June Is Audiobook Month: The Authors #ListenLit

For those not in the know (it's ok, I'll forgive you), June Is Audiobook month.  Why not?  The other 11 months of the year can belong to books (which I still love!), but apparently June is dedicated to audiobooks according to the Audio Publisher's Association.

In honor of audiobooks, this month I will be focusing several blog points on audiobooks.  I've certainly talked about them before on this blog, so that should be nothing new.  For instance, I wrote an article on audiobooks and comics, interviewed narrators, found fascinating and free audiobooks on Librivox, considered how audiobooks help me fold time and space, discussed my intial--but never followed up writing opportunity at Abbreviated Audio, explained my experience with volunteering with an audiobook site brought me great opportunities, considered the variables in listening to audiobooks, and reflected on my experience as a judge for the Audies.  This is all in addition to reviewing audiobooks for over a decade for Publishers Weekly and Audiofile Magazine.

Hardcover book with earbuds.
That's one kind of
For this first post in the series thought, I want to take some time to talk about authors, who hold curious position in the realm of audiobooks.  

When we think about the author of a book and reading his or her work, we think of this almost direct lifeline between the author's ideas and our minds.  It's the closest thing to telepathy that we have.  They write the words and those words enter our minds through our eyes and become a great many amazing things in our imaginations.  It's all lovely.  

However, when a book becomes an audiobook, this twosome often becomes a threesome (who knew writers were so frisky) and in some ways, the experience becomes much more intimate as the authors words no long sit static on a page but are breathed into your ears by some skilled narrator.  In fact, much of celebrating audiobooks is celebrating the narrators--the amazing voices that turn books into audiobooks.  However, I wanted to dedicate this first post of the series to the authors.

Not all but some authors do get involved in the audiobook process.  This can happen in several different ways.  They are sometimes given the option to select a narrator from a group of audition files.  Other times, they are given the opportunity to narrate their introduction or author's note.  Some even go the distance and narrate the book themselves (something with very mixed results depending up the author's narrating skills).  Though some stay out of it entirely, never making any decisions about it and never listening to it, there are authors like Stephen King who have been profoundly involved with audiobooks and selecting the narrator.  

But there are a great many authors whom I have been exposed to that I might not have ever encountered were they not in audio.  I'll give just five examples from the books that I've read in the last month or so, though the truth is much bigger than this snapsot since I easily listen to 2 or so audiobooks a week that I would not be reading because I wouldn't have the time:
  • Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
  • How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  • Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World by Dan Pallotta
  • The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell
Now, I've listened to other works by Johnson and read another book by Lepore, but these are not books that would have made it to my radar without their delivery unto audio.  Each of these books I was quite impressed with and thoroughly enjoyed but would not have found the time to read them on top of all the other reading I do.  

So if we are going to celebrate the audiobook, I think we need to make sure we take time to celebrate the authors as it begins and ends with them.  

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