins, “I was slow to read. At first, reading was something that needed illustration. Reading was best spoken out loud. Some things never change. For example, I love to listen to audiobooks, particularly on road trips…”

USA Today shares author Jane Green’s observations on narrating her own audiobooks, including her Tempting Fate ( ) in Jane Green on (Not Awfully) Narrating Her Own Audio Books by Joyce Lamb.

Audiobooks are in the news in the UK, with The Independent providing an in-depth look at the work of professional narrators and the shift to digital production in both the UK & US in The Sound and the Story: The Rise of the Audiobook by Simon Usborne.

Audiobooks Live @ Your Library – one of my “Voices in My Head” columns – comes to life in the Darien Daily Voice article Darien Library Offers Behind-The-Scenes Look At Audiobooks by Crystal D’Sa about a public program featuring Dan Zitt, vice president at the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, and actors/narrators Tavia Gilbert and Dennis Boutsikaris.

The Library of Congress announces a new blog of interest for audiophiles: Now See Hear! The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center Blog.  The LOC’s Mike Mashon says the “National Audio-Visual Conservation Center…preserves and makes accessible more audiovisual content than any other archive in the world, and we’re very excited by the prospect of using this blog to share our riches with a wider audience.” You can learn a bit about audiobooks preserved by the LOC in the first chapter of my book Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature, which you can read as an excerpt here.

The BookRiot website gives an inside look at the upcoming May 30th Audies celebration of the best of audiobooks in How the Audies Literally Turned into the Oscars of the Audiobook World by Rachel Smalter Hall. I’ll be attending the Audies and will immediately post the winners of the 29 award categories as well as the Audiobook of the Year and the winner of Distinguished Acheivement in Production Award.

On the Huffington Post blog, Tom Alderman discusses the benefit of perfect audio narrator casting, such as “Barbara Rosenblat voicing Elizabeth Peters,” and – OUCH! – names names as he slams the pitfalls of miscasts, wrong voice, or those who need firm direction in When the Eye Is Better Than the Ear.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for even more audiobook news in the media as we head into “June is Audiobook” month. Stay tuned for more #audiomonth round-ups coming soon!





About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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